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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
chubbypigeon,

All this time I thought a "brace" was a string of game birds! All kidding aside...two full size pistols?
There are a lot of good reasons for carrying two guns. Note: that's 2 guns, not "twoguns"...

I don't know your situation, but can't conceivably see the real need for the second full size pistol. A snubbie, yes.
That said, I've been doing this for a long time and can tell you you're about to find out how hard two pistols are to conceal. Most have trouble with one full size pistol.
The "New York Reload" made sense when we all carried 5-6 shot revolvers. Now we carry pistols that have 2-3 times that ammo capacity I just can't see the need. This and the fact that we have much better ammunition performance than previously available...in ALL calibers.
From my persective, and using one pistol, you will have: 1. Extracted yourself from the situation or 2. Won the encounter or 3. Gotten to cover so you can reload. You are going to run out of time before you run out of ammo...even with a single pistol.
As I write this I am beginning my day. There is a hi-cap 9mm (Winch 127 gr. +P+) on my right hip, a spare magazine on my left, and an Emerson Commander knife clipped in my pocket.
Should I need more than that I should have brought the most important item...friends!
Just my .01 worth. YMMV.

Semper Fi,

Wes
 
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If you think you're going into a situation where you might need two full-size auto's you really need to rethink your strategy. If your neighborhood is that bad then you need to move. And if you do end up going John Woo on a couple guys you'd be hard pressed to explain yourself to the authorities. Hell, a couple of our border gaurds shoot at some guys and they get thrown in prison.
 

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If you think you're going into a situation where you might need two full-size auto's you really need to rethink your strategy. If your neighborhood is that bad then you need to move. And if you do end up going John Woo on a couple guys you'd be hard pressed to explain yourself to the authorities. Hell, a couple of our border gaurds shoot at some guys and they get thrown in prison.
Hello, I sometimes carry two 9mm Browning's w/extra mag's & a J-Frame in an ankle holster.

I feel the same as you & many others regarding the Border Patrol's ordeal, but, Let's Please Not get a political debate started over it.

Thanks & Take Care,
 

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Mr. Wes,

I do tend to agree with you for the most part on concealing two full sized pistols. It does sort of increase the concealment difficulty. When I do, the second is usually in a shoulder rig, and that does help me greatly.

My normal carry is one full size steel pistol with a Kahr K40 in an ankle holster in the top of my left boot. Well this is my off-duty life. At work it is a different proposition entirely, and I arm myself accordingly.

That said, there have been times, especially in our one cooler season where jackets do not look odd. When off duty I have added another full sized in a shoulder rig, depending upon where I was about to head out to. But honestly, I did have to ask myself since I felt the need for a second full sized - is this trip really necessary (grinning). But being more than a bit on the long-toothed side of life, even if I shook my head at myself, I still headed out on the trip too.

In the spirit of friendship only I will offer two suggestions to your normal lifestyle sir. (1) Consider changing the single mag pouch into a double pouch. It has been my personal experiences that one can simply not carry too many bullets. and (2) I am always willing to cover my friend's back as I know they will do the same for me. So in that respect "twoguns" would not be a bad carry either - just call me sir (tips my hat).

So in fairness to Chubby, I have done the same, and I am sure will do the same again. The only odd thing then is it is just hard for me to think of myself as "threeguns" then, lol.

twoguns
 
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As always, all excellent points, Twoguns. For the size of an extra pistol you could pack on four or five reloads. That's a lotta rounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Chubbypigeon,

Even though I eschew carrying two full size pistols doesn't mean you shouldn't...if you have the need. We should note that there are a number of fine holstermakers that offer double pistol rigs.
Let's see two BHP's plus two double mag pouches on the belt equals about 74 rounds (if we download the mags to 12 rounds).
Plenty of ammo AND firepower. Of course you'll need to start wearing suspenders!

Wes
 
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There was a news report of a jewelry store owner in bad area who got in an extended firefight after his clerk was hit. He was also wounded but he succesfully used 5 or 6 revolvers in the fight. Seemed he didnt want to carry, he liked revolvers and stashed them all the way around the store behind the counter so one would allways be at hand
 
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Well, let me give my primary reasons for wanting to carry two full-sizes.

I believe in backup guns. I will NOT be caught with just one gun. It gives me the willies, for the simple reason that I have only ever encountered one gun that functioned flawlessly for me -- the CZ-75B -- and I am under no illusion that it is a "perfect" gun, for that reason. I am fully expecting the day when my CZ double-feeds, or stovepipes. It is coming. Hi-Powers, XDs, even Smith Revolvers have malfunctioned in my hands. Yes, old Job, my faithful Model 19, once failed to pop a primer, due to a loosened strain screw. I check this every time I clean that gun, now, but all it would take would be me forgetting to do so one time, and I could get a click in a gunfight, where I was needing a bang.

