Two Guns or One: An Urbanite Question?



So, should you carry one gun or two? First off, most states in present day Imperial America allow citizens to carry a handgun, but often require a state issued permit. Second, most people chose not to carry a handgun. However, I assume that a good portion of my blog readers do carry a handgun. In most places concealed carry is more commonplace than open carry, and sometimes concealment is legally mandated. Some states, the freer ones, allow open carry without a permit. Check your state laws before you carry.

Let us logically work up to the question that is the title of this blog. If one chooses to carry a handgun, do they carry it constantly? Or do they carry it part time? And is their carrying actual on-body holster carry, or just having one in the automobile (aka not really carrying)? And, those who still work in the corporate environmentare usually prohibited from carrying at work.

Carrying two sidearms may have been more commonplace when pistols were single action revolvers, which are slow to reload and generally only hold six rounds. Auto pistols with spare magazines may have cut back on the multiple gun practice. My understanding is that soldiers with pistols, including spec-ops ones, generally only carry one pistol; the pistol is their second gun, a back-up to their rifle or LMG.

If one choose to carry two pistols, the reasoning needs to be based on careful thought, not a western movie. The late Louis Awerbuck, an Afrikaner transplant to America and small arms trainer of note, did advocate carrying multiple sidearms. But, should we all carry two guns or one we go about our daily lives?

If one believes that they may have to defend themselves, they need to be fully equipped. This is more than a pistol. Preparedness requires a reload, a second gun, or both. Any make of handgun can malfunction, at which point one must clear the stoppage or transition to a second gun (if carrying one). If the fight lasts long enough, one may have to reload. If there is a physical struggle, the magazine might get ejected, at which point a reload would be very helpful! Carrying a high capacity auto pistol does not mean that a spare magazine is unnecessary.

Most people I see open carrying do not carry a spare magazine. I have never saw someone open carrying two guns. I (obviously) do not see what people are conceal carrying. For whatever it is worth, here in southern Indiana, most of the people I see open carrying a pistol are wearing a polymer frame auto pistol, usually in a nylon or kydex type holster. Revolvers and 1911s are seen less frequently. Shoulder holsters and thigh rigs are not common for open carry where I live. Carrying a spare magazine seems to be very uncommon around here.

In theory, to be truly useful, a second gun should be accessible by either hand, as the primary hand may be still holding the empty/stoppage first pistol, or may have been hit by one’s opponent’s fire. Ambidextrous controls on the 2nd pistol would also be nice. For both pistols to be the same caliber might not be a bad idea. Further, having a second pistol allows one to arm a friend in a crisis situation, such as when heading home during a riot, or after a social or economic collapse.

One would also need to practice with this second pistol, including weak hand only. You are already practicing with your primary carry pistol from two hand, strong hand only, and weak hand only stances, right? Right? If not, why are you thinking about a second pistol?

Because of size and weight, most people are not going to carry two full size service pistols. When carrying two, at least one of the guns will be a compact pistol. Carrying two guns plus a spare magazine is even more inconvenient. And since we are being uber prepared, what about adding a tactical flashlight and edged weapon to the list? What about body armor, not just a soft Kevlar vest, but one with rifle plates to stop your enemies incoming 5.56 rounds? Now we are getting weighed down with as much gear as a uniformed police officer, but potentially attempting to carry it all concealed, for 12-16 hours a day. I think we have now entered armchair commando land. No private citizen really does all of this on a daily basis.

But, to the point of this essay. Is carrying two guns an urbanite issue? Yes and no. If one lives in the country, and works the land or practices a trade, they probably already have a rifle or shotgun in their pickup truck, tractor, or in the corner of the room. The handgun holstered on their side is their second gun, to be used if they are out of reach of their long gun or in close quarters. It seems to me that carrying two handguns is oriented toward city folk.


4 thoughts on “Two Guns or One: An Urbanite Question?

  1. I have a concealed permit for my state but rarely carry on my person. My primary reason for having the license is to avoid the legal complications of having rifles or shotguns under the back seat of my truck not in a locked or secured container. That being said, there are parts of the metro that I do carry in.
    Personally, I wouldn’t carry two handguns for any number of reasons. I’m not big enough to conceal two, it’s more weight than I would want to lug around and honestly, training on just one handgun is expensive enough for me.
    My line of reasoning is this, my sidearm is there to extricate me from a bad situation, not to go on a hard charging offensive. If I need that kind of firepower I need to retreat to my truck and get my longarms, which are much more suited for that kind of fight.


    1. Hey Jason,
      I agree that training on one pistol can be expensive enough! A full size service pistol paired with a compact version will smooth that a bit, but even a compact model will not feel/cycle like its full size brother.
      I recall reading a maxim somewhere, maybe it was Clint Smith, that “your pistol is to fight your way back to your rifle, which you should not have laid down in the first place”. That works well for rural folk, but is more difficult for urbanites.


  2. A post script that is practical: I like this M-!A . But can not afford to purchase nor feed it. I may decide on RUger mini-30. Have I advice or comments?


    1. Hello Paul,
      I used to own a Mini-14, a stainless ranch rifle version. My thoughts are that the Ruger Mini-14/30 series have some good points, and some bad ones. Their function well, are lightweight, have decent sights, and are *relatively* low priced. The bad points are that (1) they are not as ruggedly built as actual military firearms and (2) Ruger is the sole source for spare parts. Magazines are not cheap, at least compared to AR15 mags.


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