Don’t Ignore the Second Gun

by
posted on May 25, 2016
skelton-notebook.jpg (1)

The notion of a second, or backup, gun often results in some folks conjuring up notions of bad guys in western movies getting shot or apprehended, then always having a Derringer hidden out somewhere. Somehow, I don’t really recall many films depicting the good guy having one. 

In reality, a backup gun can be the difference between life and death for a lawman or anyone carrying concealed. For those with a CCW permit, it can often be a challenging decision just how to carry their primary sidearm, much less a smaller backup.  Of course, this all depends on the circumstances. Perhaps many don’t cherish the idea of carrying an extra pistol during the daytime, or in hot weather. If circumstances warrant, it’s a good idea, regardless. The problem is that one rarely knows when trouble is going to start—until it does.  

I’ve known several LEOs over the years who got themselves out of a pickle by having a second handgun. Much of it depends on where you conceal it, uniform or not.  As a uniformed police officer, I carried a Walther PPK/s stuck in my Sam Browne rig behind the brass belt buckle. I generally carried that way at nightour uniforms were black, as was the Sam Browne. The black-finished Walther was very difficult to spot at nighttime using that carry method. This wasn’t part of our training, but it worked well for me. 

I’ve known many folks who prefer carrying a lightweight revolver such as the Smith & Wesson Airweight, or the Ruger Lightweight Carry Revolver. As their names imply, they are light, but effective. They’re slightly thicker than the Walther or other small autos like the Ruger LCP, Beretta Nano or the Remington RM380, but still relatively easy to pack. 

Any of these guns can be carried in a pocket holster (such as the Galco, DeSantis or Bianchi) or an inside-the-waistband holster, though it might be tight if carrying a full-sized handgun the same way on the other side. Barranti Leather is making an interesting holster based on the Myer’s Barton Special. The holster flap fits either in the waistband or back pocket with the holster exposed. This rig is perfect for a small handgun.     

An ankle holster is another optionI’ve never particularly cared for that style of carry, mostly because I generally wear bootsbut I’ve seen many people carry them quite comfortably and competently. I’ve also known of folks carrying their backup gun in the top of a boot, but that’s not something I would recommend unless it was alast ditch choice and the shooter practiced that draw a great deal. 

I know of all the “mouse gun” talk, and it’s a term I don’t particularly care for. I’ve carried .22 LRs and .22 Mags as second guns over the years, mostly the .22 Mag. I have a North American Arms in that caliber and have often stuck it in my front pants pocket. I’m aware of all the arguments, but it’s better than nothing. With some practice, it’s a pretty effective short-range defense weapon, and no, I don’t recommend it as a primary.  

Don’t forget that an armed bad guy might, too, have a backup gun on him/her. Some criminals are pretty savvythey know the value of an extra concealed handgun. Just because someone is down and their firearm seemingly out of action, never get too comfortable.  

For anyone who carries a handgun on a regular basis, I would consider backup to go along with it, on occasion. It can’t hurt, just be sure to practice with the second gun as well as the primary.

Latest

scope facing right
scope facing right

First Look: Meopta MeoSport R 3-15x50 mm RD Riflescope

Meopta's MeoSport R 3-15x50 RD riflescope offers an affordable, durable option for long-range shooting.

First Look: Cabot Guns Moonshot 1911 Pistol

Cabot Guns introduces a 1911 that's literally out-of-this-world--with an actual lunar meteorite part of the construction.

Sightron S6 5-30x56 ED riflescope

Sightron is launching of a new line of S6 5-30x56 ED premium riflescopes for long-range pursuits.

Editor's Picks: SHOT Show 2022, Day Four

Here are five more neat new things we saw at SHOT Show 2022 on our last day on the show floor.

New for 2022: Taurus 327

The .327 Fed. Mag. cartridge has long been overlooked, but it is a powerful, versatile option for personal protection. Taurus has recognized the .327's appeal and is now offering an affordable revolver chambered for this hidden gem of a self-defense round.

New for 2022: Burris Introduces XTR Pro Riflescope and Accessories

Burris' latest riflescope features multiple illuminated, front-focal-plane reticle options, an innovative locking turret system and an optical design ideal for anyone looking to shoot at extreme distances.

Interests



Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.