Could This Old West Gun Fighting Secret Save Your Life?


I don’t know about you, but I grew up dreaming of being a cowboy. I saw The Lone Ranger on television, and I thought riding a horse and carrying a revolver and catching bad guys was the greatest thing in the world. That is, until I learned that I’m not really a fan of desert heat, which seemed to be the only place that The Lone Ranger ever lived.

So, while that dream was shattered as a young child, a fascination with the old west and with cowboys brings some good information to you. And what is this good information? A writer going by Pat B explains says the primary firearm secret that we can learn from the old west is to pair our rifle and our handgun. They write,

The primary advantage of this philosophy is that you need to stock less ammo if both your main weapons eat the same thing. It also makes reloading on the fly more convenient, quicker, and less confusing. You can feed both weapons from a single cartridge belt, and you can load either weapon without looking down to see what you are grabbing. This is a big bonus in a high-stress situation.

Another benefit is that pistol caliber ammo is generally more compact than rifle cartridges, so you can fit more in less space. Firing the same caliber ammo through the longer barrel of a rifle or carbine gives it more juice. (Translated: greater muzzle velocity, greater terminal energy, greater “Stopping Power,” and greater effective range and accuracy). All this leads to a huge advantage in terms of effective use of ammo supplies. These gun fighting secrets are as manifest in packing a 21st century get home bag as they were in packing for a 19th-century cattle drive.

Now, you may ask, how would pairing you rifle with your handgun save your life? Follow Pat B.’s thinking out beyond the reasons mentioned above. One reason to pair them is so that you are using smaller ammo and can carry more ammo. More ammo means more opportunities to actually hit your target which means more opportunities to get out of a fight alive.


Also, reloading quicker (because you don’t have to figure out which ammo to put into the firearm in your hands) means that you can respond more quickly, and, sometimes, time of response is the difference between life and death.

So, is pairing your rifle and your handgun a simple concept? Yes, but like so many sensible ideas from the past, it’s not a concept widely taught or known. But now that you know it, you may want to go ahead and do it.



  1. Been. Doing that for years. 44mag handgun 44mag lever action rifle…also. like older guns black powder

  2. Nicely done. It’s common sense to use a caliber that suits one’s needs, but I would have liked to hear your thoughts on caliber choices. Obviously, the lever actions come in a wide variety of chamberings, but some would not be pistol friendly such as .45-70 or 30-06.

    I’m not into guns that recoil hard or make a loud boom, so I would probably stick to .38 or 9mm and the venerable .45 caliber, maybe even .357 if I ever try it and like shooting it. Following the concept, having a few “pairs” or “sets” of pistols and rifles in different calibers and maybe different actions, would certainly provide flexibility when it comes to scavenging for ammo (Using whatever you can get at the time) or shopping for the lowest prices. The choice of a revolver or lever action, even a pump means no need to stock up on magazines, which reduces one’s cost, load and concern over spring failure.

    • Revolvers and lever guns are available in .38/.357, .44-40, .44 mag, and .45 Colt. All are pussy cats out of a lever gun and have effective ranges out to 200 yards for the rifles. For the .45 Colt, you have to go Buffalo Bore or roll your own, because most commercial rounds are soft shooting “cowboy action” rounds with velocities of 650-750 fps. The round can be loaded to somewhere in the vicinity of 1000 fps that all modern guns can handle. True antiques (pre-1899) guns are usually black powder only, but still, 40 grains of powder will down a horse at 100 yards.

  3. Interesting illustration at the top – those two weapons don’t fire the same cartridge, as that pistol must be hand loaded into each cylinder, and the rifle is tube-fed cartridge lever action. The revolver should have been chosen from the plethora available with cartridge loading.

    • Yeah, William, I was going to point this out as well, LOL!
      This is an interesting subject. But it doesn’t qualify as an entry to weapon prepping for the one common scenario we all allude to. Mass chaos civil breakdown and anarchy followed by extreme criminal looting and violence where there will be no police assistance for common people, and everyone will be on their own, amounting to a good knock-off of hard core guerilla warfare.

