Guns for Beginners: Three Reasons Not to Carry A Back-Up Gun

Robert Farago's everyday carry complement (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Over at americanrifleman.org, B. Gil Horman provides readers with 3 Arguments In Favor of Back-up Guns. BGH reckons you need a backup gun in case “the first gun goes click instead of bang” or “a primary defensive gun is not accessible.” What’s more, “additional guns can be used to arm other responsible adults.” I can’t argue with his logic – except to say that you can also make a good case for carrying around a back-up pair of underwear. And a spare pair of glasses. And an umbrella. It’s a question of comfort, risk analysis and priorities. Here’s why I don’t carry a back-up gun . . .

1. It’s impractical

I carry a gun (Commander-sized 1911 or GLOCK 19), wallet, iPhone 6+, Emerson Wave knife, a set of keys, cased sunglasses and a spare ammunition magazine. On occasion, I’ll also carry a tactical flashlight. To support my load-out I cinch my belt tighter than a hungry boa constrictor (not that boas wear belts). I don’t have a spare pocket, I’m not willing to off-body carry, I won’t wear two holsters and ankle carry is about as comfortable as strapping a squirrel to your leg.

I occasionally carry a Kahr PM9 semi-automatic pistol or a Smith & Wesson 642 revolver – just to cut down on the weight trying to put my pants on the ground, pants on the ground, feeling like a fool with my pants on the ground. While I could schlep one (or both) of these pistols in addition to my everyday carry piece, it’s a lot to carry without rattling, printing and/or chafing. No thanks.

2. It’s unnecessary

One of my favorite gun guru expressions: “If you knew you were going to have a gun fight you’d bring a rifle.” When it comes to defensive gun use (DGU), everything shy of a long gun is a compromise. You can drive yourself nuts trying to find the “perfect” carry kit to minimize that compromise. Which gun, holster and ammunition combo is best for “most” defensive gun uses – given your clothing, size, shape, age, skill level and budget? Good luck with that. Seriously. But keep in mind that . . .

Most defensive gun uses end without a shot fired. The DGUs that include an active ballistic element tend to follow the 3-3-3 rule: three shots, three yards, three seconds. If your DGU conforms to the norm, and chances are it will, any gun will do. If it doesn’t, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll run your gun dry or fail to fire before the incident ends.

If things do go pear-shaped gun-wise in the middle of a DGU, taking the time to switch to a smaller, less accurate and less powerful gun ‘as your situation deteriorates strikes me as a questionable proposition. Why not just slap in another ammunition magazine in your “proper handgun” and have at it? Again. Still.

The most likely reason that a self-defense gun will fail to fire? Magazine failure. Cured by a fresh mag! Most likely reason a self-defense gun will run out of bullets? An empty mag. Cured by a fresh mag! Sure, changing mags under stress is not as easy as drawing another gun but – hang on. Ever tried to pull a gun out of an ankle holster in a hurry? Drawing a second gun from concealment ain’t no walk in the park, either.

Don’t get me wrong: derringers are cute as a button. And it’s better to have a backup gun and not need it than to need a backup gun and not have it. But the odds are lower than a snake’s belly that you’ll ever need a backup gun, so why have it? Especially when you can fix your gun or reload with a fresh magazine with a lot less long-term discomfort. You can also stab your attacker. Or run away. Or hit ’em with a chair. Or something.

3. It’s dangerous

Guns aren’t dangerous. People are dangerous. But people carrying two guns handle their guns twice as much as people with one gun, doubling their chances of doing something stupid with one of them (e.g., forgetting a gun somewhere, having a firearm fall out of a holster).

Beware of the man with two guns? Not quite. But I’d rather face an attacker with a friendly who was really, really good with one gun than quick to get to a second, smaller gun. Sure, it’d be best to have someone by my side who was really, really good with BOTH guns, but I don’t hang with Massad Ayoob and Jerry Miculek as much as I should. Nor am I them.

I’ll go out on a limb here and say that carrying two guns can create a false sense of security. Just as one gun is not a magic talisman to ward off violent attack (although it sometimes so is) two guns doesn’t guarantee squat, defensively speaking. If you’re thinking “I can go ahead and shoot my primary weapon dry because I have a secondary firearms that’s good to go,” you’re making a mistake.

In short, a backup gun may be better than no gun, but it might not. In the heat of battle, maybe it’s better to keep your primary gun running or think of something else to do. And lighten up. Your thoughts?

comments

  1. avatar JoshinGA says:

    “If you knew you were going to have a gun fight you’d bring a rifle.” And lots of friends with rifles.

    1. avatar Steve in MD says:

      I’d just stay home.

      1. avatar JoshinGA says:

        Your assumption this hypothetical gunfight wont happen to you at home might not be valid.

        1. avatar bolero says:

          Win

        2. avatar Scrubnick says:

          But I always have my rifle at home.

        3. avatar Steve in MD says:

          Exactly.

        4. avatar JoshinGA says:

          But do you also have a group of friends with rifles that lives in your house with you?

        5. avatar Swarf says:

          Jeez Mom.

    2. avatar Don says:

      I agree. You play the odds as best you can and having a gun with spare mag is enough for me. The odds of needing one at all, much less the other things that would make you need a spare, are far beyond where I’m willing to go.
      Practicing better situational awareness is a much better investment of my energy for me.

    3. avatar An English Person says:

      I thought the question was not whether or not to carry an extra piece, but rather how many extra pieces to carry.
      At least one, surely?

      1. avatar An English Person says:

        Like extra lovers…

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Extra lovers lighten your wallet more than extra guns ever will…

        2. avatar Tommycat says:

          Geoff doesn’t spend enough time at the range…

    4. avatar Grindstone says:

      Or CAS.

