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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2011 Digital Edition - Page 28
COPTALK Massad Ayoob Colt Detective Special has been a popular police backup/off-duty gun from 1926 to present. Grant Cunningham and sports Craig Spegel Boot Grips tuned this ’72 series. OPINION AND FACTS FROM THE MEAN STREETS If you carry a Springfield Armory XD series in your duty holster, a subcompact XD is a natural for a backup and off-duty gun. Off-DuTy/ T W Backup Gun ThOuGhTs Compatibility hen we had revolvers, transferability of operation skills was important. Your typical cop had a 4" K- or L-frame as a holster gun and most likely a 2" J-frame serving double duty as an ankle gun on the job, and a carry gun on their own time. That paradigm has morphed somewhat. At this time, NYPD allows its officers to choose from three approved 16-shot 9mm service pistols: the Glock 19, the DAO version of the SIG P226 and the also DAO S&W Model 5946. The approved list for off-duty, plainclothes or backup use includes compact or subcompact versions of each. Your duty gun is a different breed of polymer police pistol? Springfield Armory’s XD and XD(m) series both include subcompact versions, and the Smith & Wesson M&P comes in compact form too. Want longer-barrel versions for match use? Check out the Glock 34 and 35, the XD Tactical and the S&W M&P 9L and Pro models. here are 168 hours in a week, and even if over time takes you more than 40 hours at work, you still spend more time off-duty than on. Your off-duty gun may also be your backup when on the job, and is often the one closest to you if an intruder awakens you from sleep. We literally spend more time with those guns than the one in the duty holster, unless they are one and the same. It makes sense to do more than qualify with them when required, just as it makes sense to do the same with the primary service handgun. Think practice time, training time and even competition time. n my part of the country, many of the clubs hosting IDPA competition will frequently have stages or whole matches, devoted to the BUG (Back-Up Gun). NRA PPC competition has long included a category for off-duty guns. This sort of thing is an ideal venue where you can practice your shooting, using the little lifesaver that spends so much time with you. Ex-cop Tom Givens runs the excellent National Tactical Conference every year, which encompasses the practicality-oriented Polite Society Match (As in the classic Robert Heinlein quote, “An armed society is a polite society.”) Info about the match is available on Here’s a classic that still works: a nice 2" S&W Model 12 Airweight, the lightweight K-frame. www.rangemaster. A bigger compact gun will often yield better com. At the 2011 control and shootability. event in May, at the splendid US Shooting Academy in Tulsa, three instructors present shot the match with J-frame S&W .38s. Marty Hayes used a Model 642 and a Model 60 and Rob Shown: Pincus ran a pair Thad Rybka of S&W Centenholster. QualiTy Time i nial .38s, each switching guns for a New York Reload when more than five shots was needed. Claude Werner chose a single, bobbedhammer Chief Special, which he reloaded in conventional manner. Marty won this impromptu “snubby challenge” between the trio; but they all proved a good man with a 5-shot snubnose .38 Special can get the job done if he has honed his skills with it. Sometimes, the smaller gun makes you work harder and you actually shoot it better than your larger version. That happened to me last year in Georgia, when my score with the little Glock 26 was better on the same course of fire at a GSSF match than what I did with my full-size Glock 17. I wasn’t the first to experience this, and won’t be the last. Taking a class to build your skills? Consider taking it with that backup/off-duty piece. It will give “bonding time” between operator and machine. Finally, remember one reason for a backup is it allows you to arm someone you trust, who desperately needs a gun but doesn’t have their own, during an exigent circumstance. It’s a good idea to make sure anyone who fits that profile, from your patrol car partner to your significant other, knows how to run your backup gun in an emergency. * 28 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2011