Now, I trust revolvers more than I do automatics, but I have two issues with them: pocket sized snubs are just too darned hard for me to shoot, and one light enough for pocket carry is too darned hard to practice with enough to learn to shoot. Bigger snubs, like Job, are still pretty tough to shoot, and long-barreled revolvers, due to their geometry, are hard for someone with my body type to conceal. I'm a skinny joker, with my 32" waist, at 6'1" and 180 lbs, with a bony butt, despite all my efforts to muscle it up. Thus, a big, bulging cylinder not only prints, but is uncomfortable for me. I manage with Job by using a high-riding holster, putting the wheel up high, but if I go to a 4" revolver, we're right back at the same spot, anyway.

I just remembered a third issue: I am a capacity fiend. I know that most gunfights last about five rounds and as many seconds, tops, but with my luck, the one I get into will be a three-minute fighting retreat, where I'll need to lay down suppressive fire to get my butt out, alive.

Having had more time to shoot, and learn, I am also becoming much better with autos than I am with revolvers. They point better for me, and even in DA mode, I find that the sight bobbles around a lot less during my trigger stroke.

Now, as to the other major BUG option, the small auto, I trust no less than 9x19mm Parabellum. None of the manufacturers who make a truly small auto in this caliber have yet to produce one that has garnered my trust. Kahrs, Rohrbaughs, Kel-Tecs; I've looked into all three, and I've found that solid performers and mechanical disasters go one for one, in anecdotal reports. I will not flip a coin with my life. Besides, the ones of these I've held have been too small for me. I don't have big hands, but something about the shape of my palm favors a meaty grip. to give you an idea of how pronounced this is, a Glock 21 or double-stack 1911 fits perfectly in my hand.

As for the "compact," and "semi-compact" versions of service automatics, I do NOT trust shrunken guns. I feel that a compact version of a larger gun must have had some sort of design compromise made, somewhere along the way. I won't even have a commander 1911. John Browning built that thing to have a 5" tube, and putting anything less on it has to have some kind of effect, somewhere down the road.

Here's the short version: I want to carry two full-size guns because I want a backup gun, but don't trust anything but full-size guns.

My hands are sort of tied.
 

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Chubby,

I always feel folks should do what works best for them. I have found over my years, I have more than enough problems trying to keep myself straight, so I never try to judge anyone else. If two full size pistols work for you, then I say have at it sir.

I am not sure of the state you live in, which is not important, I just have no feel for your normal climates is my point. If you are in coat country a fair amount of the year, then I might suggest something I have used in a shoulder rig. I have mated two Bianchi Tuxedo holsters onto the same X harness. I then carry one double mag pouch that will load and function in both weapons.

I remember my last Chief of Police, who had retired from NYPD where he spent most of his 20 years as a firearms instructor. He handed me a yearly report he had just received from one of his friends at NYPD on officer involved shootings. This was probably early 80s, and the stats may have changed tremendously now. Back then I think they were still largely carrying .38 spc revolvers.

The study came up with an overall conclusion that the average police gunfight that year had lasted 5.x seconds, involved like 8.x rounds fired by both cop and badguy, with like 0.x rounds making body contact with either body.

My Chief and I did not exactly swap spit, as in his first meeting with the supervisors in our department he summarized his career. Another Sgt from Patrol asked if he had ever been a detective. He went into something of a tirade saying every NYPD detective he had ever met had been on the take, and he had refused to even work plain clothes duty for fear of "getting dirty". He wanted all of us to introduce ourselved then. When it was my turn I simply said I am your only Detective Sgt here - you know the guy that has to be dirty according to you. If you look out in the parking lot and find the oldest, most beat up car, that's mine.

Anyway he wanted to know what I thought of that police shooting evaluation, because I was our head firearms instructor. I had to keep a straight face when I said well from what I have read here Chief, you must not have been much of a firearms instructor - NYPD cops can't hit the broadside of a barn.

In fairness (before I step on any toes) a police shooting is simply total insanity to the Nth degree. Your shooting does suffer from all of the factors hitting you at the same time. Strong shots normally become average shots and so on down the line.

So if two full sized weapons feel right for you Chubby, then I say go for it. There are some very reliable smaller weapons out there to be sure. It just sounds like you have not encountered one yet. But again, I own one CZ75B and am waiting for my gunsmith to finish his magic on an SP-01, I will buy from him then. So I understand your appreciation of the CZs. If they are what you have total confidence in, then carry them.