    5. avatar Chris says:

      If I knew I was going to have a gun fight I wouldn’t jump straight to a rifle. In home or any other close quarters my .45 will serve better than the rifle. The rifle will give your presence away before you move passed or through an open door. Also if a fire fight happens outdoors, it will most likely be up close. The 45 will come onto target faster. Shouldn’t the saying be “if you know you will have a middle to long range gun fight you’ll bring a rifle

      1. avatar int19h says:

        >> Shouldn’t the saying be “if you know you will have a middle to long range gun fight you’ll bring a rifle”

        Yes. But it also has the second part, “… and if it’s a short range gun fight, bring a shotgun”. ~

        An SBS, ideally. Or maybe a bullpup shotty like KSG. Plenty maneuverable even indoors. Or if you can’t get one, then get one of those non-SBS-for-ATF-purposes shorty shotguns with Raptor grip.

      2. avatar James P says:

        There is reason carbines and subguns were created. An MP5 or 10-12″ AR15 are a much better choice then a pistol of any kind even in a house. Your just that much more accurate with a shoulder stock and 3 points of contact. The biggest problem with the AR15 that size is the terrible muzzle blast. I’ve fired one indoors and it’s truly unpleasant even with ears on. A suppressor is pretty much a requirement which moves you back to the length of a 14.5″ M4 roughly.

        My fix is to keep all three close at hand, a pistol, a 10.5″ suppressed AR and a MP5-PDW (also SBR). (Lol)

  2. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    I imagine that having a second draw option available increases ones chance of being able to bring a gun into action significantly, My strong side owb full size is just not that easy to employ under quite a few circumstances. A pocket pistol on the other side remedies this. This is worth the problems you mention, to me.

    1. avatar Chrispy says:

      I think that is part of what makes carry fun, that you have a million options available to you.

    2. avatar Jack Clancy says:

      I like the j frame in the weak side pocket. Sometimes I carry a j frame in both pockets as primary weapons.

      All my options changed 16 months ago when I ripped my rotator cuff off the bone in a fall. Surgery and six months of physical therapy my strong side shoulder is not and never will be the same. I’m 60 and not comfortable with relying on my right shoulder to get it done. Strength and range of motion just aren’t there.

      I also went to a Glock for a primary weapon for less weight.

      My words of wisdom. Practice more with the weak side than you do your strong side. Which means a lot of practice. If your strong side arm, hand or shoulder is injured you will be glad you did.

    3. avatar Virginia Gunner says:

      Yep. That is why I occasionally carry an LCP in the pocket plus my SR9c IWB at 4 o’clock. Depends on where I am going and when.

      There might be times when your Spidey senses are tingling over a nearby potential threat, which also might not be a threat, and you don’t want to pre-emptively put your hand on your main belt gun for obvious reasons. The pocket backup let’s you casually put your hand in your pocket and fully grip your BUG without broadcasting what you are doing. From there, I find I can clear the pocket and get into firing position WAY faster than I can reach for my belt gun, grab it, and draw it. I’d rather get the LCP out on time than the SR9c out a moment too late in those situations.

      Also, your front pocket is a plausible place for your wallet to be, so if someone demands your wallet….you have another draw option they probably won’t see coming as quickly.

      Statistically, the odds of needing it are low, sure. On the other hand, my neighbor who lives a couple of townhouses down from me was robbed at gunpoint about 2 months ago when he got out of his car at night in our shared parking lot. The robber demanded his small lunch cooler, searched it, didn’t find what he was looking for and then demanded his wallet. My neighbor, who is an older asian man, got pissed at that point and started yelling and swatting at the gun. Perp ran off and last I checked no arrest has been made. Skinny little white dude in a hoodie, maybe early 20’s, according to the cops. The neighbor owns a small business and the cops think somebody knew his routine and may have been looking for cash carried home from the register.

      Odds aside, sh-t happens, even in what you thought was a quiet neighborhood.

  3. avatar pres stone says:

    All good points. I see both sides. The new york reload CAN be faster, again depends on carry layout and practice. But BUGs send to be small so you are looking at LESS firepower than your primary, not desirable. I guess it depends, if a person had some kind of affliction or condition to where manipulating a mag might be to difficult but scenarios like that are the exception. im pretty open minded. i try to not to use works like never and always too often.

  4. avatar jake from detroit says:

    I mean, I get where you’re coming from, but you could make the same three arguments against carrying a gun period.

    I carry a backup for one reason only: my wife won’t carry a pistol. I’m hoping when we have a couple of kids the momma bear in her will come out, and she’ll start. But until then, if a bad situation pops up, I’m very happy I can shove my M&P shield in her hand before I engage with my primary.

    I do wish I was more comfortable running the glock 17/26 primary/back up combo (to share magazines). But, although it’s nearly blasphemous, I find the 26 to be the most uncomfortable pistol I’ve ever fired, including snub .357’s. I can’t stand it.

  5. avatar tdiinva (now in Wisconsin) says:

    If your primary gun fails in a close in gunfight you are meant to lose. Do you think you can draw your backup faster than the other guy can perforate you?

    1. avatar Chrispy says:

      The fight isn’t over until your heart stops

      1. avatar twency says:

        Or your spine is transected above C-6 or so.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      It is hard to say whether or not you can draw a backup gun before your attacker inflicts a mortal wound, whether with their own firearm or other weapon. It could go either way.

  6. avatar AllAmerican says:

    I have to disagree with it being more dangerous. Carrying a gun properly isn’t dangerous at all to begin with. This kinda seems like anti logic. More guns = more chances one could “go off.” I personally do carry a back up gun at times and never had any of these issues.

    1. avatar Robert W. says:

      Remember, the preface of this article, “for beginners.”

      Hopefully, the author is assuming that this is supposed to be targeted at those who are new to carrying a gun. Until you are completely comfortable with carrying one gun, jumping in to carrying two is probably a bad idea.

