Two Is The Best You Can Manage

One of the  constant problems I come across during my charity self defense course is how students are convinced that they know the basics of gun handling through video games and movies.

matrix movie shootout with two submachineguns

(Please click picture for full sized version.)

This usually crops up in that the student is convinced they are an expert shot before they ever pick up a firearm for the first time.  After all, they see their media heroes wielding a handgun with one hand and never missing, even though the actor never takes time to steady their aim.  Isn’t that reality?

clint eastwood as dirty harry

Although it hasn’t come up too often, some of my students were fans of video games.  These people always want to carry a bunch of guns.

a whole lot of guns

There is a real world precedent, as those who like small revolvers will often carry a spare.  This is more to allow them to increase their ready firepower than to have guns ready in case different threats pop up.

two revolvers in pocket holsters with draw hooks

The fact of the matter is that weapons are heavy, and it is a pain in the backside to haul them around.  Note how the most popular defensive handguns are designed to be as small and light as possible, even though a larger and heavier handgun would be more accurate over distance and more comfortable to shoot.

taurus pt111 9mm

This seems to be a problem that has persisted through the centuries, as Matt Easton discusses in one of his excellent videos.  His area of expertise is muscle powered weapons such as swords, but he makes the very same points.

tarot deck seven of swords

Mr. Easton makes the point that people throughout history usually carried a single sidearm, with maybe a backup weapon or shield.  Knives were the weapon of choice, just as small handguns are popular today.  Larger weapons such as swords were only carried if someone was expecting trouble, or if they were traveling in dangerous territory.  Going about day-to-day activities would mean that the larger weapons would get in the way.  As he puts it, ….

They wouldn’t walk around with a sword most of the time because, why?

The video is less than eight minutes long, so you should check it out.


5 thoughts on “Two Is The Best You Can Manage

  1. All the above is true, though I don’t think any of it should be news to anyone who has ever actually carried a weapon in the real world.

    You’ve only got two hands. If you’re firing a longarm, you’ll need both just to aim and control it properly. With a handgun, while possible to shoot with just one hand, realistically two hands provide faster and better aiming, as well as better control of recoil. So all modern handgun combat schools emphasize shooting with both hands, when possible.

    Firing two separate handguns (let alone longarms) at different targets simultaneously, is pure Hollywood (/Hong Kong) nonsense. In the real world its hard enough to hit anything with one handgun under combat stress. Nobody who’s trained or experienced with guns would try splitting their aim and attention with multiple guns in different directions in a fight.

    Also in the real world, professionals expecting trouble (eg soldiers, SWAT members) will typically carry either JUST one longarm, or maybe depending on rules and personal preference, a longarm and pistol for backup. Ordinary police officers typically carry either just their service gun or that and a smaller backup in case the service gun malfunctions, is lost, or runs dry. If they anticipate trouble, they’ll grab either the shotgun or rifle in their vehicle. As a matter of practice, carrying more than one longarm simultaneously (like video game characters do) is highly cumbersome, impractical, and provides no real benefit. Even two full sized sidearms just isn’t usually done.

    With knives, the situation is a little bit different, because these are used as tools as well as weapons, and they’re quite a bit lighter and less bulky than firearms. In addition to guns, soldiers may have a knife that can double as a bayonet, or last ditch weapon. Sometimes military special forces will carry multiple knives simultaneously on different parts of the body, with the idea being that this way one is always reachable with either hand, and/or in a variety of positions (prone, seated, etc).

  2. The only weapon of each needs carry is ones family jewels. When I find myself accosted by ruffians and other jack-booted thugs, I unleash its mighty power! Turgid or flaccid (it is always turgid) its glory glows like a fusion bomb, and disarms any fool as they stare into the arc of my weld.

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