Our department never allowed us to carry a back up weapon. Many of us could never understand why. Guns are tools. Tools can fail. If my firearm failed in the middle of a gun fight, what can I do, surrender? Show pictures of my family and hope the bad guy won’t kill me? It took a near death of a fellow officer for my department to concede to its members demand for a back-up weapon. Their old argument that all of us carry the same Glock and can use each others magazines in case of an ammo replenishment or bad weapon failure didn’t sit well with most members. So administration told us to choose a back-up gun.
We could have any caliber Back-Up Gun (BUG) we liked as long as it was a .380—and it was on the approved list. As a group, we were upset that the administration treated us like teenage girls asking for the car on a Friday night, tossing us the keys to Mom’s economy car. But we weren’t complaining. We’d moved mountains and watched a brother officer’s near death experience to get an approved BUG.
I chose the Ruger LCP .380. If I shared the list of .380s approved by my police department the discussion of each weapon’s pros and cons here on TTAG would be hotter than my Glock barrel after an extended training session. Brand fans of other .380’s can debate me on that decision below or argue amongst yourselves. As far as I’m concerned the Ruger LCP is perfect.
Ruger sub sub-compact ticks all the right boxes. The BUG is lighter than a Police Academy movie (9.4oz). It’s compact (5.15” long X .82″ wide). It’s a little bigger than a smart phone, and a whole lot smarter when you need it.
I also carry the Ruger LCP off duty. As fanny packs went out of fashion about the same time as big hair (at least outside of Long Island), and With two small kids, I don’t feel comfortable keeping a larger gun close to my hip (police retention paranoia), I’ve always wanted a self-defense gun I could put in my jean pocket or khaki shorts.
The rigid Ruger slips into my pliable yet sturdy De Santis holster like . . . Anyway, once holstered, the system fits perfectly into my 5.11 work pants.
I have no problem shooting this gun. With its 6+1 capacity, I found it easier to qualify with the Ruger than my Glock 22 and Glock 27. We qualify shooting 48 rounds from various yards. I went 48 for 48. The only problem: with the heavy trigger pull, I limp-wristed the gun. Once. After sending some 100 rounds downrange.
In the end, my administration buckled under the pressure. They saw the light (muzzle flash not God). Gratefully, I chose the Ruger LCP .380 as my back-up gun and off-duty carry piece for its size, accuracy and reliability. Although the LCP’s unproven in combat, the Ruger’s range performance gives me confidence that I now have a life-saving option should the worst come to pass. Which, believe me, it does.
[Chris Fusaro's a supervisor for road patrol and an adjunct instructor at the police academy. Please click here to follow Chris' Tweets.]