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Are back up guns truly needed?


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Its really quite simple.  You don't need a backup gun until you need a backup gun.

 

A couple weeks ago I was visiting my daughters family 300 miles away and planned to shoot with the local club while there.  Had just made a couple changes to my PCC and had shot it in a steel match at home with no problems.  First stage of the match it stopped working after 10 rounds fired.  Couldn't get it running.  My Son-in-law  was shooting my gun also.  I had my carry gun with me and we shot that in CO, otherwise we would have been out of luck.  Not a true back up gun but same idea.  s#!t happens, be prepared. 

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I have 3 Identical MPX's.  I switched to a backup once in my PCC career as I used my practice one at a match and was filthy... I also have all the spare parts of anything that could break.  I've never had to do gun surgery at the range either

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I shoot Glocks, so I have a primary, and 3 backup guns. They all started out as primary guns, and then at some point I bought a new Glock and it baca me the primary, and so on and so on. I also used to bring a bunch of spare parts with me to matches in case something goes wrong. Now I just toss one of the backups into a rug with a set of mags and bring that. It’s much easier that way. 

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If you put forth the effort to attend even a single level 2 match, the cost of the second gun quickly becomes negligible at $5/gallon gasoline, food, hotels, and everything else.

 

In almost 20 years of USPSA, I've never had to go to a backup gun -- I did so at a sectional last month.

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I was shooting the very first CO National match when halfway through the match my red dot came flying off my CO gun.  The screws were sheared off.  Thankfully I had an identical backup.  Another match with a different gun I had a fairly new trigger spring break. But again, fortunately I had a backup. And another match where during the match my red dot lost zero. Thankfully I had a backup.  The instances have been rare over the years, but enough that if I'm going to take the time, effort, and expense to go to  a match I definitely want a backup.

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You won't need it until you do. 

 

I've had a dot die on the first stage and switch. I've been to club matches with out my back up and struggle through a match full of malfunctions too. I think you can get by with out one and just have spare parts. But fixing a gun at the safe table is harder and there is a chance you don't fix the issue and have more problems on the next stage. Having another working gun is much easier and less stressful. 

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Shooting Nationals and having your rear sight break off on the first stage makes you real happy you borrowed a backup. 

I'll never travel to a match without a backup gun. 3 gun can be a real pain unless you have a buddy with a similar setup but even then, it's still worth it! 

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Back up guns are like the spare tire on your car, you don’t need it until you do

my back up gun is my old one, it may not be identical to my primary gun but it’s close

and it will allow me to salvage what’s left of the match

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think there are a lot of variables with this and many people just need to be honest with what their competition schedule looks like. For most people having extra parts instead of an extra gun will suffice. I know for me, playing in the production and CO game spare parts were all that was needed. The likely hood of me blowing a gun up were extremely low. So worst case I need some springs, maybe a striker, loctite, something along those lines. I had an extra gun, I only brought it with me to a couple majors. I really knew in the back of my mind, chances are I would just swap parts on my primary if I ran into issues. 

 

For others shooting in open/SS/limted where swapping out parts on custom guns is easier said than done, that changes things. 

 

If disposable income isnt a concern, buy another gun. But truthfully, for most of us that cash would be better spent on some spare parts and ammo. 

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On 7/29/2022 at 8:52 AM, Darqusoull13 said:

Shooting Nationals and having your rear sight break off on the first stage makes you real happy you borrowed a backup. 

it's funny that stuff seems to happen way more often at big matches. Of all the catastrophic gun problems I've had, I think every one of them was at a major match (sight hinge breaking, ejector breaking, double-charge blowing up gun, and mag release breaking. Weirder yet, 3 of the 4 problems happened in Oregon. That place sucks.

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21 hours ago, rootacres said:

If disposable income isnt a concern, buy another gun. But truthfully, for most of us that cash would be better spent on some spare parts and ammo. 

you are doing it wrong. The whole point is to acquire more guns. lolz.

 

I do agree with you tho. FWIW, I don't have a backup gun for CO, but my wife is also shooting the division (with a different gun). If either of us has a failure at a big match, step 1 is to see if we can scrounge a spare part from someone else. Step 2 is to just switch to the spouse's gun for the remainder of the match and suck it up.

 

However, in order to reduce the likelihood of murphy paying us a visit, we have barely used major-match-only slide-stops for both guns (shadow2 and legion) that we will put in before nationals, and I will also replace the TRS on the shadow before the match.

