My Backup

I’ve been trying to figure out what gun I want to carry as a backup. I first considered getting another Ruger LCP, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted a wheelgun in .38 Spl.

Part of the reason was that .38 Spl. is a better stopping round than the .380 ACP, especially when loaded with Hornady Critical Defense, but the main reason was that I haven’t ever owned a .38. In fact,my only revolver is a Vaquero in .45 Colt, which happened to be my first handgun.

The next step was determining which five-shot .38 best would serve my purpose, as there are numerous gunmakers producing .38s. I knew I wanted to be able to use +P ammunition, I knew I wanted a metal gun and I knew I wanted one from a major manufacturer. This reduced my choices a little, but not much. In the end, I went with a Smith & Wesson Airweight with a matte silver finish.

S&W’s designation for this little gun is the 637, and it comes with a synthetic rubber grip and fixed sights, while weighing a mere 15 ounces. It also comes with a hammer, which not every shooter wants on a carry gun. Now I know that I will probably never use the gun in single-action mode in either a situation or training. However, it’s the "probably" that made me go with the hammer version of this gun. If I ever come across a situation where the hammer would be useful, then I want it.

I have already attached a LaserLyte CK-SWAT laser, sighted it in for 15 yards and run the gun through some of its paces. So far accuracy has been excellent, but I haven’t stepped back from self-defense ranges with it yet. As far as carrying it, I’m bouncing between a Galco ankle holster, when carried as a backup, and a Tuff Products Pocket-Roo for quick errands. However, I recently trusted it as my primary for a trip to the hardware store because I have already determined it to be reliable and accurate enough to trust with my life. I mean hey, it’s a Smith.

Do you carry a backup? And if so, what do you carry?

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11 Responses to My Backup

K forrester wrote:
August 27, 2012

My back up? An a.d.c derringer 45 LC stoked with .410 00 buckshot.

Andy H. wrote:
August 27, 2012

A DAO no hammer or shrouded hammer can be very inaccurate as the trigger pulls on these DAO revolvers are much than a SA pull. A hammer allows SA firing which can improve accuracy especially if distance is a factor. A hammer may catch on clothing but having one gives an extra option.

Doug B. wrote:
July 19, 2012

I am a relatively new gun enthusiast, and one part of the post above caught my eye. That being the part where you said "If I ever come across a situation where the hammer would be useful, then I want it. " Can you give me an example of such a possible situation?

Walkin trails wrote:
July 07, 2012

Over the years, my BUGs have included a Benetta 21A in 22, S&W 36, 37, 60, 640, and 940, and a Walther PPKs. For the past 13, years it has been a G27 in a Glaco Ankle Glove or a FIST Ultra thin kydex IWB. I've been thinking of going back to a 640 because it weighs a little less than the baby Glock and lends its self better to pocket carry. When I retire in the next few years, the combo will likely be a S&W Shield in 9MM and a Powerport 637 or 642. Or perhaps I'll go grab me a new Beretta 21A in stainless.

Dale wrote:
July 05, 2012

I carried a Charter Arms Off Duty model 2" .38spl in an ankle holster for 11 1/2 years. Its was loaded with Super Vel 110JHP or Glaser safety Slugs most of those years. Currently have an 342PD 135 GDHP+P or 640(357 Golden Saber) carried in belt holsters.

Rob B. wrote:
July 04, 2012

As a back up I went economical. I carry a Rossi six round snub nose .357 magnum with .38 Special +P hollow points in a Galco ankle holster. I like having 6 rounds over 5 and the pistol is reasonably accurate. Along with this as an EP agent I carry a Glock 23.

Rick W wrote:
July 02, 2012

Taurus Slim 740/Galco Pocket Holster. Lightweight, easily concealable and accessible with reliable stopping power. All at an affordable price.

Don C. wrote:
June 29, 2012

First off hello Paul! Oh what has it been 20+ years since we have seen each other. Anyway on to business. I always will carry a backup in the form of a S&W 340PD w/lasar. When I can't carry a full size weapon (which is most of time) I carry the S&W 340 PD either in a Galco ankle holster or an Ahern pocket holster. 7/10 times it is the Ahern pocket holster. So basically I never leave my house without the S&W 340 PD.

Beachsidebiker wrote:
June 29, 2012

I too own a Smith Airweight, but almost always can be found with my Keltec 380 in my pocket. It's so small & lite that it's not even noticeable.

Robert Eckols wrote:
June 28, 2012

My backup is a 38 Smith&Wesson air weight 638-3 it is light and fits easy in the pocket

CplDiesel wrote:
June 28, 2012

For the most part, I only carry my Ruger SR9 as I have found it reliable however when I do carry a backup gun I carry a S&W 442 with +P ammo.