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Gemini Customs Smith & Wesson 642 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Tiger McKee [via] 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

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  1. Sigh.

    Here we go again…..based on my amateur apprasial of real life self defense reports, if your gun stops running for any reason during the fight…you’re fucked.Period.

    Either the bad guys hit the bricks, or hell shoot you dead before your hand even reaches for the magazine release on the primary…or a holster for the secondary.

    Speaking of that, why should a non uniformed civilian consider a BUG? The likelihood of even shooting the “primary” gun is miniscule , much less the primary failing and requiring a secondary pistol to get out of the situation.Short of a crack Spetznatz team raiding our homes, well likely never even need to shoot the primary gun.

    BTW:I sure hope whoever you pass the backup gun to has training in lawful use of deadly force, or you’ll have to answer for why your relative or spouse shot someone against the color of law with a gun you gave them.

    Final note:we don’t carry spare cell phones or backup debit cards, despite using and losing those items far more often.There’s a place for tactical planning, but Lady Luck gets the final say no matter how prepared we may be.Lets not sink to the level of packing an M60 in the suitcase for those high risk mobile evolutions to Wal-Mart.

    • Have to agree here. The odds of a defensive gun fight are tiny compared to other life dangers, but the value of what we risk losing if they go bad warrants concealed carry because it is not overly onerous to other quality of life items and may give you the chance to save something precious – a life.

      The odds of a defensive gunfight where a BUG makes the critical difference are infinitesimal for civilians. And carrying one is a burden in comfort, cost, and convenience. If you’re going to worry about needing two guns, all the time, then you need to be similarly worried about lightning strikes, shark attacks, meteors, and other incredibly unlikely scenarios. There’s a word for irrational concern of highly unlikely events: phobia or paranoia, depending on context.

      Nick’s stats article just noted that 12,000 people die annually from falls. Do you wrap yourself in bubble wrap every time you leave the bed? Of course not. It’s more trouble than it’s worth. Similarly, for civilians backup guns offer the same kind of diminishing returns. If your Glock/Springfield/S&W/CZ or similarly death-and-taxes carry gun shits the bed at a critical moment, just accept that the universe decided this is your time to go. You prepared as best a reasonable person could and still lost the odds game. Don’t be mad. We’re all gonna check out one day anyway.

    • ^This. All of it, and in spades.

      This is my main problem with these “firearms academies” – they are very good at what they do and what they teach, but where exactly do they think people are living and what threats do they think your average Joe may actually be facing on a daily basis?

      We see frequent discussions here on the difficulty of concealing our EDC. Now we have to figure out how to conceal a second gun, a flashlight, a knife, spare magazines, (just try to conceal a speed loader or two for a revolver), a first aid kit and maybe MREs for three days? WTF?

      These guys hopefully make a good living and provide a service to their clients, but can we get realistic about the equipment needs and training levels for the majority of people who do not seek out nor live near where such levels of preparedness are even a remotely possible necessity?

      I have heard of (once) a Smith & Wesson wheel gun having a critical malfunction. Semi-autos are more problematic, but if you buy and carry a quality pistol with ammunition that you have practiced with and know is reliable in THAT pistol I would expect the chances of an un-correctable malfunction during the statistically unlikely event you will ever need that weapon to be on a par with being hit by a meteor.

      There are millions of gun owners out here who want and need realistic, reasonable, and inexpensive basic instruction on how to use the weapons we can afford to own and carry every day. Where is the training for us?

      • I can actually make more sense out of a backup gun than mulitple reloads. I mean, it’s a small chance that a gun will malfunction, but it *is* a chance right? But I have a hard time imaging a fight so nasty that I need to reload 2-3x.

    • What ST said.
      But of course, writers/instructors/trainers will still keep playing that need up, because that’s their thing. Meanwhile, if we in the hoi polloi feel insecure enough about needing backup (you know, as in “oh jeez, what if x/y/z happens! I need a BUG, and I need to get trained on how to use it”), then that feeds the whole system. Manufacturers and experts all happy. But then there’s a saturation point. And then you ask yourself “Wait, what if I’m in a “situation” where I want to arm two friends? What if I can’t reach my primary or my secondary carry? Wait for it…
      You need a BUBUG!

    • “Final note:we don’t carry spare cell phones or backup debit cards, despite using and losing those items far more often.”

