P320 Entry: Gun On the Run

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By Zebulon Pike

With record numbers of Americans participating in distance running, it follows that the POTG, not all of whom are OFWGs, would also be running. Concealed carry while running long distances is difficult and results in a drawer full of holsters used once. I have found a way that works, carrying a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 in a PistolWear PT-2. I hope other runners can learn from my experience . . .

I started running seven years ago as part of a plan to lose weight. I didn’t expect to like it, but I lost 30 pounds and kept running, finishing 10 marathons since. I run about 15 miles per week, although some training weeks will see that many miles in a single run.

The most important thing I’ve learned about distance running: details matter. A frayed shirt seam rubbing on the soft skin under the arm turns into agony after a dozen miles. Arm swing too low magnifies fatigue at marathon distances. Toenails a fraction of a millimeter too long means bloody bruises and painful turf toe.

This is a point that non-runners won’t understand. You know who you are—if you do run, it’s in cargo shorts, leather belt, and cotton t-shirt. So if a frayed seam can cause problems, imagine what a heavy gun bouncing on your body mile after mile will do.

Those who would chide me for carrying “only” a .380 when I run should try running 20+ miles with a concealed, full-size handgun strapped anywhere on the body. It will be an unpleasant, if not downright painful experience. You will appreciate any savings in size and weight.

Figure 1 shows my choices. The .380 balances ballistics with pain-free carry and concealability under thin running clothes. The XDs .45 is a second, more powerful choice, but the extra size and 10.2 ounces really makes a difference when the miles add up.

fig 1

Now, how to carry it?

I ruled-out shoulder carry (such as Kangaroo Carry). There was significant bounce unless the straps were tightened so much they constricted breathing. And it got drenched in sweat. I tried a Belly Band, and this actually worked OK for about 5 miles. After that, exposed parts of the grip and slide would rub my skin raw. The grip would print on thin, white shirts, a necessity for summer running. And it got drenched in sweat.

An IWB holster at 4 o’clock didn’t work. The hip motion of running made the gun bounce noticeably. Plus, a heavy belt chafes and sticks out noticeably under running clothes. And it also got drenched in sweat. OWB on a Fuel Belt was problematic, too. Even when I could fit a gun between the water bottles, concealability was non-existent without super long shirts.

Finally I settled on the Pistol Wear PT-2. The gun rides just below the waistline in a horizontal attitude. It’s enclosed to keep moisture away and undetectable under my running clothes. It’s quick to put on, with a helpful snap system. The BodyGuard .380 doesn’t bounce or move in the PT-2. I have run hundreds of miles with this rig, including runs of as many as 18 miles and it’s by far the best method.

This photo shows how all the gear fits into the PT-2 system. The iPhone rides in the 8 o’clock position on my hip, with the cord run under the back of my shirt where it won’t interfere with the drawstroke. It’s also a convenient place for ID, cash, and keys. Note the snaps under the reload pouch. Unlike with a belly band, I don’t have to fiddle with Velcro each time I gear up.

fig 2

There are two downsides, though. First, the draw stroke is complicated. The PT-2 is a pouch, requiring lots of practice to get the hand in the right place. After much practice both stationary and moving, I found it easier if the plastic insert and magnetic clasp that come on the PT-2 are removed. Second, the PT-2 precludes me from using a Fuel Belt. I loved running with my Fuel Belt, but it simply doesn’t work with the PT-2. Now if I must bring water and food, I use a CamelBak Marathoner.

This shows how the entire rig disappears even under running clothes. The top of the pouch is just above the waistline, blending in with the black shorts in case my shirt rides up. I enjoy the irony of wearing a Chicago Marathon shirt while carrying.

fig 3

Allow me to address what I expect the criticisms of this rig might be from the Armed Intelligentsia:

Caliber wars: Yes, the .380 is a light caliber. As for a bigger gun, you can get away with anything for a mile or so. If you claim to be a long-distance runner (half marathons and greater) and carry a full-size gun properly concealed under light running clothes without it rubbing your skin raw, well, I just don’t believe it.

Safety: I place nothing else in with the gun. The gun doesn’t move inside the pouch. If I cause a ND in the pouch, the gun is pointed to the left and slightly down, away from the body (unlike a belly band) with no more risk of a leg strike than if it was on my hip.

Situational awareness: You noticed my iPhone earbuds, eh? I keep the volume low enough to hear all but the stealthiest of operators. Plus, I usually run with my eyes open.

