I woke up kinda early this morning, so I figured I’d wonder around Al Gore’s Interwebz in search of boredom relief before I went into work.

I was researching into .380 auto pistols for CCW, trying to find the best one for me. Being Texas, it’s farkin’ hot a vast majority of the year, meaning t-shirts and shorts, so I was trying to find a good, reliable .380 pistol (I still believe that’s an oxymoron: good, reliable .380 pistol) to invest in for CCW. I found a lot of reviews, and I must say, people love to talk about what they don’t know.

In every .380 auto pistol review I read, I saw the same sentence over and over and over, “This would make an excellent back up gun for a police officer…” Sounds like a good recommendation correct? They are light, portable, easy to conceal, so they must make an excellent BUG for a cop right? Sorry Charlie, way off base on that one. Why? Let me explain.

First, some departments won’t allow their officers to carry a BUG. If you are in a department that does allow it, it is regulated as to what you can and can’t carry. Some times the restriction is caliber based (.380 auto or bigger, 9mm, .40, or .45 only, etc.), some times you have to buy one-off of a list of approved firearms, and some times your BUG is issued to you like the rest of your equipment.

Now that’s said, we come to the next problem, which is an already well-known one, and that’s the lack of stopping power with .380 compared to the standard police calibers. If an officer has to drawn his BUG, that means the S Hit TF, and things are going from bad to worse.

Imagine it this way. You’re a beat cop responding to a routine Domestic Violence call. You walk up to the front door, knock, and the wife answers the door, beat up, cut up, and bloody. The wife steps outside and you start to do your cop thing, starting with the interview. In the middle of the interview, the front door flings open, and the drunk husband comes charging out of the house. He tackles you, and you can feel him trying to pull your pistol for the holster. You try all the weapon retention techniques you know, but can’t get him off of your weapon. Finally, through a stroke of dumb luck, you feel your duty pistol slide out of the holster and hit the ground. The husband punches you in the face, hops off of you, and grabs your duty pistol. When he hops up, you reach into your shirt and pull out your BUG from the vest holster…

In that scenario, what would you want your BUG to be? A Sig P238? A S&W 642/442?A Walther PPK? A Glock 26? A Ruger LCP? A Glock 27? A Kel-tec P-3AT? A Glock 30?

Obviously a gun is better than no gun, but if you had a choice, what would it be?

Me personally? I’d want the S&W 642/442.

So, then what do most officers carry (if they can have a BUG or if it’s issued)? A revolver in .38 spl+P/.357 magnum or the sub-compact version of whatever Glock they carry (i.e. 26 if they have a 17, 27 if they have a 22, etc).


5 Responses to “Button”

  1. Jay,

    Not going to be able to help you much on this one. Maybe head over to LawDog, May The Peace be With you or Texas GhostRider and ask them.

    My main criteria would be that the gun goes bang every time.
    Given the size of some of the sub compact Glocks, IF I carried a BUG I would probably go with one of those in .45ACP. Might only have 6 rounds, but you know that with hollow points, +P loads it will stop.

    Something to consider about your carry weapon is ammo compatibility with BUG. Why have to carry 2 different calibers ?

  2. I said it in another comment, I’ll say it again here.
    Long, heavy triggers suck. They do NOT help you shoot better or faster.
    Guns that have two different trigger pulls suck even more.
    They do NOT help you shoot better or faster.
    The purpose of carrying a gun is to save your life.
    Accuracy and speed matter. A LOT.
    After reliability your next criteria should be ability to hit the target – not “anywhere on a B27″ but a 6” circle the size of the human heart and lung area – quickly and consistently. Don’t settle for mediocrity because in a real fight misses and edge hits aren’t going to get it done.

    Power is the 3rd factor, and .380 sucks compared to 9 and even sucks when compared to .38 special. In the itty bitty gun category too much power results in slow and/or misses.

    #1 most popular BUG is the S&W 642/442. Kahr 9s work good too. So does the Glock 26.

    Every year I go to this major training conference called the Polite Society. Dozens of national level trainers are there. What do they carry?

    Primary gun: 1911, Glock, XD, M&P. Nothing else. No SIGs. No Berettas. No Rugers. Sorry. Primary calibers are .40, .45, 9 in about equal distribution.

    Backup gun: S&W snub in .38 spl, Kahr, Glock. Nothing else. No Keltecs, No LCPs. 9mm and .38 special are the BUG calibers.

    I saw you had a comment about “not being able to carry a full size gun year round”. Bull shit. I carried a full size Para P-14 steel frame 5″ bbl .45 for 14 months, through a Texas August, with no problems. It’s all in picking the right holster and the right clothes. If it matters enough you can figure out how to do it. Most of these “i can only carry an LCP when the temp gets above 70 guys” are people who don’t really believe that they are going to get into a gunfight that day, who are just carrying the gun as a feel-good measure. The live fire scenarios at the Polite Society each year use 3-D reactive targets, in low light, to simulate real situations – much more realistic than the Texas CHL test, IPSC or IDPA.

    The people that do well in those events are using a 4″ or 5″ barrel gun that holds at least 8 rounds – most using hicap polymer guns.

    Get yourself a quality IWB holster and some lightweight shirts you can wear untucked. it is NOT hard to carry a G19 or even a 5″ steel 1911 year around. Ask the thousands of Gunsite grads that carry in Arizona year around where it’s way hotter than here. Don’t get sucked into half measures out of laziness.

    • KR,

      Honestly, since I don’t have a CHL, I’ve never truly tried it. The one time I did try it around the house with my USP, it stuck out quite bad. I’m sure once I do get to starting carrying, I can make it possible.

      Where there is a will there is a way!

  3. Carrying with minimal printing requires more than just “trying it once around the house” and declaring that it’s hard to do. There is no such thing as “zero printing” when you carry. Someone that is looking in exactly the right place at the right time as you move in just the right way – whether you are carrying in an ankle holster or pocket holster or hip holster – will notice.

    The deal is that aside from cops who are specifically looking for concealed weapons (Secret Service for example, not your average patrol cop), nobody is looking and 99.999% of the time, nobody is going to do anything even if they _do_ notice.

    Amateur gun carriers start with “what is least inconvenient for me” and not “what gives me the best odds for survival should I actually need a gun” and they usually end up with half-assed carry methods and gear, but they never find that out because they never end up in a gunfight and never use their real carry gun and carry holster in training classes.

    Just trying you keep you from going down that road. There’s no shortage of well meaning untrained, untested people out there willing to encourage you to take the path of least resistance to that LCP .380 in a pocket holster as your primary concealed carry gun.

    • Don’t worry on the .380 pocket pistol front, it’s not going to happen for me. After reading reviews and researching into the ballistics behind the .380, I’ll stick with my Glock 23.

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