Should You Have A Secondary Carry Weapon?


We all know that it makes good sense to carry a concealed carry weapon whenever possible. After all, you never know when you might have to protect your family or yourself from some nutcase who wants to mug or kill you.

But a recent question came up: Should you carry a secondary weapon? A writer at has this thought about it:

Carrying a backup gun isn’t exactly common practice. I don’t do it as much as I probably should, but I do takea backup weapon occasionally. My threat analysis usually drives my decision making. When I’m going to a place, I’ll think about the layout of the building, the surrounding area, crime trends in the area, and so on. From there, I’ll decide what I’m carrying.

If you think about it, this makes sense. Some situations have more of a likelihood of needing extra protection (or extra ammunition) than others. For example, if you’re going to a family member’s home for a family gathering, then it’s much less likely that you are going to need extra fire power (unless you have violent family disagreements) than when you go to a public place with few security measures and lots of people.


On the other hand, places where large numbers of people gather are perfect locations for mass shooters to target because these areas are harder to defend from all threats, and there are more people (i.e. more targets). As unpleasant as it is to think in these terms (because we have to be callous about the likelihood of the loss of life), it’s useful to consider these factors when considering whether to carry a secondary or backup weapon.

So, if you’ve decided that you want to carry a backup weapon, this same writer has these thoughts about what to carry:

My general idea of a backup weapon is a subcompact weapon. For me, I carry my backup firearm in a pants pocket. If you want to pack two bigger guns, you’re going to have to think about some different approaches.

So, there you have some thoughts on when and why you may want to have a secondary carry weapon on you and what kind of firearm to carry as your backup.



    • The laws (and politicians) allow cops a lot more gun privilege than citizens . Josey Wells had several back up/concealed weapons.

  1. I’ve subscribed to this idea for YEARS, beginning when I was still an LEO. Then I carried a Colt Government Model M1911A1 in .45ACP and a Colt Officers Model, also in .45ACP, but in an ankle holster. Walked kinda funny for a while until i got used to having the steel gun on my leg.
    Looked funny after I got out of LE and didn’t wear the ankle gun. Leg would just sorta throw itself out further because it lacked the extra weight.
    Regardless, these days I carry a full-sized G22 with a G27 as a backup, but the backup is carried off-body in a Manly (!) satchel along with a couple of spare magazines with the satchel gun. But, speaking of which, I also haul two full-sized 15 round mags on-person for that “What If” day when everything goes to Hell in handbasket and the SHTF. NEVER want to be gasping my last, dying, breath and saying “DAMMIT! I wish I had brought MORE ammo!”
    But, HEY! That’s just me and YMMV.
    But a backup gun is ALWAYS a good idea if you carry a gun for SD, IMHO.
    (NOTE: I reposted with corrections after I noticed I had Dumb-Thumbed a couple places and gun nomenclature. Sorry if this comes out as a near duplicate post but i haven’t found a way to edit a post yet. Any ideas on that topic?)

  2. I started carrying a second weapon when the department I was working for finally realized that weapons break, malfunction and get taken. Also in a really dire situation the need to go to your backup maybe a split second faster then attempting to reload. I have long since retired and I rarely leave the house without a primary weapon and a backup. I also carry extra ammo for both weapons. My training from the United States Army taught me that it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Also I inform all my friends who role their eyes when they realized I carry, I do so not because I am evil, I do so because evil exist. It is my job to take care of my family and myself.

    • I agree this is the main reason I like to have a second firearm… A jam or other malfunction may be easier to deal with by grabbing gun #2. Also, when driving, or riding my motorcycle, a compact .38+P ‘hammerless’ revolver in my left front jacket pocket, or on my left ankle, can be much easier to get to than a waist-line location! (especially since I am left-handed) Or even when walking down the street, with my hand in my pocket, I can shoot right thru the jacket if it means saving my Life! So the ‘situation’ determines which weapon is ‘Primary’ and which is ‘backup’… But my ‘other’ weapon is a double-stack 14+1 9mm+P semi-auto 4″ with a spare mag.
      I have an artificial hip and knee, and can’t run from anyone…and frequently have my 92 yr old Mom with me — on a walker — so I have to be able to ‘stand my ground’ in most situations…

  3. I agree that a secondary weapon be it a pistol or something else is a good idea, but as I have read or been told, the applicant has to specify exactly what they are carrying and both how and where on their body they are going to carry their concealed weapon.
    If there is a license or set of laws that allows a person to carry a backup pistol, I am behind it. If police or relevant authorities feel that how, what and where you carry needs to be documented, that’s okay as long as it’s not some ploy to create a complicated situation and deter one from carrying concealed. Again, citizens and police need to come together on such issues. Changes or updates should be easy to do and handled quickly for everyone’s legal and physical safety.

    It’s sad that people could carry weapons without taking a class or filling out an application or needing references and a background check and society was no more violent than today. Since times change, why not use our technology and knowledge of the past and present and allow people to register, apply, and train to defend themselves if they have the desire to do so. There is obviously an interest and a market for self defense and personal security.

    Those who choose not to take personal responsibility for their safety should not be allowed to hinder and restrict the rest of us and leave us as easy prey for those who lack decency and respect for human life.

    • I don’t know what State you are in, nor the individual laws in that State…
      But I have never heard of any requirement to include on your Permit application ANYTHING about what, where, and how you are going to carry/conceal…!! It will often be different simply based on weather, what clothes you will wear, and where you are going to be!
      In Georgia — I’m not Really from Mayberry (0; — the License simply says “Concealed Weapons Permit” and ‘covers’ knives, pistols, mase, or whatever you can or want to conceal, so long as it is a generally legal weapon!

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