Carrying two guns is effort, being able to shoot with two guns effectively demands even more effort. I still see it as an option few really can pull off, but more importantly sustain.
Let the butt-hurt flow
Anytime I start talking about “two gun” scenarios inevitably someone is going to get butt-hurt so before you decide to send me a “know it all” email, message or text please don’t. Let the butt hurt flow a little bit longer. We use to conduct about a half dozen different two gun scenarios in our Concealed Carry Tactics classes, but we streamlined it down to three. Not because they are the most common, but because they make the most sense from an effectiveness and sustainment point of view. It really matters little if you do carry the second gun, but you cannot engage the target with effective fire because you didn’t develop a minimum skill set. Or, you at one point had skills, but failed to maintain them over time. Either case, the net results are poorly thought out and it tends to be a decision based on feelings over purpose.
Standards, we don’t need no stinking standards
Before we go too far down the rabbit hole here is the foundation of our standards. A simple 2+2 reload drill from the 10 yard line. Spare me the excuses, it is simple marksmanship skills and you either have them or you don’t. What was my baseline time for this drill and how did a similar drill with a second gun compare. In other words, what was my “down time” comparison. A major argument for a second gun is how much faster it is conducting a reload. You can’t make the blanket statement, it will be dependent on your choice of a second gun and how effective you are with said second gun along with how you carry. If your par times favor the reload then the discussion ends there, but if you find it faster the next decision you have to ask is what is the capacity of your second gun versus the capacity of the reload. If you draw a 5 shot revolver because you saw a quarter second advantage instead of reloading your primary with a 15-17 round magazine how much sense does it make to go to the second gun then?
Two gun breakdown
We demonstrate three two gun configurations in class; strong side appendix, weak side appendix and weak side ankle. Each of these has a unique advantage. Strong side appendix for my backup and strong side for my primary is by far the fastest and most effective. You are drawing and shooting with your dominant technique and while yes you have to ditch your primary, it really was of no use. The big reason I favor this technique when I opt to carry two guns is because I have a reload for my primary. You loose real estate fast when you add a second gun so for concealment the best place for me to carry the spare magazine is weak side appendix. The weak side appendix for my backup might seem a better technique at first, but when you add accuracy standards to your review you quickly see how difficult it is to shoot smaller framed guns quickly much less accurately. The advantage here is I carry my primary strong side appendix, but generally no reload. The last technique is by far the slowest for the simple reason it is off your waistline. While some can develop great speed considering it will be slower from a distance point of view all else equal. I do like the ankle because my standard loadout remains the same and I’m simply adding the second gun to my ankle. I also like to push ankle rigs because of their effectiveness for business attire in the workplace.
The harsh reality
While there are other means to carry a second gun when we put them to task versus time and accuracy standards they failed to keep up with the above mentioned techniques not to mention some of them favored platforms or calibers we felt were not suitable even as a backup. I find the most elusive trait is consistency. While many will dabble with a second gun if you do not put the time into maintaining the skill set it is again a false hope. Truthfully I would rather the time and energy be spent on sharpening your skills with your primary. However, there will be those who want to carry the second gun and for those hopefully this gives you some direction and guidance. The first step is defining your mission, then setting realistic expectations and finally being consistent. I do enjoy working with my backup and from time to time carrying a second gun, but it takes serious effort.
Carrying two guns may be alluring at first, but it requires serious commitment. Not to mention solid skills to conceal and not just cover.