Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Back-up Weapons

Ask most people who carry a weapon, even law enforcement officers, if they carry a back-up weapon and you’ll either get a puzzled look or a negative response. We would never think of leaving on a trip without a spare tire, yet the majority of those who carry a pistol have probably never considered the need, or application, of a second firearm.

If you are using your pistol you are in a life or death struggle. Losing is not an option. Suddenly your pistol stops functioning. If you’ve practiced enough in advance you’ll run a malfunction clearance. Except in this case it’s not a malfunction, which is something you can fix, but a jam or breakage. The only thing your pistol is good for now is an impact instrument. Pistols are mechanical devices, and anything mechanical can break or fail. With a back-up weapon you have the option of transitioning to a working pistol, continue to fight, and press on to victory.

Access is another issue. In a fight we need every advantage we can gain. A pistol on your ankle may be easier to get to than the one on your waist, especially when you’re curled up in the fetal position trying to protect your head from gettin’ booted. Having a secondary weapon, located in an alternative location, can be a huge advantage. Your backup weapon becomes your primary because of access. Then, when you have time, you might consider transitioning to your other weapon, which is probably better suited for fighting.

Another advantage of having two weapons is that I can loan my wife, friend, or partner a pistol if needed. If they start the fight but have weapon problems they can be armed with your backup weapon. Being able to arm an unarmed partner provides you with an exponential increase in combat effectiveness. Having a spare weapon provides tactical “flexibility,” which means you have more options.

Learning to work effectively with multiple weapons requires more training and practice than just having a single pistol. You have to reprogram responses to take advantage of the additional weapon. Which pistol is quicker to get to according to your body position? When your primary runs empty is it quicker to transition to your secondary weapon? What about if you have a malfunction? If you start the fight using your secondary weapon, then it stops working, how do you transition to your primary weapon? All of these things need to be determined in advance, with plenty of practice to develop the skills necessary to take full advantage of having two pistols.

When the fight comes you have to be ready. There is no time for debate, you can’t afford to make a mistake, and it’s certainly not time to be trying something new. You need every advantage you can get. Two pistols are a good place to start.

September 19, 2010 - Posted by | Auto Pistol, Concealed Carry

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