Carry a Backup Gun? Reasons For & Against

Should you carry a Backup Gun? That is question in today’s short discussion, lets look at a few of the pros and cons of having a backup gun .

Sig P226 and a P229 as a back up gun. Both models can take Lasergrips and both carry well in Galco KingTuk IWB holsters.
Sig P226 and a P229 as a back up gun. Both models can take Lasergrips and both carry well in Galco KingTuk IWB holsters.
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA –  -( If you’re going to concealed carry, you may want to consider carrying a backup gun.

For the average person, it may seem like overkill to carry even an extra magazine, let alone a whole other gun besides one’s main carry pistol. Besides, that’s a whole other layer of hassle to deal with when getting ready to get out of the house, not to mention the added weight and possible discomfort of another pistol.

In truth, there’s a good deal of sense in only carrying one gun with one magazine. In the studies of defensive shootings, a great deal of them are concluded with only a few (meaning three or fewer) shots being fired.

On top of that, modern handguns can hold two to three times the number of shots that handguns of previous eras were capable of; the Glock 19, for instance, holds 17 rounds in the magazine – and an extra in the pipe if one desires. That’s three times the number of shots in a snub-nosed revolver, many of which only hold five shots of .38 Special.

There are a great deal of law enforcement officers that carry backup guns, and there is even a special name for drawing two guns called the “New York reload.” However, it only existed because of the limited capacity of revolvers; given the capacity of modern semi-automatic pistols, there is maybe no reason to carry multiple pistols.

That is all true. However, it also true that many defensive and law enforcement shootings took far more rounds to resolve. It isn’t guaranteed that hitting an attacker with a round is going to bring them down; it may take several. It may take an entire magazine. Thus, the “number of rounds” that it will take to end a violent encounter are based on an economy of scale, of sorts; you can’t actually know beforehand. Relying on the idea that it should only be a few is, ultimately, a gamble.

Additionally, the nature of the circumstances of a defensive shooting vary. You could only be encountering a single armed robber or home intruder. You may encounter more than one. You might also encounter a mass shooter in your office building, mall you frequent or other environment. In that situation, you may need more rounds than you’re carrying with just one gun.

Furthermore, what if your main carry gun malfunctions? A gun that cannot shoot is good for little more than a bludgeon or a paperweight. Should that occur, the gun you have will do you no good or worse – may lead to an injury or death at the hands of the assailant. Having a backup can at least give you a “Plan B.

Another consideration is what happens AFTER the shot and how a backup guns plays in.

Galco Ankle Glove Holster backup gun
Galco Ankle Glove Holster L:

There’s a lot of attention paid to what a concealed carrier does up until the moment after a defensive shooting. A lot of concealed carriers believe that if they have to shoot someone in self-defense, that they’ll immediately be presumed to be a hero, feted by the press, lauded by law enforcement, adored by the public and paraded through the streets. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you have to shoot someone, even if it’s completely within the bounds, scope and letter of the law, you may become a villain for doing so. Most elements of the press are hostile to gun rights and indeed, the right to defend one’s self – some elements in the liberal media want everyone disarmed except for the police.

A zealous district attorney’s office may also take umbrage at a citizen “taking the law into their own hands” and providing their own protection from the less than law-abiding among us. Plenty of people have wound up on trial for their lives after shooting in self-defense.

The point is, the legal system can come down on a shooter after the fact. When that happens, the gun you used will probably be confiscated as evidence. In the meantime, you may need another backup gun to protect yourself with, especially if anyone plots retaliation against you for daring to defend yourself while your main carry gun is in custody, or if you never have it returned.

In short, while it may seem overmuch to carry a backup gun or to at least have a back up gun in the safe at home…it’s really not in the least.

About Sam Hoober

Sam Hoober was born and raised in the Inland Northwest, where he lives with his wife and child. He is an avid hunter, fisherman and recreational shooter. His experience exploring the mountains and rivers in Eastern Washington and Western Idaho has given him a unique perspective on concealed carry and gun-related issues.

Hoober is also a contributing editor for Bigfoot Gun Belts, where he writes about concealed carry, open carry, gun safety, and gun belt-related topics. He also writes a popular biweekly column for the Daily Caller for their Guns and Gear section, called CCW Weekend, where he dives deeper into concealed carry tips and tricks.