Is dual wielding with pistols Lara Croft-like reasonable? I imagine it would be impractical unless you are ambidextrous. The pistols might need to be differently balanced for each hand so picking up a 2nd gun during a fight’d be unrealistic, right?

It’s not effective, but there’s nothing mechanically stopping you. There’s just not much point. Dual wielding pistols means reloads take much longer, and accuracy suffers. As it turns out, the downsides significantly outweigh the advantages.

While handguns are, basically, point and click, you do need to actually aim them. Dual wielding prevents this. You can put bullets in the general vicinity of “over there,” but you can’t reliably put a round into someone trying to kill you. Which kind of defeats the purpose of having a gun in the first place.

The early Tomb Raider games also did simultaneous multi-target tracking with the dual pistols. This is also impossible, for the same reason: you need to be able to aim at your target.

In theory you could use two separate pistols, aiming and firing with whichever gun was more convenient at the moment, but, again, there’s not much point, because it’s easy enough to switch hands.

Using extra pistols instead of a reload has some historical precedent. We’ve mentioned Edward “Blackbeard” Teach’s habit of taking six loaded matchlocks into battle.

If you’re talking about guns where you get a single shot between reloads, firing one, while swapping out the other, is an option. Not a great option, but given the overall state of firearms at the time, it was a legitimate choice. It’s also worth remembering, this behavior was unusual enough that people made note of it, remembered, and recorded it. So this was, obviously, never normal handing.

As for balance? That’s not an issue in the way you think it is. Balance affects how a firearm handles and feels. It can affect the felt recoil when firing. What it (almost) never does is affect which hand the gun is fired with.

The biggest issue a lefty will usually face, while shooting, are non-ambidextrous controls on their handgun. For example, I have a serious problem with thumb magazine release buttons on some SIG and S&W models, because, shooting the gun left handed, I’ll catch the magazine release and eject it between shots, and the slide release is too far back for me to catch it with my index finger.

Some firearms are designed to be easily reconfigured with replacement controls, others aren’t. This can make life a little more awkward for shooters that use the pistol with their left hand, but it’s not a deal breaker. Also, some pistols ship, standard, with ambidextrous controls.

The one thing that can mess with left handed shooters are asymmetrically contoured grips. Particularly ones with a protruding thumb rest. (These are why I tend to shoot long arms right handed, even though, I’m not.) Holding them with the wrong hand will dig the rest into your hand, which can be quite uncomfortable. You will sometimes see these with sport pistols, but it’s uncommon in stock handgun models.

You can retrofit some pistols with replacement slides designed to eject the shell out the left side, instead of the right. Honestly, this has never been an issue for me, and because of how you actually handle pistols, which direction the shell ejects isn’t going to be much of an issue, unless you’re mishandling the gun to begin with.

(Also, casings like to travel in the most inconvenient direction possible, regardless of which way they’re “supposed” to. I’ve been hit by enough flying brass from Barettas that I just can’t see the good in the 92f.)

So, yes, going in with two pistols is… unrealistic is probably the wrong word, since people do try to dual wield pistols, because they’ve seen it in other media. It looks cool, but, it doesn’t really work.


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