      Wrong. I do carry a spare debit card. I used to think I’d never need one, but then came the day when my primary debit card stopped working for no apparent reason. Turns out someone had got the number and made fraudulent purchases with it. My bank detected the purchases and did the right thing: They cancelled the card. While this thankfully stopped the thief from emptying my bank account, it also left me with no means of accessing my money unless I went to the bank when they were open.

      Now I carry a spare card with a different number that can access the same account to supplement my primary one so this won’t happen again. And while I don’t carry a spare cell phone, I know plenty of people who do.

      So no, there is nothing wrong with carrying a backup gun. Sure it’s unlikely we’ll ever use it, but so what? If we were not concerned with things that were unlikely, we wouldn’t carry a gun in the first place. If you prepare of the unlikely, there is nothing wrong with preparing for the extra unlikely, so long as you don’t get carried away.

    • I carry a BUG frequently because I carry two revolvers. I think it was Masaad Ayoob who said sometimes its easier/quicker to draw a second gun than reload the first. This is especially true for me being a south paw so reloading is a little bit slower for me.

      I do carry backup to my debit card, namely the other 4 cards in my wallet and cash.

      I do carry a backup to my cell phone, the ability to find a pay phone or ask a business to use their phone.

      I think you are blowing it out of proportion. Sure I agree there is a point where enough is enough but a backup gun in place of 3 magazines might make more sense for a person’s wardrobe, strategy, ability, etc.

      Lets us also not ignore that this argument is dangerously close to a favorite of the antis; I can just hear it now. “But do you really NEED two guns on you?”

  2. It’s not that I haven’t considered it, it’s that it’s too much for everyday use. The odds that I’ll need to use a handgun in self defense are already low. The odds that my carry gun will malfunction in a way that cannot be solved by simply replacing the magazine and racking the slide are pretty low too. The odds of those two events happening at the same time are astronomically slim.

    At some point you need to draw the line between being “more prepared” and refusing to strap on another 1-2 pounds of gear. One gun’s enough for me. If I need two, I probably shouldn’t be going there anyway.

    • Where’s “there”, anyway? “There” is everywhere and anywhere. It’s not just a matter of you avoiding bad neighborhoods or rough bars.

      You have to avoid the Starbucks where the woman in line behind you is going through a vicious divorce with a psychotic husband. You have to avoid the museum where the disgruntled ex-employee shows up to exact revenge. You have to avoid your own front yard where a police chase comes to a head as the fleeing armed robbery suspect randomly selects your neighborhood as part of his getaway route.

      These things can happen anywhere and don’t necessarily conform to expected dangers. How one prepares is an individual decision, of course, but I’m not sure the decision is improved by trying to fine tune the risk profiles.

      • Jonathan — Houston: You make the best option sound like a safe room with a comfy bean bag and a TV.
        Oh, and a mini-bar.

      • Perhaps. I didn’t create this world, I just live in it. Thing is, those aren’t even hypotheticals, but rather ripped from the headlines, as they say. You kind of caught me on an exceptionally head-shaking day as I read what goes on out there.

        I don’t have the answers, but I’m about equally confident that neither a bunker nor surrender is among the serious answers. Just have to figure out a balance of preparation and probability of loss that you can live with. But you’re right, you can’t become a prisoner to all of the possibilities. You have to live your life, after all.

    • “One gun’s enough for me. If I need two, I probably shouldn’t be going there anyway.”

      Now THAT’S a perfect example of “common sense gun control.”

  3. Unless my job takes me to dangerous places on a routine basis, I’m not planning on ever toting around two guns. What if the second gun malfunctions? Whelp, guess I need a tertiary carry gun too. And a knife. Oh, can’t forget the keyring kuboton and pocket-size bear spray.

    You can ride that train all day. For me, a gun and a knife. Seems reasonable.

    Now a trunk gun…that is something I’m looking at with some serious thought. I already have a nickel-matte Ithaca DSPS 12-gauge that I wouldn’t need to worry about corrosion or moisture, but I’m also considering plurging on a pistol-caliber carbine.

    • “Hey you! Carry a backup gun!”

      Sounds like something a guy named Tiger who directs a firearms academy and writes for gun publications would say.

      Nothing against him…I think he just might live in a different world than a lot of us.

