Open Carry in Wilderness Areas

mep1811

Gentleman Adventurer
I concur, a thigh holster really limits mobility. I had one that I wore when in Afghanistan . It was really impractical. I went back to a hip holster. I removed the side plates in my vest and with a hip holster my mobility increased . The less weight helped as well.
 

Jnich77

Director of Adventure Management Operations
Thigh rigs have their place. Not sure civilian open carry is it. Most are useless......easy test: strap one on, run full tilt for 100 meters, do 50 jumping jacks, then low crawl for 100 meters, if it stays put, weapon is still holstered, weapon didn't fall out and is usable it's a good one. But, if it swings around and hits you in the balls, swings around to your backside or between your legs, the weapon flies out or it gets full of mud and grass, it's useless. Oh, and strapping all your tourniquets, magazines, flashlights, knives and flash bangs to it doesn't help and like most Tac gear, when properly secured, so that it stays where it should be when needed it's not particularly comfortable for long periods of time (it makes one cringe when you see someone wearing a rig and grip of the handgun is sticking out at a 45 degree angle......kinda old LAPD swivel holster style).....but they're cool at the paintball range.

While you bring up many good points...after using mine in Iraq for two deployments and Afghanistan for one...I am kinda sold on them. Mine keeps my weapon out of the way, its never covered by a jacket or untucked shirt, and it doesn't rub up against my bony hips.

Its very useful for squirrel/hog hunting. I can keep my rifle at a low ready, but easily transition to the side arm if I encounter a hog.

For me a traditional holster is cumbersome and always in the way and makes me swing my right arm at a funny angle when I walk.

As for running with it... really, how many people on this site run. They literailly spend tens of thousands of dollars to drive a truck with all their camping gear in it to places where I can walk for free...Haha.
 

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Ray_G

Explorer
While you bring up many good points...after using mine in Iraq for two deployments and Afghanistan for one...I am kinda sold on them. Mine keeps my weapon out of the way, its never covered by a jacket or untucked shirt, and it doesn't rub up against my bony hips.
What's funny is sometime early in my 2nd deployment I stopped carrying a pistol period-except to go into the chow hall (and that was using a captured Italian Beretta 92 vice an issue sidearm). I hit a point where between the M4 and the 203 if that couldn't solve the problem, well...you get the point.

Since then I've never really embraced pistols, hence the comment awhile back about carrying in the backwoods but so much discussion is on pistols when inherently it's a long gun environment...at least in my opinion.
r-
Ray
 

Jnich77

Director of Adventure Management Operations
What's funny is sometime early in my 2nd deployment I stopped carrying a pistol period-except to go into the chow hall (and that was using a captured Italian Beretta 92 vice an issue sidearm). I hit a point where between the M4 and the 203 if that couldn't solve the problem, well...you get the point.

Since then I've never really embraced pistols, hence the comment awhile back about carrying in the backwoods but so much discussion is on pistols when inherently it's a long gun environment...at least in my opinion.
r-
Ray

As a Medic it was kinda my "go to" since its easier to use while treating a PT. I kept the M4 close, but it's a hindrance when I need both hands.

And yeah, I do understand the "if this doesn't work then I'm screwed anyways" logic. Mine usually went "if an entire squad can't gain fire superiority, then I'm screwed regardless of what weapon I carry...lol.
 

waveslider

Outdoorsman
The few times I tried to commit to a thigh rig - because I thought it would solve my backpack hip belt problem- I found it really uncomfortable to crawl around or even walk around in. All my big game pants have knee pads in them because I spend half the day sometimes on my knees, and the thigh kit would ride up my pants and so forth.

I do like a drop holster in some cases.

Oh, and I also do run on occasion - or I guess at my age it’s more like run in slow motion.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
Thigh rigs have their place. Not sure civilian open carry is it. Most are useless......easy test: strap one on, run full tilt for 100 meters, do 50 jumping jacks, then low crawl for 100 meters, if it stays put, weapon is still holstered, weapon didn't fall out and is usable it's a good one. But, if it swings around and hits you in the balls, swings around to your backside or between your legs, the weapon flies out or it gets full of mud and grass, it's useless. Oh, and strapping all your tourniquets, magazines, flashlights, knives and flash bangs to it doesn't help and like most Tac gear, when properly secured, so that it stays where it should be when needed it's not particularly comfortable for long periods of time (it makes one cringe when you see someone wearing a rig and grip of the handgun is sticking out at a 45 degree angle......kinda old LAPD swivel holster style).....but they're cool at the paintball range.
Not all thigh rigs are created equally. The Blackhawk thigh rigs, especially the most recent versions, do a very good job of retaining the pistol. As well a thigh rig is most definitely preferred to a waist or chest carry if you plan on carrying a full combat load (pack, 6-8 magazines, water, gps, nvg's, full sapi plate set, ect.).

