Tiger McKee [via tacticalwire.com] writes:
You would never leave home without your electronic “I-thing,” yet the majority of those who carry pistols never consider the need for a secondary or back-up pistol. Fights, especially defensive confrontations, never go as planned. You’re presented a unique problem. There’s a very short amount of time to come up with a solution and apply the skills necessary to solve the problem. Having a pistol is a good start. Having two pistols is even better . . .
A big reason for carrying a spare pistol -this applies to flashlights or anything else that your life may depend on – is that anything mechanical can stop working. If you have a malfunction you can clear it, provided you have time and distance. The problem with malfunction drills on the range is that you’re setting up a stoppage in a pistol that doesn’t really have a problem. You clear the stoppage and continue firing. In real life when a malfunction occurs it could be a problem with that one round of ammo, but it may be a mechanical problem with your pistol. That means you clear the stoppage, fire a shot, clear another stoppage, fire a round, clear the stoppage – – you get the idea. A spare pistol allows you to transition to a working weapon.
We often refer to primary and secondary weapons. The pistol on my side is my primary. The one on my ankle is the secondary. But, the primary/secondary roles can change. When I’m curled up on the ground in the fetal position or sitting in my truck the weapon on my ankle may become the primary because it’s quicker to get to. I’m injured in my strong hand or arm. The secondary pistol may be easier to acquire than the one on my side strong side.
A back-up weapon allows me to arm a friend or partner. I’d rather have an armed partner, an exponential advantage, than an unarmed partner, although they could still assist me with the problem.
What type weapon is a good secondary choice? That depends on you. I like “J” frame revolvers in .38 Special. The ol’ .38 is a good round, especially with the advances over the past few years in ammo design and function. I carry a “K” Frame .357 a lot on my side. I carry spare .38 ammo, which fits both weapons.
After you decide on what type back-up pistol and where you’re going to carry then it’s time for training, practice, and consistency. You train to get an introduction to the techniques required to use two pistols. Practice is mandatory to learn these skills. Consistency is mandatory. Once you start carrying a back-up pistol you always carry it. Training, practice and knowledge won’t do any good if you don’t have the secondary weapon on you. Learning to work effectively with multiple weapons requires more training and practice than carrying one pistol. It’s worth it.
Carrying two pistols is not being paranoid. It’s being prepared. Self-defense is a personal responsibility. Invest the time and effort required to ensure you’re ready.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, writes for several firearms/tactical publications. He’s featured on GunTalk’s DVD, Fighting With The 1911