Many gun owners participate in everyday carry as a means of protection, empowerment, and readiness. Some wonder if they’d be even better prepared by carrying a backup gun.

There are both benefits and drawbacks to the idea of carrying a backup in addition to a primary firearm. Ultimately, each individual gun carrier should consider their situation and what would serve them best when it comes to safety, lawful carry, and again,

Here are just some of the pros and cons when deciding whether you should carry a backup gun:


The pros for backup guns might be especially relevant if you live or work in a potentially dangerous environment that requires personal protection.
The main argument gun owners make for carrying a backup weapon is a malfunction with the primary weapon. All guns are subject to malfunctions, such as:

  • Failure to feed
  • Failure to fire
  • Failure to eject
  • Delayed discharge
  • Incomplete discharge

It’s difficult, particularly in intense and stressful situations, to quickly and effectively address or fix a firearm malfunction.

In these situations, carrying a backup gun is beneficial. For example, if a gun owner’s weapon malfunctioned in any of these ways, they’d be able to draw their backup gun.

Another pro for carrying a backup gun is if the primary gun is somehow taken from the owner, whether as a result of theft or an act of aggression by an assailant. In this case, a gun owner can rely on a backup weapon as a means of defense.

Additionally, carrying a backup gun might be a better option than having to reload a firearm, if necessary.

Reloading a primary firearm can take time that a gun carrier doesn’t have in certain threatening situations. Therefore, carrying a backup gun helps to avoid this reload step and allows the gun owner to quickly draw the backup as protection.


There are potential drawbacks to carrying a back-up gun as well. These cons apply to those who live in more restrictive areas or those who find carrying a primary weapon to be sufficient.

One of the main drawbacks of carrying a backup gun is, in some jurisdictions, it’s illegal to do so. Since gun legislation is set forth primarily at the state level, it’s important to understand the regulations and restrictions when it comes to lawful carrying.

To stay within legal boundaries, carrying a backup gun is inadvisable unless gun owners verify legislative permission.

Another con for carrying a backup gun is the fact that it doubles the responsibility for gun owners. Gun owners are entirely responsible for:

The safety of themselves and others when it comes to their weapons.
Carrying a backup gun doubles this responsibility and increases the chances that a gun might fall into the hands of an unauthorized user.

This can result in dangerous consequences for everyone involved, including legal liability for the gun owner.

In addition, carrying a backup gun might be more of an inconvenience than an asset. This is particularly true for concealed carry gun owners.

Often, it’s difficult to conceal carry a single, primary gun comfortably. Carrying a backup would add the inconvenience of properly holstering and concealing a second weapon.


Overall, it should be up to the individual in deciding whether to carry a backup gun (if it’s lawful to do so). As with any decision when it comes to firearms, those that carry should carefully consider all options and their pros and cons before making an informed decision based on their findings.

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