Running: Some may comment that running is dangerous for my knees, back, heart, whatever. Thanks for your concern. I’m happy to report that I’ve had no injuries thanks to good coaching (running club) and moderation. Most POTG could stand to lose some weight and increase exercise, whether it is running or not. Plus, concealed carry with any kind of rig is easier when there is less of you to love.

comments

  1. avatar disthunder says:

    Hmm…not bad. Dumb question, though? Do you wear an undershirt under that rig?

  2. avatar Sean N says:

    Excellent choice of shirt for this use.

  3. avatar Scott says:

    Good reccomendation and defintiely something that POTG should consider! Speaking of which, I need to get running.

  4. avatar Jeff O. says:

    Cool! What good timing on this article.

    I’ve lost 60lbs since December thanks to running and eating better, so I’m a 200lbs kinda fat young white guy (YKFWG?) I did all mine inside on a treadmill due to the bitter cold winter around here, but and wanting to start outside, now that the weather is nice.

  5. avatar Donald says:

    Great article and research. Thank you.
    Would this rig work for Mountain Biking?

    1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

      For what its worth, I’ve never have carried while on the bike (mostly road)… but if I did, I would probably get one of those nice heavy duty pocket holsters and toss it in strongside jersey pocket. Cycling is also nice because fit and weight aren’t as big of an issue as with distance running, so you could probably get away with the XDS or even any of the double stack subcompact 9/40 varieties out there. Someone would have to study pretty hard to realize it was a gun not a big wallet or something, and it would be easy enough to draw while riding assuming you are already proficient and retrieving snacks, water bottles, or a camera etc from those pockets.

    2. avatar Damon says:

      I used this setup on my last tour of Iraq for biking around the COB (staff job). I carried an M9 and extra magazine in it with no issues whatsoever. I did find that sliding the pouch around to the back worked much better. The only recommendation I would have for riding is to get one set up for your opposite hand and wear the pouch to the rear so you can draw easier with your strong hand.

    3. avatar Ralph says:

      Every smallish gun can be carried easily on a road bike because there’s so little bouncing around. Pick any logical method — they all work.

      Mountain biking presents real problems because of the potential violent landings, wheelie drops, root, rocks etc. I’ve used a fanny pack with good effect. TTAG has run several articles on bike carry. Use the Seach TTAG tool and you’ll find some good info.

    4. avatar Zebulon Pike says:

      I’ve never tried the PT-2 while biking. Any time I’m on a bike, it is such a leisurely ride with family, my ordinary carry rigs work just fine.

      I can see a problem in that most people are hunched over on a bike, and thus this rig will get squeezed in the abdomen. With a spare magazine, could be uncomfortable, especially if you are also carrying a spare tire!

      You can slide this around 180 degrees so it is on your back, but the drawstroke would be even harder, I’d think.

  6. avatar Wendy says:

    Thanks for this post! I started running again a few weeks ago, after having taken a few years off. I’ve been looking for something that would work for running carry. This looks like a winner!

    I don’t have a Chicago Marathon shirt, but I do have a Colorado Marathon shirt from a few years ago. Might have to wear that one for running carry…

  7. avatar Pashtun6 says:

    Farthest I run is 5 miles, but this seems like a neat setup

  8. avatar 45acp says:

    Good story. Running is about the only time I don’t carry, but that’s because I haven’t found the right rig. I’ll give yours a try. I’m also a cyclist, and carry with me when I ride. Actually, about the only time I don’t carry is when I’m in the pool swimming laps =;)

  9. avatar Fernando says:

    I recently started cycling and running after years of being sidelined by a few injuries, not the least of which was some spine damage I suffered just prior to leaving the Marine Corps.
    I was looking at the PT2, but settled on the Trump Card Sub Compact to hold my Kel-Tec PF9 as I thought it would be better for cycling (majority of what I do) and some running, or simply concealed carry while in summer clothes in this intense Phoenix, Arizona heat. I’m not pleased with it because even while we haven’t reached summer temps yet, it’s still very warm and I tend to ride very hard, for long distances and my poor PF9 gets drenched in sweat that seeps in from the bottom of the rig (moisture pools there) and my muzzle and slide are in danger of corrosion.

    I’m glad the PT2 is working for you, but as a former military triathlete who’s getting back into activity, I’m curious to know stats of just how long and at what intensity level you’re running, and the environment in which you’re running. It’s good to hear a positive review, but without details that would help us gauge where our ‘results may vary’, it doesn’t do much good.

    It’s good to see this product getting good reviews, as I think it WILL be great for a lot of people. I tend to sweat a damn lot, and suspect so more than the average guy, and I turn into a kid when I run, hike or cycle, etc. so I tend to push gear to it’s limit.

