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Backup Gun for Competition - Major Matches

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When should someone consider having a backup gun for major matches? Is this something that should be thought of in the beginning when making a purchase so that you budget for two of the same type instead of just one? Is having two necessary or can spare parts cover it? 

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depends on how good a part fitter you are. If you can fit and install all your small parts and springs, I wouldnt worry about a back up gun.
Ive always just carried tools and some prefit parts.

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My oopsie experience.

 

Major match, broken barrel link.

 

Local matches, broken front sight, broken trigger return spring, broken slide stop.

 

Practice, rear sight came apart & leaf went who knows where, elevation screw popped out (different guns).

 

Some things quick fixed, other things required parts not on hand or gun returned to manufacturer. 

 

Other stuff I've forgotten, probably.

 

A back up is a nice luxury, I would not call it essential but I have seen folks leave or switch guns out of necessity at major matches. 

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I'd say yes at a Major.  Too much time and money invested in prep/travel/etc. not to have a back up. Spare parts can cover it as long as you only need a spare part.  I've seen shooters have major malfunctions that would not have been "fixed" that day or weekend and needed their back up gun (or someone else's) to finish.

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I wouldnt look at my budget and buy a POS tthat I can get 2 of.  Buy a decent gun to begin with reduces chances of having problems.

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Thinking about it, if I couldn't feel good dropping the cash for a decent back up gun I wouldn't be going to major matches. When you add up time + vehicle expenses + match fee + food + lodging,  it is just not a fiscally sound activity. 

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Depends on the gun you are considering. If you are talking Glocks you can set up two tweaked 34’s for less than some of us 2011 shooters have in mags. But a 2011 is harder for some to afford a full backup. 

  I also think it depends on your ability to finish high on the leader board. If you are a better shooter who could win or place very high then you should probably have an identical backup. If you are in it more for fun and can’t afford another $5000 Open gun then any gun can be used as a backup so you can at least finish the match. When I got my first Open gun I just brought my XDM along as a last resort. It took me a few years to get a true backup. Of course you have to bring extra rig and ammo which sucks but at least you can finish the match you have so much money tied up in.

Edited by Sarge

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In the past 40 major matches over 3 years I could have used a backup gun once. At one time I did have two identical guns, at first two G34's. Then two SP01 Shadows, especially good as I was shooting both sports with them.

 

Where has a second gun more helped me? When something broke prior to a match and I had to wait for a part I could install or taking it to a gunsmith and waiting on them if it was beyond my ability at the time. Not so much in a match, but in the run up to one. Then I could still continue to practice and dry fire.

 

How stock/tuned are your guns? How much work could you do to one in an evening? How many spare parts do you keep on hand?

 

If possible, get something that works in the same holster and takes the same mags. Like right now my $4k Atlas limited gun is backed up buy a $1,200 STI Eagle. They fit in the same holster, take the same mag and ammo. Are they exact copies of each other, of course not! But it something without having to spend as much without a lot of extra stuff needed to make it happen.

Edited by rowdyb

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I've never broken one of my guns, knock on wood, but did just end up getting a backup. The main reason was I realized that it's hard to afford not to have one. With the amount of time/money spent on ammo, practice, and matches, I really don't want to ever be in a situation where I don't have one. I posted a similar topic a few weeks ago and after reading what others were saying, that's the conclusion I came up with, for whatever it's worth. 

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The way I look at it is this. Do you want to carry a bunch of spare parts, or a backup gun. Now as someone who has had a gun go down during a major match, I would rather carry a backup gun that I can just swap out, and do repairs after the day or during off times. I have a backup gun but thats only cause I bought a new open gun and use my old one as the backup. 

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Thank you very much for all of this feedback. Definitely a lot of great points I had not considered. Some of the sticking points to consider was definitely holster fit. I have not had any major malfunctions that spare parts could not fix so far, but I don't keep extra sights. We had a guy go home because of his rear sight a couple of months ago and now it makes sense. Local match not a big deal, but major matches is too much of a financial commitment not to consider. 

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I personally am a big fan of having *some* kind of backup gun that is legal for the division, but I give very few f*cks if it is just like my primary. If I have to go to the backup, I've probably already had a disaster anyway (rear sight falling off, double-charge blowing up gun, etc....), so it's more about finishing the match, continuing to learn and enjoying myself rather than trying to 'win'. I just don't want to be 12 hours from home, 2 stages into a match, with nothing to shoot. It would hurt my feelings.

 

Of course if you have friends shooting the same division, you may be able to borrow a gun. My wife and I are both shooting STI Edges, so we are essentially acting as each other's backup. If both guns somehow go down (hard to imagine, as reliable as they have been), we'll just scrounge, since pretty much everyone has a gun that feels roughly similar, and most folks are happy to loan out a gun for emergencies like that. I have seen *lots* of people have gun problems and someone else offers up a solution; their own backup, or gun-sharing, or something.

 

If shooting production or SS, another option is to just use your carry gun as a backup, assuming it is somewhat similar. remember to bring mags and holster if they are different from the primary.

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40 minutes ago, motosapiens said:

 

If shooting production or SS, another option is to just use your carry gun as a backup, assuming it is somewhat similar. remember to bring mags and holster if they are different from the primary.

That has been my solution so far. G34 in Production, and my G19 carry piece for backup. Uses the same mags and holster, which makes it even easier. Honestly part of the reason I've stuck with a Glock. I can even rob parts from the G19 if I wanted to get the G34 back up and running instead of going to the backup.

