There are many US police agencies which authorize and approve their officers and deputies to carry a backup gun (BUG). It's usually a private purchase matter which the officers themselves must do a quick homework and hope to buy the right gun for them. Depending on the agency and it's approved list of guns the selection process can be overwhelming and at time confusing for those who are freshly graduating from an academy ready to hit the street.
Look no further. I am here to list some of the potential BUG and Off-duty guns that are typically authorized by many agencies in SoCal. I will give a quick spec and personal opinions about each of them and you can make the final decision based upon your need, body type and resources.
Please check with your own agencies for approved list of guns for both back-up and off-duty carry guns.
Glock 19 Gen 5
S&W Model 442
What is the difference between backup vs off-duty guns?
A backup gun is a secondary firearm carried while on/off-duty which can be used in the event that the primary firearm cannot be immediately deployed or rendered inoperable.
An Off-duty gun is a primary firearm usually carried in a concealed manner which allows an officer to defend themselves from an unexpected deadly threat in order to protect themselves, family, friends or members of the community.
Traditionally, it was not recommended that the officer use their backup gun as their off-duty gun due to limited ammunition capacity. However, with more advanced design of modern semi-compact pistols, backup guns may be acceptable to be carried as an off-duty weapon capable of holding sufficient amount of ammunition during an off-duty encounter.
Each holster and it's placement has pros and cons and fit for each individual officers. Every holster minimally must do the same job: retain the gun, cover the trigger, protect the gun and the barer, enhance concealability, make carrying comfortable, and facilitate a smooth draw and re-holster. Here are some suggestions for your backup or off duty guns.LEarn More
The SIG Sauer P365 High-Capacity Micro-Compact is a polymer frame striker-fired semi-automatic pistol small enough to be carried as a backup gun. It comes with Tritium XRAY3 Day/Night Sights and two 10-round magazines; one flush fit and the other with an extended finger tab.
The trigger has a crisp break and easy to press resulting in accurate shots. The P365 is fast becoming the most popular among officers as the go to semi-auto backup gun due to the compactness and its 10 round magazine capacity unmatched by any of the competitors.
|9mm||3.1 in||10 rds||17.8 oz||$520*|
Glock 43 is a subcompact single stack, 9 mm Luger caliber pistol capable of holding 6 rounds in the stock magazine. It is ultra-concealable with a barrel length of 3.41 inches making it great option as both backup or off-duty gun.
Shooting this gun is easy with a pronounced bever-tail and high textured grip. It generally sold with Glock plastic sights. The buyer will need to spend an extra $120 bucks to install a Trijicon night sights to be authorized by many of the agencies which does not allow plastic sights.
|9mm||3.41 inches||6 rds||20.64 oz||$450*|
The Shield is a subcompact single-stack magazine variant of the M&P line. It's profile with 6.1 inches in length and 4.6 inches in height is comparable to the Glock 43's 6.25 inches in length and 4.25 inches in height. It hold's 1 more round than that the G43 with a robust grip.
Like the Sig P365 the trigger has a crisp break. It has an excellent shootability. Easy to conceal. If the officer's primary pistol is a M&P9 then this compatible backup gun is a logical choice. Because the overall size including the thickness is bigger than that of Sig P365, smaller stature officer may resort to the P365. Be careful to select the non-thumb safety version as it may not be authorized in your department.
|9mm||3.1 inches||7 rds mag||18.3 oz||$500*|
Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers have been in service since 1950. This small 2 inch (1.875 in.) revolvers was designed to fire a full power round most reliably becoming the most popular law enforcement backup gun in the market. Model 442 is constructed from lightweight aluminum alloy with stainless steel barrel. The cylinder is carbon steel making it extremely durable. The black finish protects the carbon steel from oxidation (rust), however it can get scratched easily.
Shooting the 442 can be cumbersome with 13+ lb. trigger weight. It is not uncommon for some to have difficulty pressing the trigger due to strength issue especially with their support hand. Aiming is also difficult with it's dual sights with extremely small rear sight and a tall front sight. It's enclosed, snag free hammer design helps deploying the revolver from pocket with ease.
Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers have been in service since 1950. This small 2 inch (1.875 in.) revolvers was designed to fire a full power round most reliably becoming the most popular law enforcement backup gun in the market. Model 642 is constructed from lightweight aluminum alloy with stainless steel barrel and cylinder making it resistance to rust. The steel construction of the cylinder, the finish and the overall weight are the differences from the 442 variant. The grey finish can get chipped instead of scratched. It has a snag free enclosed hammer. The action is double action only.
Shooting the 642 can be cumbersome with 13+ lb. trigger weight. It is not uncommon for some to have difficulty pressing the trigger due to strength issue especially with their support hand. Aiming is also difficult with it's dual sights with extremely small rear sight and a tall front sight. It's enclosed, snag free hammer design helps deploying the revolver from pocket with ease.
Off-Duty pistol is your everyday carry gun (EDC) outside of work. Being an armed off-duty police officer should be a calling and for some a personal choice. By this your life should conform around the concealed carry gun. Selecting the right gun and holster combination, choosing the appropriate clothing, avoiding certain places and activities, tactical mindedness, and thorough understanding of off-duty actions.
