Alternative Carry Option

Tami Keel on carrying spare parts for one’s guns around:

I actually have two spare-parts trays for my Glocks. One is a larger tray that stays at home and has all the things that came off guns when replaced by aftermarket bits, as well as routine-maintenance parts like recoil-spring assemblies and such. There’s a spare set of uninstalled night sights in there in case the ones on my carry gun start leaking tritium or spit their little vials or inserts out.

I too always carry spare parts for my 1911 or High Power (whichever I’m carrying at the time), and it’s not recoil buffers, extractors or springs.

It’s a collection of parts known as “Smith & Wesson Model 637 Airweight”.

And Tami provides just such a rationale when she writes (emphasis added):

With Glocks, it’s generally trigger-return springs or extractors that break, and I’ve got a couple of each in the tray.  And, thanks to the reminder in the discussion that started this train of thought, it’s going to have a couple spring-loaded bearings in it now, too.  When I used 1911s, I generally had a second, fitted extractor, as well as a recoil-spring plug.  With revolvers…well, there’s not too much that’s likely to break or fall off on a revolver, and what there is generally can’t be fixed while watching TV in a motel room.

Actually, all this is making me increasingly want to carry a revolver  as my primary goblin repellent.  Either of these would do:

Whether the blued Colt Trooper MkIII (~$1,000 secondhand) or the stainless S&W Mod 65 (~$650 ditto), I would suggest that either of these oldtimer .357 Mag wheelguns would do the trick (along with, it should be said, a couple-three speedloaders)*.  And instead of the S&W 637, I’d carry a small semi-auto  in my pocket as backup, such as the Kahr PM9 (~$400) in 9mm Europellet:

I await with equanimity my Readers’ scorn, insults and opprobrium in response to this plan.

*Of course, given my druthers I’d go for a Python, but the price (~$3,000) makes my nose bleed.  Even the King Cobra (~$2,000) brings the red stuff from my nasal passages,beautiful though it is:

I wish I wasn’t so damn poor…


  1. Let me get this straight. People are carrying spare gun parts on their person in case a gun breaks? Please. In close to fifty years of gunning, and more than 100,000 rds, I have never had a gun break on me while using it. Am I just lucky?

    Further, even though I have been licensed to carry in multiple states for more than 20 years I rarely do. Because I practice the Remus Rule, “Avoid Crowds”. See for details. Other than going to the Indy VA every few months I manage to avoid large human gathering places 98% of the time. When I go to Indy the Beretta is sitting on the console. And all the spare parts are in the cabinet in my office where they belong.

    I guess if you’re retarded enough to hang out in places that have a history of people killing each other it is best to have every resource available to compensate for your lack of intelligence.

    1. “I have never had a gun break on me while using it. Am I just lucky?”

      You’re lucky. I’ve had it happen to me three times: a 1911 slide stop broke (at 25,000 rounds), a 1911 safety shatter (at 30,000 rounds), and a Colt Python go out of time and misfire every other pull.

      1. Brazilion Springfield 1911 ossifer with >20,000 hot reloads.

        Never a hiccup in decades of carry; brother-in-law picked it up, and it exploded the slide into the chicken coop.

        True story.

    2. “Let me get this straight. People are carrying spare gun parts on their person in case a gun breaks? ”

      That’s not what she was saying. Read the original article. She was talking about having a spares kit at home and a smaller one for the traveling she does to take shooting training of various types. The smaller kit of parts most likely to fail to make repairs if the gun she is using for the class has a problem. That evening after class, while using her spare gun to complete the class. It goes in her range bag, not on her person.

      I too avoid crowds and stupid people doing stupid things at stupid places at stupid times. But sometimes the Stupid comes looking for you. I carry every time I leave the house unless going to a Criminal Protection Zone, and then there’s a pistol in the vehicle. A handgun is what I carry when I don’t expect trouble (like a seat belt, first aid kit or fire extinguisher).

      And to echo Kim, you have been lucky to never have a firearm fail while using it. (Extractor on a Browning Hi Power, hand guard retention ring failing on one of my troops M-16’s during a night FTX, a couple of others I don’t recall all of the details right now).

        1. That’s it, woodpilereport, sorry. Been going there so long I forgot about the report part. He only posts once a week, on Tues, but it’s always good.

  2. Considering that if you have to use a carry pistol, you’re going to lose it when the police confiscate it as evidence, I’d avoid carrying anything high-end or that you’d hate to lose. Even if you get it back, police evidence rooms aren’t noted for taking care of things, so it’s likely to have been engraved with a case number, left to rust, etc.

