Backup and Of​f-Duty Guns

Options and Selections for Law Enforcement

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.   See authorized LAPD backup and off duty guns.

Backup v.s. Off-Duty 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.

Need Holsters?

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. 

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Spec/Gun Sig Sauer P365 GLOCK 43 M&P SHIELD M2.0 S&​W Model 442
ROUND CAPACITY (Cal) 10 rounds (9mm) 6 rounds (9mm) 7-8 rounds (9mm) 5 rounds (.38 Special)
WEIGHT 17.8 oz 20.64 oz 18.3 oz 14.7 oz
BARREL LENGTH 3.1 in 3.41 in 3.1 in 1.8 in
OVERALL LENGTH 5.8 in 6.26 in 6.1 in 6.3 in
HEIGHT 4.3 in 4.25 in 4.45 in 4.2 in
WIDTH 1.06 in 1.06 in 0.95 in 1.35 in
PRICE $520 approx $450 approx $500 approx $450 approx



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. 

LAPD Authorized

Caliber Barrel Length Capacity  Weight Price
9mm 3.41 inches 6 rds 20.64 oz $450*

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.