  4. If I am going somewhere I may need it I carry 2 BUG’s My main would be my 45 BUG 1 my M9 Bug 2 my 38 snubby.

    • God bless, Texas. As much static as we catch for a supposedly unearned reputation for gun friendliness, at least we’re free to carry as many as we can carry.

      I choose two. I picked up a .380 ACP pistol with a wallet holster, because I needed something lighter for suit pants than my G26 in an IWB holster. Plus I figured I could present it better in a mugging scenario as I reached as directed for my “wallet.”

      Many times now, whether in winter wearing a coat or on weekends wearing jeans, I find myself carrying both firearms. It’s not just a primary/secondary relationship, it’s also a matter of what type a threat I’m facing. In an active shooting where I have *some* kind of response time, compared to a mugging, I’d go for the G26 to cover my and whomever’s escape.

      • Has anybody polled Massad Ayoob regarding his opinion of what a prosecutor and/or a jury will think when they learn that you not only (Gasp!) carry a concealed weapon, but that you (OMG!) think it is necessary to carry TWO?

        • Put an NC State Police officer on stand in ready for duty outfit: Two guns on the belt. A third poorly hidden on the ankle. I suspect a fourth somewhere else.

      • I just resigned myself that that appearances ship had sailed when I started wearing a really comfortable t-shirt I received as a gift that reads “The hardest part about the Zombie Apocalypse will be pretending I’m not excited.”

  5. A backup gun can also add functionality that your primary does not have.
    While the .410 derringer gets short shrift here, carrying one as a backup
    also gives you a flexible platform with capabilities that other handguns simply
    do not have.

    While one does have to draw the line somewhere, carrying a backup gun does
    make sense for many, especially as weapons are getting smaller and lighter.

  6. If we must have 2 guns, why aren’t we all slinging rifles or carbines over our shoulders, and using the handgun as a backup? Because that would be overkill. Yet somehow 2 gun John Woo style is perfectly acceptable.

  7. I do repos in a lot if bad neighborhoods so I carry a compact gun on my hip and a full size on my passenger seat in a compartment clipboard. Now normal off work days I keep an old sears 30-30 as a trunk rifle

  8. Nope, too mall ninja for me. I don’t carry a spare mag, much less a spare gun. Nor do I carry a flashlight and pepper spray (I have never even purchased pepper spray.) But then again, I don’t hang out in bad places with bad people, and in the rare event I would become involved in a DGU it would be in the parking lot at the mall or the grocery store, not some dimly lit lot adjacent to a low life bar.

    First, Statistics suggest that most DGUs do not involve gun fire. Second, even the DGUs that involve gun fire rarely involve more that five rounds. Third, the odds of a modern handgun failing are very low, particularly where the carry ammo has been tested for consistency in firing and loading, and where the firearm is well maintained. Sure there is Murphy’s law, but even Murphy’s law is a statistical outlier. Fourth, most DGUs occur within 5-10 feet, not the 21 feet of a Tueller drill, unless you’re inside your own home, and there what you are carrying is not a concern. Finally, most DGUs are over in a matter of seconds, and the odds that you will even have a chance to get to Plan B is extremely low.

    If it makes you happy, go for it. But it certainly is not “necessary.”

    • I don’t see anything wrong with carrying a spare mag if you carry a semi-auto and I’m definitely not a mall ninja. Will you need it? Probably not. But it’s not a huge deal.

      • I didn’t mean to suggest that there is anything wrong with carrying a spare, I was only stating that I don’t. I have a lot of crap in my pockets already, and don’t care to add to the mass, and am willing to take the miniscule risk that not carrying a spare is something I will later regret.

  9. I’m not a cop on patrol. I’m just an ordinary Joe(l) who carries in order to give myself a fighting chance in the infinitesimally (spell check please) tiny chance that I’ll wind up in the type of life or death scenario that would cause me to use my gun. So no, no BUG, no PR-26 baton, stun gun, mace, asp, fighting stars, nunchuks (spell check please), etc., etc. Just my S&W BG-380, one extra mag and my well honed sense of situational awareness (you learn that growing up in Jersey City).

  10. I carry a Ruger LCR .357 as my primary but it would serve admirably as a backup gun too.

    If I were a cop or armed security in a bad area I’d carry a backup gun but for the most part I don’t feel that it’s necessary. YMMV.

