There is no doubting that I am a big fan of carrying a firearm for personal protection. So, is carrying a second firearm twice as good then?
It really doesn’t matter
We just finished another Concealed Carry Combatives class in Las Vegas last week with lots of lessons learned. This class focuses on being danger close to your opponent and how best to create time and space. The emphasis is working towards superior position and superior weaponry. I love the quote, “everyone has a plan, until you get punched in the face.” No truer words have been said about fighting in close proximity. It is pretty reasonable that a crime committed against you will begin at ultra close range. You may carry concealed and it could be a super tricked out death ray blaster, but if you cannot access it in the fight it doesn’t really matter.
One of one is none
So, putting aside the access part and focusing on the old “one of one is none” theory would carrying a second firearm be advantageous in this situation. Imagine a scuffle, a fight to not only stay on your feet, but to get to your gun. We do a great drill that has you going hard for about 20-30 seconds, then resting for 10-15 before you go back at it switching roles. I love it because it is both about intensity and durability. Lots of learned lessons for sure in this drill, but a big one is your gear. After this drill you learn what you like and what you really don’t like. Trying to keep someone off you is demanding, so trying to get to your gun, much less a second gun is probably not in the cards. If the opportunity presents itself you will more than likely go to your primary. However, I would highly recommend carrying a fixed blade to compliment your firearm. At close range the lethality is without question, but access and employment can be faster and generally more effective in this situation.
Second pistol, now what
The other problem we see is how do you carry the second pistol? About the only way that would be sufficient would be a holster that meets all the same criterion your primary holsters has to meet. It would more than likely put the holster on your weak side hip, which is fine. With practice a weak side draw from the hip can be very effective. By effective I mean in both time and accuracy relevant to the fight at hand. You will probably not be as good, which is why we have a weak side and a strong side. Further down the rabbit hole, I think it is a pipe dream to expect in the middle of a scuffle you will have decent access to a pocket style backup. Remember, trying to stay on your feet will take a lot of effort and movement. Just trying to run about 25 yards while at the same time trying to retrieve an object like your wallet from your front pocket isn’t as easy as it sounds. That leaves us with an ankle holster, which I tend to favor. This is probably even more of a pipe dream as far as accessibility is concerned and I have more concerns with security during a good fight so that still needs to be addressed.
Time & space
While carrying a second pistol may sound good on paper, if you are carrying in an effort to increase your personal protection then you will be reactive in nature. That means you are more than likely looking at an ambush. Your number one goal will be two defend against the immediate ambush and create time and space to get to a weapon. When that window opens I am going to bet the majority of folks are going to go with what they know and that is their primary on their strong side hip. Again, I am still a fan of backups, but I think a lot of folks haven’t thought it through relative to the most likely concealed carry situation; an ambush.
In the end, you will need to create a load out that best supports your mission. Just don’t make the mistake of failing to identify your mission then rehearsing for that mission on a regular basis.