Sunday, September 7, 2014

BUG or Primary?

The acronym BUG, when referring to firearms is supposed to mean Back-Up Gun. As in, a gun one uses as a secondary/last resort when one's primary weapon is either lost or non-functional. A BUG, by convention, usually is smaller, lighter, more easily concealed, has a smaller round capacity and is often a "lesser" caliber than the primary defense gun. Thus, a BUG is considered somewhat "inferior" in the self-defense department, and until the recent creation of the BUG category, was not given much consideration in the divisions for IDPA ( International Defensive Pistol Association) - LINK.

As readers of this blog know, I've been shooting 9mm pistols in IDPA and USPSA for about 5 years now, but recently bought myself a Glock 42 .380 cal pistol, because I liked shooting it so much at the SHOT show. 

I've shot the G42 at a couple of club BUG matches so far, and I really like it. BUG matches have round counts limited to 5 round strings, with no holster draws, and magazine changes off the clock. BUG matches are kind of like "IDPA-lite" for smaller guns. I really liked the different experience,  and in a moment of insanity, I signed up for IDPA BUG Nationals this November.

Given that I need more practice with this gun if I'm going to not look like a fool in November, and given that this gun is now my "primary" carry gun, when I do carry, it made sense to try to push myself with it a little. Thus, it was suggested to me to try shooting a regular IDPA match with the G42, so I could have it challenge me a little.

That match was yesterday, and boy, was it interesting and fun! I think my brain still hurts from all the thinking I had to do! LOL

Shooting a BUG in a regular match involved some extra considerations. First of all --was I even allowed to do it by the club, and the answer was yes. (And I wasn't the only one doing it at this match) Second, was the question of did I have the equipment for that gun that was required for a regular match? I already had an OWB holster for my G42, that I got earlier in the summer from, so that was taken care of. (And by the way, I got several positive comments on its pink zebra-striped snazziness at the match - from men even) I had four magazines that held 6 rounds each, so unless I did a lot of missing, I thought I should be okay there, too. (For IDPA at least, where round counts per stage max at 18. USPSA would be a different story.) But what I hadn't really thought of until the last minute was magazine pouches - I didn't have any pouches that would fit these tiny little mags. I ended up just sticking them in my left bottom vest pocket for yesterday's match, but I may consider either creating fabric pockets for them on the vest, or sewing elastic loops to hold them upright in the pocket, or else modifying some existing magazine pouches. I suppose I could always just buy more actual pouches to fit, but where's the fun in that? :-D

    ( Zebra stripes and root beer, both brighten up a match)

I mentioned the thinking that I had to do. Oh, boy, was there a lot of thinking. In addition to the usual remembering the course of fire, I had to mentally change gears from doing round counts of my usual tens, to round counts of only six. On one stage, this meant that I had to plan for a tactical reload with retention that I almost never do, because otherwise, my seventh shot (from start of six in the magazine and one in the chamber) would have been on a steel popper/activator, leaving me to change magazines while the mover was moving and then disappearing before I could get a shot off.

Another other brain-strain with having six round magazines, was remembering to "top-off" when loading and making ready. Normally, I shoot SSP/Production, which is ten rounds, plus one in the chamber. Since I have 15 and 17 round magazines, I just put 11 rounds in my ready mag, and I'm good to go. Yesterday, I had to load the magazine, chamber a round, eject the magazine, replace it with a full magazine, and top off the short magazine with a loose round, in order to "load and make ready". Single stack shooters do this all the time, but for me this was a whole new world LOL!

Adding even more mental gymnastics to the day, was the fact that we were running a concurrent REAL BUG match along with the regular match. The way this BUG match went, was that once the shooters on a squad were done with a stage in the conventional way, then the BUG shooters on the squad ran the stage with modifications to the COF such that there were 5 shot strings and mag changes off the clock. 

"So ..... you mean that I just shot this stage in mental double-tap multiples of six, but now I have to switch gears and shoot the same stage, with the same gun, in single shot multiples of five????  Oh boy -- I need to stop ingesting so much lead, because I really needed those last couple brain cells I lost at lunchtime!!"

Despite the fact that my mental faculties were limping by the end of the day, I had SO. MUCH. FUN.  This was a great experience. I had a fun bunch of squadmates, and an SO who was in the same boat as I was - shooting a BUG for the whole match. Aside from taking a ten minute break to keep from being electrocuted in a thunderstorm which mostly blew on past, the weather cooperated, and there was a good turn-out for the match besides.

My take home lesson from this experience was that despite being an "inferior" caliber,  my G42 can handle being a primary weapon. (I certainly couldn't have said that about my LCP) My times weren't great, because I was doing unfamiliar routines, but my accuracy was acceptable to me (still always needs work), and I didn't even really have problems knocking down steel with the .380 as I had feared. One popper, on one stage out of seven, needed to be hit more than once, but the others fell down with one shot. (they may have thought about it for a second or so, but they fell nonetheless - LOL) It gave me more confidence with this gun as a carry piece, and it also gave me a lot more match experience with this platform. Now I just need to buy more .380 ammo! I've got a couple thousand 9mm rounds on hand, but .380 - not so much. I can feel my credit card warming up in my pocket as we speak!

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