      • I like it a lot. It handles .357 mag 125gr defensive rounds real well. 158 grainers are going to kick a bit but if you hold it with both hands it’s not a problem.

        Above all else, I love the concealability. I carry it a cheapo Uncle Mike’s pocket holster every day either in shorts or Levi’s relaxed fit jeans.

        The other day I had a nifty XS tritium night sight I bought installed on it for $20 bucks. Works well.

  11. Well said Jay! I echo the sentiment that Tiger is a little over the top. I’m not law enforcement and don’t live in Detroit. I’ll pass on the BUG.

    Keys & wallet.

    The rest is in the car/truck.

  12. “You would never leave home without your electronic “I-thing,””

    …okay, I do sometimes, so maybe this article doesn’t apply to me as I don’t need a half-dozen accessories everywhere I go.

    There’s a line between preparedness and paranoia. Everyone has to draw it for themselves. But unless I’m doing something out of the ordinary, the series of events that would have to take place for me to need not only a handgun but a secondary concealed gun are beyond what I consider reasonable.

  13. What’s more ridiculous than carrying no gun while scoffing at someone carrying one gun?

    Carrying one gun while scoffing at someone carrying two guns.

    The difference from no gun to one gun is about a mile, whereas, the difference from one gun to two guns is about a foot.

    The way I see it, if you carry one gun then you’ve already gone 95% down the path to carrying two guns. So, if you’re of the mindset you might need one gun, why is being of the mindset you might need two guns so absurd?

    • Lets say I have a 1 in a 100 change of needing my gun to save my life. I have a quality weapon firing quality ammunition so lets say that there is a 1 in a 100 chance of my weapon having a malfunction. I spent 6 years in the Army and know that the vast majority of malfunctions can be corrected in one or two seconds by a “Tap Rack Bang” (SPORTS for rifles POPS for machine guns) so lets say there is a 1 in a 100 chance of your immediate action not fixing the pistol. The difference between carrying one gun or two is the difference between preparing for a 1 in 100 scenario and preparing for 1 in 1,000,000.

      • No doubt, as far as malfunctions are concerned.

        However, the arming of an unarmed person cannot be done by “tap, rack, bang.”

        I frequently carry an extra weapon for my GF, or other family members, whom choose not to carry.

        If the truck runs out of gas, I can leave my BUG with my GF and walk to get gas.

        While running into the store to grab something quickly, I can leave her in vehicle with a weapon without being disarmed myself.

        There are dozens of situations where you can leave a weapon with a loved one, who you know to be competent with firearm, but doesn’t carry regularly, without disarming yourself.

        That’s my main concern, but apparently, I’m a paranoid lunatic for being concerned with it.

  14. I have been in a situation where I was ambushed before I could get my hand on my gun. Only because I had trained in hand to hand combat and a close quarters martial art did I prevail. A back up is nice, but if you aren’t a weapon unto yourself you need to make it so. We should never be one dimensional warriors. You should be feared where you stand, not what you display in your hand.

    • I have to agree with this one. If you cannot defend yourself in hand to hand, you are missing a big edge.

    • That’s a solid point. Instead of looking for a secondary firearm, carriers should look for options that avoid using even the primary firearm? Whether that means developing a hand-to-hand fighting capability, greater situational awareness, projecting confidence, use of something nonlethal, etc. is all open to debate. But the key take away is to try to move away from doing better what we should be trying to avoid doing at all.

    • Some of us can’t run a block to avoid an attack, have lost whatever hand speed we might have once possessed, and are old, stiff, arthritic, overweight, permanently injured or otherwise physically disabled. Our warrior days are memories and dreams, not realistic options. For us, a gun does nicely.

      • I frequently hold my GF’s hands together by her wrists while rough housing, I only need one hand to do it.

        She’s couldn’t fight her way out of paper sack, I would rather her have 9 guns than go hand-to-hand with a adult male.

    • To expand on what Mark says above, what the Hell s wrong with you people? A significant percentage of average people either cannot or will not devote the time/money/energy necessary to learn hand-to hand combat, THAT’s why we carry a gun. I get so tired of people who CAN do these things looking with contempt on people who could not do it on a bet, no matter how hard they might try.

