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Are back up guns truly needed?


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I am no super level GM shooter, however I enjoy shooting multiple sports, USPSA, IDPA, 2 guns, etc.  Locally, many guys that I know who are "NOT" pro shooters always talk about having a second back up.  Personally, I don't see the need for one but I see the point of having one "maybe."  I've never encountered an issue with one of my handguns where I needed to go to my second gun.  

 

If you properly maintained your pistols and your equipment you shouldn't have any issues....  Thoughts??? 

 

Economically, Open Guns are expensive. Two open guns is simply an overkill in my opinion~  

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It depends what you do and what your goals are.

Do you spend a lot of money traveling to major matches?

Say something does go wrong. Are you ok spending all that money. Getting to a major and having your gun malfunction on the first stage. Then spending the rest of the match with the gun malfunctioning on every stage. Maybe multiple times? 

i properly maintain my guns. It’s rare that I need to use my backup gun. But if my primary malfunctions once. I would switch to my backup. This goes for any piece of gear. Magazine. Etc.

 

I have taken my backup to probably 30-40 matches and just recently had to use it. Primary malfunctioned on the first stage. I didn’t think anything of it. Had to rack a round. it happened again on stage 3. At this point I had dug myself a pretty deep hole. Switched to my backup, which ran great the rest of my match. Was almost able to claw my way back.

so it’s not always true that having to switch to your backup means your match is over either.

 

if you don’t travel to majors, then you probably don’t need to have a backup.
 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Explosiveo said:

It depends what you do and what your goals are.

Do you spend a lot of money traveling to major matches?

Say something does go wrong. Are you ok spending all that money. Getting to a major and having your gun malfunction on the first stage. Then spending the rest of the match with the gun malfunctioning on every stage. Maybe multiple times? 

i properly maintain my guns. It’s rare that I need to use my backup gun. But if my primary malfunctions once. I would switch to my backup. This goes for any piece of gear. Magazine. Etc.

 

I have taken my backup to probably 30-40 matches and just recently had to use it. Primary malfunctioned on the first stage. I didn’t think anything of it. Had to rack a round. it happened again on stage 3. At this point I had dug myself a pretty deep hole. Switched to my backup, which ran great the rest of my match. Was almost able to claw my way back.

so it’s not always true that having to switch to your backup means your match is over either.

 

if you don’t travel to majors, then you probably don’t need to have a backup.
 

 

 

I see the point and yes I do travel to major matches and luckily I haven't encountered any serious issues... but in all honesty, if I traveled long distance, spent the money etc and everything goes to hell then I'll be upset, but its onlly money and fortunately we don't take it with when we leave this earth~ 

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I've switched from a broken primary  to the back up at a match 3 times in 400 matches. 

 

What I have done is many many times moved the back up gun to the main gun when something when sideways during the week and I couldn't fix it in time for the weekend.

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If you have a back up gun, you'll never need it

 

If you don't have a back up gun, you'll need one.

 

I only travel to a hand full of out of state matches a year. I've never needed to go to my back up.

 

I had a fried who just got into open. He only had his first gun and the glass fell out of his dot.

 

He used my back up for the rest of the match.

 

 

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I take some form of backup on the rare times I shoot a major. I may have to get bumped to open to shoot my backup gun, but since I'm not going to win anything anyway it doesn't matter I just would like to be able to finish the match. So if I was an open shooter I wouldn't necessarily buy another matching open gun to take to a match, I would simply take the limited gun or carryops gun I already have just so I can shoot the rest of the stages.

 

A lot of times at locals I can just switch to my carry gun for a backup if needed. In about 20 years of shooting and I don't know how many matches, I've only had one gun break at a match and it was a trigger spring and I was able to get it running for the next stage.

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1 hour ago, CClassForLife said:

My very first Nationals, the SRO on my main gun broke on the first stage. Never had to use a backup gun till then.

 

Aint that the truth! s#!t always breaks the day you need it the most and its baffling when it worked for weeks prior to it. 

 

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1 hour ago, Sinister4 said:

small match ah maybe I take one, big match far travel for sure a backup.  However in out group someone always has a spare gun to borrow if need be

 

 

The good thing about having an open gun is that most shooters have a backup and if you're in a squad that you have friends or associates theres always someone who will gladly borrow theres

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Another point is that if you have to send it out for repair it could take a while (especially these days). It would leave you without a blaster.  When I can afford to get a backup open gun, I plan to buy one.   

 

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You don't until you do. For me it depends on the match, if I have a multi hour drive, hotel or more than $100 pre paid, I have a second gun with me. Although my trick is to break the one part I don't have a replacement of the day before the match.

 

Having a match gun and a identical training gun, in addition to a pins and springs bag(plus required tools)is ideal and will save a ton of headaches.

 

If you are on a budget, you can kinda get away with just a small parts bag, however some repairs can really suck trying to do at a safe table.

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When was shooting production with a built SP01, I had enough spare parts to rebuild most of it so I could fix things that were not the frame, barrel or slide itself. Then I got a new production gun that shared some parts but not all (SP01 and S2). When I converted the S2 to CO I didn't have a backup CO gun so I used my P10F for that. Its not the same grip, weight, recoil, etc but its another CO gun that I can swap one for the other at a major. It just means that I have to also carry a spare belt setup (or just the holster/drop if I wanted to deal with that change over)

My reasoning is that I spent time and money getting to the major and even though I can't take the money with me, I don't want to feel like I wasted my time. 

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I had to use my backup one time at a LIII match.  When I built my new Open gun, I didn't build a backup.  I had built a 1911 Open gun almost identical to the 2011 for SCSA.  I brought that to matches as a backup.