I became an ammo hog after my first shooting. I was carrying a 45 Combat Commander with 3 mags total. When it ended, I was left with the round chambered in my pistol. The next day I bought every 45 mag I could lay my hands on, and put my J-frame on my ankle. I carry a lot of mags now at work, but only because places I can find myself in where shooting is likely to start, are remote, off road type desert locations, where help could be a long drive and 30+ minutes away. But out in those locations, my handguns are backups to my M4.

Off duty I rarely carry more than 2 spare mags, along with my ankle gun. But I think it is far better for me to have rounds I don't need, than to need rounds I don't have. It simply increases my personal comfort level.

So if your two full sized pistols increases you personal comfort level, go for it sir.

twoguns
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
chubbypigeon,

Twoguns hit the nail on the head. Also, it seems you have thought this through...I say go for it.
You are tall enough and slender enough that a double shoulder rig may work well for you. There are a number of fine makers out there. Check out Horseshoe Leather. Andy Arratoonian is a heck of a guy and his work is second to none.

Wes
 
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The study came up with an overall conclusion that the average police gunfight that year had lasted 5.x seconds, involved like 8.x rounds fired by both cop and badguy, with like 0.x rounds making body contact with either body.
Sounds about right. These are the stats from NYPD that I have:

The NYPD found that the average number of shots fired is currently 8. The study also showed that the NYPD hit percentage was only 20 percent. Therefore, out of 8 shots fired, only two were likely to hit the suspect. Other gunfight stats that I've read over the years (but which didn't save) said essentially the same thing; that trained LEO's miss the great majority of the time. (Having stated this, where does that leave the typically-far-less-skilled civilian CCW gun carrier in a gunfight?)

In that only a small percentage of shots fired by LEO's in gunfights actually hit the perpetrator anywhere at all makes the grossly over-quoted and worn-out argument that bullet placement is the most important factor in gunfights rather specious: If only 20% of the LEO's shots even hit the perp, what is the probability that one of those will be placed into the perp's anatomy (i.e. the central nervous system) to produce an immediate stop? The probability is very low and then, according to the above stat's, probably almost completely by chance.

If bullet placement were the most important factor in gunfights we could all go to handguns in .22 Magnum with FMJ's, as this caliber will meet the FBI'S 14" (or whatever) penetration minimum. What, with negligible recoil and muzzle-jump in a service-sized handgun, we could put a magazine-full of .22 Mags through the perp's all-important (choose one) heart/aorta complex or central nervous system before he hit the floor. What more could ya ask for?


I became an ammo hog after my first shooting. I was carrying a 45 Combat Commander with 3 mags total. When it ended, I was left with the round chambered in my pistol. The next day I bought every 45 mag I could lay my hands on, and put my J-frame on my ankle.
In an article in SWAT magazine a few issues back entitled "How Much Ammo Should You Carry?," or some such, it was found in a survey that the average uniformed cop is a veritable walking caisson of ammo for his service sidearm and BUG. Civilian CCW carriers, on the other hand, typically carry only an extra magazine, speed-loader or speed-strip (and some not even that).
 

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nevadaalan,

Thanks for the stats update, as I noted it was years ago, but did not strike me as being very impressive. While I have nothing but respect for my fellow LEOs, in all fairness, being honest I simply have to admit some simply do not feel the need to practice as they should.

Even in my office located along the AZ-MX border, where the potential for shootings is significantly increased over many other office locations within my agency, there are agents who simply shoot to qualify 4 times a year.

I can stress the need to shoot more, and even offer to work with them on weekends or days off. I even remind them that "Uncle Sugar" has practice ammo sitting in the armory just waiting for them to ask for. But the bottom line, I am a co-worker and their firearms instructor, not their daddy.

But you can rest assured when it is time for me to pick a group to do something "exciting" with me, I pick the strongest shooters and coolest heads I can find. Having confidence in the folks you will be with in those circumstances does add to your comfort level, but is simply not possible at times either.

But in all honesty, based on personal observations, I am quite confident there are indeed many CCW folks who shoot better than some police do.

I also do readily admit to being an "ammo hog" but again, based on Mr. Murphy and real-life experience. To me if you can carry one spare mag, you can just as easily carry two. But again that is just me.

The bottom line to me, is where do these realities leave any of us - LEOs and civilians alike - in the same boat to me.

Practice, practice, practice. I am also a firm believer that what we do in training is largely what we will do in real life.