 

That said, I'm still accumulating a spare parts kit because why not. 

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Not much more I can add. GREAT info/advice listed before this. If cash flow allows I will get a back up and if not go with parts. 

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On 11/28/2017 at 5:43 AM, rowdyb said:

...

If possible, get something that works in the same holster and takes the same mags. Like right now my $4k Atlas limited gun is backed up buy a $1,200 STI Eagle. They fit in the same holster, take the same mag and ammo. Are they exact copies of each other, of course not! But it something without having to spend as much without a lot of extra stuff needed to make it happen.

 

Exactly, I bought an STI Edge while waiting for my Infinity. Now, the STI Edge is the backup. I have an SVI grip and trigger on the Edge so I do not even have to change inserts for the holster and the feel is very close in regards to the grip and trigger. Both are set at 1.80 lbs.

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Quote

Buy a decent gun to begin with reduces chances of having problems.

My 2 cents:

Unfortunately that's no guarantee nothing will go wrong.

If it's made by man, it can break.

I've had failures with sights that go flying, extractor hooks that break off, magazine catches that don't, springs that go sproing, 'etc.

Having spare parts handy just seems to guarantee that particular part will never actually fail.

A spare gun makes life easier.

And as had been said, it doesn't have to be the exact duplicate of the main gun.

Anything that allows finishing the match will do.

You know how to effectively use all your guns, don't you? :o

 

Edited by g.willikers

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If you can afford 2 or 3 of the best or at least decent guns of same or similar build thats the best option. Having back up is always prefered. Depends on one’s commitment to the sport. 

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Having an identical back up gun for your primary is ideal, but definitely not necessary.  For your primary, buy whatever suits your fancy.  For the backup, you could find a gently used gun or take some shortcuts and have a less expensive backup built.  Or you could start accumulating spares (barrel link, link pin, mag catch, fitted hammer/sear/thumb safety, pin kit, firing pin and FP stop, would be my suggestions).  Example; my primary is a Cameron's 5.5" 2011.  I started accumulating spares for the gun over the years, and eventually used those spare parts in a budget 5" build which cost about 40% less than the primary.  Are the guns identical?  No, but to my chagrin I run my backup 5" better than my pretty, full custom 5.5" lol.  And the 5" is more accurate because of the Bar Sto barrel...

 

A few days before leaving for this last Limited Nationals my barrel link pin broke in the primary (round count at the time about 21,000).  I just so happened to not have a link pin for some reason.  If my friend who lived nearby didn't have one, I would've been screwed and forced to use the backup.  If this happened at the match and I couldn't borrow a part or had a backup gun, I would've been done.  I go to a minimum of two majors a year, so the back up gun is piece of mind.  I also use the backup gun more often in local matches to spread the round count out between the two guns, and only use the primary a few months before a big match.  Uggh, I may end up using the 5" full time because it shoots so well.

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Even if you have a backup gun, if your primary goes for a dirt knap, your match is in the toilet.  At the Gator one year 2 rounds into a 32 round stage I had to quit the stage with a "broken gun", I was on a run to win my class until that disaster struck.  Last stage of the day, fixed it overnight shot well but that one high point stage killed it.  

 

The best is to have a shooting buddy with a similar gun shooting together and back each other up.  Saves both of you a lot of dough, just make sure that your ammo and his ammo work in each others guns, mags, holster, and then there is the trust issue, do you trust his ammo in your gun?  

 

If you do have a backup make sure the same ammo works in both, mags work in both, holster works for both, because you can spend a lot of money on the accessories.

 

I shoot open, limited, production, and single stack, I have backup open guns (3), limited backup(1), and everything else hopefully good luck. Multigun yepper extra rifle, and multiple shotgun backups.

 

In 10 years I needed a backup gun, 2 times, (1) issue turned out to be a metal case, disguised as brass in 9 major, wedged in the chamber, (2) cracked slide.  Both times I didn't bring the backup.  LOL

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Even in live practice I carry my bg. If main practice gun goes south my alloted time in the range wont be wasted. 

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I think if you are going to travel to majors, having two or more guns is a good idea. I have two guns set up exactly the same. I can hardly tell the difference between the two. So, if one goes down, I just grab another and keep pushing. I can deal with the problem later.

 

I used to carry a big tool kit and tons of parts separately to every match. Now I have my backup gun, minimal tools, and just a few common spare parts, like fiber rods, in my range bag. It's a lot less to worry about. 

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I have two SP01 Shadows that I take both to every match. I've only needed the back up 3 times and all were because of the slide stop breaking.

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Tracking round count and coming up with a replacement schedule for cheaper parts (like springs) will save the trouble of a lot of failures at a match in the first place.  If you're not going to swap those parts out on a schedule, having spares is a must.  When I purchased my 2011, I ordered a "care package".  Cost another $500, but there's very little I don't have as spare, much cheaper than a second gun at $3000 plus.  A stage DNF at a big match would be disappointing, not finishing the match would be far worse.  If you're serious about shooting, have the best plan you're budget can afford.

 

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When I was shooting several major matches each season I always brought my backup gun.  Only used it once in a dozen years.

 

Before a big match I like to spend as much time as possible at the range practicing.

 

That's where the backup gun did come in handy.  Several times my primary gun had a major malfunction in that week or two before the big match. It kept me practicing without stressing that needed parts would not get in before I had to hit the road.

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