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Staying safe with the BUG Pocket

Designed by retired LAPD Sergeant Randy Garcia, the BUG Pocket is a vest holster that is permanently affixed to the officer’s soft body armor carrier


I have long been an advocate of backup guns for law enforcement officers. Should your primary handgun sustain a catastrophic malfunction, run out of ammunition, or no longer be available due to a disarm or disarm attempt, a backup gives you the means to prevail over adversity.

Quite simply, a readily-accessible second gun gives you options.

Today’s law enforcement officer carries more gear than ever before, and adding an additional firearm to the mix presents a challenge. Although some officers carry a second visible firearm on the duty belt, I don’t consider this the best location because of concerns about weapon retention.

Ankle- and pocket-carry are sometimes solutions, but come with their own limitations. The ideal solution would be a means of carrying a second hidden weapon where it could be drawn with either hand, regardless of what position the officer found himself in.

I was recently acquainted with a product that addresses my concerns of discreet carry, yet makes the backup gun instantly available. Designed by retired LAPD Sergeant Randy Garcia, the BUG Pocket is a vest holster that is permanently affixed to the officer’s soft body armor carrier. The BUG Pocket positions the holstered firearm on the center of the chest where it is readily accessible to either hand. Despite my initial concerns, the holstered handgun is virtually undetectable and low profile.

Two different size BUG Pockets are available including regular (9-1/2” x 10-1/2”) and small (8-1/2” x 9-1/2”), to accommodate different size handguns.

My regular-size BUG Pocket accommodated a SIG-Sauer P239, Kahr K9, and a Smith & Wesson M649 Bodyguard. The smaller variant could easily harbor one of the small, yet powerful single stack pistols that have proven popular to off duty and backup carry. Although not intended for ballistic protection, a removable Kevlar fragmentation plate reduces risk of injury should an incoming round strike the secured backup. The BUG Pocket can be had in white, black, blue, or tan to match the officer’s vest carrier.

For the best results, the BUG Pocket should be affixed to the vest carrier by double stitching all four sides. Explicit instructions are included in the shipping insert. The holstered handgun remains stable during routine physical activity and the wearer is unlikely to note any difference in comfort once the BUG Pocket is mounted to the vest.

The fastest access to the holstered firearm will be achieved by modifying the covering garment. Sergeant Garcia recommends removing the buttons and sewing them to the outside of the uniform shirt. Velcro is then added to secure the front of the garment. By using a “Superman” drawing technique, the wearer has ready access to the backup gun. In my evaluation, I utilized a Woolrich Elite shirt with a zippered front and enjoyed similar results. Whether standing, sitting, or on the ground the gun was readily accessible and can be produced much faster than with other carry options.

Our collective history has provided us with numerous examples where a law enforcement officer has utilized a backup with good effect and sadly, others where an officer was killed or seriously injured when a backup may have saved the day. The BUG Pocket provides a viable alternative to other carry options that is out of the way and makes your backup gun instantly available with either hand. If you have previously dismissed carrying a backup due to concerns about security or access, the BUG Pocket deserves a hard look.

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Captain Mike Boyle served 27 years with the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Law Enforcement. Mike was responsible for all aspects of pre-service and in-service training and also supervised the internal affairs section of his agency. Mike has also been an assistant police academy director and continues to participate in both recruit and instructor level training. He is a certified instructor in multiple uses of force disciplines including handgun, shotgun, rifle, SMG, impact weapons and unarmed self-defense.

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