Some Thoughts On Dual Wielding

I was watching a few YouTube videos where the subject of dual wielding swords was discussed.

dual wielding swords

The consensus was that it certainly was a very prevalent technique back in the day, but it was useful only in very limited circumstances.  There was a reason why people didn’t haul around two swords all the time.

So what about dual wielding handguns?  Do I address this in my charity course?

Most of my students are, shall I say, of a certain age.


They tend to be extremely down to earth.  Practical, realistic, logical.

This is generally not the case with younger students.  Instead of a wealth of past experiences to draw upon to make decisions about the real world, they tend to filter reality through what they have seen and done on their computers.

video game fan

That is why I sometimes get questions about dual wielding.


I must admit that I often cannot help becoming flippant when first confronted with this question.  I like to say that I can always tell if someone tried to dual wield by counting their fingers.

missing index finger

The truth of the matter is that shooting two guns at once is simply a bad idea when modern firearms are involved.  The main reason why is that shot placement is the single most important factor in ending the rampage of a violent criminal, and trying to bang away with a gun in your off hand is a big distraction when it comes to placing bullets where they need to be.

bullseye target with pattern from a revolver multiround

Fantasy replacing reality in the minds of the inexperienced isn’t something that is new.  I remember reading numerous articles in gun magazines from the 1960’s and 1970’s where the author discussed how many people were heavily influenced by the westerns they saw on TV.

james garner and walter brennan in the tcv western maverick

Situational awareness, use of cover, and shot placement were pretty much ignored in favor of developing a quickdraw.  Just like in their favorite television series, the path to surviving a violent criminal attack was how fast one got their defensive weapon into play.  The fact that one had to incapacitate the bad guy, all while avoiding getting shot themselves, took a back seat to clearing leather.

That having been said, there actually is a place for dual wielding handguns.  Although modern designs do not lend themselves to dual wielding, there is a place for it when using antiquated single action revolvers.

cowboy action shooter with two guns

(Picture source.)

Since the sixgun has to be cocked each time before being able to fire, it is possible to train oneself to point the off gun in a safe direction and cock away while concentrating on firing the ready handgun.  Then you switch off and repeat.  You can see people doing this at the various Cowboy Action Shooting events held in the United States.

Please note that one may be able to greatly increase the rate of fire of those old Western handguns by using this technique, but it still pales besides the average performance of a modern design.  Technology continually improves, as they say.

So what is the bottom line?  Keeping in mind that this blog is concerned with personal armed defense in a modern setting, I would say that dual wielding is a waste.  It is a waste of time, it is a waste of ammo, and it won’t improve your chances of getting through a violent attack.

7 thoughts on “Some Thoughts On Dual Wielding

  1. I suppose “clearing leather” would be the most important thing in a controlled situation like a duel. (Which happen a lot in westerns).

    Obviously, a gunfight is another matter.

  2. Did any of the people asking you about dual-wielding also mention surrounding their homes with PVC pipes filled with salt? Just wondering…

  3. Two-gun is possible but extremely hard to be effective with and then only at the cost of reduced attention to either weapon, not recommended.

  4. In a real gunfight, I imagine it would be pretty useless unless in very specific conditions. It is possible to train yourself to be able to hit as many shots as you would with only one handgun (9/10 for only one for example, would be 18/20) Regardless, in anything but a controlled environment I would say it’s not worth sending stray bullets flying unless it’s some insane thing. If I was in a situation so bad that I knew I’d probably die regardless… fuck yeah I’d duel wield. But if it’s only one attacker, one bullet should always be more than enough to stop them. I say more than enough because normally just them seeing that you are armed will deter them.

    For airsoft purposes, I have been training myself to be an accurate duel wielder. I’m ambidextrous, both eyes can pick up good sight pictures, and I practice firing accurately without needing the sights enough that I normally do hit my shots, as far as 40-60 feet out with .20 biodegradable bb’s. At that range I can still hit half of my shots with wind. (Anyone who knows airsoft knows those bb’s get blown around easily, hop-up gets knocked around, and things happen that generally make accurate shot placement difficult with most things, though airsoft has been getting more and more accurate.)

    Things duel wielding could be useful for-
    Covering two angles at once up to as far as your peripheral vision can see
    Extremely close quarters
    Keeping some heads down while going in for anyone who’s head isn’t down
    Intimidation factor (Even experienced people will know more bullets come from more handguns)
    More ammunition before needing to reload

    Things that are bad about it-
    Relatively short effective range for perfect shot placement
    Reloading is awkward if you try not to leave empty mags on the ground
    Less attention available for each gun, though it can be mitigated, there will almost always be some loss, resulting in things like… accidentally putting the gun on safe, fingers slipping over the mag release, potentially even dropping the gun.
    Your spreads if you need to get rounds down range, will be a decent sized spread, and not tight groups, though it could increase your chances of hitting once, it also means there will probably be quite a few stray bullets, unless you train that out, even then, more bullets down range will still mean more bullets that can go astray.

    Would I recommend duel wielding?

    In airsoft, yes
    In a real gunfight, no
    In a real gunfight so insane that it could be your last chance to do that, or in an evacuated battlefield where you REALLY want mobility, it’s up to you… I would say fuck it, why not? Unless there’s other options that mean I’ll probably live, like working with a team.

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