With that said, most people didn't carry pistols at all while out on operations....M4's, M16's and crew-served weapons are exponentially better at dealing with threats.

I still have my blackhawk thigh rig....if I ever get a Beretta, then I would definitely see that as my preferred carry method.
 

DieselRanger

Well-known member
Backpacking: thigh rig if you're carrying a large-caliber revolver, e.g., a Judge or a Super Redhawk, is preferable to me. I haven't found a good holster that works with my pack for a large pistol - it sits too high and the draw is awkward with a fully loaded backpack interfering with my elbow, even with a 5" barrel. Drawing a large-frame pistol from the thigh with a pack on for me is quicker. I do not run with a backpacking pack on. At least not for very long. And if I do have to drop my pack and run, I want my sidearm to stay with me.

If you're carrying something smaller, e.g., an XDS or a compact 1911, then depending on your pack there are good solutions for a "hip" or appendix carry on your pack belt, but then when you want to drop your pack to take a break or unbuckle to take a piss or something then it's not convenient or safe, IMO.
 

Trikebubble

Adventurer
I realize it's a little aside from the handgun conversation, but I carry a short pistol-grip shotgun in my Eberlestock Gunrunner backpack and for me it's a great set-up. Aside from the fact we can't carry handguns in the wilderness up here anyways, for me this set-up has ticked off all the boxes. The Gunrunner has an adjustable depth scabbard so you can carry a full size rifle if need be, or like me set it to hold the shotgun with the grip easily accessible to grab over my shoulder. The day pack is also very comfortable and hold everything I need/want to take along for a day hike or adventure or snowshoe. Right now the shotgun I mainly carry is the ETRO ATA 16" barrel pump. Ity slides in and out of the scabbard very easily, and I mentioned i can also quickly grab the pistol-grip over my shoulder without any real issues. 42441888_10155519430321637_8286834364759670784_n.jpg
 

Dalko43

Explorer
Backpacking: thigh rig if you're carrying a large-caliber revolver, e.g., a Judge or a Super Redhawk, is preferable to me. I haven't found a good holster that works with my pack for a large pistol - it sits too high and the draw is awkward with a fully loaded backpack interfering with my elbow, even with a 5" barrel. Drawing a large-frame pistol from the thigh with a pack on for me is quicker. I do not run with a backpacking pack on. At least not for very long. And if I do have to drop my pack and run, I want my sidearm to stay with me.
Actually, if you're looking to carry a good-sized revolver for wilderness defense (ie anti-predator duties) a good leather chest rig is the way to go: good accessibility and its a better place to handle that weight versus your waist or thigh. Guide's Choice chest holster is the go-to brand for the dedicated outdoor carry types: Guide's Choice Leather Holster

I just picked up one for my .357 magnum S&W; very good quality and a very ingenuous, but simple to use, adjustment system. Pricey, but well-worth the money. Also, hand-made in Alaska; the shop owner knows his craft and builds these things to last in very inhospitable environments.

Thigh rigs, in my mind, are a good option if chest or waist carry isn't practical (like when carrying a combat load). They're not ideal for moving fast, but they work well enough on patrol.


I realize it's a little aside from the handgun conversation, but I carry a short pistol-grip shotgun in my Eberlestock Gunrunner backpack and for me it's a great set-up. Aside from the fact we can't carry handguns in the wilderness up here anyways, for me this set-up has ticked off all the boxes. The Gunrunner has an adjustable depth scabbard so you can carry a full size rifle if need be, or like me set it to hold the shotgun with the grip easily accessible to grab over my shoulder. The day pack is also very comfortable and hold everything I need/want to take along for a day hike or adventure or snowshoe. Right now the shotgun I mainly carry is the ETRO ATA 16" barrel pump. Ity slides in and out of the scabbard very easily, and I mentioned i can also quickly grab the pistol-grip over my shoulder without any real issues. View attachment 491324
Are you allowed to carry shotguns and rifles in the wilderness up north? I noticed that Expedition Overland brought a 12 gauge shotgun on their Yukon trip.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
Thank you for your service to our country. Greatly appreciated.