      What abut my 87 year old mother with a pacemaker? What about my 5’1″, 105 pound ex-wife? Do we all have to train to be unarmed killing machines before we rise above your contempt? I’m 63 years and overweight, showing the wear and tear of the years, and I couldn’t run 100 yards regardless of circumstances. Am I to be ridiculed because I don’t take martial arts classes every week?

      This elitist attitude toward training does no good for most people because it does not reflect the realities of the world most of us live in.

      • Cliff? Take a breath. As an instructor who has personally trained his own middle-aged amputee sister in handgun proficiency, I get it. No one’s being elitest and prescribing a one size fits all solution. No one’s saying to go five rounds MMA style with some methed up street thug, either.

        Most criminals are just bullies who, like all bullies, control through fear. Overcoming that involves developing a means of defending yourself. So you work with what you have. If all you have is a firearm, then your last resort just became your first resort, and that decision will be scrutinized after a DGU. If you’re prickly about that in here, then you’re really going to want to have a good lawyer on speed dial, because it won’t be any less uncomfortable or elitist coming from a detective or prosecutor.

        Be safe out there, man, and God bless.

        • Jonathan, my reply was really in response to Cyrano’s comment, not anything you said. It is his attitude, and I have run across it too many times over the years, that everybody should “Just DO it!” while not giving any consideration to the people who CAN’T do it, that set me off.

          Over the millenia we have developed better and better tools with which to accomplish things we used to do by hand and/or brute force. Modern firearms are some of these tools and need to be seen as the equalizers and labor-saving devices that they are. Other wise we would all be wandering the streets with big clubs and the strongest and most ruthless would simply take whatever they want.

  15. Funny thing… some times I carry one… some times I carry two but I never carry the one without the other….

    SR1911, S&W 500 with 8 3/8” barrel… The 1911 is my primary the 500 the back up… if im in town the 500 is a no go… if im out of town i want to see the damage a 500 does, err i mean 500 is go to…

  16. I like the idea of a few guns on me but I can’t afford a second heater that i’d trust my life with, and then unless we’re staying with the same controls full size and commander or a k frame and j frame, i don’t think i could commit enough ammo or time to train with them enough. KISS right?

  17. A back up gun, back up magazines, a back up knife, a back up flashlight. . . . Back the truck up! Who has that many pockets? Plus a wallet (back up wallet?) And phone (back up phone?) Headphones, sunglasses, contact solution, 2 sets of keys, earplugs, chap stick, handfull of change, phone charger. . .i need a tactical mary poppins bag. . . And a back up!

  18. In my youth, I did some extradition work for the state prison system. An FBI agent once asked me what gun I carried. ” A Smith Model 39″ I told him. “And back-up?” he asked. “I don’t have one!” “Well, you’ll probably never need the 39 but, if you do, you’ll probably need a back-up, too!” he said. I remember it well, even though I’m now an OFWG. I now carry a Glock Model 36 with Crimson Trace in my RF pocket, and another Model 36 with guide rod laser on my left ankle. Seated, I can’t get the pocket pistol out, but the ankle is reachable. Standing, I can get to both of them, but the pocket is easier. Paranoid? I’ve carried for over fifty years, and never drawn in fear or anger. But I’ve frequently felt better knowing I was armed and able . . .

  19. I can’t even carry one legally where I live. If I pop a bad guy, no matter how justified, they’ll use the second gun to paint me as a vigilante.

  20. I carry 2 backup guns every day, 20 inches in circumference and answer to the collective name “The guns of Navarone”. You don’t mess with the power of the pythons. *kisses the biceps*

    Otherwise one firearm is enough.

  21. “A back-up weapon allows me to arm a friend or partner.”

    This is by far and away the most compelling reason — and a very compelling reason at that — to carry a back-up handgun.

    • If you are THAT paranoid, or the places you frequent are THAT dangerous, why the Hell are you travelling with any companion that is not ALSO carrying two pistols?

      • An armed robbery can happen anywhere, any time. If there are two or three armed robbers, I certainly hope a friend or fellow patron is armed as well. And if they are not armed, I certainly hope they will gladly borrow my backup gun and put it to good use.

        Additionally, a group of criminals/terrorists could attack a shopping mall or school while I am there. As in the armed robbery scenario, I want as many good people to be armed as possible to resist the attackers.