Just my thoughts, and others may disagree.

twoguns
 

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I usually carry two. A full-size in a hip holster (IWB or OWB), and a Bodyguard in the pocket. It is not a matter of having more rounds. It is not a matter of having a New York Reload. Both of those, in some extreme situation, might come into play but unlikely for the citizen's life I lead. The issue, as chubbypigeon said, is reliability. Anything can go wrong, at the worst possible time, and then one gun is no gun. I admit, at times I wonder if I am playing Walter Mitty. But I would rather be possibly over-armed and foolish, than under-armed and mourned.
 

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I see the "why" of having a second gun that's full-size, but I have trouble actually doing it.
I want to do so, but getting it done is another matter.

I can see two reasons for it:

1) If you need the second gun, things are in bad shape, so it makes sense to have a gun that's easier to shoot than a snubby or really compact auto.

2) I like a gun on the "weak" side, and always make sure that I carry my second gun on that side because- If, for some reason, I can't get to my regular gun with my strong hand, I want to be able to get to one with my weak hand. If possible, in any fight, a full-size gun would always be preferred.

But the fact is, I seldom carry a second full-size gun. I would like to, but haven't found a good way to do it. I've tried different guns, from an alloy framed 1911, to a second HiPower, to smaller guns, but it was still too much bulk.
The best I've done is by carrying an HK P7M8 on the weak side. That's about as big as I can go, and is plenty "shootable". I think it's a great gun for that, being as close to ambidextrous as any gun I've tried.

Really, the gun itself isn't the only problem with carying a second "big" gun. It's finding a place for it along with the spare magazine pouch. After the pouch is in place, that doesn't leave much belt room over there.
I can go with a smaller backup and carry it in my pocket.
Actually, I carry two backups, so maybe I'm replacing two full-size guns with one full-size and two mediums?
 

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Howdy again folks,

I just thought I would throw a few more thoughts out for consideration. I certainly don't have any solutions for what weapons someone else should carry, be it one, two, or even three at the same time. Again, I think folks should do what gives them their best comfort level, and seems to work best for them.

But based on 35 years experience as a police firearms instructors reading some of the most recent posts, have reminded of a few thoughts/suggestions I will offer for consideration.

Again, your choice in personal weapons is entirely your own. Others can offer suggestions and what they like, but the real test is what feels good in your hands, what can you fire at the level you desire, and certainly to some degree what can you afford, especially if adding a second or third weapon.

Again this is not meant critically in the least, but this is the best way I can explain my point. In earlier days my agency allowed us to carry up to 3 personally owned handguns we had to qualify with each quarter to be authorized to carry. We had some folks that I affectionately came to think of as "charter members of the gun of the month club". Meaning each quarter some would show up with 3 brand new weapons to qualify with, and usually no two were the same brand or configuration.

I would watch them during our qual courses, simply waiting for a malfuction and their response. You could almost see the wheels in their head spinning holding a pistol with a malfunction that needs to be cleared to get them back in the fight. "Let's see, which brand is this one, ok, what and where are the controls, ok, I think I can do this".

So over the years I have formulated some suggestions I offer to my co-workers when they ask for my suggestions. I will throw some of them out here.

(1) If possible and you wish to carry two full sized weapons, carry two of the same brand, and preferably of the same model and caliber. All of your magazines or revolver rounds will fit in both weapons.
As importantly to me, you only need to learn one set of controls regardless of which weapon you have grabbed in a situation that has become tense enough you feel the need to produce one.

(2) If you prefer one full sized and one somewhat smaller, say a mid-size or compact, again I suggest you consider two of the same brand and caliber if possible. Most of the smaller sized pistols will usually accept your full sized magazine. For example if I am carrying my 226R and 229, my 226 mag will extend from the 229, but it will function perfectly in the mid-sized pistol too.

(3) If circumstances require you to carry a different brand, try hard to carry a very simple design in the second or third one. To me "simple" is perhaps a J-frame revolver or even a Kahr K40. The point is if you need it, you grab and simply begin to function the trigger, without the need to deactivate safety levers, etc.

My suggestions are again based on personal experiences. Hopefully no one reading this will ever be forced to respond to a deadly force situation. But if you have to, and at some point you need to transition to a second weapon, things will be crazy enough at that point, you really want that transition to be as natural or as simple as possible.

I consistently carried two full size pistols at work, of the same make/model/caliber (either two P226s in 40 or 9). All of my magazines worked and nothing new was added to things should I ever need to grab number 2. There was a third on my ankle - initially a model 60, then later I changed that to a K40 for a larger caliber and increased capacity, with the simplicity offered by a J-frame at the same time.

