History shows that when good guys are shooting it out with bad guys, the gunfire often gets hot and heavy. Sometimes it’s faster to reach for another gun than to reload the one in your hands that just ran empty. In the heat of battle, that primary firearm can be knocked or shot out of your hand, or taken from you at gunpoint by a killer who got the drop on you. There are other good reasons to have a backup gun.

Case in point: I’m writing this at my workstation while wearing a .45 ACP Springfield Range Officer on my hip, and my significant other is a few steps away at her own workstation editing a podcast with a 9mm Glock 43 in her holster. She can carry legally in some 30 states, and as a sworn officer, I can legally carry in all 50. Less than two weeks ago, we were in California where I can carry and she cannot. As we unpacked, I left my loaded S&W M&P 340 backup gun with her and kept my .45 in its holster as I went back out to the rental van for more of our luggage. The hotel room was her domicile, so she could legally be armed there; we were now both legally armed. It saved the hassle of her having to unpack her Glock. Convenience and protection in one package.

Neither of us had reason to draw a gun during that trip, except on the range. But it was a reminder that it’s always good to have backup. So let’s look at some cases where good people in the heat of battle have had to resort to a backup gun, and survived because they had that backup gun.

This article was originally published in “Pocket Pistols” 2018. To order a copy, go to

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