Spotlight: How the BUG Pocket backup gun vest holster saved 2 cops' lives

The BUG Pocket is a fully enclosed, virtually undetectable backup gun vest holster

Company Name: Ranvon, Inc.
Headquarters: Whittier, CA
Signature Product: BUG Pocket

1. What is your signature product?

Since 1994, our signature product, the Original BUG Pocket vest holster, has been the choice for thousands of officers and many departments from coast to coast. Our slogan, "If you don’t tell, no one will ever know", speaks volumes to what the BUG Pocket has to offer. It’s a fully enclosed, virtually undetectable backup gun vest holster equipped with a strapping system that allows for secure attachment in seconds. It attaches to the center of the front panel of concealable body armor, including mesh carriers. There is no sewing, permanent affixing or modification required and it can be washed with your carrier or quickly removed and attached to a second carrier.

Ballistic Fragmentation Plate is included with every BUG Pocket.
Ballistic Fragmentation Plate is included with every BUG Pocket.

As evidenced by the testimonial page on our website, the BUG Pocket delivers on all its promises: comfort, concealment, security, ambidextrous holstering and accessibility, and of course, safety. No matter what activity you’re engaged in from an ambush while sitting in your vehicle to physically fighting in the streets for your life, your backup will be secure and readily accessible. It will sit exactly as you holstered it. Most importantly, it is the ONLY backup gun vest holster on the market today that addresses the critical officer safety issue of ricochets and bullet fragments. That threat is addressed with a proven ballistic fragmentation plate that is included with every BUG Pocket at no additional cost.

2. Where did the idea for the original BUG Pocket come from? How did that idea turn into a product?

I'm a 32 year-veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. As a rookie officer, I was required to carry a backup and I carried one throughout my career. Across the nation, like so many before me and after me, I struggled to find a comfortable, safe, secure and accessible place to carry it. That struggle continued approximately 10 years until one day I stuck my backup in my body armor trauma plate pocket and realized how comfortable and accessible it was.

However, I also realized it printed badly, was not secure and I was exposing myself to certain injury or death from a ricochet and/or bullet fragments should an incoming round strike my backup. Having tried all other carry locations and countless methods and holsters, I didn’t want to give up on the trauma plate pocket idea. For the following three years, I designed and redesigned and made adjustments to the BUG Pocket according to field-testing feedback. Once satisfied, I applied for and received a US Patent in 1995.

In the meantime, I was still very concerned about the dangers of an incoming round striking a holstered backup. With the assistance of the firearm units from the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol, the current ballistic fragmentation plate was developed and is included with every Original BUG Pocket sold.

3. How did the BUG Pocket save two officers' lives in separate incidents?

For Officer Steve Stanton of the San Diego Police Department and Officer Jason McEwen of the California Highway Patrol, the BUG Pocket was the deciding factor in their struggle to save their own lives. In separate incidents, both officers struggled with suspects whose sole goal was to gain control of the officers’ primary weapon. Both officers were able to access their backups via the BUG Pocket and eliminate their threats…permanently from this earth. Both suspects were killed at scene and both officers survived their encounters.

You can read their stories via links on the BUG Pocket home page. It should be noted that Officer Stanton’s story references the BUG Pocket, but Officer McEwen’s doesn’t. However, Officer McEwen during subsequent officer survival training has told his story and he specifically praises the BUG Pocket. The news article in which his story is told simply doesn’t mention the BUG Pocket by name.

4. What sizes does the BUG Pocket come in?

The BUG Pocket is available in two sizes-regular and small. However, we always recommend purchasing the regular size because it will accommodate your choice of the most commonly used larger handguns or a much smaller one. The small, as noted below, is limited in what it will accommodate.

The regular size is approximately 9½" (w) by 10½" (h) and will accommodate the most commonly used larger backup guns, including the Glock 30 and 1923 (both tight fit). And of course, on the other end of the spectrum, it will also comfortably accommodate the most commonly used smaller backups like subcompacts, 2" revolvers and .380 cal pistols. The size small is approximately 9 3/8" (w) by 10 3/8" (h). The largest guns it will accommodate are the Glock 26 and 27 (both tight fit). Any gun smaller than the 26 and 27 will easily fit.

5. Are there any other products out there like the BUG Pocket?

There is one relatively recent product out there that could be considered a "copycat" in many ways. However, it falls dangerously short in the area of officer safety. The other product is similar to the BUG Pocket in size and basic design, but that’s where the similarities stop. The most serious officer safety difference involves ricochets and bullet fragments. As previously mentioned, every BUG Pocket includes a ballistic fragmentation plate that was designed specifically for the BUG Pocket to maximize effectiveness, including coverage of your holstered backup.

The opposite Velcro are permanently secured in their places on the front flap and the frag plate so there's no chance of the frag plate disengaging or shifting. This was specifically addressed during our live fire ballistic testing. In case you heed their recommendation to buy a trauma plate to use as a frag plate, the other product wants you to trust the Velcro they provide with glue on the backside. Also taken into consideration with the fragmentation plate design was pliability to ensure no interference while drawing or tactical re-holstering.

The other product does not include a frag plate, but clearly understands the dangers facing the donning officer and “recommends” the purchase of a soft trauma plate to make the product safe to wear. Not including a frag plate with the product places the burden and additional expense on the officer. With officer safety as a priority, the Original BUG Pocket is a complete product that is safe to wear immediately upon delivery. Simply remove it from the package, take the few seconds to mount it and holster, and get on with your day. In no time you'll literally be mounting and holstering in less than 10 seconds.

The second significant officer safety advantage the BUG Pocket offers is the "grip and rip" access strap located across the front flap. Because of the negative feedback we received regarding the original single pull-tab and how difficult it was to find and pull the front flap open, we upgraded to our current "grip and rip" design. The other product utilizes the BUG Pocket's original ineffective single pull-tab. With the "grip and rip" design it's nearly impossible to miss the access strap. All you need is a pinky, a single finger or a full grip and you’ll have access to your backup. It's that simple and reliable.

The third advantage is the specially designed holster within the BUG Pocket that allows for left or right hand holstering. Simply place your gun in the holster for whatever your preference is for drawing. It’s also important to note that no matter how you holstered, your backup is just as easily accessible with either hand. The design of the holster also allows for easy, trouble free tactical re-holstering. For example, if you were holstered for a right hand draw and during the stress of a tactical re-holster you holstered left handed, it wouldn’t be a problem. The other product supplies a strap with Velcro and requires the officer to create a holster for a left or right hand draw before holstering.

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