This BUG Could Save Your Life

Law enforcement is a profession built on having multiple choices. No, not those found on the entrance examination. The multiple choices I am speaking of concern tactics – multiple magazines for your firearm, multiple pairs of handcuffs, extra keys for both your handcuffs and your squad car and even extra pens for when the one in your shirt pocket goes dry. So, why is it that some officers still choose not to carry multiple firearms?

Of course, when it comes to having multiple firearms, I am not talking about packing two revolvers in a cowboy rig or twin .45s in dual shoulder holsters. I am talking about always carrying a BUG – Back Up Gun.  I routinely see even the most tactically minded hard chargers, those with the highest speed gear possible often purchased with their own coin, still carrying only their issued firearm.

Back Up GunFor most departments the choice to carry a backup gun is a personal one, as few SOPs require officers to do so.  The reasons for NOT carrying a second gun are many. Some officers complain about the weight, others complain that, given all the other gear they lug around every day, there is nowhere to carry it. For some it comes down to functionality – they have bought into the theory that backup guns are too small or too inaccurate to be effective. For each of these excuses, I have one simple response – HOGWASH!

I don’t want to carry any extra weight either, but you will get accustomed to it. Just like the first day you strapped on your first ballistic vest, when you thought you would never get used to this, after a few days your backup gun will seem to disappear- until you’re not wearing it and then you will feel naked. Finding a comfortable and accessible carry location can be a challenge, and you may need to try different options, but equipment and uniform manufacturers recognize the value of a BUG. From ankle or pocket holsters to shirts with hidden pockets or rip away fronts for better access, it will not take long to find a combination that works for you. The same goes for firearms makers- chances are you can find a subcompact model of your full size duty weapon to meet your BUG needs. At close range, such as that found in a life and death close combat situation, when a BUG is likely to be used, even a good quality small caliber BUG will be better than nothing.

Now that we’ve addressed some of the reasons not to carry a BUG, let address why you should – your life may depend upon it. Training manuals and officer-involved shooting files are over flowing with accounts detailing officers who were killed after their duty firearm was disabled, malfunctioned or lost in a fight. Others were disarmed or unable to access their main firearm during a fight. It is impossible to determine how many of these officers would have survived if they had a second weapon, but it is easy to see that some died because they didn’t.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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