    A carry piece should be the least expensive pistol that will be reliable and that you’re comfortable shooting. That way, it will hurt less if you actually have to use it and it gets taken away for a considerable period of time.

    1. Agreed. My SA 1911 cost me $350 many moons ago so if I have to forfeit it, it’s no great loss.

      I do the same as the article author. When I upgrade a part on a gun, I keep the old one, labeled & tucked away & I also keep extra parts on hand for items that have given problems before. The same with reloading press parts.

      Having a few critical spare parts on hand makes sense, especially if there are any upcoming festivities.

  3. Once again, Kim, your taste in firearms and English cars is impeccable.
    My backup to my Sig 229 (somewhat like a Glock, but better) is a Smith M 640, stainless steel snubby in .38 spl. Stone cold reliable and surprisingly accurate.

  4. If you need a PM9, mine is available. It hasn’t been out of the safe in years and is now completely replaced by the G43 when the occasion calls for tiny. The Kahr took several boxes of ammo to “shoot in” and become even reasonably reliable; something the little Glock was out of the box. If I ever sold anything, the Kahr is at the top of the list.
    These days, the way things seem to be going, upsizing capacity is where I am headed. All my beautiful Sigs get replaced for carry with a G30 or a G21. Aesthetics be damned. No revolvers. either.

    (And by the way, the site was not reachable for me either for a while when I first attempted to comment. Always a moment of concern about censorship when the site has pretty pictures of guns.)

    1. Email me pics and a price for the Kahr, wouldya? I’m looking for one with the stainless slide, but would consider the all-black type too.

    2. My experience with a K-9, it was compact but very heavy. Not a pocket gun, it needed a proper holster and belt. No hiccups whatsoever with cheap commercial reloads in the first 200 rounds break in, but exactly round #201 miss fed. Hmmn?
      I gave the gun to my father in law when he returned to the States, he may have traded it for something in a larger caliber.

  5. I’ve been out and about most of the day doing “old retired guy” stuff like some time at the gym to keep my arthritic limbs moving and then waiting for my wife in the doc’s office. That’s out of the way so I’ll throw my two pennies worth into the spare parts/spare gun argument.

    I’m going to approach this from the old car perspective. About 50 years ago I owned a succession of old clunkers. I was running on my own finances – no rich parents to buy me a “reliable” car – and I just wanted a car that would start most of the time and get me to school and work without too many hassles. We poor kids developed into reasonably good shade tree mechanics and we managed to keep our five hundred dollar cars in running condition. I did carry a few spare parts with me – you can fit lots of stuff into the trunk of a 61 Chevy Biscayne – like a fan belt, ignition parts, and a quart or two of oil. I never got stuck on the road and the worst job I did was to replace a fuel pump on my 72 Pontiac Station Wagon in the parking lot of a Lum’s restaurant (East coast people might remember them from the 60’s and 70’s) in Glens Falls New York. Two bolts, two hose clamps and I was on my way.

    My point is that I’ve never experienced a catastrophic automotive failure in over 50 years of driving. I’ve had a few minor problems – and I’ve probably changed a half dozen tires in over 50 years – but I usually managed to mechanic my way out of it and get home safe.

    Now lets take this argument over to guns. Compared to automobiles or trucks, guns are very simple mechanical devices with well known operating principles. Guns don’t have computers or electronics. Keep them clean and use good quality ammunition and components and they should go bang every time. If they don’t make a loud noise when the trigger is pulled, the failure drills are well known. All good quality modern firearms are designed to work as intended – even the much maligned HiPoints have a great reputation for reliability.

    When I drove old junk yard cars I carried a bunch of spare parts – most of which I never needed. When I carry a reasonably good quality pistol I’m not worried at all about spare parts. I’ve proved the reliability of my carry guns and I’m willing to bet my life on Ruger, Smith and Wesson, Kimber and Springfield. I’m even good with my Charter Arms Bulldog which puts very big .44 holes in the target. The Bulldog kicks like a Missouri mule but if it ends up in a police evidence locker I’m not out a whole lot. There isn’t a lot that can go wrong with a proven wheel gun – or a proven automatic either. I have other things that I can worry about.

  6. When I travel to a match, there’s usually a small assortment of spares for my revolver (a Hege Army Match) with me. Spares are hard as hell to come by for those beasts, but they shoot.

    Otherwise, that’s what you have spare guns for. Glock 19 goes down? Pull the Glock 17 or 43 out of the safe. Sig P229 breaks? Out comes the P225. For the serious competition pieces, I run a depth chart (seriously, I do).

    WRT revolvers, you might want to consider the Poor Man’s Python…a S&W L-frame. 586 or 686.

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