The CCW lifestyle can be awkward at times. I’ve experienced this feeling many times. Being a retired cop, executive protection specialist and hired investigator for major studios, I have traveled all over the USA (and a little outside) while packing heat. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (and motorcycles), you get the idea.
I have all the latest holsters and gadgets that claim they solve the concealment problem. What problem you ask? The problem of deciding which gun or guns to take on the assignment or trip and how to comfortably carry them concealed. Finding a holster that fits the mission (whatever it is) combined with the need to be comfortable, concealed and accessible is a daunting task. The deeper the concealment methods almost always restrict speedy access in some way. Case and point, I’ve carried semi-auto’s and snub nose revolvers in ankle holsters for years. No matter how much practice you get in with these type holsters, it’s always a challenge to draw and shoot in a timely fashion. The worst holster investment over the last 40+ years? I have a few that come to mind. Shoulder holsters, Belly band holsters and holsters that go in a pouch and drop IWB below the waistline (I’m talking deep into the abyss here).
Carrying a concealed weapon while riding motorcycles has been challenging for obvious reasons. Bulky but tight protective clothing does not leave much room for additional items to be worn concealed. Gloves of any thickness takes some practice getting used to. In my younger motor-cop days I always included glove wearing into my training. Seating position also causes extra consideration regarding weapon size and operation.
Hopefully the need to access your gun while riding will never be needed. I’ve been riding and packing for over 4 decades and I haven’t needed to pull it out “True Grit” style yet. Hope I never need to.
Looking at my motorcycle (BMW GSA 1200) you would think there are numerous places to pack a firearm. True, there are a few. But when you think of access and security the options shrink quickly. The aluminum cases or “panniers” are lockable and are very secure. They are also located behind the rider. Access is impossible while riding. The tank bag has a zipper opening and the whole bag is removable. Tricky if you open the bag while moving. Be prepared to feel like the “one armed paper hanger”. The possibility of losing the item you pull out of the bag is high. One handed operation of the vehicle is dangerous and just plain stupid. Now add gloves into the equation and it gets even worse.
Motorcycle riders make numerous stops during a ride. Bathroom breaks, scenery stops, food, breakdowns and gas stops etc. are very common. Leaving a gun in the locked cases is okay for the most part but I still feel very nervous about it. These stops allow a welcome break from the restrictive safety clothing like a helmet, padded jacket and gloves. If you’re wearing a CCW removing the jacket can be a problem. If it’s in a shoulder rig, OWB (outside the waistband) or IWB (inside the waistband) your jacket stays on (depending what state you’re in). Even if the gun is in a zippered pocket onboard the jacket somewhere, putting the jacket down or walking away from it is not a good idea. Rest stops and scenery vistas are notorious for being target locations used by crooks. I’ve heard many stories of personal gear being stolen while left unattended.
Many dynamics will determine how you will carry your CCW while traveling. Let’s break down a few regarding the motorcycle ride. The subject of riding and CCW are so subjective in nature. Everyone will adopt different hybrid habits based on:
- Type of motorcycle ridden
- Type of gear worn
- Weapon being carried
- State you ride in or are going to (know the laws!)
- Locations visited
Here is a list in priority order of carry methods I use while riding:
- Pocket holster (Sticky / Remora / DeSantis) placed inside an outside jacket zipper pocket.
- Pocket holster placed in inside jacket pocket.
- Tank Bag (If I leave the bike the gun goes with me).
- Saddle Bags (lockable)
- Shoulder holster (useless in most cases)
However you decide to carry your concealed weapon be careful to follow the rules of the road and especially weapons laws of the various states that you may pass through. A little planning goes a long way. Happy Trails!