Just when I thought that I had run out of topics for discussion in this forum, I ran across and took exception with a blog posting presenting what I view as a somewhat distorted view of the so-called New York reload (As with my inability to reply to comments on my articles here because of my refusal to register for a Facebook account, I was unable to address my comments directly to the blogger).
…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…
…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…
First, it’s useful to recognize that the term New York reload was coined by Massad Ayoob, after he learned that officers on the NYPD Stakeout Unit usually went to a second or even third gun when a gunfight had exhausted the first load. Back then, almost all of them the carried revolvers.
Second, as I recall the accounts of the SOU shootouts, I believe that most officers carried the second gun for primary access with the dominant hand, either in a crossdraw or shoulder holster. I don’t recall any mention of whether some may have carried a third gun intended for draw with the non-dominant hand.
One principle that I have retained, from among the many that I was taught by “Uncle Mas,” is, If you need one gun, you probably need two guns. My own “EDC” (Every Day Carry) includes three stainless-steel, five-shot S&W Centennial revolvers. For myself, the concept of going to a second gun in lieu of a reload does not even enter my top three reasons for carrying more than one gun:
- When most private citizens will lack the justification to draw a firearm until the assailant is close enough that one hand may already be deflecting the attack, it’s very useful to be able to draw and fire – without unusual contortions – with either hand.
- Guns, gun hands and gun side arms have a good chance of getting shot in a gunfight. (And a hand or arm may already be cut or otherwise injured by the time that you are justified to draw the first gun.) Being able to stay in the fight with a second gun, second hand, etc., is very appealing to my way of thinking.
- If I perceive a threat developing, such as a robbery in a restaurant, I like the option of being able to share one of my extra guns with a companion who may know how to shoot but who may not be carrying.
Even when I only carried two five-shot revolvers, I felt better armed with ten rounds split between two revolvers than I would have with 15 rounds in one pistol.
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(I have noticed that many private citizens and some off-duty officers do not carry spare magazines, in the belief that they’ll never get around to a reload with a “high-capacity” pistol. Personally, I want at least two spare magazines for any autoloading pistol as I am programmed to reload as a universal malfunction clearance.)
Yes, carrying a second gun can be more of a challenge with autoloading pistols because spare magazines may compete with the second holster for belt space. If I wanted to carry a pair of identical pistols on the belt, I’d probably settle for one on each side, around 4:30 and 7:30, with a single spare magazine at 3:00 and 9:00. The magazine worn on the left would be intended primarily to reload the pistol worn on the right and vice versa. In my experience, even with single-column magazines, OWB pouches are more suited to those positions than IWB pouches. If carrying more than one pistol, I prefer to carry two that can use the same magazines.
Long story short, if the blogger I’ve quoted prefers pistols to revolvers, I think that her 30-day trial would have made more sense if she’d carried a Ruger LCP and a spare magazine – as described above – on each side than trying to carry (discreetly) two bulky Ruger SR9’s or mixing-and-matching an SR9 with an LCP. Perhaps she’d already arrived at her conclusion before actually conducting her experiment.
Oh yeah – that “BUG [Back Up Gun] on occasion” … I’ve never had any advance warning of the incidents in which I’ve found myself in harm’s way. In fact, in the last one, it was comforting knowing that, if the situation continued deteriorating to where I’d need to draw – as it did – I could draw and fire with either hand. If she knows when she will or won’t need her BUG, she’s a lot smarter than I am. Then again, I don’t live in the movies or in the gun-ninja blogosphere.