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  1. #1
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Default How do you carry your sidearm?

    To my way of thinking, how you carry your sidearm is perhaps even more important than what you carry.

    This thread "Straight Forward" thread asks how to best carry on the trail, and discuss the particular challenges of doing so.

    In the city a heavy belt with a holster inside the waistband is a much more viable option than when you are hiking, right? I don't see that working even if you have a belt.

    If you keep your gun in your pack most of the time, but transfer it to you person when walking to water or around town, how do you handle that? Even if your hiking pants have front pockets, this would never work with light-weight nylon ones, I think.

    Is a fanny pack the only solution? Any good ones that are discrete but do the job well? Other strategies?
    Last edited by Alligator; 12-02-2016 at 11:16. Reason: Fixed spelling

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    I have a waist pouch on my hip belt. Keeps everything handy. I wonder why some just can't scroll on past.
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  3. #3

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    Failure to keep answers closely aligned with the question will result in a thread ban for the user from here on out.

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    Question is how do you carry your sidearm? [emphasis added]
    No hypotheticals, if you don't carry on the trail, or won't admit it, don't bother answering.
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  4. #4

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    I grew up with guns and carried on trips as early as age 15 34 . There were some LEO's in our scout troop, my dad is a gun guy, and there were guns around on the trips.
    I was taught, and still firmly believe; the gun doesn't exist. If you are carrying one your primary job is to make it disappear.

    When I carried up in the Boundary Water's area a fanny pack made the most sense... it was accessible while paddling/portaging and relatively easy to carry. It stayed put getting in and out of the canoe. We were in an isolated group and rarely if ever encountered people we didn't know. That's fine or almost ideal for a paddle or occasional portage (much less so with any kind of belly), but not a fun spot to carry with a pack.

    That and for the most part they fail my "fit in" test. As in... you are carrying a backpack with all that storage and pouches and pockets but you have this goofy fanny pack bouncing on your Richard Cranium all day? Why would you do that... oh, duh.
    So if everyone knows what's in your fanny pack then your choice doesn't fit in well and it's not well concealed. Same goes with plunking you pack down in a shelter and hearing the telltale THUD when a pound of steel hits the shelter floor.

    A few things-may not work for most...
    Go solo, and remain solo (or with a trusted hiking partner who knows your position).

    Chest packs make some sense, are commercially available, and pass the "fit in test" as they are in common use; especially if you store other items in there. They also transfer a bit better as a "murse" or messenger bag that you may keep with you when walking away from your pack around camp. If anyone asks you can blame a bit of Boy Scouts or tell a bad story about getting turned around taking a crap and why you no longer walk away without your "essentials". Since responsible gun ownership means taking ownership of your gun... it needs to be with you in a more crowded setting like the AT at all times. The same could be said of a pack brain that converts to a lumbar pack... though issue with this is mainly access while moving unless you get creative.
    http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/backpack_lid.shtml
    Joe's is a bit too minimal, the gun should have a private, padded, zippered pocket... but you get the idea. Probably Chris at Zimmerbuilt would be the one to talk to about a custom version... the problem with typical "gun owner" fare is it's overbuilt military style ass kicking stuff too heavy and out of place for the trail. Same with the bushcrafter crap. One possibility I don't explore much personally would be some backcounty camera gear cases... they are made for quick access and tend not to be crazy overbuilt.

    Find a pack with adequate hip pouches... this is harder than it seems these days but quite possible. Adding an after market pouch may work very well for you too. As somebody who (mostly) makes my own packs I can design the hipbelt pouches as I like. Generally this is the most reasonable spot in my opinion to carry provided you have a nice big pouch. That said... it fails on the AT to an extent unless you have a nice conceal holster you can transfer to your person (from the pouch) when you put your pack down. It's not impossible to install a decent bit of "belt" in a hip pouch to clip a holster too making this process a bit smoother... but you have the burden of making this "transition" from pack to concealed when you reach a camp or leave your pack discreetly. Which is harder than it seems. And when it's butt hot out and everyone else is sitting around in shorts and a wet bandana on their neck it's hard to conceal anything much.

    Unless you were able to build a pack yourself... not sure how you'd do this but... you can integrate a holster into many areas of a pack (lumbar area, hip belt to water bottle pocket area, etc) if you can sew well and design a decent pack.
    All depends on what makes sense to you... but you still have the issue of what to do at camp if you are not out solo.
    Last edited by Alligator; 12-02-2016 at 13:48. Reason: Post edited for not being SF, length indicates possibly missing the warning.

  5. #5
    Registered User NinjaFace's Avatar
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    Default How do you carry your sidearm?

    hillpeoplegear.com makes a chest kit to carry your fire arm, *hip belt interference. while carrying a backpack..
    *

  6. #6

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    In a fanny sack but spun and worn as a cod piece

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    In a fanny sack but spun and worn as a cod piece
    Is your fanny pack made for carrying or just a regular ol fanny pack? I ask because I actually have some old "regular" fanny packs. If I carry in it, how do you secure? My thought was to rig my holster to the inside of the fanny pack somehow. Just trying to avoid it flopping around.

