As discussed in my Summer EDC post, ever since the thermometer got above 90 degrees here in Houston, I’ve been carrying my Smith & Wesson Shield 9. Some referred to this as “gunning down” for the summer. Perhaps they are right, but a small gun is pretty much a necessity for me in this heat, when I start dressing like
Mr. Colion Noir Richard Simmons.
Well, while shooting my Smith & Wesson Shield at the range last Sunday, I had a failure, which you can read about here if you’re interested. The short version is that on the second round of the first mag, the Shield failed to go into battery, and the slide was completely locked up. Since the Shield is my primary gun for the summer, it certainly made me stop and think. What if this had happened when I really needed my gun? After only one shot, my one and only gun was now a rather expensive club.
First lesson learned: Any gun can fail, even if the gun has always been flawless. I already knew this of course, but now I really know. If that makes sense.
For the first time in my life I’m seriously considering the idea of a backup gun. I know many of you already carry a backup gun and I’m behind the curve on this, but before last weekend I didn’t think I needed one. To me, the idea of a backup gun in the context of handguns was that they were used to back up a lost primary weapon, and most likely an openly carried primary handgun (law enforcement for example). Since I didn’t plan on losing my gun, I figured, perhaps a bit arrogantly in hindsight, that I didn’t need a backup gun.
Failure to feed, failure to eject, etc, I’ve trained for. Magazine failure? I carry a spare. But I never considered the scenario where my gun becomes inoperable altogether. Perhaps the reliability of my guns has made me lazy.
Needless to say, I’ve changed my mind about backup guns, and I’m currently shopping for one (suggestions welcome). They aren’t just for people who carry openly, and they aren’t only for a lost gun scenario. I’m just glad I didn’t have to learn that lesson the hard way.
Second lesson learned: Backup guns are a good idea. Buy one ASAP.