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Back-Up Guns for Cops: What Do They Use?

CEW

Alpha
Not only did I carry a S&W Snubby on my ankle the other boot held a dagger and I laugh remembering the Sgt seeing it saying, "It isn't that you carry that, it is you willing to use it that bothers me." I was known to always have an extra firearm nearby and anyone that believes back-up weapons are unnecessary hasn't had a Prep hanging onto his service weapon with intent to kill him. At that point any weapon will do...

Can't remember ever pulling the BUG, but something about being prepared can be seen in your eyes, that had several suspects just drop their metal with mere flanking move and eye contact. If you are ready and able, it does create an air of being so.
 

HayesGreener

Professional
Some agencies prohibit them. The major problem I saw was shoddy ankle holsters. On 4 occasions I was out with other officers searching for an officer's BUG that fell out of an ankle holster. On one occasion we had a bunch of prisoners sitting on the floor in a large room where I saw one who was trying to hide a .25 Beretta under his shoe. Turned out it had fallen out of my partner's ankle holster. The worst I recall was an officer from a neighboring department scuffling with a suspect who picked up his ankle gun that had fallen out and shot him with it. Fortunately the officer survived. But all those incidents understandably make you skeptical of ankle holsters. A quality secure holster js a must. I believe the best way to carry a BUG is in a holster under the shirt. I personally did not carry a BUG very often but did carry a little .25 in a shirt pocket for a whilec. A pretty puny round but better than a sharp stick.

Good article on the subject that hits all the salient points.

I think the P365 is the BIG of choice for many nowadays
 

Magnum50

Operator
Good article... brought back memories...

I'm retired now but in 2000 or so when Springfield released the original XD's in .40 I bought 3 of them with a nice tax return. 5 Inch Tactical for main carry, 4 inch for the in car go bag, and a 3 inch in a ankle holster. All used the same mags so it was convenient. Still have all 3 guns and love them.

Now-a-days I would probably carry my Hellcat Pro as a backup. (What I carry IWB now.)
 

CEW

Alpha
Some agencies prohibit them. The major problem I saw was shoddy ankle holsters. On 4 occasions I was out with other officers searching for an officer's BUG that fell out of an ankle holster. On one occasion we had a bunch of prisoners sitting on the floor in a large room where I saw one who was trying to hide a .25 Beretta under his shoe. Turned out it had fallen out of my partner's ankle holster. The worst I recall was an officer from a neighboring department scuffling with a suspect who picked up his ankle gun that had fallen out and shot him with it. Fortunately the officer survived. But all those incidents understandably make you skeptical of ankle holsters. A quality secure holster js a must. I believe the best way to carry a BUG is in a holster under the shirt. I personally did not carry a BUG very often but did carry a little .25 in a shirt pocket for a whilec. A pretty puny round but better than a sharp stick.

Good article on the subject that hits all the salient points.

I think the P365 is the BIG of choice for many nowadays
Holsters are whole different subject as I never lost one but... Started out in 1980 with a low swivel for comfort and that didn't last long as I went to a high and tight security Tex Schumaker for a 6" .357 Mag. A couple tussles and seeing one separate at the swivel, cured that. Don't have a security holster on the tactical rig, but in uniform security all the way and should have on the tactical one as well.
 

HayesGreener

Professional
Holsters are whole different subject as I never lost one but... Started out in 1980 with a low swivel for comfort and that didn't last long as I went to a high and tight security Tex Schumaker for a 6" .357 Mag. A couple tussles and seeing one separate at the swivel, cured that. Don't have a security holster on the tactical rig, but in uniform security all the way and should have on the tactical one as well.
Yes I had several occasions of heart pounding moments when a subjet had ahold of the grip on my service handgun in a scuffle trying to snatch it. It is a religious experience. Once a 15 year old girl surprised me grabbing my revolver with both handd while I was talking to some hoods.

A great example of security holsters saving officers was when a small female officer was fighting for her life with a very large and very drunk block mason who picked her up by her pistol grip and was shaking her like a rag doll trying to get her gun. The holster broke off her belt but he never got the gun out and was standing there with the holstered gun in his hand when the cavalry arrived. I don't think he ever realized how close he came to meeting his maker that night.

As one of my instructors taught me more than 50 years ago, there is always at least one gun present at every call or stop.
 
I carried a Ruger LCR with 38 +P in my offside cargo pocket.

I tried carrying a single stack 9mm behind my vest in a holster built directly into it but could not get comfortable with the gun pushing against my chest all day. I know other people liked that setup but I just didn't care for it.

I tried an ankle holster once and immediately and after one day of walking around with it removed it and never wore it again. I hated the weight right on my ankle, add to that the how much harder and longer it'll take to get to it and it just didn't work for me.
 

wmg1299

Professional
Popular fighting styles/techniques change over time, but when I was a defensive tactics instructor for my department in the mid 2000's through the 2010's I always advised uniformed officers not to carry backups in ankle holsters. The department made me an instructor because I had a pro MMA career prior to joining the force and held a BJJ Black Belt before schools started handing them out like candy. In my experience, after ground-fighting became mainstream, there were very few situations where I could effectively reach my ankle when the bad guy could not.

If an officer was on the ground, and the bad guy was still actively fighting or resisting, there was too great a chance of the bad guy being able to gain control of the weapon. This risk was also present if the bad guy was on the ground and the officer was standing. If you were both standing, then there was no quick way for the officer to draw from an ankle holster without assuming a vulnerable position. If the officer was in a position where he/she could draw from an ankle holster, and the suspect was not in a position to stop the officer from drawing, it was highly unlikely that the officer would be legally justified in firing their weapon. I'm sure someone could come up with very specific situations where my logic wouldn't apply, but I believe such situations would be statistical outliers.

There was never a rule forbidding ankle carry, but I always recommended carrying a backup crossdraw on the weakside vest strap. This worked for our uniforms because our shirts made it easy for officers to access that area. This wouldn't work as well for departments that wore polo shirts, but it worked quite well for our department. Just my 2 cents. YMMV.
 
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