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    Depends on the hiking scenario. Whether I'm wearing a large backpack with hip belt, with or without large enough hip belt pockets that can conceal, or I'm using a webbing strap hip belt, or if I'm using a daypack or waste belt less pack. or I'm just out day hiking or running without a pack. I conceal in three ways depending on the situation 1) belly belt 2) IWB 3) in my pack. IMO it pays to have different concealment methods. I practice draw scenarios with all three. When I hike small compact size forearms and of all things I note the wt of the belly band and IWB holster. Unholstering and drawing are way down the list of self defense options. Only once went free. Puppy dogs still lick my face.


    Good topic Rick.


    Consider how much you sweat in your choice of concealment location and weapon.

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    Although I never said this on the trekking pole thread instead phrasing I wanted my hands free to take pics quickly this aspect was also on my mind.

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    I normally carry one of three guns, ruger LCR in 38 spl, Ruger LCP in 380 auto or Glock 27 in 40SW. The Glock is the heaviest, so I would only bring it into mountain lion country. I have been stalked while fly fishing and it leaves a lasting impression.

    They will all fit in a compact camera bag attached to my hip belt. The LCP fits in the snack pocket on my REI Flash pack. There are also some good commercial options, www.ribzwear.com and http://www.thewilderness.com/safepac...lment-holster/

    While I support open carry where it's legal, I do think you should always conceal, where legal. People get uncomfortable and it does little to improve/maintain RTC.

  11. #11
    Registered User MtDoraDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    To my way of thinking, how you carry your sidearm is perhaps even more important than what you carry.

    This thread "Straight Forward" thread asks how to best carry on the trail, and discuss the particular challenges of doing so.

    In the city a heavy belt with a holster inside the waistband is a much more viable option than when you are hiking, right? I don't see that working even if you have a belt.
    -When I carry, I use a kydex IWB holster in the appendix location (front, off center). Vedder holsters makes one that covers the entire slide so sweat is kept off the slide. It also dries in seconds, unlike the leather ones that hold moisture for hours, keeping the gun wet.

    -When I carry while hiking, I do the same thing. I keep it inside the waist band of the pack. Feels just fine, since I'm accustomed to having it there. I keep it covered with a handkerchief so as not to make others uncomfortable or awkward.

    The challenges are:
    -when I drop the pack, I have to transfer it to inside the waistband of my pants/ shorts. I wear convertibles that have their own belt, so it works. Cover it with an un-tucked shirt. If people are around, I just turn around (away from them) to do so.
    -reciprocity laws. one must check these before planning a trip to be sure it is legal to carry where you plan to be.
    -federal buildings. The GSMNP - "National Park" My reasearch told me that it is, indeed, legal to carry in the park as long as you are legal to carry in the state the park is in...EXCEPT you can't carry it inside buildings. Shelters? Privys? Visitor center, restroom. Do your own research; I'm not omniscient - I could have been mistaken or misled.



    If you keep your gun in your pack most of the time, but transfer it to you person when walking to water or around town, how do you handle that? Even if your hiking pants have front pockets, this would never work with light-weight nylon ones, I think.

    Is a fanny pack the only solution? Any good ones that are discrete but do the job well? Other strategies?
    Partially answered above, but after carrying it in the lid for one section I did, I realized that IF the need to use it arose while wearing the pack, it would be pretty much pointless to have it in such an inaccessible place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtDoraDave View Post
    The challenges are:
    -when I drop the pack, I have to transfer it to inside the waistband of my pants/ shorts. I wear convertibles that have their own belt, so it works. Cover it with an un-tucked shirt. If people are around, I just turn around (away from them) to do so.
    -reciprocity laws. one must check these before planning a trip to be sure it is legal to carry where you plan to be.
    -federal buildings. The GSMNP - "National Park" My reasearch told me that it is, indeed, legal to carry in the park as long as you are legal to carry in the state the park is in...EXCEPT you can't carry it inside buildings. Shelters? Privys? Visitor center, restroom. Do your own research; I'm not omniscient - I could have been mistaken or misled.
    My experience is that Federal Buildings are clearly marked at the entrances. Same can be true for private businesses or residences and must be obeyed by a CCW holder. The regulations in national parks got re-written allowing guns if they could be legally carried in the state the park was located. Our current President signed legislation allowing concealed or open carry in national parks if permitted at the state level.

    Carrying on a thru hike is a big responsibility and shouldn't be taken lightly.

  13. #13
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    I would be interested to hear from those who carry where they stow their firearm at night. In a tent pocket, hanging from a ridge strap, under their pillow? Safe storage sounds like a real problem if you are staying in a crowded shelter, or do you just avoid shelters when carrying?