    1. avatar Zebulon Pike says:

      As I stated in the article, I run about 15 miles per week in “maintenance mode” and much more than that when in training mode. The longest single run with the PT-2 for me is 18 miles. I’ll add here that my average pace is 9:30/mile (yes, slow). I live in a dry climate and almost never run in temps above 75-80.

  10. avatar mb says:

    thank you for taking the time to write this article!

    i used to be a part of my school’s track team, however, i haven’t been very active since moving on to college. sadly, i know i’ve definitely lost most of my running stamina and i’m hoping i can use this summer to get back into the habit of going for a run every morning.

    i’ve been ccing for about a year now and i’d definitely want to incorporate a firearm (most likely a s&w shield or taurus pt709) into the equation. what are your thoughts on using a sticky or remora holster on a <5 mile daily run? i’m more concerned about comfort and concealability above all else.

    1. avatar Zebulon Pike says:

      I did not try a Remora/sticky. Even so, I bet it would not stay in place because the thin, elastic waistlines of running clothes would not provide enough tension while the gun bounced with each step. Maybe if it was under compression shorts. Maybe. But that would be WAY less comfortable than the PT-2.

  11. avatar Jason says:

    Pardon my ignorance but what is OFWG, and POTG?

    Other than that, thank you for the information.

    1. avatar Wendy says:

      OFWG = Old Fat White Guy. The “stereotypical” gun person.

      POTG = People of the Gun. Who can be OFWG’s, OFWGals, OSkinnyWG’s, YoungSkinnyWGals, OFPeopleOfColor, YoungSkinnyPeopleOfColor, etc…

    2. avatar Charles5 says:

      OFWG: Old Fat White Guy…a stereotype usually applied to gun owners by the anti-crowd.

      POTG: People of the Gun

      Edit: Wendy beat me to it by half a second.

  12. avatar Paul W. says:

    I’m still trying to figure out gym carry. A fanny pack doesn’t work when you’re doing deep front squats or deadlifts or ab work, ankle carry when you’re doing olympic lifts is out…it’s a pain.

    1. avatar Jandrews says:

      I’ve been fighting with the same for a year and I think I’m just going to have to make peace with a plan to get to my auto quickly if there’s a problem.

      On-body carry is a no go because gym apparel is simply too scant to allow a person like me (170lb, 5’10”, 10% bodyfat) who’s slender effectively conceal. Additionally, because it’s not secured with less flexible fabrics, belts, etc, it has difficulty supporting the weight of even skinny mini 9mm and .380 firearms. Lastly, during my weightlifting regimen, depending on the day, I could conceivably be laying on any part of my body, so an effective rig would need to be shiftable on body without safety or detection risks.

      Bag carry is out for the myriad of safety reasons that TTAG covers regularly.

      At this point, I just keep an eye on what’s going on around me and know where multiple exits are.

      1. avatar Tom from Georgia says:

        Agreed with you on all points. I’m not a runner and I’m definitely fat. But at least in the weight room you can use a weight on someone’s noggin if necessary. Martin Blank would certainly approve 🙂

        Tom

  13. avatar Charles5 says:

    I have the PT-1 and it is definitely the best way to carry while running. However, There are a few design flaws with it. First, my holster has the brand name Pistol Wear ironed/glued to the inside side of the belt band. It chafes against bare skin. Second, the little latch that closes the pistol pouch is way to small to quickly get a hold of and open. It needs to be a lot bigger. I would prefer a full width flap because sweat does sometimes roll down into the open top.

    1. avatar Zebulon Pike says:

      The PT-2 doesn’t have a logo or tag anywhere on it, so they’ve solved that issue. I do agree that the magnetic flap is ridiculous. I actually cut it off.

  14. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I feel your pain Paul W. I’ve been a weightlifter, bodybuilder/powerlifter for 45 years. with several years of extreme bike riding thrown in. I’m now an OFWG. I never figured out how to be armed without compromising my workout. I still lift heavy weights with only a little less lunacy. I have noticed some large yyoung guys with headphones, crap on their waist and various encumberances. Especially if one is pulling a bar very close to the waist as in a snatch or clean. Back in the 80’s I road my 10 speed thousands of miles and never was attacked( hit by a car though!).

  15. avatar Jason says:

    Thanks you guys

  16. avatar Lane says:

    Thanks for this. I’m a beginning triathlete and have been looking into various options for carrying while training. One option for biking a friend suggested was gun in a camelback. I’m looking into the various camelbacks and will definitely look into your recommendation as well as the pocket suggestion one commenter mentioned.