      I think of the accident curve like this, you are really likely to have an accident near the beginning of any activity, then as you get comfortable and proficient your accident likelyhood goes way down, but then you start to get complacency, and then you are all but sure to have an accident. After that spike in accident probability (meaning you either had an accident, or a near miss of one) you hit the nice medium of calm, practiced use, but with awareness, and from then on you have a pretty constant low chance of accidents happening. Until you get to that point carrying one gun, don’t carry two.

      I wouldn’t say this is going from beginner to advanced either, more like intermediate. It’s the point where you should be pushing your proficiency, probably not even trying to do the BUG yet, more like perfecting your concealed drawing, reloading, retention, movement.

      At that point, sure, you probably have a very good idea where your defence may be lacking. Maybe you figured out that you can’t quickly draw from a seated position, so a second small pistol in a specific carry position may be warrented.

      The point I’m trying to make is this, KISS. If you don’t need it, don’t have it, and as a beginner you really don’t know if you need it yet.

    2. avatar int19h says:

      >> Carrying a gun properly isn’t dangerous at all to begin with. This kinda seems like anti logic.

      It’s basic statistics. Carrying a gun “properly” may be absolutely safe (though that depends on the gun), but people can and will make mistakes, and you have to account for the chance of these mistakes. The problem is that every gun you add to the picture increases the risk linearly, while the decrease of risk from being able to use a gun defensively is non-linear with additional backup guns (basically, every next gun gives you significantly less decrease than the one before it). So at some point these two lines intersect, and statistically speaking, you are making yourself less secure, not more secure.

      The “anti logic” is wrong in how they quantify the risks. They take the average numbers, and ignore the fact that the correlation with increased chances to be assaulted come not from the gun, but from other things that correlate with it. For example, a significant subgroup of “people who have a gun in the house” are gang members. Of course, they tend to be attacked more often, and they tend to cause more violent domestic disputes. There’s no causal link between ownership of gun here and increased risk, it’s just a correlation, and it’s completely irrelevant when you’re estimating the risk of ownership for yourself.

      OTOH, if you were in an area that was absolutely, provably safe, carrying a gun would be more risky than not carrying, just based on that small chance of you somehow messing up and causing a negligent discharge or the like. You could still decide that the risk is so negligible it’s not worth the bother (and would probably be right), but that’s a different point.

  7. avatar PPGMD says:

    You carry a knife, but only occasionally carry a flash light. It seems like you have your priorities wrong.

    To me a flashlight is more important than a knife. And I certainly would be carrying a flashlight, before I would consider carrying a second gun.

    Also preparing for you ideal encounter, the 3-3-3 is setting yourself up for failure if you encounter isn’t the 3-3-3. There are plenty of examples of situations that aren’t the 3-3-3. The recent double murder in my hometown for example.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Between 0500 and 2100 today that flashlight isn’t going contribute much to anything. The/a knife is endlessly useful at any time.

      I spend much of the hours of dark asleep during which I need neither on me. Wake get your stuff on. It’s still dark, add the light.

      1. avatar Jack Clancy says:

        When the power goes off in the building that flashlight is mighty handy.

        Gun (might be only a j frame), two reloads, knife, flashlight and a cellphone are my minimum.

        1. avatar Another Robert says:

          Just a thought–if the lights went out in the building, wouldn’t the cellphone provide a light just to get by with? (says the guy with a flashlight in his lunchbox and a flashlight on the desk and a flashlight on his key ring–LOL! …)

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          I have seen smartphone ‘flashlight’ apps.

          Usually turn the screen all white.

        3. avatar int19h says:

          On most modern phones, the camera flash is app-controllable and can thus be used as a flashlight. It’ll burn out if you use it for too long, but handy in a pinch.

    2. avatar Chrispy says:

      A flashlight is only useful in a low light scenario, but a knife is useful any time. I don’t consider my edc knives, (plural) to be a defensive tool as such, (though they are). They are useful for everyday tasks too numerous to count.

      1. avatar Michael C says:

        A good tactical flashlight, SureFire or similar, can be extremely useful in a defensive situation anytime. My E2D LED Defender Ultra, with its 500 lumen max output, is bright enough to temporarily blind in full daylight and can give you a crucial couple of seconds to deploy a weapon or attempt to escape. At night a blast from a light like that could even end the attack. Everyone serious about self protection should invest in a good tactical illumination tool and carry it everyday. One with a second, lower brightness setting is good to allow for use in normal activities without unnecessary battery drain.

        1. avatar Chrispy says:

          Just for clarity’s sake, I wasn’t trying to advocate not carrying a flashlight. I personally carry a NEBO “Slyde” light. It is a bit on the larger side but I use it as a flashlight and work light. It has the regular LED type light on the end (250 lumen), magnet on the base, and the whole body of the light slides open to expose a wide pattern flood light which is I believe 190 lumen. I like it because if I’m working on a car or something I can stick it where I need it and have my hands free to work.

  8. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    I presume your comments were not directed to on-duty law enforcement officers, because there are plenty of examples where a BUG saved their lives.

    1. avatar Tile floor says:

      I carry an LCR .357 on duty. I used to not carry a BUG till a supervisor I had who has been in two shootings explained something to me. He went to a conference a couple years back and an officer had spoken there about his story.
      He was at the bottom of a flight of steps and there was a subject standing at the top with a handgun pointed at him. They exchanged shots. The human mind has a tendency to focus on the immediate threat, which is the gun itself. The subject shoots both his firing hand and his glock, rendering it unusable. Now he’s left with nothing, and had to beat feet out of the house and was lucky he didn’t get killed.
      Yeah, the odds of needing it are tiny. But I’m willing to deal with a slight discomfort on my ankle than be left with just my willy in my hands in a gunfight

  9. avatar Ddub says:

    Back-up underwear, I never leave home without it, seriously. Much like a gun, if you need it once, and don’t have it, you’ll never forget it again.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      I recently had a bout with cancer (where the sun don’t shine) and I always carry backup underwear, and butt wipe. The cancer didn’t cause the problem, The radiation that cured the cancer, made mush out of my lower innards.