      Which means you need ‘warfare type’ weapons. Not little over and under multi-calibers or a pistol, or a shotgun with only a 7 round tubular mag, or something intentionally chosen that shoots the same round as your go-to CQB carbine, unless maybe if it’s an AR pistol firing the same 5.56 as your carbine, but if you need to do that it means you didn’t prep right by not having enough rounds for your back up CQB pistol which doesn’t matter if it’s in a real pistol caliber as long as you stocked up on ammo and mags for it.
      Having said that, there are some pretty good choices for having a Carbine and a pistol shooting the same ammo, which i’m sure the debate here will elaborate on, and which will suffice in CQB, but probably the best choice is a Nine millimeter or .40 Glock because of the high capacity 30 round mags. And you can make your Glock into a very cool, compact shoulder firing for accuracy weapon with a mini Ronan drop in stock, which mounts any optic.

      So essentially, you are carrying Two of the same pistols.

      One as pistol in your holster, and one as a short PDW type carbine set up, WHICH BOTH USE THE SAME MAGAZINES!

      AND a good super load .40 round will do the ‘job’ all day long out to a hundred meters, and beyond. Way beyond(see the videos testing the penetration with these rounds ad distance) without missing a beat, including head shots if you make sure your set shoulder fired version is accuratized

      • You could always load up a 3″ dia piece of X80 pipe and use gravel for cannister shot when the shtf.

    • I noticed that too. Maybe the choice was made because of finish similarities. The revolver should have been in .45 colt.

      • The 1873 Winchesters were not originally chambered in .45 Colt but in .44-40. This posed a great challenge to Colt, since its guns sold slowly as there were no matching rifles. Colt started to build its own in .45, putting it in direct competition with Winchester. Winchester was not happy, and retaliated by chambering a revolver in .45 Colt. To end the war, Colt agreed to stop producing rifles and Winchester agreed to stop producing revolvers, but to also chamber its 1892 in .45 Colt.

        • Thanks for the correct info, I am not an expert in oldwest firearms. But I will take a lesson when offered. Thank You Mark.

  4. There are several semi-automatic carbines and rifles, as well as lever actions using .44 mag – so that one isn’t too bad a choice, as long as you don’t have any long range shooting in mind. The same can be said for .357 mag, with even less range.
    I prefer the .44 Mag – with a scoped 6.5mm Swedish Mauser for the unusual long shot requirement.

  5. Do not get jerked out of shape.
    But, 22’s can do wonders, 22 LR hi speed solid out of a rifle has about twice the penetration as a 357 mag. A 22 LR from a handgun has about 9 inches of penetration.
    And, a brick(500 rounds) of 22’s do not take up much space.

    • A .357 with hard cast bullets will down a deer or a pig at 100 yards or more. Can you say that about a .22?

    • Yup, it’s a statistical fact that more ER Rooms in the big cities like Chicago and NY were filled with serious gunshot wounds from little pussy pistols like .22s (even .22 shorts!) than any other caliber.


  7. I’ve owned them all and tryed many Favorite is my 44mag hollow point six gun ruger vecaro with my quick draw cowboy western holster with 12 rounds extra on my belt and my 40cal glock 22 model 15rounds then rifle 556 ar15 full metal jacket 30 round clips shoulder sling on my back. Then my sweet 3030.lever action 1955 Winchester for long range those four weapons take 4 different types of Ammo but you load once and you have 57 rounds ready and in a fire fight the 44 mag quick draw is no 1 then pop off a clip of 556 full metal jacket 40 cal glock is 3rd running for your next cover and then you got 6 rounds in the lever action Winchester that’s accurate as Heck 100yds or farther and if your still alive put in another clip of 556 and head for your hidden ammo supply. But that 44 mag rifle is all over the target at least the marlin I owned was but the 44 6gun so sweet and accurate so it’s all about what you got on you when the fire fight begins and God help us all when that day happens..Be prepared stay alive..learn to shoot all of your weapons and keep them clean away from kids and lunitic leftist crazys

    • Jerry, you need to “get out more” in the Real time world, and study up on some serious firefight tactics. Right after you change your CQB ‘arsenal’ preferences. Remember the ‘firefight’ you ALWAYS survive, is the one you don’t get into.

  8. If using the same caliber ammo is the thing to do, Why are they showing a rifle with a black powder pistol with a rifle with cartridge ammo?

  9. I would expect firearm jamming by using pistol rounds in a rifle. But self defense is not a sure thing nor can one stay alive in a serious firefight with more than one shooter? Common sense needs to be brought to play considering the consequences of a firefight.

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