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Time for a backup

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by BlackPaladin, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. 8 years, I have carried only my service weapon on duty. Events occurred this year that have convinced me that exploring the idea of a backup pistol would be worthwhile. I am convinced that a J frame size revolver is what I want, with no hammer. It is simple and there is very little to go wrong with it.

    I am going to ask a two part question on this.

    (a) Which J frame sized hammerless pistol in which caliber would be recommended?

    (b) From *experience* where or how would you carry this?

    Bear in mind, this would NOT be for off duty carry, only uniformed backup. I greatly appreciate the feedback in advance, this has been on my mind for awhile.

    ETA, class B uniform

    PIC OF 442 ON PG 3
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  2. fat.buffalo


    Feb 15, 2006
    S&W 642 .38 +p
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012

  3. rockapede


    Sep 3, 2009
    I carried a S&W 642 in .38 for a while as a backup and decided I preferred an auto. My current backup is a Beretta Nano. Nothing really wrong with the wheelgun, just not my preference.

    That said, what type of uniform do you wear? If it's class A, your options as to carry location are more limited that if it's say BDU based.
  4. itstime


    Apr 9, 2006
    Smith 642. Again, don't know your uniform.
  5. dp509

    dp509 2009 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

    Jul 20, 2007
    I carried a 442, no lock, in a galco ankle holster. I tried the pocket carry, but it dit not work for me.
    I recently went with a Kahr PM9 in a galco ankle holster. Less recoil, more accurate and I carry a spare magazine in my weak side pocket in a desantis nemsis magazine holster.
  6. FM12

    FM12 I need AMMO!

    Jun 17, 2007
    .38 in an ankle holster. Get a holster with sheepskin padding. Trust me on this!
  7. lwt210


    Nov 28, 2001
    I've carried a lot of back up guns over the years.

    I started out with larger autos in a vest holster. Slow and cumbersome.

    Then I went to small autos in pocket carry (off hand side) and found that every now and then (not often, but enough to be unsettling) the mag release button would get engaged just enough to unseat the mag just so.

    I settled on the Smith 442 loaded with +p ammo and love it to death. Five shots, offside pocket carry, very fast, very stealth, very reassuring to hear those five cartridges go "bang". Mine had a lock on it but has been de-locked some years ago.

    I prefer the 442 (I have a 642 as well) due to the dark finish. I can approach cars on traffic stops with that hand in my pocket ready for action and nobody notices it if I have slid it out a bit.

    Mine is quite accurate too. Really kind of shocked how good the accuracy is on these little revolvers.
  8. Sgt127


    Nov 5, 2002
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  9. I appreciate the comments so far. I am set against an auto as a backup for personal reasons. It seems that so far what I am hearing is that the S&W 442 with +p .38 is a good option in an ankle holster.

    For the sake of asking, is the 340pd (scandium) worth the weight savings in an ankle carried snub?
  10. Sgt127


    Nov 5, 2002
    Its alot of money to save a few ounces. I think an airweight with +P is about the limit for controllability, If you can handle the hyper lightweight with full on magnums, more power to you, I can't. I shot one once and it was like slamming my hand in a car door. (Think 1970's Buick 2 door) It does add a little extra horsepower, even out of the snub barrel.
  11. We had a "County Mountie" (bet you haven't heard that in a while) that carried a 2' snubbie (can't remember what kind) in his "smoky bear" hat. I seen him do this several times, always the gentleman removed and held his hat for traffic stops. Over coffee I mentioned it to him and he picked up the hat for me to see and I laughed so hard I might have peed a little! Thanks to you all for the job you do!
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  12. Bruce M

    Bruce M

    Jan 3, 2010
    S FL
    My experience which includes the Detonics pictured for a decade or so strongly suggests that the quality of the ankle holster is far far more important than the weight of the gun.
  13. I carried a S&W 442 for many years to go along with my Beretta 92 first then my S&W 4506 as a great backup.

    I carried it in my off side waistband, which you could barley see in a IWB holster. I could get to it with either hand and it was easy to draw while sitting in a vehicle!!

    I always had a problem with ankle holsters. If they work for you then great but mine would always flop around when I was running and I found them uncomfortable. If you carry in an ankle rig you should have your draw down and practice with it.

    I am surprised you are just realizing how valuable a backup can be. It was pounded into our heads at the academy as we were taught about the Onion Field incident and several others that occurred on my department. I carried a back up since I graduated the academy!!
  14. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005
    I have carried a 442 on my ankle since 2004. I tried vest carry and couldn't make it work for me.

    Good decision to carry a BUG.
  15. SCSU74

    SCSU74 St. Cloud Proud

    Jul 24, 2010
    The Northwoods
    I was going to recommend the 340. Not only is it lighter, but it allows you to shoot .357 mag rounds in addition to .38.

    As far as location, I wear mine on my vest in a uncle mikes vest holster. The armor straps pass through the holster and hold it tight. Mine is on my right side, allowing for a left handed draw if needed. I have also heard of officers carrying in a cargo pocket if allowed at your agency. Desantis nemesis are great holsters in either the normal or cargo pocket variety.

    I agree with you that a revolver is the way to go as a bug. Many officers don't realize that autos will not fire if the slide is pushed back. Basically if you jam an auto into someone's gut it may not fire..

    Sent from my iPhone... which probably auto-corrected something wrong
  16. I don't know if they still make them but they used to make a bolt on shroud for the hammer. If hammerless is needed then a 442 or 642. I would NOT reccomend the superlight magnums that are out there, with magnum rounds some have been known to have the bullet jump crimp and lock up the revolver. In addition the recoil is a lot heavier which sucks for range time and qualification time.
  17. I vest carry a S&W 442 using 5.11's "Backup Belt System" holster. Works very well and is highly concealed. I'm not satisfied with access and the draw however. I may end up giving off side pocket carry a try.

    Posted from my iPhone 4s via Outdoor Hub mobile
  18. blueiron


    Aug 10, 2004
    I'll side with the majority here. The 442/642 is ideal.

    Scandium frames are nice and are stronger than aluminum frames, so if longevity over thousands of rounds is important, get one.

    I am not a fan of .357 Magnums out of scandium J frames. I have been firearms enthusiast since age 12 and they are the most unpleasant handgun I have ever fired. My .454 Casull revolver was nowhere near as brutal, nor was the .500 S&W Magnum I fired. If one is wedded to the Magnum chambering, a Colt Lawman or a M-19/66 with a 2.5 inch barrel is a better choice.

    Many tout that the extra power is necessary when the time comes and more stopping power is good, BUT... a defensive firearm requires lots of practice and qualifications. The J frame Magnums are flinch inducing machines. I am against practicing with light loads and then carrying Magnum rounds based on experiences I saw on the range with cops who did this in duty revolvers back in the early 1980s.

    A .38 Special +P round with a modern bullet design, combined with good placement, should do the trick.
  19. Anyone have experience with Charter Arms' current production 9mm revolvers?
  20. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    ANother vote for 642\442.

    I carried mine off hand front pocket.