One evening, a husband and wife were walking in their Palmdale, California neighborhood.
Around 6 p.m. the couple was attacked by a man they didn’t know.
He hit them with a metal pipe and fled after attacking the couple.
The male victim flagged down a passing Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy. He explained what happened and gave a description of the suspect.
Deputies found the suspect a short time later standing in the middle of the street. As they approached, he ran away.
He jumped a fence into the backyard of a vacant home, but the deputies were able to corner him in the yard.
The suspect attempted to scale a block wall…
But deputies were able to pull the suspect down from the wall and a physical altercation ensued.
During the fight, the suspect gained control of one of the deputy’s duty weapons and pointed it at him.
The deputy pushed the suspect’s hands upward and at that moment, the suspect fired a shot into the air.
The deputy drew his backup weapon and fired multiple rounds at the suspect.
At the same time, the second deputy saw the suspect with a gun and fired multiple shots at the suspect.
The suspect was struck several times in the upper torso.
He collapsed and dropped the deputy’s duty weapon.
Paramedics pronounced the suspect dead at the scene.
Thankfully, no deputies were struck by the gunfire.
According to the sheriff’s department…
“At some point in time, the deputy’s weapon was taken out of his holster by the suspect. The suspect was able to shoot two to three rounds with the deputy’s gun. Deputies returned fire and a deputy-involved shooting occurred.”
In this encounter, the deputy’s backup weapon saved his life…
Who knows if the suspect would have been able to shoot him before his partner was able to fire.
Now, law enforcement officers carry backup guns, and for good reason.
But should civilians who carry a gun for self-defense also carry a backup weapon?
It’s clearly a personal choice.
But here are a few factors to consider before deciding if you should or shouldn’t carry a backup gun.
Reasons you might want to carry a backup:
Weapon malfunctions happen all the time.
You’ve probably encountered them while training, or at least seen someone else struggling with a failure.
This is why we need to practice clearing malfunctions and getting back on target.
But some malfunctions can take time and tools to clear.
In fact, I’ve seen malfunctions that are so bad that it takes minutes to clear the malfunction.
But in a self-defense situation, you might only have seconds to act, not minutes.
So, if your gun jammed you could try to fix it once.
But if you were unable to, you could use your backup weapon to stay in the fight.
Your weapon runs dry:
The average number of shots fired in a gunfight is three rounds.
And they’re usually fired in three seconds or less, within a range of three yards.
This is often called the 3-3-3 rule.
So, it’s likely you will have enough ammo if you are involved in a self-defense shooting.
But there is always the possibility that your primary gun could run empty.
Especially if it has limited capacity in the first place.
And you could carry an extra magazine to ensure you have plenty of ammo…
But if even with extra magazines, depending on where you keep your backup gun, it may be faster to just draw your second weapon and fire versus reloading.
Arming someone with you:
Imagine you are at the mall and shots ring out.
If you are with someone you trust, you could give them one of your guns.
From a tactical standpoint, you’ve now created two people who can engage the threat.
But you should only do this if the person is someone you trust and you know is trained.
If it’s someone you know is capable of stopping the threat, then it could be a huge advantage.
Reasons you might not want to carry a backup weapon:
It’s a lot to carry:
Carrying one weapon is a lot for some people.
And adding a second gun just means there is more for the person to carry.
There is no denying you will have extra weight and more responsibility.
Of course, there are a lot of holster options to overcome this.
Also, if you are going to a post office or somewhere that you cannot carry a gun you would need to remove two guns, which might be more difficult to take off for some people.
Before concealing more than one gun on your body, consult your local and state laws.
In some places, it is illegal to carry more than one gun at a time.
For example, in New Mexico you can only conceal carry one gun at a time.
Also, if you are ever involved in a self-defense shooting, chances are you will end up in court.
And a liberal prosecutor may try to argue that you were looking for a fight with all the guns you were carrying.
More can go wrong:
If you carry two weapons you should train with both.
And you should know how to draw and shoot both.
Because in the stress of a self-defense situation, you will naturally go into fight or flight.
And if you haven’t trained with your backup weapon you could be in trouble.
There are plenty of good reasons to carry a backup weapon.
But there are also reasons it might not be the best for your situation.
These tips can help you decide…
And remember, if you do carry a backup, you need to train with it like you would your primary.
Be prepared no matter what weapon you draw.