The question of whether or not you should carry more than one concealed handgun is a loaded question (pardon the pun). Here are some things to consider.
Whether you open carry or concealed carry, should you carry an extra concealed firearm (or two)?
There are a number of things to consider when determining your stance on the issue, not the least of which is the legality—depending on where you live—of carrying more than one concealed weapon.
State permit confusion
While all states allow some form of concealed firearm carry, different states have different carry laws for what can and can't be done concerning how and what you may carry.
Some states, such as New Mexico, stipulate the number, type (semi-auto or revolver), and caliber of handgun you may carry. Several states, including New York and California, restrict the magazine capacity of the gun you carry.
Other states have different state laws concerning even more conditions and limitations for concealed weapons permit consideration. Shoot, even the terminology varies from state to state. In some states you get a carry license while in other it's called a permit.
Additionally, some jurisdictions and states offer only "May Issue" permits, meaning that you have to prove that you need a carry gun for legitimate self-defense reasons. (I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees something wrong with someone else deciding whether or not your reasons for wanting to carry a firearm are legitimate, or even that you need to offer a reason to exercise your right.)
California and Delaware, for example, offer "May Issue" to residents only, while New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are among the states that offer "May Issue" permits to residents and non-residents.
Most states, including Utah and South Carolina, have "Shall Issue" policies where they will issue permits to residents and/or non-residents as long as those folks meet all the requirements for owning a firearm.
Unfortunately, Constitutional carry is not yet the universal law of the land, although some states such as Vermont and West Virginia do have Constitutional carry in place, and will or will not issue an actual permit with that right. Colorado, for example, recently passed a bill allowing Constitutional carry without a permit.
So you see, the concealed carry permit laws in the United States are really a morass of frustratingly varied regulations. Plus, they frequently change with each new legislation changing the right to carry, but pro-Second Amendment forces are trying to make the laws friendlier for gun owners. It just depends on who's in power and how the voting goes.
The best advice I can give you is to check your state gun laws and look at the USA Carry website, particularly if you plan on traveling across state lines. It's a shame, but gun rights are not treated like other rights in America.
Okay, the more than one handgun question
So, assuming that you are a law-abiding permit holder who, according to your state's laws, is allowed to carry more than one handgun, the question is, should you?
Some very knowledgeable, experienced and legitimate experts on the topic of carrying more than one handgun say no, there is absolutely no rational reason for you to carry more than one handgun. The arguments they make are sound and logical. The chances that you will ever actually need to use your handgun in a self-defense situation are miniscule, and the various things that can happen (running out of ammo, gun malfunction, a running gun battle) that would force you to rely on a backup gun are even less probable.
Those kinds of scenarios are extremely rare, and should they occur there may be other courses of action you could take to get yourself out of the situation.
But...none of us carry because the probability of needing to pull our weapon is rare. We carry because such scenarios could happen. You just have to weigh the potential advantages against the disadvantages of carrying more than one handgun.
Reasons to carry more than one
Most people who carry handguns also typically have an EDC (Every Day Carry) "kit" they have on their person at all times. These kits generally consist of one or two folding knives, one or two small flashlights, pepper spray and any other emergency items that fit in our pockets.
These items are also usually distributed in multiple pockets, where they can be easily and quickly reached with either hand. If you are one who carries more than one knife or flashlight, why wouldn't you also carry more than one handgun if your attire would allow it?
The old saying, "Two is one, and one is none" is, to my way of thinking, just being better prepared for any eventuality.
Guns are tools, and tools, even the best built ones, do on occasion fail. Guns jam or malfunction. It happens. Wouldn't a backup gun be a welcome item to have available should the unthinkable occur?
Granted, you probably wouldn't have much time to draw your primary gun, have it malfunction, and then draw your backup gun. A better course of action would probably be to try to vacate the scene.
But what if you can't escape? What if your backup gun had to be your primary gun? Like we all always say, better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
Additionally, with the seeming increase in reports of terrorist attacks and mass shootings these days, I like the idea of being able to protect my family by helping them protect themselves.
My wife doesn't carry (I'm trying to change that) and, God forbid, should we ever find ourselves in a mass shooter situation, I would like the option of being able to hand her or a friend a second handgun to defend ourselves.
Imagine if any one of the folks in any recent mass shooting was armed and prepared to fight back. Now imagine if there were at least two armed people returning fire to the criminal.
It gives me peace of mind to know that I could potentially arm a friend or loved one to enable them to defend themselves in a bad situation. And peace of mind goes a long way.
Where to carry that extra gun
Should you decide to carry one or more handguns where should you secure them on your person? This is really a personal choice and has a lot to do with your attire, your physical condition, the normal circumstances you might expect to find yourself in and more.
An ankle holster is often more accessible in a vehicle than a belly band or belt holster, because you don't have to deal with seat belts. A shoulder holster is another option.
There really is no right or wrong method to carry either your primary weapon or your backup gun. It's a very personal choice that could or should change with the day-to-day circumstances you expect to find yourself in. But whatever those expected circumstances, one thing is certain: you should practice reaching for, drawing, and range shooting your backup gun as much as you do your primary gun.
To conclude, know the laws of your state and what you are legally able to do and not do. That's important. You don't want to be in violation of the law if at all possible or practical. And if you find those laws onerous, work to change them. The right to keep and bear arms is, after all, a right, not a privilege...and we need to constantly fight for our rights.
If you do have the legal right to conceal carry a backup handgun or two, and decide to do so, have multiple carry options available and train and practice with them as much as you train and practice with your primary gun.
Remember, better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
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