Concealed Carry Weapons Shouldn’t Be Left Behind While Exercising
Concealed carry while exercising can pose a challenge for many gun owners looking to safely and comfortably marry the right carry method with the most efficient active clothing and distribution of added weight, such as a firearm.
As someone who has recently picked up running, my primary concern has been focusing on not dying. Whether it be hitting that next mile without dropping like a sack of potatoes or choosing the right paths to take in a new city, running is a balance of self-improvement and survival.
Every morning (well, most mornings) at 5:30 a.m., the cold wind bites through the wrinkled shirt I had fallen asleep in. Focused on putting one foot in front of the other, my mind wanders at times.
A recent thought: what’s the most efficient combination of clothing for exercising and also, who are those shadowed figures in the distance?
My jagged breath knifed my lungs with each stride and my pulse pounded with the added adrenaline of seeing shady strangers on my seemingly alienated path along a demure river.
I passed a couple. Kindly, they smiled. I kicked myself for being so skittish, but reassured myself that vigilance is better than nonchalance when in a new area alone near the wilderness. I wasn’t carrying any sort of firearm, which led me to start thinking about doing so while running, but even more specifically how I would comfortably accomplish this.
My scenario was like a picnic on a sunny day in comparison to some who prefer being active but often don’t consider where their path takes them or are just randomly threatened. Many runners have horror stories that could chill your bones.
That’s why everyday carry during active pastimes is a valid and justified practice, if not simply for the fact that the Second Amendment extends the right to do so.
But what’s the most effective way to carry a handgun when any amount of added weight can hinder stamina? And which types of dress, considering all of its components from the micro to macro level, best serve the concealed or open carrier?
First of all, let’s get a definition out of the way. Dress is any addition or modification to the body. A tattoo is a form of dress. Lipstick, socks, fingernail polish, a suit tie, suspenders – all forms of dress. But just because dress is such a broad term, doesn’t mean that all dress is created equal in all scenarios.
Listen, it’s your prerogative what you wear and how you wear it. After an academic visit to a correctional institute in Southern Idaho a month ago, I saw many inmates running in denim jeans around a track. They didn’t have much of a choice, but provided you’re on the internet reading this then you do have the choice to wear the most effective, safe combination of dress within your budget.
What Active Clothing Choices Are Available With Legal Concealed Carry Weapons?
There may be more choices, which I would love to be educated about in the comments, but considering concealed carry weapons with active clothing I’ll break down what I’ve seen into two categories. There is concealed carry in a holster or storage system strapped to the body and concealed carry integrated into the clothing itself.
It all depends on the individual’s comfortability with their established firearm. At the end of the day, they’re the ones who must defend themselves or those around them and practice is the only way to efficiently build muscle memory.
Several types of holsters will cause abrasion to the skin and clothing during long distance running, biking or hiking. An ankle holster may be tightened and cinched close to the skin, but the added, concentrated weight can be an unwelcome burden. Many use ankle weights as an intensified training regimen.
A thigh holster will rub up against the body over time if the active gun owner isn’t careful and considerate. An outside the waistband holster may be an effective option for some, but the added weight will stretch and sag many light, breathable fabrics intended for active wear.
Some cinch a belt tight around their bare waist and clip their firearm holster to it. They pull their elastic waistband over the belt and call it good. This doesn’t seem like the most appropriate method to me, but if you’re able to safely utilize this method of carry without the worry of slippage or poorly affecting retention of or access to the firearm, then by all means shoot for it (pun unintended).
Find the right method for you. Share your method with others. Like all things in life, appropriate firearm carry is malleable based on the environment.
Active Clothing Concealed Carry Products to Consider
Consider a bellyband holster. The AlphaHolster Belly Gun Holster is an American-made option for you patriots out there and it provides a decent amount of value. There are extra magazine holsters as well.
Compression clothing is an option. There are some products out there that provide concealed carry pockets, and with the product already tightly snug against the body, there is a level of retention. These can come in the form of a shirt or shorts. This may increase the amount of time needed to access the firearm, and attackers aren’t going to wait around for you to pull out your weapon, but if you’re uncomfortable with the look of compression clothing but still want the added benefits, throw another lighter layer on top of it.
Gun holsters with neoprene-like fabric against the body will be highly beneficial for exercising due to their ability to wick sweat away from the body. Take into consideration odor, however. People sweat. It’s a natural biological function and there’s no reason to stop it while working out. However, it may affect the fabric and cause a stench.
This isn’t the end all solution, but some say white vinegar will handle the stench after having killed the bacteria in the cells of the fabric. Use this method at your own risk.
In any case, if sweat is making contact with the firearm, it’s a good idea to clean your gun often and thoroughly. The chemical structure of sweat can have effects on a lot of products placed on or near the body.
There are brave souls out there that don’t mind the fanny pack look. Kudos to them and their respectably utilitarian mindset.
A fanny pack is an option for those that can safely store a compact handgun within it. Provided there’s room, the fanny pack can also compensate space for an ID, phone and extra magazines. Afraid of the perception of a fanny pack? There’s an option for that.
HawkePaks makes a micro package for guns. It’s like a fanny pack on steroids.
There are also jogger holster options that distribute the weight of a firearm with multiple straps across the torso. Pistol Wear offers the PT-One concealment holster, which has received decent reviews, that wraps about the waist and provides a left-handed and right-handed pouch in the middle of the waist for a concealed carry weapon.
If on a bike, an IWB holster in the five o’clock position may be a good route to go if the clips can be appropriately attached to the biking shorts or to a secure belt fastened onto the biking shorts.
No matter the product, take into consideration that printing – unintentionally broadcasting that a weapon is located on the body when its outline is seen through clothing – is an inevitable topic that the average firearm owner is going to have to consider while both dressing during the summer and exercising.
There is Never Just One Answer for CCW
Like I mentioned before, do not take this guide as the definitive answer to concealed carry while exercising. With summer rearing its beautiful head, active wear and concealed carry are bound to mix in the gun owner’s lifestyle.
Consider all the options and appropriate products before you make a decision on how to integrate concealed carry into your clothing and physical activity.
Abrasion, retention, comfortability, sweat, safety, practice, perception, printing, exercising method, body type, style, type of concealed carry, firearm choice and location are just some topics to consider while dressing with a concealed carry weapon when the sun comes out and working out outside is a habit.
Or you can just run on a treadmill in the safety of your home. Your choice.
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter in his final year of studying public relations and apparel at the University of Idaho.