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Article The Case for Compatible Gun Ownership

By hogarth, Oct 3, 2017 | | |
  1. hogarth
    My twins’ birthday just passed last week. My twins are not identical; in fact, they are a boy and a girl (I just love when I tell people that I have boy/girl twins, and then they ask me if they are identical! Duh!). Not being identical twins, I cannot use the old mantra of “two is one and one is none”. Of course, even if identical, I doubt they would appreciate such statements.

    In the area of firearms ownership, however, I am a big proponent of that philosophy. A recent thread here on GlockTalk had me thinking about this. The thread topic was something along the lines of “how many of you own more than one Glock 19?” Some commenters found the idea odd. Why buy two or three Glock 19s when there are so many other Glock models, not to mention offerings by other manufacturers?

    I have my share of firearms, but I am not a “collector”. I have tried, in recent years, to figure out what works for me and keep my focus—in terms of purchases—there. I do not hunt, shoot trap and skeet, or compete in shooting sports that require extensively modified firearms. My focus is purely on self-defense, with other uses of my firearms geared toward that focus (practice, training, teaching others, etc.). Accordingly, I find it useful to have “twins” of the most commonly used of my firearms. For me, this means the Glock 19 and the AR-15.

    Why more than one of each? Well, besides this...


    ...the reasons are many, and as long as you have the available funds, I think this is a much smarter buying strategy than building a collection of a bunch of “unrelated” firearms. For one thing, firearms are mechanical devices built by people. They break. Even the good ones. If my Glock 19 breaks during a practice session and requires a trip to Smyrna, I have a nearly identical Glock 19 (except for color and the number of rounds it has fired) that can be used in the meantime. Similarly, if it breaks during a training class or a competitive shooting match, I can quickly swap for its twin. Best of all, they utilize the same ammunition, magazines, magazine pouches, and holsters. ​

    There are plenty of other reasons why having twins is a good idea. For one thing, my primary focus, as mentioned, is on self-defense. Suppose that for which I am constantly preparing actually happens, and I am forced to use my pistol in self-defense. That pistol would then be confiscated by the police as part of their investigation. In such a scenario, having its twin “ready to go” might be a great idea, especially at a time when allies of the person I shot might seek revenge. Likewise, in a situation in which the firearm is not confiscated by the police, but instead stolen (perhaps while traveling), it would bring some peace of mind to have its twin ready in the safe back home.

    Other advantages exist as well. During some sort of extended “societal breakdown”--such as after severe weather, a large-scale terrorist attack, civil unrest, etc.--the ability to arm yourself and friends/family members with identical weapons that share magazines and other gear could prove to be an advantage. Such a setup also allows for more efficient acquisition of spare parts, magazines, and similar accessories. When you see that deal in the classifieds from someone selling ten magazines for—in my case—the Glock 19, it is easier to spring for that when you have several of those same pistols. It’s a lot easier than buying two magazines for this pistol, three for this one, two for this one, etc.

    As noted above, my twin Glock 19s are set up virtually identically. Both are Generation 3 models, have the same triggers (Glock OEM Glock 17 smooth triggers), the same sights (orange Ameriglo I-Dot Pros), the same grip-tape on the top of the slides, and the same slide-stops (Vickers/Tango-Down). One happens to be black, the other OD. My black one has the higher round count but is now used almost exclusively for concealed carry, while the OD has become my primary “training and practice” pistol, seeing the most action recently at the range, in training classes, and shooting in IDPA matches.
    twins2.jpg twinsextra.jpg
    For those interested, my AR-15s are set up almost as twins. Both have 16 inch barrels with A2-style flash-hiders, ALG-ACT triggers, 12 inch rails (though by two different manufacturers), slings (Vickers/Blue Force Gear VCAS), and charging handles (BCM Mod 4). Though equipped with different optics (red dot on one and low power variable on the other), the one with the variable has back-up irons already zeroed at the same distance as the other model, so that if I had to ditch the variable I could either attach a red dot and adjust the dot to right on top of the sight post, or just shoot using the irons as I can do with the other. These two carbines come with me to all carbine classes I take, just like my Glock 19s that go to every pistol class and competition with me.

    So that is really it: the case for twins. I should note that some out there actually advocate for triplets: one handgun to carry, one to be mainly used for training and practice, and one to keep in the back of the safe, “just in case”.

    I wrote this article exclusively for GlockTalk, but if you found some value in it, I hope you will visit the blog I co-founded, for other thoughtful articles, gear reviews, and after-action reviews of classes and life events that are geared toward newer/average concealed carriers. Thanks for reading.​

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Recent User Reviews

  1. PACraftsman
    "Very Valid Points"
    Very valid points that should be considered by anyone investing time and money to protect themselves and their loved ones. Glocks do allow for variations in the specific models being used but still using the same Mags/ammo and the majority of parts. Many 1911s are similar that way. Hopefully everyone will have the time, patience and focus to know their specific weapons well enough for them to be effective.
  2. DJ Niner
    "Well-written article that makes great points..."
    ...for those folks who share the author's view and primary use of firearms.

    Alas, I'm not sure many gun owners share this fairly narrow view, and even for those who initially DO share his views, I think many will naturally expand into other areas. For example, different sighting systems on the carbines can lead into questions about practical accuracy at varying distances, or what single aiming system is best for all-around use on a light carbine, which may lead to purchasing more carbines (or at least, more sights) to test them on a head-to-head basis.

    I think the author made a solid case for owning twin firearms (or maybe even triplets, as said near the end), but for many firearm enthusiasts (even those with very focused goals), twin operational firearms are not the end of the story; they're just a rest stop on the journey down a future road filled with twists and turns.


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  1. lensmanicu
    Being that I had never thought of owning a hand gun until recently. This article brings out some very valid points that I would not have thought of other wise.
  2. BMyers
    My wife and I both shot G19 Gen 4 and we have a spare one we take to IDPA matches. Our guns are setup the same, same sights, same trigger, only difference is different custom slide plates. The spare is setup just like ours so we can easily switch if we have a problem. Four years of shooting them and no issues, but we are prepared in case it does happen.
  3. ChuteTheMall
    You can achieve most of these benefits with a non-identical sibling, such as a Glock 26 or 17.
  4. G33
    They are not identical!
  5. Bob A.
    Great article! You present very valid points supporting your argument.
      hogarth likes this.