I've carried a lot of different guns in even more different holsters over the years as a law enforcement officer in the 1980s and 1990s... to concealed carry in the 2000s, almost every day for over ten years now here in Ohio. I've carried full-size revolvers, snubbies, derringers, pocket-autos, 1911s, wonder-nines, and more... Rugers... Smith and Wessons... Glocks... and others.
I've carried in every hour on the clock from one to noon... small of the back, thigh, high, low... angled, canted, straight... leather, nylon, kydex... no retention to can't-get-it-out-of-the-holster with a tow-truck retention... ankle... shoulder holster... pocket carry... fanny pack... glove box... boot... you name it, I've probably tried it in my continual quest of life-long learning.
My primary Every Day Carry (EDC) gun the last few years has been either the Ruger SR9 or SR9c... and mostly the full-size variant the last year or two. I typically carry the SR9 on my strong side hip and one spare seventeen-round magazine on my weak-hand side which gives me thirty-five rounds. In my EDC routine... I typically carry a cell phone, knife, keys, wallet, flashlight, and... sometimes a SabreRed Spitfire Pepper Spray... and sometimes a Back-Up Gun (BUG).
While the New York Reload... grabbing a second gun when the first runs dry, rather than reloading... lives mostly in the movies and gun-ninja blogosphere... I decided to give it a real try this summer... for thirty days. Shoot... ENDO even has a t-shirt out celebrating it.
I practice shooting with my weak-side/off-side regularly... and I practice occasionally with my gun holstered on my weak-side simulating my strong-side being out of service I've carried a BUG on my weak-side before and this past spring I started thinking about what would it be like to carry a full-size pistol on each side... at the same time... where I usually carry my spare magazine.
Two Ruger SR9s... two loaded seventeen-round mags for thirty-six rounds on board (you do carry with one in the chamber right... two chambers)... and one right-side Comp-Tac MTAC and one left-side Comp-Tac MTAC... and we've got the New York Reload ready to go... well, kind of.
There are inherent problems with this carry method... including concealment, drawing from the concealed weak-side, and how do you grip a gun when you're already gripping a gun. I have a pretty soft mid-section... and far more girth than when I was in high school... and have no problems wearing two full-size guns at three and nine without them showing through my clothing or cover garments. In fact, it wasn't until the third week of this experiment that my good friend noticed the gun on my left side while I adjusted my belt and asked when I switched... not noticing I still had a gun on the right side.
Drawing from the concealed, weak-side is not really a big problem as I've practiced that on and off anyway. The real problem is drawing a gun with your weak-hand when you still have a gun in the strong-hand. Now most of this also applies if you're carrying a BUG too... and you have to look at your options.
Option 1: Re-holster the empty gun, then draw the second gun. This is OK if you have time, but if your actively engaging a real threat, it is slow and that creates a problem.
Option 2: Drop or ditch the empty gun, then draw the second gun. It's hard to toss a good gun to the ground or throw it at the threat... even if it's empty... but in a real SHTF situation... an empty gun is about as useful as a brick... so maybe you want to use it like a brick and throw it.
Option 3: Dual-wielding by drawing the second gun with just your weak-hand. Oh... come on... every action-movie, tactical-ninja, fanboy wants to dual-wield two handguns and blast away, but remember... you're drawing your second gun as your reload so what good does the gun still in your strong-hand do for you when it's empty and the slide is locked back? Drop it like you would any empty magazine you stripped from your gun... and leave the dual-wielding fantasies to your day dreams while you're scarfing potato chips in your BVDs watching Chuck Norris' Delta Force movies.
The other problem you may find in the real world is how to you secure and retain two guns in a close encounter situation. Well, standard weapon retention techniques will likely still work... and it is unlikely your threat can go for both guns at the same time, but you have to be aware of that possibility. Also, just like a knife or other weapon, if you're using a retention technique on one gun, you can use the other gun as a secondary weapon against your attacker. It's no different if you're carrying a Back-Up Gun. You have two guns to think about retention or protecting in that situation.
What about carrying spare magazines too? Well, you can do that. It ultimately comes down to what I say about AR accessories... how much can you hang on to a gun before you can't hang on to a gun... how much can you hang on to your pants before you can't hang on to your pants. Each person has to make their own decisions.
Would I recommend the New York Reload for EDC... nah... not for me. I'll stick with my SR9 and a spare magazine... maybe a Ruger LCR or Ruger LCP for a BUG on occasion... but you know what... it was fun to try... and I learned that I still need more practice with my weak-side... so it was worth it... a summer learning experiment... 30 days with the New York Reload...
So, what are your thoughts?