The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Concealed/Open or Off Duty – Do you carry a secondary?

Monderno just ran an interesting article about very unusual weapon malfunction that occurred at a shooting class recently (images courtesy of Fortress Defense Consultants). According to Monderno:

This past weekend at a Fortress Defense Level II Pistol course, an interesting stoppage was observed. It happened with a 1911, and appeared to be caused by the exposed hammer of the 1911 catching a student’s garment on the draw stroke.

A student’s 1911 grabbed hold of her cover garment during slide-cycle. The shirt was caught under the hammer when the slide cycled. As the slide cycled to the rear and cocked the hammer, the shirt wedged under the hammer and seized the works up. The hammer couldn’t travel down far enough and it all locked up mid cycle.

She drew her back-up and continued with her primary pistol dangling from her shirt. We almost had to beat the slide forward with a hammer to free it – the gun was out of action, completely seized up. You do this stuff long enough and you’ll see everything.

– Frank Sharpe, Fortress Defense


I always carried a secondary when I was still on the job; on the ankle for several years, then in a support side pocket holster (it was a 5-shot S&W Airweight revolver). I made the decision to switch after a sobering training session that had my primary weapon out of service and me on my back getting pounded by a suspect, unable to get to either my folding knife or my ankle holster. I chose the support side pocket holster because I personally found it to be a faster, cleaner draw than those from the strong side pocket or my body armor. (This and another real world event also had me change up how, where and what I carried for a duty knife, but we’ll discuss that another time.)

So given this particular case Monderno wrote about (and of course the possibility of other malfunctions) is there an argument to be made for carrying a secondary firearm? Obviously in some places it may not be practical, particularly in those locations where open carry is your only option. There may also be areas where there are legal implications (to say nothing of how it could be construed in court to your disadvantage by an attorney, even if a shooting was completely justified).

I have never before carried a secondary when not acting in a professional status, and I’m not particularly inclined to change that policy. Should I reconsider that, at least under certain circumstances? Should you? Or is this just a fluke?

Please discuss.

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