My suggestions work for me, but they may not work for others. But I did want to offer them in case folks may not have considered some of these issues before.

Shoot well and often,

twoguns
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Twoguns and all.

Well said. I would offer some advice if carrying two weapons. Make them identical. Oversize mags can be used on compact weapons, but I have seen numerous stoppages caused by this practice. The longer magazine overides the detent and jams itself further up into the mag well. Effectively tying up the weapon. This of course in a training environment. Can you imagine how hard you can jam a magazine into the pistol when you have an adrenalin rush going? In a number of cases we had to remove the weapon/shooter from the line to effect repairs.

Just one of those things that can happen. Another item Mr. Murphy has in his bag of tricks... :-/

Wes
 

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Gentlemen,

I'm fascinated by this discussion. Is this primarily an LEO issue?And should TwoGuns change his handle to ThreeGuns? ;)

Here in NM, a civilian with CCW is restricted to one carry weapon at a time, but then the rules keep changing. (In my case, I keep a back-up gun in my vehicle, but that doesn't necessarily make it easy of access.) Some gun guys of my acquaintance ignore this proscription, but now that you ask, I've forgotten their names---I don't even remember where we met.

The cops I know here all have back-up weapons, but considering the weight of the kit a uniform carries, including the required Second Chance, their second gun is small, lighter caliber, and a different configuration than their duty weapon, since they wear it somewhere on their person. More than a few of them keep a third personal weapon in their patrol vehicle, and in most cases they seem to favor a 1911. (The Santa Fe PD issue gun is the Glock .45, so at least they can use the same ammo.) This would seem to violate the WesHowe and TwoGuns rule: Keep It Simple. It certainly makes sense to me not to have to reach for a gun with a radically different firing system. You want to be able to point and shoot, not fumble with an unfamiliar mechanism, but all the same aren't you still better off with that second or third gun, or does it invite disaster? (A woman backed into an airplane propellor. What happened? Disaster.) For my money, if you can't carry two of the same gun, of whatever flavor, why not an auto, and a revolver for back-up? I know the difference in my hand by feel. I'm unlikely to try and snap down the thumb safety on a Colt Python. Does this make any sense?

David
 

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Mr. David,

Yes sir it does make sense to me, if it makes sense to you. To me it really is all about your personal comfort level, what works best for that person, regardless of the number or brand.

I will just stick with "twoguns" :) . If you could have seen the look on my first supervisor's face in AZ, when I walked in his office for a briefing, took off my jacket and he saw one 226 in an OWB, and a second 226 in a shoulder rig - well that was simply a "kodak moment"
. He tagged me with "twoguns" at that moment, and I simply did not have the heart to tell him "check my ankle dummy" .

Mr. David, you make a good point, in that any additional weapon if needed in a gun fight would certainly be better than not having one. Regardless if the same make or caliber. My suggestions were really intended more for those folks who might be thinking I would like to carry a second full size weapon - what should I buy, or what should I grab from my safe.

Again if you have the option, like Mr. Wes, I do think carrying two of the same model/brand/caliber is the ideal decision. But that simply may not be practical for everyone too. But most uniform and some plainclothes officers simply do not have that option, as you noted Mr. David. Most do select a back-up that is smaller for concealment reasons. As most LEOs now carry a pistol, their back up is often a revolver firing a different round too.

Mr. Wes brought up an excellent point about using a longer mag in a smaller framed weapon. In the stress involved in making a reload it would be easy to over force the longer mag into place. When I carried my two 226s for example, 3 of my mags were 20 round ones carried in an open triple pouch (Eagle, and heat formed to hold the mags very tight). The others were carried in flapped double pouches.

But the 20 round Sig mags have a feature on the rear side of the mag to prevent them from being over forced into a 226. That feature would not work if I forced that mag into a 229 for example, because it would not make the necessary contact with the mag well.

I am also aware I contradict one of my own suggestions by carrying one or two 357 Sig pistols, with a 40 backup. But given the extra rounds I carry for my full sized pistol or pistols, if I need to pull the Karh, I will probably just save the last round for myself too ::) . I am kidding, but for me, the K40 was an upgrade from a 5 shot model 60, giving me 2 additional rounds of 40 S&W. But its simple design reminds me of firing a revolver, so that is a plus to me. That combination is my personal comfort level.

But the bottom line to me, find you comfort level whatever it is, stay with it and practice as much as you can. Frequent practice is probably the single most helpful thing any of us can do to increase our odds or surviving a deadly force situation in my opinion. Just my thoughts for what they are worth.

twoguns
 
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