        Those are two situations that can happen in any location, no matter how crime-free that location has been in the past.

      • My friends kids, both under the age of 16, can shoot very well. I would toss one my 1911, if we cane under fire. If anything happens to me and my friend since we would be his kids first line of defense, at least they will still have a chance.

        Just because the 2A applies to everyone regardless of the arm, age, and/or gender we do not get to actually get to enjoy our rights like we should be able to.

  22. A BUG is not a bad idea, if you can stand the extra weight and hassle. Probably the best argument for the super micro 380s (LCP, TCP, 3AT Kahr p380 etc), a NAA mini revolver, or Bad Bad Leroy Brown’s “32 gun in my pocket for fun”… now if you are carrying a pair of full sized Glock brand Glocks in a double Shoulder rig unless you are in Detroit, Flint, or Gary IN it might be a little overkill.
    As for carrying a pocket knife, I think everyone should, and I have since I was 10 or so. Its just the most useful tool a person can carry around… Does anyone else feel not quite fully dressed with out a pocket knife?

  23. Sometimes I carry a second pistol but only because sometimes the weather is cold enough to carry a larger pistol and so I do. And I don’t bother to take my LCP out of my back pocket. So voila, I happen to have two pistols.

  24. For a cop on duty, others who walk in harm’s way, yep.

    Otherwise, maybe consider a less risky lifestyle.

    • Nor do I, and I am on the younger end of the spectrum. My flip phone works just fine, thank you very much.

  25. I can see carrying a backup gun. You never know when you could be at your wife’s Christmas party and a group of criminals masquerading as terrorists crashes the party; or real terrorists take over the mall although I would prefer the extra ammo instead of another six shooter; or you are taken hostage and the kidnappers are too stupid to pat you down. You could also find yourself set upon by gangbangers who think you are a member of a rival gang. Now back to the real world.

    The two most likely scenarios an average citizen will face are a home invader or a mugger. If someone breaks into your home then your handgun is already your backup gun to a shotgun or rifle.. No need to walk around the house with hog leg. If you are out on the street and you let a mugger get close enough to you it’s your primary or nothing. What are you going to do if your primary fails and your attacker is almost on top of you? Call a thirty second timeout? You could find yourself at the sight of spree shooting or terrorist attack but then you are better off with a pound and half more ammunition then a fairly useless small caliber revolver or automatic.

    It is time for The Truth About Some Gun Gurus. Most of them want you to live in their fantasy world. Don’t do it! Whether it is this kind advice about a backup gun or some guru telling you that you can’t survive an attack unless you have had force-on-force training ignore what they say unless you have a legitimate reason to have tactical training beyond drawing your weapon, hitting a target moving toward you and a basic understanding of cover, concealment and movement.

    • And in the real world, where most of us live, even if you MISS the target moving towards you the chances are extremely good that he will be moving AWAY from you at a high rate of speed before you can line up the second shot.

  26. I only would consider carrying a BUG to defend myself against coyotes while deer and rabbit hunting in the suburban fringe.

    Just in case my primary sidearm fails.
    And my rifle.
    And my shotgun.
    And my really big machete that I carry for hacking my way thru the bush.
    And my skinning knife.
    And my leatherman equipped with special gunsmith tools.
    And my hiking stick.
    And my common sense.
    And my car (oops dont have a car)

  27. Fairly recently I took my j frame, my primary house carry gun, to the ranges. An ammo malfunction shut the weapon down completely. Now i carry the j frame in the house and upstairs and downstairs I have other guns staged to back it up.

    Will we ever face a situation where we need our backups? I hope not. But it’s an effort I’m willing to expend.

    That old argument of when It’s your time to go is bogus. A couple of times in my life I should have checked out, but I dug in and made it thru.

    As for what kind of bad places do you hang around to need that kind of firepower. Also a bogus argument. Was Sandy Hook elemtary in a dive part of town at a bad hour on Dec. 14th?

    I have repeatedly bashed the need for HS/LD training on this site. But carrying a BUG isn’t about that. It’s about spitting in that motherfucker Murphy’s face.

    • Well said, sir. My usual backup to my Glock 27 or 23 is a knife. My backup to my cell phone is yelling loudly. My backup / only flashlight is my cell phone. I’m considering an LC9 or LCP as an on duty / off duty backup. My wife’s weapon is a Taser C2. My backup designated driver is a taxi – oops, off topic.