Goodluck on picking up that Beretta. I still have my duty Beretta 92 FS from 1987 when they were still made in Italy. Great gun for the times.

The Beretta still is a very solid and reliable sidearm. I never saw the logic in the DoD switching to an entirely new pistol after it was already drawing down from 2 major conflicts.
 

DieselRanger

Well-known member
The Beretta still is a very solid and reliable sidearm. I never saw the logic in the DoD switching to an entirely new pistol after it was already drawing down from 2 major conflicts.
I think the logic may be that you don't want two different service pistols in wide circulation while in combat in several different theaters at once, having to run two different curricula to qualify all the traditionally non direct-action people when they go out the door (e.g., US Air Force guys sitting at the CAOCs and JOCs), plus logistics to support it in the field, etc. Do it when that overseas footprint is at a minimum so you can remove the old ones and put in service the new ones in garrison.
 

DieselRanger

Well-known member
Actually, if you're looking to carry a good-sized revolver for wilderness defense (ie anti-predator duties) a good leather chest rig is the way to go: good accessibility and its a better place to handle that weight versus your waist or thigh. Guide's Choice chest holster is the go-to brand for the dedicated outdoor carry types: Guide's Choice Leather Holster

I just picked up one for my .357 magnum S&W; very good quality and a very ingenuous, but simple to use, adjustment system. Pricey, but well-worth the money. Also, hand-made in Alaska; the shop owner knows his craft and builds these things to last in very inhospitable environments.
I'll have to try one out. Chest carry is great for vehicles too - if you're off-roading it's not convenient to have a giant hunk of iron on your thigh digging in when you're bracing against the transmission hump or door, but in that case I have an under-dash holster like Gum Creek's.
 

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Dalko43

Explorer
I think the logic may be that you don't want two different service pistols in wide circulation while in combat in several different theaters at once, having to run two different curricula to qualify all the traditionally non direct-action people when they go out the door (e.g., US Air Force guys sitting at the CAOCs and JOCs), plus logistics to support it in the field, etc. Do it when that overseas footprint is at a minimum so you can remove the old ones and put in service the new ones in garrison.
The logic behind when to switch the standard-issue sidearm is one thing. I was addressing the logic behind why DoD even decided a switch was needed to begin with.

The Beretta M9 and the follow-up variants are perfectly adequate and reliable for military service. The mean rounds between failure during the initial testing was something like 19k-20k rounds, which is impressive even by modern standards. DoD decided to stay with a 9mm pistol. IMHO, it would have made a whole lot more sense, tactically and financially, to use an updated version of the M9 (which Beretta offered with M9a3) rather than switch to a whole new pistol design, which is largely untested and unproven in combat (Sig P320). And outside of a slight weight reduction, the Sig pistol offers no tangible advantages over the Beretta it is replacing.
 

crazysccrmd

Observer
Backpacking: thigh rig if you're carrying a large-caliber revolver, e.g., a Judge or a Super Redhawk, is preferable to me. I haven't found a good holster that works with my pack for a large pistol - it sits too high and the draw is awkward with a fully loaded backpack interfering with my elbow, even with a 5" barrel. Drawing a large-frame pistol from the thigh with a pack on for me is quicker. I do not run with a backpacking pack on. At least not for very long. And if I do have to drop my pack and run, I want my sidearm to stay with me.
I’ve never understood the attraction to a Judge. It’s a terrible revolver and a terrible shotgun, it really does nothing well in an attempt to do everything a little bit. Give a chest holster a try and you’ll love it. Way more comfortable than a thigh holster, easier to draw from in almost every case and above most of the dirt, grime and moisture that a thigh holstered weapon gets drug through. My personal preference is the Gunfighters Kenai for the combination of comfort, excellent retention and materials that are impervious to weather. All day wear with backpacks on and you can’t feel the holster underneath it.
 
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