Concealed Carry & Home Defense

Concealed Carry Answers: What Is dual force?

Guns and Gear Contributor
Font Size:

By Joseph Terry, Gun Digest

Reader CAB123 asks: “My CCW instructor used the term “dual force” but did not explain it. What does it mean?”

What is “dual force?”

In law enforcement, “dual force” generally refers to an officer or deputy presenting two levels of force (lethal and non-lethal) simultaneously… and it has a civilian application in dealing with real world tactical situations.

Most states allow a gun to be displayed when you can clearly articulate you were confronted with the threat of lethal force or grievous bodily injury.

The problem comes if you are confronted with a threat that might go bad but you can’t morally or legally justify lethal force. A gun in your hand that you won’t (or can’t) shoot is worse than no gun at all because of the take-away [gun grab – Editor] risk… but that’s fodder for another posting.


Pepper spray and concealed carry.

An example of dual force would be having a gun at the low ready position in the strong side hand and a can of OC spray extended toward the threat in the other hand. This tactic might be employed if something went bump in the night but you could not establish whether it presented a lethal threat.

The pepper spray could provide a defensive option if confronting a less than lethal threat, but could be dropped instantly if you had to go to gun. (Even better… toss the can of spray at the eyes of the armed assailant as a distraction and engage with the gun.)

To defend yourself against a fist fight risk, a blast of pepper spray to the face (causing the assailant to experience what cops refer to as “snot city”) followed by a snap- kick to the knee (or other vulnerable area!) should provide you with an ample opportunity to retreat to safety.

Another example of dual force might be if you are out and about with your carry gun and also pack a small impact weapon.

On plain clothes details I had an expandable baton in a carrier just behind my holster and snapping it to full length had a therapeutic effect on a number of occasions. A Mini Maglite® can be a very effective defensive tool with a little bit of training, in addition to its obvious illumination capability.

Tactical Considerations

A couple of points to remember; (1) Always train with your trigger finger indexed along the frame of your handgun until you are ready to shoot. This avoids jerking the trigger in “sympathetic muscle response” when you pull the trigger on the OC can.

(2) Get trained in the use of OC spray. You need to understand its risks and rewards.

And (3) know your local laws about impact and chemical weapons. (You could have a valid carry permit and still get busted for having the wrong kind of secondary weapon. Nuts but true.)

I like dual force because it gives you more tactical options. Think about it in your defensive scheme.

But remember…this is not legal advice (you are expected to know your laws) everybody has different needs and capacities and every armed encounter is different. When developing your tactics always get a second opinion.

Be sure to take advantage of Gun Digest’s free downloads to learn all about Gun ValuesAR-15 OpticsGlock Accessories and Concealed Carry Holsters.