 

After a complete disassembly of my 2011 I found the tab the trigger guard screw goes through had broken.  The mfg. had placed it .008" out of position, so I had to drill it out to make it work.  The gun went back to the mfg. for warranty replacement.  I used the 1911 Open for the next match.  It worked, but I ordered parts for a real backup the next day.

 

I have had to use the backup twice since then.  At one match the Dawson toolless guide rod broke and jammed in the open position.  The next day I replaced all the Dawson's with conventional one-piece rods.  Two matches later the Dawson recoil spring plug separated and rendered the gun useless.  I ordered replacements the next day.  So the backup came in handy.  Quick trips to the MD/RM to ask permission and I was back in business.

 

Not germane to this post, but I'll throw it in anyway.  Having learned the hard way, I only use parts from Cheely, Brazos and EGW now.

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At a club match I usually don't bring a backup every time, sometimes I suffer but I don't worry to much about it. For major matches I bring a backup, I have only needed it once but it was awesome to have it when I did. My backup is not Identical to my main gun, would it be better if it was? sure, a little, but its not and it still works and can save a match. 

 

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I worked Staff at this year’s Area match, so when two friend’s guns went down during the main match I was able to loan them my gun.   Fortunately for them, one gun went down on the first day and he figured out his problem that night, then the second friend’s gun went T-U on the next day.  So owning a backup may not be 100% needed as long as you have friends who shoot the same division.  

 

I’ve had to switch to my backup twice at majors.  Both times was when I was shooting a 1911.  

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I've had to switch to my backup at majors 4 times, Once due to a double-charge, and 3 times due to odd parts failures (rear sight on a Trojan, EGW mag catch and EGW ejector on separate occasions in my Atlas).

 

For me, it's not really worth buying a second duplicate gun, but it is worth holding onto my old gun when I upgrade, and also worth being nice to other people like 2MoreChains above. Some day that karma will come around. Most shooters are decent and helpful folks. I've even seen some fancy big-name sponsored shooters dig into their gearbag for backup parts to help a squadmate out.

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I've had to use my backup 1911 twice. Rear adjustable sights falling apart. The second time was the last shooting position on day 1 leaning out around stacked barrels for one last target. When I went to bag my gun at the safe table I noticed the main part of the sight was gone. Didn't notice it on the stage. Found parts in the gravel at that last target. Switched to backup the next day.

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If you are shooting Open, then it's not a matter of "IF" you will need a backup gun. Its a matter of "WHEN". Major Power Factor Open guns have a hard life and stuff WILL fail. That is what happens when you try to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of something. The real value in having a viable backup gun isn't so much about using it on match day. It's value is realized when your Primary gun fails and it takes weeks or months to get fixed. During that down time you could be sitting at home twiddling your thumbs waiting for it to come back. Or you can continue shooting with your backup.

 

Over the years I have only needed to switch to my backup during a match a few times. Like maybe 5 times since 2008. But I can't even count how many times I had a funky gun issue or failure in practice that forced me switch to my backup gun BEFORE going to a match. Even if I could repair the issue on my primary gun before the match, if I didn't have time to shoot at least a couple thousand rounds through it to prove that it was actually fixed, I still wouldn't gamble using it in a match.

 

I used to have a Practice / Local match gun, then another that I only used in Major matches. This worked great for ultimate reliability and confidence in knowing that I was using a "Fresh" blaster at majors. But after deploying that strategy for a couple of seasons I found that the Practice / Local match gun would end up wearing in and "Feeling" different when I shot it verses the "Fresh" blaster. Now I don't purposefully assign any blaster to "Primary" or "Backup" status. I do my best to wear them in evenly by regularly cycling through them. So its more of a Functioning gun vs Non-Functioning gun designation.

 

Either way, there is NO WAY I would be able to participate in the Practical Shooting sports WITHOUT at least 2 "Functioning" guns that are identical to one another. This obviously applies to the Primary Division I compete in which is Limited. That being said, I currently have 3 Limited guns that I regularly rotate through and there is always the NEXT one in the works to keep the stable "Fresh".

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I've been shooting since the end of 2018 in IPSC Open Division, and have 3 open guns, of which 2 are identical (1 I only use for matches, the other one is my primary training gun & also the back up for my primary match gun, and another open gun for training only, which I use to rotate with the other training gun), shot hundreds of matches, and did have to switch to my identical back up gun 4 times due to serious issues (hammer drop, broken frame link, cracked slide, loose ejector).   

 

I agree with alot that other competitors have stated above: 

 

1) It really all depends on your personal/financial situation, your passion/dedication and your specific shooting/competiion objectives

2) As Charli stated, especially in Open - Major - Division, but also in Standard - Major - Division, for example, the guns will fail for sure. Having a back up garantees you can quickly restart and you still have a gun to train or use in future matches, because you'll indeed need time to figure out what's wrong and have the broken gun repaired by yourself or a gunsmith, hoping all required parts are easily available.

3) Fellow competitors I know, whom do not want to invest in an identical back up gun, try to solve most common issues with a bunch of spare parts (springs, sping leaf, sights, fiber optics, trigger, recoil spring, etc.) they always bring with them, which did help them out already. But if your slide cracks, the gun is out of order ... Also, witnessed myself:

trying to repair your gun during a - major - match is a pain in the b*tt and seriously increases stress and messes up your mental game. 

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+1 to having a second gun, and +10 to typically needing it NOT because something breaks in the middle of a match, but because something broke during training with no time to replace/repair before a match. 

 

I've done this regardless of what division I'm currently shooting in. 

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I will add one other thought,

I think the best setup is to have a backup gun as well as magazines to go with it, remembering that a large percentage of malfunctions are magazine related, that way if anything goes awry during a stage you can swap out both the gun and magazines. This way if you have a malfunction on a stage you don't have try to diagnose if it was a gun or mag problem, just swap out everything and get your head back in the game for the next stage.

 

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