    2. avatar Jim mc says:

      I never make a comment but that literally made me laugh out loud. Priceless. Not the cancer gunr, that’s terrible, guy above. Awesome.

  10. avatar n_word_please says:

    One thing is certain: based on that picture RF makes way too much money with this blog.

    1. avatar Jack Clancy says:

      Still laughing.

    2. avatar duroSIG556R says:

      I would say so, haha.

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      The Benz could be a lease…

      🙂

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        Even worse.

  11. avatar tsbhoA.P.jr says:

    maybe on a road trip to the unknown zone. but not daily. i just convinced myself to start carrying a spare loaded mag…

  12. avatar David B says:

    This is why I carry 1 BUG, 2 knives, 3 flashlights, 4 quick clots, 5 gold coins, and 6 MRE’s–always prepared because you’re not. They fit nicely into my Molle vest.

    1. avatar James69 says:

      Gold coins? What are you going to do buy a corvette in post apockliptia? Silver…. a roll of quarters takes up little room and would much be more useful. Just my 2 mercury dimes.

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        I’ve never understood why preppers like gold.

        If S really HTF, is anyone really going to care about some chunks of smudgey yellow metal when we’re all eyeballing each other’s family pets as food sources?

        Maybe the post apocalypse economy will be more civilized than I’m giving it credit for.

        1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

          Dungeons and Dragons.

        2. avatar int19h says:

          The actual “post-apocalyptic” (in reality, any prolonged SHTF – as in, say, more than a couple of months) currency are compact but universally useful things. Think flashlights, pocket knives, lighters, matches, food (canned, candy bars, small packs etc; also tea and coffee), duct tape, and all kinds of drugs (but esp. antibiotics). Also all disposables that would be in demand: ammo, batteries, various fuels (even just butane for the lighters!). And, of course alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs.

          http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/a-survival-q-a-living-through-shtf-in-the-middle-of-a-war-zone_10252011

          If you haven’t read this Q&A with a guy who shares his experience surviving during the Bosnia War, do so. To quote him: “for 1 whole year i lived and survived in a city of 50 000- 60 000 residents WITHOUT: electricity, fuel, running water,real food distribution, or distribution of any goods, or any kind of organized law or government”. This is probably the closest long-running SHTF account that’s out there, and as such, is a must read for anyone interested in the subject.

          On gold and silver, he had to say only this: “About gold and silver, yes, me personally gave all my gold for ammunition in that time, but it did not worth too much.”

          On regular money: “sometimes you can use foreign money if you had it to buy something, (dollars or German marks) but even in that rare occasion rate was unbelievable for examples 1 can of beans for 30-40 dollars (normal value was maybe 0,50) … Trade was main thing to get something. Local currency crashed very fast, in few weeks or month maybe.”

        3. avatar Geoff PR says:

          int19h –

          One hell of a read.

          I printed it out.

    2. avatar Rambeast says:

      On my person; Cold Steel Holdout 3, Wallet (with some prepper-centric flat toys), 1 AAA mini (90lm) flashlight, Nexus 6, S&W BG .380 w/2 spare mags, Keys, and a pen. If out and about for longer periods, I add a G21 and spare mag to my outfit.

      I know “Why a .380 instead of the G21 for a main carry?”, easy…I live in a place with 100+degree temps for most of the year (and very high humidity). Concealing anything but a pocket gun is pointless with my physique.

  13. avatar Another Robert says:

    To me it’s mostly a matter of cutting the odds, and cost/benefit within that framework. When I had a smaller pocket pistol readily available to go with the small pocket pistol I normally carry, I carried it because the “cost” was minimal. Now that that pistol is gone, the cost of replacing it is more than the also-minimal advantage in odds-cutting that carrying a BUG would give me.

  14. avatar Mister Fleas says:

    FLAME DELETED

  15. avatar Anner says:

    In terms of concealed squirrels, I’ve found pocket carry far superior to ankle carry.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      I don’t think it matters.

      Pulling an angry skwerl from any type of concealment is going to stop an attack one way or another.

      I prefer appendix carry because then you have the tactical drop-a-squirrel-out-of-your-pant-leg advantedge.

      I also no longer have an appendix, so… bonus.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Do you still have your femoral arteries?

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      I would be concerned that the pocket carry squirrel might find some nuts.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        With a pocket holster, and in the very unlikely event the trigger can be pulled, you are much more likely to hit your knee cap or your foot than anything else. Appendix carry, however, will get the jewels or your femoral artery.

        1. avatar Swarf says:

          I’m sorry, you’re looking for Carry Style Arguments. That’s down the hall.

          This is Tactical Squirrel Jokes.

        2. avatar John in Ohio says:

          It’s adjacent to the Ministry of Funny Walks.

  16. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    There are assertions made here as being absolute, when they may not even be true.

    Who says magazine failure is the number one cause of malfunction? I’d say it’s ammunition or dirty guns. Even if that’s true, it’s not universal and wouldn’t apply to everyone. And who’s to say that DGU situations follow the same distribution of causes of malfunctions as in target shooting? Maybe poor grip is more prominent in real life?

    Moreover, mechanical failures can have common causes and special causes. That is, it could be just that one magazine (damaged or seated improperly), or it could a poor magazine design or low quality construction that’s common to all of that type. Replacing the magazine is just refreshing the problem in that case.

    Instead of ditching the backup gun, how about ditching the semiauto and its magazines entirely? Go with a revolver. So leaving a backup gun behind in favor of a backup magazine isn’t the best or only solution. It may not even be a solution.

