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 discuss about a half dozen different two gun scenarios in our Concealed Carry 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 doesn’t matters if you can carry the second gun, what matters is if you are effective with the second gun. Or, you at one point developed the skills, but over time failed to maintain them. 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 let’s talk about our standards. We use a 2+2 reload drill from the 10 yard line. This simple marksmanship drill will identify whether you have the skill or not. What you are looking for is the overall time for this drill along with your score. Then, repeat the drill with the your second gun only exclude the reload to compare. What we are looking for is a comparison of the “down time”. A major argument for a second gun is how faster it is over than reloading. You can’t make a 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. If you find it faster the next decision has to do with 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 plus 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 for me. 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 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 from your weak side. 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 and and formal attire situations.
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 put the time and energy into sharpening skills with the 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 practice. I do enjoy shooting my backup and from time to time carrying a second gun for a few other reasons.
Carrying two guns may be alluring at first, but it requires serious commitment. Not to mention solid skills to conceal and not just cover.