A number of people I know like to carry two guns instead of carrying spare ammo, because they believe the fastest reload is their backup gun. Personally, I sometimes carry two guns and sometimes I just carry extra ammo, so like a lot of things gun-related there’s no right or wrong answer.
However, if you’re going to carry two guns, I’d recommend these considerations: First, make sure you train with both guns. Everyone likes to train with their favorite firearm but few people train with their backup snubbies or “mouse” guns. I spend about 10-15 minutes a day dry firing and I trade off between my primary and backup gun.
Second, if I were you, I would carry my primary gun on my hip at the 4 o’clock position, and I would carry my backup gun in my front pocket. This is what I personally do, with my Glock 19 on my hip and my Ruger LCP in my front, right pocket.
I know a lot of people like to carry their backup guns on their ankle…
But I’ve never been a big fan of ankle carry. One of the main reasons is that drawing from the ankle is just too slow. I’m a firm believer that you need to be able to draw your gun and get it on target in two seconds or less. I can do this drawing from both my hip and pocket, but it’s a lot more difficult to draw in less than two seconds from the ankle.
Also, try and make your backup gun similar to your primary gun. In other words, if you carry a 1911, you might want the Colt Mustang as your backup. However, if you carry a Glock and have your 1911 as a backup you may forget to take off the thumb safety. If Glock made a good pocket gun like the LCP then I would carry that. However, the LCP doesn’t have any external safeties and, like the Glock, all I have to do is pull the trigger to get it to fire, so they’re pretty darn similar.
One last thing I want to comment about…
Because I recently got an email concerning this, I want to mention an unusual circumstance where a backup gun may save your life. Over the years, I’ve had a number of students tell me stories about how they were at an outdoor range in the mountains or somewhere remote and how a suspicious looking character came around and gave them a very bad feeling. Usually, they would pack up and leave, and I’ve never heard of a student getting attacked or robbed while out shooting.
However, it is common sense that criminals will go to outdoor ranges that are secluded because they know that’s where the guns are. And maybe one day while you’re the range, some criminal will wait for just the right moment to attack you when you’ve emptied your gun and you stop to reload… But if you’ve got a backup gun then you still have a way to protect yourself. (Just don’t empty it too, if you know someone is watching you.)
I realize this sounds far fetched, but when I’m shooting in the mountains and people come around, I always have my backup gun in my pocket, ready to go, because you just never know.
The bottom line is, whether you carry two guns or not is obviously up to you, but make sure and practice with both and make sure you can access both quickly.