In gaming, to dual wield is to hold a weapon in each hand. Dual wield may be called akimbo style, though it has little resemblance to the human position of that name. This most commonly refers to matched pairs of handguns but can refer to any other weapon that can be held in one hand such as machine pistols and even melee weapons, although this is more common in role-playing games, where it is usually termed dual wielding.
In real life
Historically, the use of two guns at once, one in each hand, is most associated with the American Old West, where revolvers holding only six rounds of ammunition were the highest capacity handguns available and reloading was a slow process. Being single action weapons, they needed to be cocked for each shot, so the rate of fire was also low, and while a shooter could fan his gun, this expended all his shots even faster and made him even more inaccurate than normal. Use of two guns was therefore a reasonable compromise, as this allowed one gun to be cocked as the other is being fired, in practical terms doubling the rate of fire and the available number of bullets.
There is some evidence that gunfighters of the Old West did not actually shoot two-handed. They would draw and fire with their strong hand, and when they had emptied the first gun, they drew the second gun with their weak hand and passed it over to their strong hand. In modern firearms terminology this is often called a "New York reload" after the practice of New York Police Department officers carrying second (and even third) guns as backup.
A possible example of actual use of two guns firing at the same time is "Dual wield", practiced by Russian special forces. This also evolved as a method of increasing rate of fire, more in order to force the enemy to take cover than to try to accurately hit them, and was generally practiced by NKVD officers issued a pair of revolvers. However, the invention of smaller, cheaper submachineguns around the 1950s rendered the tactic largely obsolete and it fell into relative obscurity.
With modern shooting techniques, there is very little value to shooting with a weapon in each hand. Using modern full capacity firearms, a shooter can fire more shots with greater accuracy using a single gun in a two-handed grip than two guns with one-handed grips. Also, modern semi-automatic pistols take only a few seconds to reload. At best, the technique is only effective at extremely close ranges of five to ten feet, since the recoil would make it hard to keep both weapons straight, and using the sights on the guns is next to impossible. Among the majority of professional firearms instructors
, this practice is dismissed as extremely ineffective.
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