For those who are looking to select their first off-duty gun, we have selected 5 various Micro-Compact, Sub-Compact and Compact pistol. Micro-Compact guns being the smallest to conceal not sacrificing the round count and it's the new buzz in the concealed carry community. The largest Compact gun category offers the best in shootability and as well as the round count, but may be difficult to conceal for certain smaller statured individuals.
We recommend that your EDC gun should hold no less than 10 rounds in the pistol and always have extra magazine on person. 10 rounds should be the bare minimal in capacity when confronted by deadly encounters or at least it will get you out of the situation.
|Spec/Gun||Sig Sauer P365XL||GLOCK 43X||M&P M2.0 SUBCOMPACT||FN 509 Compact BLK||GLOCK 19 Gen5 MOS|
|ROUND CAPACITY (Cal)||12-15 rounds (9mm)||10 rounds (9mm)||15 rounds (9mm)||12-15 rounds (9mm)||15 rounds (9mm)|
|WEIGHT||20.7 oz||23.07 oz||25.0 oz||25.5 oz||21.34 oz|
|BARREL LENGTH||3.7 in||3.41 in||3.6 in||3.6 in||4.02 in|
|OVERALL LENGTH||5.8 in||6.26 in||6.1 in||6.8 in||7.25 in|
|HEIGHT||4.8 in||5.04 in||4.45 in||4.6 in||5.4 in|
|WIDTH||1.1 in||1.1 in||1.52 in||1.35 in||1.34 in|
|PRICE||$600 approx||$450 approx||$500 approx||$600.00||$620 approx|
Sig P365 leads the industry in the micro-compact pistol market. XL has a low profile aiding in its concealability even with their full-size 12 + 1 or available 15 round extended magazine. Bigger variant of the standard P365, XL comes standard with an extended slide, 3.7” barrel, and the brand new 365 X Series grip module with extended beavertail and integrated magwell.
XL's flat trigger has a crisp break and easy to press resulting in accurate shots. Comes with larger grip than the P365, the XL is fast becoming the most popular LE Off-Duty pistol due to its compactness, amazing shootablity and its unmatched 12 rounds magazine beating out the Glock 43X.
|9mm||12 rds||6.6 in||4.8 in||20.7 oz.||$520*|
Chambered in 9mm the G43X with the Modular Optic System (MOS) features slide cuts designed for specific micro-optics and the GLOCK Slim Mounting Rail for mounting weapon lights. It has the same amount of width as Sig P364XL but the height towers over its competitor possibly affecting the concealed profile depending on the stature of the officer. The G43X MOS does not come with adapter plates.
Shooting the Glock 43X is comfortable and for many quite familiar as its trigger is very recognizable as it is consistent through out the Glock line-up. The short trigger distance adds to the ease of pressing and the feel is crisp. It is generally sold with Glock plastic sights. The buyer will need to spend an extra $120 (approx) to install a Trijicon steel sights to be authorized by many agencies which does not allow plastic sights.
|9mm||10 rds||6.5 in||5.04 in||23.07 oz||$450*|
The M&P M2.0 Sub-Compact is an exciting new line of M&P compact series with short 3.6” barrel pistol which makes it shorter than the Sig P365XL model. This shortened barren and the over all length of 6.8 inches makes this the ideal off duty pistol for the M&P users. The pistol includes an aggressively-textured grip and four interchangeable palmswell inserts for optimal hand-fit and trigger reach. Includes a limited lifetime warranty and a lifetime service policy.
Shooting the M&P M2.0 Compact 3.6 is great in comparison to the M1.0 Compact series. The M2.0 include an extended stainless-steel chassis and a low barrel bore axis for reduced muzzle rise and faster aim recovery. The M&P M2.0 pistol further improves performance with a fine-tuned, crisper trigger, lighter pull and a tactile and audible reset.
|9mm||12 rds mag||6.6 in||4.98 in||25.0 oz||$500*|
The GLOCK 19 Gen5 MOS in 9 mm is a optic ready (MOS) compact size pistol. Significantly larger than the aforementioned miro-compact design offering the sense of shootability closer to the full size pistol not for a smaller statured officers to conceal. 15 round magazine capacity, moderately aggressive grip texturing, larger magazine release, weapon light rail are some of the great feature of the 19. If you are able to conceal one comfortably, this is definitely the fighting gun an off-duty officer needs.
G19 Gen 5 has a modular back strap system which makes it possible to instantly customize its grip to accommodate any hand size. The reversible magazine catch makes it ambidextrous for left and right-handed shooters. The buyer will need to spend an extra $120 (approx) to install a Trijicon night sights to be authorized by many agencies which does not allow plastic sights.
|9mm||15 rds mag||7.28 in||5.04 in||21.81 oz||$620*|
The New FN 509 Compact represents the next evolution in LE protection with the performance of a full-sized pistol in a concealable size. The pistol is 9mm and striker-fired with 3.7-inch barrel, standard 12+1 and 15+1 capacity and the capability to accept all higher capacity FN 509 magazines.
Comes standard with ambidextrous slide stop lever and magazine release. The improved controls aid in manipulation, the new improved texturing on the two included backstraps provides better recoil management, and a new flatter faced trigger enhances trigger control with a cleaner break.
|9mm||10 rds||6.8 in||4.6 in||25.5 oz||$600*|