As a mountain biker who carries concealed, I’ve tried multiple carry methods. Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) holsters under Lycra only work with the lightest pistols. Otherwise, they bounce out. An Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) holster with an accessory belt interferes with a hydration pack and you can lose the gun in a wreck. In the search for a better solution, I threaded a plastic Glock brand holster onto my belt. Comfort and retention were high. But I didn’t feel like fielding questions about why I was armed, the gun was exposed to the elements (rock scratches suck) and there was no guarantee it would stay under my control after a wreck. I wanted more concealment, more protection and better retention. Enter the Wilderness Safepacker . . .
As you can see in the Safepacker promo above [go to 1:15], it’s easy enough to attach and detach the system to any belt. For most casual riding or commuting, you can attach the bag/holster to your standard pant’s belt and cycle away. And when you hike with the kids, just add it to the belt of the baby back pack and no one’s the wiser.
Riding on rough, technical terrain with a belt-carried Safepacker is another matter. The holster/bag slides forward on your belt, moving from the side position to more of an appendix carry. I had to keep pushing the Safepacker back next to the pack. While I never lost the Safepacker or the Glock, the movement was annoying. So I attached the Safepacker to my main pack with velcro.
I added some velcro to the belt area of my hydration pack and sewed some additional, matching velcro to the Safepacker. The velcro connection keeps the bag/holster back next to the pack and it stays put while riding in the roughest terrain possible. The Safepacker attachment does most of the work. The additional velcro just keeps the Safepacker back on the belt next to the pack.
One downside: draw speed. To retrieve a weapon from the Safepacker you have to manipulate the pinch buckle, lift the flap and get your hand inside the bag. I can do it in less than a second without gloves. It takes me significantly longer with bulky gloves on.
Another minus: given the way I’ve set-up the Safepacker, I can’t draw while riding. I have to bring my cycle to a controlled stop before I can gain access to my weapon. I’m OK with the trade-off between speed and access and increased retention, concealment and protection.
And then there’s the whole “gun bag” debate . . .
RF is firmly against any holster system that isn’t attached to the body; he feels that a defensive gun should be immediately accessible and that the danger of losing your weapon to children or thieves or simple forgetfulness is too high. The Safepacker offers both on-the-body and off carry. It’s down to the user to decide; but it’s not necessarily a “holster and forget it” solution.
In my case, my hydration pack rides “shotgun” in my car after the ride. With the attached Safepacker, my Glock tags along. (Sorry RF, that’s how I roll.) If you refer back to the promo video above, at 1:45 they demonstrate how a safe Safepacker user can pack a gun in a car using a lap belt. It offers far safer and faster access to a concealed weapon than a “normal” holster. In my case, the gun goes back in to the safe, or into a regular holster once I’m home.
That said, inserting and removing the gun from the Safepacker and placing into and out of an IWB or OWB holster before and after every journey increases gun handling and the chances of a negligent discharge.
There is no ideal holster solution for every situation. But when it comes to bike riding, the Safepacker is my preferred system. It covers the gun completely, protecting it from inquisitive eyes as well as abrasions and impacts. The Safepacker securely retains my Glock in the case of a crash. If there are other secure, protected options for concealed carry in technical mountain biking, I’d like to hear about them. Meanwhile, I’m good to go.