    The 3-3-3 rule. Yes, there is that. Ditch the backup gun because it’s rare you’d need it? Well, it’s rare you’d need your primary gun, too. Ditch that, too? Avoiding known and readily avoidable risks in the first place is a much more effective countermeasure than quibbling over backup guns.

    And didn’t we just have two articles yesterday of mutiple attackers on justvone or two victims? Number one excuse for the pro-rape and anti-civil rights crowd in here for refusing to assist? Not enough ammunition. A second magazine (perhaps) might remedy, but a backup gun definitely would.

    1. avatar JQPub says:

      “Number one excuse for the pro-rape and anti-civil rights crowd in here for refusing to assist? Not enough ammunition”

      – Man, get over yourself already. You are a borderline flame troll at this point. You wanted to jump into that mess — great. But implying cowardice for those who’s risk assessment dictated otherwise is just ridiculous. No one is impressed by your Blog Muscles bro. Get off your high horse and you’ll see that we’re all standing at the same level here. Sheesh. I have nothing else to say to you.

      1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        Ahhh……the passive aggressive snipe and gripe. Always a board favorite. Get your little digs in, then scamper away like a scalded dog. Meanwhile, you proclaim how oh so superior you are and that this is all beneath you.

        And what the hell are “blog muscles?” I’m just posting my comments……AND standing firm to discuss them. That’s kinda sorta how this works, little one. There isn’t anything your impotent a$$ can do about, either. So suck it up, buttercup.

        Now, as to the other topic you raised, you may be willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but the reality is that while most everyone fears danger, fewer people will overcome that fear and do the right thing, anyway. Most of the rest will just rationalize their inaction.

        If I mistakenly implied that that’s cowardice, then I apologize. I didn’t mean merely to imply that. I meant to state in clear, ununequivocal terms that, yes, that is cowardice.

        1. avatar JQPub says:

          Whatever man. I’m not going to go back and forth with you in a blog. I just find it asinine for you to call people cowards in a blog because they said they wouldn’t have drawn their gun and jumped into that mob of people to defend that KKK dude. It wasn’t a sound decision to do so in most people’s estimation. In fact, the dude was in the car speeding away 5 seconds later and you would have been left standing there. If you would have done otherwise, then so be it – but to call other people “cowards” (in a blog) for that, is simply BS. ‘I’m not Larry Potterfield from Midway USA, but that’s the way it is’.

  17. avatar Eyjafjallajokull says:

    Completely agree. Tap, Rack, Bang – or pull a new mag. Not practical for me to carry two guns. Maybe for a Cop on duty, because he/she is not concealing their primary firearm and has a different ‘tactical situation’ than I (ie – to engage and arrest criminals, not disengage, etc)

    Also funny how I ended up at G19 or 1911 Commander as my two main CCW’s as well.

    But to each his own. I personally can’t walk around with my pants falling down.

  18. avatar RenegadeDave says:

    Needless complexity is no bueno. As a civvie who will likely never need it, it just increases risk without any real utility that a second blaster provides. If I’m doing policework, sure thing, but I’m not.

  19. avatar LJM says:

    Ankle carry a Taurus Raging Bull .454. When you expend its the ammo, you can use it to bludgeon your attacker.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Should also strengthen your ankle muscles, but you may be needing to replace you socks more often.

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        And your ankles.

  20. avatar Hickstick says:

    They call me ‘two guns’, but not cause I carry two guns 😉 (sorry Clint, had to steal that one for a minute there)

  21. avatar Warren says:

    Excellent write-up. The comments, as always, are engaging and thought-provoking.

    My only gripe is your overuse of the “Again. Still” literary crutch. It becomes more and more abrasive every time it pops up, which seems like (at this point) every other article. I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make by using it, but surely there’s a better way to do it than overuse that particular phrasing.

  22. avatar Joey Madds says:

    For what you paid for that Wilson, I would certainly hope it goes bang and not click. But what do I know? I trust my life to an SR9c that’s less than 1/4 the cost. One thing I do know, If your EDC is most people’s safe queen then you know you ballin hard.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      I don’t begrudge the man his money,

      But I do get a little testy when we get sob stories about how all the awful ads– and they are truly, woefully awful– are so very necessary to the very existence of the website and I’m a big ol meanie if I use an ad blocker.

      This one weird trick to piss me off.

  23. avatar JC says:

    My guess is that more people have been thankful to be a master with one carry gun during a DGU than average with two. My point is before you strap on multiple guns make sure you are the best you can be with the primary one. Sure, there are times a BUG has been the deciding factor but what caused the need for it in the first place?

  24. avatar Rokurota says:

    How many of you carry a med kit? Most of us will never draw on a BG, but everyone’s encountered someone needing first aid.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      I do.

      I have one in my backpack, and a completely different one that’s more geared towards gun trauma that I take to the range every time.

      I also carry a different one for backpacking. And I’ve made one for my wife’s pack.

      I’ve also made kits for friends.

      Good god, I’m a first aid nerd.

  25. avatar David says:

    ok maybe carrying a backup gun if you are a beginner concealed weapons permit holder maybe a bad idea without the proper training. But as all of us and no mechanical things break and fail. its Murphy’s Law.so in my opinion I always carry a backup pistol for one reason, I’ve been trained to carry a backup pistol an employee at use, and guns do go down and they do break they’re made by human beings. I never would like to be in a gunfight, but if I was again I would definitely want an extra piece of hardware in just in case the first one goes down mechanically speaking, something you cannot repair in a gunfight.

