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Should You Carry a Backup Gun?

Should You Carry a Backup Gun?

Again we come to a question that is widely debated in the gun community. Should you carry a backup gun? There actually is no right or wrong answer, although many people might try to tell you there is. Ultimately the choice to carry or not to carry a backup gun is up to you.

Since this is a highly debated topic in the community you will hear an array of arguments for and against carrying a backup gun. But we are here to help you learn both sides of the argument to help you decide what is best for you. We’ll go over some questions you might have and why you might want to or not want to carry a backup gun.

Can You Carry A Backup Gun?

Before you get into really deciding if carrying a backup gun is right for you you should first know if you can even carry a backup gun. Most of the time the answer is yes but there are a few states that don’t allow it. So just like with anything gun related it’s important to check your own state and local rules and regulations for more specific details on the ins and outs of concealed or open carry.

One state for example, to our knowledge, does not allow you to conceal carry more than one gun is New Mexico. Other states like Florida and New York have no restrictions on the number of guns you can carry on your person. If your state allows you to carry more than one gun the choice is up to you.

Why Would You Carry A Backup Gun?

If you are already carrying one gun why would you need another? Well, there are more reasons than you may realize for why you might decide to carry a backup gun. Being a member of law enforcement is one of the reasons you would carry a backup gun. Most of the time law enforcement are required to carry a backup gun while on duty and they may choose to carry a backup gun off duty too.

Imagine you get into a fight with someone who is trying to harm you. Perhaps you can’t reach your primary gun on your waist but you have a backup gun on your ankle that you can access to help defend yourself. Drawing a backup gun may also be quicker than reloading. This is sometimes referred to as the New York reload.

Technology fails and with guns there are a lot of moving parts involved so malfunctions, while not common, can still happen. If you have a backup gun and your primary gun malfunctions you can still protect yourself against threats.

So, there are many reasons someone might choose to carry a backup gun but it can vary based on the person and their needs.

What is the New York Reload?

We just mentioned the New York Reload, so you may be wondering what it is. Well, before semi-automatic pistols became popular, law enforcement and other officers would use revolvers. If you have ever fired a revolver you know they aren’t easy to reload as quick as their semi auto counterpart, since they don’t have magazines. Instead of taking the time to reload their revolvers they would instead carry a backup. This technique primarily began in New York City which is why it is called the New York reload.

Using a backup gun as a method for having extra bullets rather than reloading your pistol or revolver is just one reason why someone might want to carry a backup gun. But there are a few reasons why someone might not want to carry a backup gun so it's only fair we talk about those too.

Reasons You Might Not Want To Carry A Backup Gun

On the other side of the argument there are some people who prefer not to carry a backup gun, so let's talk about them. First off, guns cost money. Having two or more guns is going to add up quickly. Beyond the initial cost, you’ll be paying for more ammo and a holster among other things.

If you are concealed carrying it might be harder to conceal two guns versus just one.Additionally, carrying multiple guns is going to require more training. You’ll have to practice drawing from your second holster and firing whatever gun you choose. If you are using the backup gun for extra rounds you’ll need to plan how you are going to transition from your primary gun to your secondary.

Lastly, carrying a backup gun just might be for you. If you can’t carry at work or you just find it to not suit your lifestyle you might decide carrying a backup gun doesn’t work for you.

When Would You Carry A Backup Gun?

First let’s consider another question, when do you carry? Probably as often as you can. Well, for those people who choose to carry a backup gun they will carry it as much as they carry their primary gun. You might be wondering why not only carry it in certain situations. Well, let’s think about it.

If you concealed carry on a daily basis, you don’t only carry when you are going into a questionable area, do you? Because something could happen anywhere, right? The same thing goes for people who choose to carry a backup gun. They don’t want to be in a situation where they need to use a gun at all but if they are they want to be prepared with a backup.

So, if you choose to carry a backup gun when you decide to carry it is up to you but you never know when you might get into a situation where it could prove useful.

How Do You Carry A Backup Gun?

Everyone has a unique way that they carry on a daily basis so what works for one person may not work for another. There are a variety of positions you can carry in for both your primary and secondary firearms. Most importantly you need a good quality holster for each gun you carry and a sturdy gun belt. All of our holsters and gun belts are made here in the USA, you can check them out on our website.

A few ways people choose to carry a backup gun are on their waist, in a pocket, on their ankle, or through off-body carry in a purse or backpack. Depending on your daily routine and what you wear one position may work better than others. For example, if you live in sunny Florida you may find that you wear shorts more often than pants. If that's the case an ankle holster may not be for you. Instead, you might find a pocket holster like our Pocket Locker works better for you.

What Can You Carry As A Backup Gun?

So, you are considering carrying a backup gun. What type of gun should you carry as a backup? Ultimately you can use whatever you want as long as it doesn’t break any state or federal laws. If you decide that a full size 1911 is the perfect backup pistol for you then you can absolutely use it as one.

However that may be too large of a choice for many people. A restriction you may run into is some states that have capacity restrictions on concealed carry firearms. If you live in one of those states most likely the capacity restrictions will apply to your backup gun as well.

Typically people lean towards smaller guns for their backup firearm. This might be a subcompact 9mm handgun or a .380 ACP gun. If you are looking for a gun to use as your backup firearm you might want to check out our article that lists the top 10 concealed carry guns of 2020.

Remember what you choose to carry as your backup gun is up to you, whether that is a full size 1911 or Springfield Hellcat.


Carrying a backup gun is a decision only you can make but let’s review. Most states allow a valid permit holder to carry multiple concealed carry weapons but it is best to check your state laws first. People choose to carry backup guns for multiple reasons whether they want it for extra ammo or in case their primary gun malfunctions.

Some people choose not to carry a backup gun because it does not suit their lifestyle or just doesn’t work for them. A backup gun can be carried in a variety of positions and there are only a few restrictions on what you carry as your backup gun.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you prefer and what meets your needs. We recommend visiting our Holsters by Gun Model page if you are looking for holsters that are custom made for your weapon of choice. For all of our belt and holster options and for more information to help you choose the carry system that works best for you, visit our Vedder Holsters website.

Looking for items beyond holsters and belts, check out our Resources Page for popular product links like lights, laser, first aid, maintenance, and more. 

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