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GUNS Magazine January 2013 Digital Edition - Page 16
BUgS! some tHougHts on cHoices of BAckup guns. Clint smitH PHotos: Heidi smitH of built up towns as a true cowboy working stock had enough stuff to deal with and documents record working cowboys often left their handguns in the chuck wagon rather than having to deal with the handgun, a rope and an ornery steer in thick brush. Bluntly in cap-and-ball handgun times a second gun was a lot easier and faster than trying to load the empty first handgun. Even with the advent of the cartridge-firing Single Action Army or the break-top S&W loading was still a time consuming process compared to the insertion of the magazine into the well like so many of us do today. Why a backup? As food for thought the drawing of a second gun may still be H istory records people who carried two handguns for a variety of reasons. In the days of mounted cavalry big “horse” pistols were carried in scabbards mounted to or attached to the saddle pommel. A second or backup gun came in handy in mounted fights as loading the revolver of the day required some detail and often some time to charge with powder and ball. Some gunmen of the era of the American West carried two guns, Hickok, Hardin, Stoudenmire but mostly these were gunmen or residents The S&W Model 327 loaded with eight shots of good .38 Special +P ammo makes it a good backup gun. The Springfield Armory XDs .45 ACP pistol (above, left) is small but a controllable package with practice. Limited rounds is a concern of interest but the Tyler T-grip (above, right) and greatly improved large sights by Hamilton Bowen increase the effectiveness of the small S&W .38 Special Chiefs Special revolver. Good examples of proper BUGs include (below, left to right) the Springfield XDs Single Stack in .45 ACP, the Smith & Wesson Model 327 and a Bowen-converted S&W .38 Special Chiefs Special. quicker than a reload in a fight regardless of the era or the type of gun. The backup gun may be a lifesaver in case of a mechanical failure of the primary gun. In the case of physical “loss” of the primary handgun to a threat a second gun gives the shooter the ability to respond. Here comes a firestorm: The backup gun must be used by a skilled person who understands the use of the BUG will most likely occur in a high stress application. Proper or normal shooting techniques might be impaired by injury so the skill and application must be applied without a hitch. Try to aquire the best proper grip and the best application of body weight behind the gun especially if you want to use a small auto. I know it’s all the rage to carry a small .380, but you can have it and you’re welcome to it (I’ll get to that in a minute). Since the fight can and could be at short range and many gunfights start out as a fist fight, the chances of you being on the ground are high and if the threat is on top of you, consideration must be given to the fact that barrel-slide-muzzle contact to the threat may cause a failure of the auto pistol to operate correctly. The shooter must remember under duress to clear the muzzle of physical contact. Personally a revolver is much better for the muzzle contact applications that can occur at short range because the revolver still works— fires—in the muzzle contact mode. You can train up to “hold” the back of an auto pistol so it fires while in physical contact but then as soon as the auto does fire the shooter must cycle the slide to clear the fired case from the chamber, but at least you 16 W W W. G U N S M AG A Z I N E . C O M • JA N UA RY 2 0 1 3