  26. avatar Andrew Davis says:

    I agree that the average citizen doesn’t need a, “Back-Up” pistol any more than they need to wear body-armor every time they leave the house to run to Wal-Mart. By and large, the “Back-Up” or “Ankle-Gun” is ONLY a necessity for law enforcement and other professionals. (Or I you happen to live and work in Kandahar) For those people, I always recommend a set of Glock handguns. Mainly due to the fact that the G26, “Baby-Glock” will accept the same magazines as your G17, G19, G34, G18, etc..

    Yet another reason Single-Stack Glocks are just plain stupid in my humble opinion.

    1. avatar Cicero Smith says:

      I’d love to be the guy carrying a G18. How many transferable G18s exist in the US, six?

    2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      At one time I carried a G26 on my ankle for a backup. But, I found it was too big and cumbersome.

      Switched to an LCP and never looked back.

  27. avatar David says:

    just one other pro backup gun scenario. what if your primary weapon runs out of ammo most of the time in a stressful situation where dopamine and adrenaline are rushing through your bloodstream at an uncontrollable rate so much in fact you lose count of how many times you’ve pulled the trigger and have a slight shake to you it’s always nice to have an extra magazine already in the pistol ready to go where all you have to do is train to draw it and employ the use of it without having to do a reload on your primary weapon which may get you into trouble and then there’s the I ran out of ammo with the primary weapon and need backup which as a non police officers civilian you don’t have. so in my honest opinion if you are properly trained to use and carry a backup pistol it’s not even a question do it!

    1. avatar Chrispy says:

      I’m not sure if English isn’t your first language, but you need to work on sentence structure. I’m not trying to be a jerk here, but I tried very carefully to follow along with what you’re trying to say and I cannot do it.

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        Captain Run-on thinks we should carry a BUG.

        1. avatar Chrispy says:

          I kinda thought so but that was hurting my brain

  28. avatar notalima says:

    “…ankle carry is about as comfortable as strapping a squirrel to your leg.”

    HEH! That made my morning. Thanks!

    Having carried a PPK in an ankle holster for years and years I can say it does get ‘normal’ after a while (even when chasing bad guys in a foot pursuit), but when I was first getting used to it…your comment is spot on. Love it.

    1. avatar Patrick Wider says:

      I’ve been carrying a Kahr PM9 in a padded Galco ankle holster for years. It’s by far the most comfortable rig in my extensive holster/handgun repertoire. Don’t know it’s there. Getting to it from a standing position quickly is a whole ‘nother story. From a crouch? – no problem. Problem is when I’m wearing shorts it prints like hell. (-:

  29. avatar mike oregon says:

    I carry 2 , I don’t think of primary/back up , but left/ right. They are both M&P40 s , I’m thinking about dynamic action, injury and options.

    1. avatar Joe ker says:

      Nice. You could holster them both up cross-draw and get a little ‘Wild Bill 2-gun cavalry twist-draw’ action going there (yes, I am being a wise-ass)

      1. avatar mike oregon says:

        Hi, Joe, Ker. (Full metal jacket reference), I’ve never tried duel welding, even when screwing around , thought about it, but I try to use range time/ammo wisely.

        1. avatar Joe ker says:

          Sounds like it would be fun to try at a private range some day though, doesn’t it? Hmmm, now you got me thinking… Not sure I have two holsters that would work for this. Anyway – did you ever put the Apex trigger and forward sear kit in your 40? It’s pretty awesome. (But actually, if you use your MP 40 for self defense, I wouldn’t recommend it)

      2. avatar Mark N. says:

        I’ve always wondered if “twist draw” was a Hollywood invention. The reason Cavalry carried its pistols reversed on the right hip was that it was drawn and fired with the left hand, while the right hand was full of the saber that was drawn from the left. Saber was the primary weapon during a charge, a pistol for the melee after. Infantry filed officers were the same–pistol in the left hand, sword in the right. Any foot soldier would only use pistols for hand to hand fighting as a last defense, as it takes two hands to handle the rifle; and such pistols were often belt carried cross draw.

        1. avatar Joe ker says:

          It’s a good question. I think from what historians say, Bill Hickok actually did use a 2-gun twist draw method. But who knows, a lot of that stuff was made up/embellished… but then again, some of it was true. It would make sense to carry two guns in those days, with cap and ball. And you’d think he would holster them the way he was used to from the Union Cavalry… so if I had to guess, I’d say he really did use a two gun twist draw.

  30. avatar James69 says:

    I always love the “experts” hell lets all put on our Batman utility belts………..

    BS- Folding pocket knife,small EDC gun ,phone(lawyer’s number). DONE.

    NO strobe lights,60,000 candlepower lights,lasers, breather masks, Quick-clot pressure bandage, extra mags,tazers,pepper spray,handcuffs,ponchos,batons,rope,compass,fire starter,whistle,CC Badge holder w/ permit.

    There are people that carry all this stuff, they are called COPS your not one of em’

    1. avatar C.Rogers says:

      Yeah.
      I know a guy who edc’s about 12 pounds of stuff. Including 2 cellphone chargers.

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        I carry a back pack with first-aid, para-cord, emergency shelter, protein bars, water bottle and other stuff. I think of it as my “Get home after the earthquake” kit.

        Sometimes I think I’m being a bit silly or overly cautious.

        12 pounds of gack for EDC is downright pathological.

        1. avatar int19h says:

          A proper place for a “get home after an earthquake” kit is in your car, unless you don’t have one or don’t normally use it. In most cases, a proper kit along these lines would be too large to carry on your person all the time, anyway. In my case, I work 30 miles away from where I live, and in an earthquake it’s very likely that large parts of the route to get back by car would be rendered unusable, so my kit is basically a 2-day hiking pack.

        2. avatar Swarf says:

          Mine too. Enough food and a filter water bottle to get us home. I’m going on the assumption that there will be water available to keep the bottle full. I’m in Seattle, so it’s likely.