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    I always have some kind of pack belt. I use one of those fobus paddle holsters over the belt on the right side. sometimes have to leave a belt pocket empty to put on the holster. I tried a chest holster that sets over your left lung but found it too uncomfortable around the neck. i never notice any of my pistols from 9mm, 10mm, 45 cal when on the pack belt. sometimes i drop a hanky over it if I'm seeing a lot of people. carrying inside a fanny pack is whats called a dead man's gun. at nite, if around others, i stow it within reach but out of sight. If I'm going to get it out for some reason, I always announce it and look around to make sure nobody is going to light their hair on fire.

    My assessment of the risks is that if there is normal foottraffic as in summer hiking, I don't need a gun. In the winter hiking alone, I want it.

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    The front vest pocket on my Aarn pack will accommodate anything from a Keltec .380 to a Taurus Raging Bull .44 Magnum.My preference is to carry the .380 inside a waistband/backbrace out of sight and easy to access.At night the bellyband/backbrace helps keep my core warm in the hammock.......

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by NinjaFace View Post
    hillpeoplegear.com makes a chest kit to carry your fire arm, *hip belt interference. while carrying a backpack..
    Although I do not carry very often anymore, but when I do - mostly day hikes or road walking with a pack, I use this companies gear. DURABLE, very sensible and in a bushcrafting type adventure, can hold many useful items while still dividing your pistol from those tools via a second slot inside (only on the larger pouches.)

    I have the small one and can fit my 3" colt 1911 inside with little room for zipping but can still have a second mag in there as well. They make clips for it to be nested on the straps of a pack as well
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  17. #17

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    Few times I hike with my G26 or 43 I used a crossbreed hostler iwb. But this requires wearing a belt and I prefer to wear running shorts. I'm considering getting a North American arms .22 mag revolver with the built in hand/clip. Small and can easily be worn with any shorts...
    I typically don't carry due to not finding a way I like yet, so this is a great thread to read into!


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  18. #18

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    I've carried a gun and hiked for years. Here are some of my solutions.

    With a backpack:

    Many years ago I bought one of those day planner zippered pouches. I cut holes in the pouch as far apart as possible and put the waist belt through there...then put the gun in the holster and put it in the pouch.

    When Kydex holsters hit the market I did the same thing, except I also put the belt through the holster. Found I needed to put sleeping pad foam in behind the holster as it dug in and was uncomfortable.

    These days I like/use Side Armor holsters as the belt loops pivot and you can carry it cross-draw which for me is best.

    Also these days there are now numerous pouches out there. Many companies make ones (think military or LEO gear) that are about as tough as you need. They also have the MOLLE attachment system.

    Still my favorite is cut a pouch, weave the belt through the pouch and the kydex. I like having a holster with me at all times...just in case I need to leave the pack and take the gun somewhere. Hasn't ever happened but...

    Other way I've used and abandoned is shoulder holster. I found the shoulder straps under the pack straps uncomfortable. Worked great...just uncomfortable. Bianchi used to make (? not sure now) an outstanding holster. I checked out a Galco one a few years back and you couldn't give me one of those...seemed way too cheap to me.

    Another method is MountainSmith Lumbar Pack. Mine is about 25 yrs old, but has only been in use for about 5 yrs. (Got a deal and bought 3 at one time). I've used the cut-pouch method here, and have also put the gun inside. Raven Concealment makes this great thing. I forget what it's called, but it's just a trigger guard with some parachute cord attached. You put it over the trigger guard, tie it somewhere, and put the gun in the pouch. If you need the gun, you pull it out, and the string pulls off the trigger guard. This is how I carry when I rode my MTB.

    There is also the chest mounted pack I think was mentioned above. I have no experience with that.

    In all the years I've hiked, rode MTBs, rode dirt bikes, etc. I've only felt the need to pull my gun out twice...didn't have to use it either time. To me the biggest concerns are keeping the gun safe (no AD/NDs) and keeping it hidden.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jj dont play View Post
    Few times I hike with my G26 or 43 I used a crossbreed hostler iwb. But this requires wearing a belt and I prefer to wear running shorts. I'm considering getting a North American arms .22 mag revolver with the built in hand/clip. Small and can easily be worn with any shorts...
    I typically don't carry due to not finding a way I like yet, so this is a great thread to read into!


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    There are clip on no belt required IWB's. I've also seen a CCF permit holder carry using a IWB that attached via his waist cord inside his running shorts.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    There are clip on no belt required IWB's. I've also seen a CCF permit holder carry using a IWB that attached via his waist cord inside his running shorts.
    Yes the sticky holster is one that I need to give a try.

    I have a cheap IWB holster I can wear with any shorts, but the weight of the gun pulls down too much on running shorts IMO. Regular athletic shorts it's fine but I usually like short shorts for running/hiking.


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