      Sometimes you can carry a backup, which is swell, and other times you just gotta keep calm and carry on. There have been times on duty that I would have liked to have had a backup, but it is also another gun / holster / ammo source that needs to be tracked. Since I’m still here, I haven’t need a backup handgun. I have used a handgun as a reserve during felony stops / searches / and arrests.

    • Hear, hear!

      The accusations of paranoia and statements about “needs” sound dangerously like those from the anti folks.

      Apparently, some of the guys on here took a page or two out of the MDA and the Brady Campaign play book.

  28. I’m blessed to live in a fairly low crime area while cursed with a job that puts me in frequent contact with the least desirable elements of it. I also absolutely love guns so I may be rationalizing my risk a bit, however: I routinely carry a back up gun.
    There are several good reasons to carry a back up gun, at least for me, but uncorrectable malfunction of the primary isn’t even a remote concern (seriously, when was the last time your quality pistol locked up to the point that a tap-rack drill didn’t fix it?)
    There is a lot of talk about weight and storage and you’re apt to think I jest when I tell you what my EDC consists of and how I store it, particularly in light of the biggest reason I carry a BUG.
    Five days a week I go to work in a suit and tie, and it’s a little suit-38 short coat and 30-32 pants. I don’t have big pockets or huge amounts of real estate on my body for carry and concealment and yet I make it work; a tactical folder, an iPhone, either a 1911 (full size) or XPS9 as primary (4 0’clock belt) and always with 2 spare mags, a tactical flashlight and a S&W BG-.380 backup with a spare mag (ankle). Plus I have two sets of keys, wallet, money clip, id/badge, cigarettes, lighter, pen, sunglasses, business card carrier and any incidental items specific to that day (hint, it requires use of all 9-11 pockets in a suit plus a belt, suspenders and a vest). All this and I’m often told I look very nice but am never told I appear to be armed despite the fact that from my underclothes to fully dressed and equipped I gain nearly 11 pounds or about 8% of my body weight in clothes and gear.

    Consider this: I didn’t look at what I wanted to carry and then strap it on. I started with a pocket knife and a little money when I was 7 or 8 years old and slowly over 30 years added things as I saw I need for them and I do mean a need. If there were one item (aside from the guns) that wasn’t getting used on at least a weekly basis I’d dump it in a heart-beat and I’ve actually considered dropping all my spare mags except one for my primary. The thing about critical gear is that it gets used the least but when you need it nothing is more important (picture not having a pen when you need it Vs not having a gun and ammo when you need those). It’s also not a one way street. As my life and job have changed I’ve dropped some items and picked up others.

    Am I comfortable? Well, I’m used to it. I suppose that going from flip flops, baggy shorts and a tee shirt with little EDC to what I’m wearing/carrying would be actually painful for a great many people and I’m not suggesting that everyone carry my load-out. It works for me but I’m highly motivated to spend the money and the time and suffer the physical discomfort for the peace of mind my equipment brings.
    Now for why the second gun: I’m not a large man nor particularly athletic. My concern is not the failure of my primary it’s being disarmed by a larger more powerful opponent or having to discard my primary to avoid being disarmed while engaged in a physical altercation. The BUG is my insurance policy that if divested of my primary and given the opportunity I still have something to fight back with.
    Perhaps I’m paranoid, and it’s a strong perhaps when one considers what I go through to conceal so much equipment. On the other hand regardless of what my motivation is I’m very highly motivated to have such a load out. If you’re not that’s fine, maybe even better. I prefer my EDC and it comforts me. You should probably carry what comforts you. Do you NEED a BUG? Almost certainly not, but if carrying one makes you happy you don’t need to feel like you’re over board or paranoid. As Clint Smith famously said ‘Carrying a gun should be comforting, not comfortable.’

  29. A back up weapon maybe a better idea, knife, tazer type, mace..
    I sometimes carry a gun in the car that is more easily accessible than my concealed gun.
    But, I think a BUG is not really needed as a civilian,

  30. Why would you mention malfunctions when you carry revolvers? Insead of carrying two revolvers, just get into the 21st and get any double stack pistol. With the subcompacts of the day they are plenty concealable.

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