Edited by motosapiens
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1 hour ago, motosapiens said:

you are doing it wrong. The whole point is to acquire more guns. lolz.

 

I do agree with you tho. FWIW, I don't have a backup gun for CO, but my wife is also shooting the division (with a different gun). If either of us has a failure at a big match, step 1 is to see if we can scrounge a spare part from someone else. Step 2 is to just switch to the spouse's gun for the remainder of the match and suck it up.

 

However, in order to reduce the likelihood of murphy paying us a visit, we have barely used major-match-only slide-stops for both guns (shadow2 and legion) that we will put in before nationals, and I will also replace the TRS on the shadow before the match.

I wish my wife and your wife were friends.  My shooting life would improve a lot.

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I've had and not had matching and unmatching back up guns. Either way I think it's a good idea. I've shoot probably 6-8 majors for tue last 4 years and locals most weekends from March to November for 5 years. I don't think I've had to switch to my back up gun at any of them. I have had to use the back up while the main one was in the shop a couple times though. 

Edited by Bakerjd
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  • 4 weeks later...

It is all about risk management, these guns are ran hard.  A backup serves a purpose to replace the primary...either at a match for multiple type of reasons/failures or during required maintenance / preventive service expected and unexpected.  The last being the hardest to predict. 

 

Depending on the division you are shooting and the commitment, this could be a very expensive sport not only in equipment but travel to matches.  A backup gives a sense of assurance, for some a third gun adds to the assurance of always having a backup. 

 

As you have stated, it seems you are willing to accept such a risk, while others are not. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Easy way to get backup guns is when your first one starts to get worn out, get another one and keep the first for a backup.

 

If your first gun isn't getting worn out, you probably don't shoot enough to need a backup.  😀

 

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  • 1 month later...

+1 on a backup.  I was at a major 2 hrs away but had a case separation that I couldn’t get out on my PCC.  Luckily it was on my 2nd to last stage, but I did DNF my last stage.  Now I always have a backup.  My PCCs and COs are identical…. my Opens are “close enough” lol

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I’ve been bringing a back up open gun to all my matches for the last 12 years at least. I only needed to break it out once after my red dot windage shifted. The most recent use of my back up gun was last weekend at the Area 2 match when my shooting partners gun started having major issues on the first day. The next two days I let him use my backup gun to salvage the rest of his match. Travel costs were in excess of $2K and having a working backup gun was a good move. 

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I'm going to circle back on this one. Went to the monthly indoor match and had just checked zero on my dot a day or two before hand. Everything was good. No issues at the practice session. Get to the match and all my gits were about 2inches to the right. My first thought was mayne I grabbed the wrong ammo. I have 3 different bullets loaded with the same everything else bevaise I wanted to use up the stuff I had laying around. Finished the match rather poorly I may add and didn't see anything off with the dot itself. Went to practice the next weekend and checked zero. Sure enough 2 inch off to right. Reset zero. Continued on with practice and didn't have any issues till I was about to pack up. Shot a string and the dot just vanished. Started looking for it on the glass and to see it I had to almost point the gun at the sky. Looked closer at the glass itself and found what looked like a bubble around the right and lower edge. Pushed on the glass and it popped out. So now I'm saving up for a second A01LD. I'll now always have a back up ready to go. 

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5 hours ago, Bakerjd said:

I'm going to circle back on this one. Went to the monthly indoor match and had just checked zero on my dot a day or two before hand. Everything was good. No issues at the practice session. Get to the match and all my gits were about 2inches to the right. My first thought was mayne I grabbed the wrong ammo. I have 3 different bullets loaded with the same everything else bevaise I wanted to use up the stuff I had laying around. Finished the match rather poorly I may add and didn't see anything off with the dot itself. Went to practice the next weekend and checked zero. Sure enough 2 inch off to right. Reset zero. Continued on with practice and didn't have any issues till I was about to pack up. Shot a string and the dot just vanished. Started looking for it on the glass and to see it I had to almost point the gun at the sky. Looked closer at the glass itself and found what looked like a bubble around the right and lower edge. Pushed on the glass and it popped out. So now I'm saving up for a second A01LD. I'll now always have a back up ready to go. 

 

Which brand of optic was that?

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I’m glad I had a back up gun yesterday. First stage was a dumpster fire. My primary gun had some feeding issues… ( thought it was the extractor) but looks like I have been riding the slide with my support thumb. Switched to my back up gun and finish the match. Tested my primary gun after the match. No problems at

all. 

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