And when I say BUG, I am not referring to a disease or Volkswagen. I am referring to a Back Up Gun.
Our friend Karl Rehn at KR Training defines a BUG as
pistols or revolvers with barrels shorter than 4", typically carried in a pocket holster, ankle holster, belly band, fanny pack, or other non-belt-holster carry mode. These guns are much slower to draw and harder to shoot than a larger handgun carried in a belt holster, but in many situations, a BUG is the only viable carry option for many.
Like everything else in the gun world, I am one of the last people to embrace changes to the conventional wisdom. I wasn't a proponent of carrying a back up gun for a number of reasons, but two things helped change my thinking on this.
- Perhaps the best use of a back up gun is so that you can arm a friend or a spouse (assuming they know how to effectively use a gun) in an emergency, thus creating two shooters that the bad guy must confront.
- Glock makes the whole back up gun easier since their magazines work in all other similar caliber Glocks, provided the magazine is large enough. For example, in my little baby Glock 26 (which I just picked up on Wednesday), I can remove the magazine, slap in a magazine from my big ass Glock 34, and I am good to go.
The main challenge I'm having now is determining how to carry the BUG. I have a pocket holster on order, but I am afraid the Glock 26 will still be a bit large for pocket carry. I am looking at ankle holsters as well. Right now, I am experimenting with the GlockTech MIC holster.
This isn't a review of the MIC holster. I just got it yesterday, and so it will need to be tested for a while before I decide this is a worthwhile way to carry the Glock 26. Instead, I want to spend a few minutes sharing with you some thoughts on how to go about field testing your guns and holsters before you decide to make them a part of your life safety equipment.
Too many people buy a gun, a cheap holster, and consider themselves ready for action. Sadly, in many of those cases, they end up purchasing a gun that's not well made or suited for concealed carry in a piece of garbage holster that won't retain the weapon. If you're going to carry a gun, you owe it to yourself and those around you to spend some time with the gun and holster in a safe environment to ensure it will work well for you.
Back to my testing of the MIC holster. I have four criteria I use in determining whether a piece of self defense equipment warrants me relying on it for my well being.
- Is it safe to use? This one's first for a reason. It may be the best thing since sliced bread, end world hunger, cure cancer, and enhance male performance. But if it increases the risk of me shooting myself or someone else accidentally, the test stops right there. Safety first.
- Is it tactical? A 6 inch barreled Taurus revolver in 44 Mag is a very safe gun. From a tactical standpoint, however, it's a nightmare. Heavy trigger pull, six round cylinder, over penetration risk, "you'll-look-like-a-nutjob-to-a-jury-if-you-shoot-someone-with-this" risk - this isn't the gun you want to use to keep you alive. A tactical product means it enhances your ability to reliably get good hits on target.
- Is it comfortable? If it's not a comfortable product to keep on your person, you are not going to carry it around. Don't kid yourself. If it's a pain, literally and figuratively, you won't use it.
- Is it better than nothing? Is having a reliable, accurate, well made short barrel Derringer in .22 caliber (I know...there are some contradictions there....just go with it for now) better than nothing? Hmm. Maybe. Then again, the pocket space I'd be losing in order to carry it might be better used for a Spyderco, a flashlight, or a cell phone.
To do my testing, I am carrying the Glock 26 around the house, using the MIC. For now, the gun is UNLOADED. If something is going to go wrong, I want to make sure it happens with no rounds in the chamber (if you watch the video at the link on the MIC above, you'll understand why. Their cutesy slogan on their website says it all.)
I've been practicing drawing from it as well. If and when I feel this is something I can rely on, I will practice with using the MIC at the range. Only then - after testing it for myself, and having others whose opinions I value provide their thoughts - will I make a decision as to whether to utilize the MIC.
Note this type of analysis doesn't just pertain to holsters. It's equally applicable to guns, solar equipment, back up gas stoves, flashlights - you name it.
It's part of the training process. Don't be afraid to try something new. When you do, have a plan to ensure you put the product through its paces to ensure it does what you want.