          I don’t keep it in the car because I’m pretty sure a three story parking garage is not someplace I want to go poking around just after an earthquake.

          Not to mention the fact that my car has been broken in to there.

        3. avatar int19h says:

          >> I’m going on the assumption that there will be water available to keep the bottle full. I’m in Seattle, so it’s likely.

          Unfortunately, that depends a lot on the time of the year. Not that much easily accessible drinkable water around in these past three weeks or so. There are the lakes, sure (though you’d better be sure that your filter bottle can actually filter the crap in there out! carrying some NaDCC tablets would be advisable), but a lot of streams are dry or as near to make no difference.

          BTW, for this approach, I would suggest packing one of those straw-like filters that have threads that can screw on a bottle, and a soft water bottle. Sawyer sells these as a pack (http://www.amazon.com/Sawyer-Products-SP123-Filtration-System/dp/B00FBGCLSC/). Soft bottle can be rolled up and takes next to nothing then, and the straw is still plenty compact, and usable by itself as well.

          Anyway, it all depends on how far you would expect your typical walk home to be. If it’s close enough to get there on a trail bar or two, I can see how this could be carried on you. I live in North Bend and work in Redmond, so it’s more complicated. I actually have things like a pair of hiking shoes in the car for this reason, and plenty of water, in addition to the GHB itself (which has a sleeping bag among other things, so it’s not small by any measure). OTOH, living that far out also means that I’d have an easier time once I actually get home, of course 😉

        4. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “I work 30 miles away from where I live, and in an earthquake it’s very likely that large parts of the route to get back by car would be rendered unusable, so my kit is basically a 2-day hiking pack.”

          If you have the room in your vehicle, a fold-up mountain bike can get you home lots faster than the hiking boots.

          A few hours vs a few days.

        5. avatar int19h says:

          An interesting point. I don’t have a very roomy car, though. I could probably fit a folding bike there, but then I wouldn’t have much space for everything else (like groceries).

          It does make me think about considering a bigger car when it’s time for the next one, though.

        6. avatar int19h says:

          The more I’m thinking about it, the more I’m liking the idea. I’ve realized that, for one thing, I don’t actually have to carry it in the car all the time – even just having it stashed away at the work office would go a long way, since that’s the place outside of home where I spend most of my time anyway, so the chances of being there when the Big One (or whatever else) hits are greatest.

          Doesn’t even need to be a mountain bike – it’s not like the roads are magically going to vanish, either. It’s things like bridges and highway overpasses going down that I’m worried about, potentially blocking the route at choke points – but with any bike you can just dismount and drag it over or around the obstacle, and then continue on.

          Thanks again for the tip. It’s one of those that are “well, duh!” in retrospect, but I wouldn’t have ever thought about it myself.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      Ditto.

  31. avatar William B. says:

    I dunno. I think those who drive Mercedes-Benzes and carry pink eyeglass cases just might in fact need that backup gun. *Yes, I’m kidding; someone had to say it.*

    1. avatar Billy-bob says:

      Oh it’s an eyeglass case, couldn’t figure out why he had a pink princess phone.

      1. avatar Dustin says:

        I thought it might have been a “personal massager.”

  32. avatar Gunr says:

    If your EDC is not a revolver, then your risk of hearing a click are greater. There is simply, more to go wrong in an autoloader. And that’s not mentioning anything about the ammo.
    Of course the ammo can be bad in a revolver too, but it’s a lot quicker to just pull the bang stick again, than to jack in another round, or change mags.
    I carry either a 38 special revolver, or a Sig 938 in 9MM, but with either gun, I always have my little NAA 22 magnum in my pocket.
    I probably will never need it, but it gives me piece of mind, and that is worth a lot.

  33. avatar John in Ohio says:

    Good points. If I could afford the perfect small rifle or braced pistol, I would be carrying that everyday alongside my EDC sidearm. Since I can’t, I carry my sidearm in the open and a BUG in concealment. Usually that BUG is nothing more than an NAA mini or an SP101. However, I always carry a spare 1911 magazine for the auto or as a reload for the single action Vaquero (also in .45ACP). I don’t carry a “fighting knife” as I suck badly at defensive knife fighting. Using a Beltman horsehide belt, there aren’t any issues for me of “pants on the ground” or even close to it.

    Frankly, I don’t think that, after all of these years, I could get comfortable not carrying a second gun, even if it would be only a little NAA mouse. (I did stand off two drug heads with only that mouse gun once years ago. 😉 )

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Most folks don’t realize the potency of the lowly mouse gun, in 22 magnum. Of course they should only be used at “in you face” range.
      In close quarters like that, I’ll Guarantee you, If the bullet doesn’t put your assailant down, the blast will singe all the hair off his head, if you aim for his face or neck. Besides, he will have crapped his pants, which will probably have taken the will to fight out of him.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        They seem just made for the watch pocket on denim jeans. 😉

        ETA: I have a lanyard swivel on the lowest end of the frame so the NAA also can be worn on a neck chain. It disappears without a trace under a T-shirt. Not my usual mode of carry but I have used it for deeper concealment.

  34. avatar Accur81 says:

    If I’m know I’m going to a felony in progress, I carry 2-4 guns, spare ammo, body armor, 1-2 knives, pepper spray, baton, gloves, radio, less lethals, backup, etc. If I’m not suspecting trouble any more than usual, I carry 1 (occasionally 2) guns, spare ammo, and a knife.

    Cops have certainly have had their own weapons used against them, but I like the SEAL mentality more – 2 is 1 and 1 (if it fails) is none when trouble is afoot. Either way the guy armed with a single reliable handgun is much better prepared than any other potential victims.

    1. avatar Billy-bob says:

      No batarang or grappling hook?

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Just finished 2 felony stops in LA. Used what I described. 2 stolen Toyota Tacomas recovered, 2 10851 / 10751 arrests, 1 person of interest.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Did they, *cough*, resist arrest?

