IDPA Pistol Requirements: Back-Up Gun

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts helping competitors answer the question: “Is my pistol IDPA legal?”

Smith and Wesson now regularly hosts the Back-Up Gun IDPA Indoor Nationals at their headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts. This is a fun match to shoot and it really tests the limits of these little firearms. BUGs are the small pocket guns that are smaller than a CCP pistol, larger round capacity than a derringer and just as easy to carry. Before BUG matches, there really was not any place in the shooting sports to test your proficiency with a small pocket gun. With the popularity of the pocket pistol, IDPA has decided to give it a place in competition. Hopefully the new division will bring out more shooters, provide another option for current shooters and help them become proficient with a small gun in a controlled setting. It is still a very new division, and hopefully will catch on with more local match directors.

The IDPA Rule Book states: “The Back-Up Gun division is a required division for Tier 1 local matches and is an optional division that may be included as a competition division in a Tier 2 – Tier 5 Sanctioned match at the Match Director’s discretion. The Back-Up Gun division may also be used to create a specialty BUG-only match. Match directors may prescribe conditions for courses of fire such as the start condition, holster use, and reloads on the clock. Handguns permitted for use in BUG are categorized into one of the following sub-categories: Semi-Automatic BUG (BUG-S) and Revolver BUG (BUG-R). Other Special Sub-Categories can be defined by the MD.”

All BUG Permitted/Included Modifications are:

  • Storage locks may be disabled or removed.
  • Magazine disconnects may be disabled or removed.
  • Lasers that are incorporated into the firearm or sights are legal if they comply with all other division rules and the laser is not activated.
  • BUG-S must comply with all Enhanced Service Pistol (ESP) features and modifications, and equipment restrictions.
  • BUG-R must comply with all Stock Revolver features and modifications, and equipment restrictions.

For all BUG Excluded Modifications or not allowed mods you can look at Non-IDPA-Legal Modifications for all 8 Divisions.

Semi-Automatic BUG (BUG-S) sub-category permitted pistols must:

  • Be semi-automatic single action, double action, double action only, or striker fired type pistol.
  • Use .380 ACP or larger cartridges.
  • Have a barrel length of 3.60” or less.
  • With the heaviest magazine, weigh 29.00 oz. (822.1 grams) or less
  • The largest magazine inserted must fit in the IDPA gun test box measuring 7 ¼” x 5 ½” x 1 ⅜” 6. In BUG-S the shooter will start with one round in the chamber and 5 rounds in the magazine, and 6 rounds in each additional magazine.

In the Revolver BUG (BUG-R) sub-category permitted pistols:

  • Include any revolver that uses .38 or larger cartridges with a rimmed case and is not loaded with moon clips.
  • Cannot be loaded with trimmed (shortened) ammunition.
  • Have a barrel length of 3.00 inches or less.
  • The unloaded firearm must weigh 38.00 oz. or less.
  • Loaded to the capacity of six (6) rounds in the cylinder. (This does not exclude 5 shot J-frame style revolvers. They may be loaded to 5 rounds in the cylinder.)
  • Must fit in the IDPA gun test box measuring 8 3/4” x 5 ½” x 1 5/8”

This post is not intended to replace the IDPA Rule Book, but is simply a guide to help the interested shooter become more familiar with the pistol rules. All competitors are responsible for reading, understanding and following all IDPA rules. If you have any further questions about your pistol, please feel free to call or email your local IDPA club contact, Chief Safety Officer, Match Director or Area Coordinator to help you with answers to your questions. We have the knowledge and ability to guide you through the rule book so you will have a fun experience with the sport and want to continue to further your shooting abilities.
Jason C Armstrong
Temple Gun Club IDPA CSO / Match Director
Owner of Hammerdown Sports Gunsmith Services

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