Prepping for the IDPA BUG Nationals

Heading out tomorrow for the first ever IDPA Back-Up-Gun National Championship, which is sure to be an interesting match. For the longest time, IDPA has honored the BUG Division at local matches and had side matches for BUGs, but never before has there been a sanctioned Back Up Gun Championship.


For the first ever BUG Nationals, held at the S&W Shooting Center in Springfield, MA, IDPA will recognize two divisions, SSR and SSP. All small semi-auto pistols will be in SSP, and all revolvers in SSR. What’s interesting is that as a result of the way the BUG rules are written, there are two types of guns you can shoot in any division – honest BUGs and Gamer BUGs. For example, my buddy Josh Lentz, multi-time SSR Champion is shooting a 686 with a 2 inch barrel. Perfectly legal according to the BUG rules, but definitely a bit of an advantage over people shooting 2 inch j-frames. I want to stress that I’m perfectly fine with that, because the rules are written in such a way as to allow for that sort of thing.

Similarly, in the semi-auto division allows pistols with up to a 3.8 inch barrel; meaning that you could run an XDm 3.8 in the match with a full size grip and be perfectly legal. You’d be competing against guys running micro .380s, and you’d probably beat them all other factors being legal.

For my part, I’m shooting an actual BUG, my carry gun. It’s a Smith & Wesson 640 Pro Series, and it’s one of the best j-frames ever made. I do wish that I hadn’t sold that Model 60 Pro Series I used to own, because that would be about the perfect gun for this match. I am very interested to see what the percentage of “True” BUGs to “guns that meet the BUG rules” is going to be at this match. Personally, I support the gamers. I hope that most people show up with 3 inch, full size revolvers and 3.8 inch semi-autos and that guys like me with j-frames or micro 9mms are the minority and not the majority.

I really like that IDPA has put together a match where people can shoot their actual carry guns. The number of j-frames and pocket .380s and 9mms out there is considerable. What I like even more is that the way the rules are structured…you don’t have to shoot your carry gun at all. I think that seeing who’s shooting small carry guns and who’s shooting gamer guns will be very enlightening on where the culture of IDPA is heading vs. where it has been.


    1. I never said that, what I said was that I both want and support people shooting guns that are perfectly legal according to the rules.

  1. I’d love to shoot this match. My Ruger SP101 2.25 is my daily. The gamers kind of erk me. At my club we do carry pistol matches. Usually there are about 7-8 guys that show up. The last one was the first one that had prizes. 20 people showed up. Several Glock 34 long slides and M&P C.O.R.Es. No wonder rule books get so complicated.

  2. The gamer gun thing is going to happen. People are going to look and say, “what is within the rules?” and go with the most controllable, easy to shoot handgun they can. To be honest I like the idea of people carrying shootable guns as opposed to the pocket rockets. Shooting full house loads out of micro-.380s in competition and competition practice quantity amounts may lead to nerve damage as much as rarified skill. Getting people out of the habit of shooting Glock 34s in competition and carrying Kel-Tec P3ATs out and about is a good thing and perhaps this will encourage more convergence of carry and competition guns.

    Concealed Carry competition can be more than just helping people practice some of the skills they will need to defend themselves (emphasis on “some” for all the training types). It can also serve as an object lesson that if you can at all manage it, you should carry as big and controllable a gun as possible.

  3. Hand to God, these kind of matches (and really, IDPA in general) are why I personally switched my carry gun.
    I thought that if I’ma shoot a Glock 17 in competition, shouldn’t my carry gun be of similar controls and feel?
    So I switched to a Glock 19, and barely ever get out my LCR or Kimber Pro CDP.
    I know you’re a Revo kinda guy, so shooting a J Frame is right in your (pun alert) wheel house, but I think the point is clear.

  4. Hmmm, wait so what is the holster setup for a BUG match? Are you allowed to carry an ankle holster? Pocket carry?

  5. I’m glad to see this type of a match. It’s becoming rare to see people actually shoot what they carry. My only complaint is those that think a BUG is all that people actually do carry. My EDC is a Kimber Pro (4″ barrel, 1911) and that’s what I usually shoot in IDPA as well. A XDm 3.8 in .40S&W was my winter chore carry (shoveling snow and such) and I would often carry it in place on the 1911 with the heavier clothes making it easier to carry concealed. I’d shot the XDm for both regular matches and BUG matches. Had to sell the XDm when out of work and have a G23 now for the same purpose and have shot it at some matches.

  6. Its like the S&W Winter Nationals; in Massachusetts–no matter how great the match is and how fine of a pistol the company manufactures there is no reason to donate to the tax structure of the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts to fund their anti-gun policies.

    Good luck to all who are going

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