          🙂

  35. avatar Ralph says:

    I never carry a BUG. But I sometimes carry a second primary.

  36. avatar TravisP says:

    Carrying a back up gun or having a back up gun. I keep a full sized pistol in my car, in a small safe cable locked to my car’s seat, just an extra piece of just in case.

    1. avatar Nate says:

      I keep an AR15 snuggled in a Big Sky’s rack mounted under my trunk lid.

      Zombies aren’t getting my brain, I need it sometimes.

  37. avatar Nate says:

    But how can one be expected to dual wield without a second gun?

    http://www.scout.com/story/1549694-watch-double-barreled-1911-pistol-rapid-fire

    Problem solved, carry on.

  38. avatar Matt says:

    I carry a BUG, a 649, occasionally when I carry my model 27 for a few reasons.

    1 – Sometimes its easier to draw another gun then reload, especially with a revolver.
    2 – It increases my firepower by adding slight compensation for a lack of capacity (I live in a magazine restricted state).
    3 – It increases my firepower if I can arm a friend or family member in the few events that would be necessary.
    4 – It’s just fun to do sometimes. Like carrying your Deagle brand Deagle or your PPK when you wear a tuxedo or white dinner jacket or a single action revolver while riding around your ranch. Sometimes it is just fun to mix it up. At that point, I agree, it’s there for my personal satisfaction more than anything.

    At any rate, I agree in most cases it will never be deployed and it is generally impractical for this reason as well as double the exposure and double the risk. BUT, just like carrying an extra magazine or pepper spray or a knife or a phone or cash or credit cards from all major carriers or 10 ounces of gold in various denominations sewn into your jacket liner or ad infinitum, MAY give you a little bit of an extra edge, a BUG is in the same boat. So we roll the dice like with everything else.

    And FWIW I always have a spare pair of glasses in my backpack when I go to work or in my car/bike on long trips.

  39. avatar NotoriousAPP says:

    You pic looks like one from everydaycarry.com. Has anyone else noticed that since they merged with another similar every day carry website ~ 1 year ago that you no longer see pistols in the everydaycarry pics? I sent them an email asking if they ban pictures with firearms in them but they never responded. I need to take a picture of my everydaycarry gear (including pistol) and see if they post it. I encourage everyone else to do the same.

  40. avatar John L. says:

    Reason #4: state law (as in New Mexico) prohibits carrying more than one firearm if one of them is concealed.

    Don’t ask me why, apparently it was part of the compromise needed to get concealed carry passed in the first place.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Now THAT’S weird.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        It’s one way to keep a biker gang from using their one felony-free member as a rolling armory.

  41. avatar John Boch says:

    It’s all about clicks.

    And Robert is baiting us to take issue with a very one-sided piece.

    Carping about whether or not to carry a backup gun for a beginner is like arguing colors of toilet paper.

    Here’s an even bigger reason *beginners* shouldn’t carry a backup gun: They need to get used to carrying their primary guns.

    Once they move past that, then a BUG becomes a valid consideration.

    Why do I carry one? Because my lovely wife isn’t yet licensed (we’re working on that) but she can pull a trigger when appropriate with a reasonable expectation that she’ll hit what she’s aiming at. Furthermore, if she’s not there and someone I know and trust is, suddenly I’ve just doubled the number of good guys who can stop a bad person with evil in their heart.

    Why else? Sometimes I’m in a gun free zone.

    Why else? Because I effin’ can. And I want to.

    The bigger discussion, Robert, is why in the flip aren’t you carrying a goddamn flashlight every effin’ day.

    That is all.

    JOhn

    1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

      Worked didn’t it?

    2. avatar Gunr says:

      “Like arguing colors of toilet paper”,
      no matter where I go, I can’t find brown, I mean, WTF!

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        Well… eventually.

    3. avatar AJ187 says:

      I agree with everything you said John. Robert, if weight is a concern consider seriously for a few minutes some suspenders. I just bought a pair of these: Perry Suspenders Mens Elastic 2 Inch Wide Comfort Outback Side Clip Suspenders for like 30 bucks off amazon. Acts like a shoulder holster that attaches directly to your carry belt. A wife beater helps with the comfort factor and it really helps carry the load around. If you don’t like it, return it for free. It could change your whole outlook on your EDC. Stay Safe!

  42. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    You’re doing fine RF. I have no advice except be armed. BTW I couldn’t enlarge the pic but is that your DL with your address on it?!? Yikes…Hey just watching Inside Edition with the kid with a drone gun-crazy boy…

  43. avatar Justin says:

    The best solution would probably be to carry Massad Ayoob around with you. The second best would probably be a rifle, body armor, sidearm, etc.

    It’s all a compromise. Finding the sweet spot between security, comfort and practicality is key. And that can vary between a lot of people. Just as no one gun fits everyone (shut up, Glock people), no one load-out will fit everyone.

  44. avatar Shawn says:

    Makes sense. Never carry a backup because you will NEVER get a primer squib from factory loads like I did at the range yesterday. Fortunately there was a gunsmith right there will tools to clear it for me. Never carry a backup…..carry a gunsmith.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      There ya go…

      I carry a backup gun because a gunsmith is too heavy.

      🙂

  45. avatar Vee says:

    The odds are already lower than a snake’s belly that you’ll ever need any gun in the first place.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      Never tell me the odds.

      1. avatar Rambeast says:

        Every time these words appear, Harrison Ford narrates them in my head. It’s a curse.

        1. avatar derek says:

          you misspelled blessing

  46. avatar skiff says:

    A J frame 649 “bodyguard” in a Ken Null ankle holster works fine for me.

  47. avatar Dustin says:

    My primary is a BUG… Floriduh SUCKS.

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