    1. avatar 45acp says:

      I carry a J frame in a pocket holster in my jersey pocket while riding. With all the crap in my jersey pockets (mini-pump, tube, CO2, phone, energy bar, gel, extra clothing), it doesn’t look out of the ordinary. The only disadvantage is that during the hot, humid mid-atlantic summers, I am drenched from head to toe by the time I finish my ride, and so is my little revolver. I try to rinse off my gun after every ride, and do a good cleaning regularly.

  17. avatar Toasty says:

    As someone who runs 20+ miles a week, i’ll take this information into consideration. However the fact that i live in NJ makes it irrelevant 😀

  18. avatar KenW says:

    Excellent holster ! I’ve had one for a year and it also works well with a Sig P238. I can fit the P938 in just as easily it but the extra weight when it’s loaded with ammo is noticeable while running. On the bike not so much so the P938 is my while riding. With my Lycra gay biker uniform ( what I heard someone call mine once ) on it’s noticeable but it looks like I’ve picked up a very small beer belly. With a tee shirt on it’s invisible.
    I also removed the rigid insert but left the magnetic clasp which I may remove now. I haven’t really noticed a problem other than the initial fumble with the shirt if I’m wearing Lycra since it is skin tight.
    Keep in mind I live in S Florida so sweating also is a consideration, this keeps the gun away from the sweat. And another advantage of this holster is a tumble does not result in a display.

  19. avatar ggrimes2 says:

    I don’t run anymore (knees no like) but the article is spot on and full of good information.
    Item of note how often do you change out the ammo you are using for this rig? It has been awhile but I recall that certain CCW weapons could get high pressure condition because the coating on the powder was being worn away by the constant “rubbing” of flakes during long sessions of carry with no usage.
    The situation is rare but has been documented as a probable cause of high pressure conditions. I’m sure you practice with different but similar ammo at the range and save the high dollar stuff for carry. If not then you are making more money than me.
    I date my boxes of ammo being used for CCW and rotate it out annually as a preventative measure. I perform this because my CCW pistols are usually on my person or in either a car or motorcycle meaning they see a lot of vibration. If you are running 15+ miles a week I’ll bet you pistol is seeing even more vibration than what I’m doing. Thanks for reading.

  20. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    How to avoid printing and rubbing, while running for fun, sport and weight loss? These are definitely First World problems.

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      Specifically free first world problems.

  21. avatar g says:

    Very practical article, and photos are good.

    But here’s the real problem… if you win the SIG P320, how are you going to carry it while running? LOL 😉

  22. avatar Mediocrates says:

    I run most often with my LCP in Pistolwear PT-2. I also slip an extra mag in there and my mini wallet. I have found it most useful to leave my LCP in my Desantis Nemesis pocket holster. It keeps it standing straight up.

    Out of necessity, I had to do nine miler with my CM9. While it was heavier, the difference was negligible.

    I have used my PT-2 on my tri-bike. I keep it above the waist. Nobody gives me a second look.

  23. avatar Mk10108 says:

    Nice write….one exception.

    “You know who you are—if you do run, it’s in cargo shorts, leather belt, and cotton t-shirt. So if a frayed seam can cause problems, imagine what a heavy gun bouncing on your body mile after mile will do.”

    Tell that to the Marines

    1. avatar Yellow Devil says:

      Whenever I saw Marines running, they seemed particular fond with wearing their little green short shorts.

  24. avatar Jon Templeman says:

    I have jogged with my LCP in the same holster and did a half marathon wearing it. VERY COMFORTABLE and the gun was bone dry when I crossed the finish line. I sweat worse than a hoplophobe at a gun show so that really impressed me.

  25. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    I’ve been running for over 30 years…and I’m still an OFWG. Thanks for the article, I may check this PistolWear PT-2 out!

  26. avatar Allskillnoluck says:

    PaulW, there really is no way to carry while working out in a gym environment, after all, how many people would lose thier minds if my HK fell out of my waistband when I was doing box jumps? Haha

    However I have a gym that I just finished in my garage where I can OlyLift and do just about anything so I literally never go to a gym unless it’s to swim.

  27. avatar Anner says:

    A ‘free’ option: I carry an LCP in the little zippered pouch that ruger included with the gun. I carry it in my left hand (I’m right handed), with the barrel forward and the butt of the gun pointing skyward. I never have to worry about muzzle control with all the jostling of running; the barrel is exactly where I point it, and away from folks I meet along the way. I leave the zipper open about 1″ so it’s easy to grab and open in a pinch. My hand covers the ruger logo, so it remains inconspicuous. I’ve had to draw it on a couple occasions, on growling dogs out in the countryside that aggressively chased me well outside their property lines. The weight of the LCP disappears, especially if you balance it by holding a cell phone, water bottle, etc in the other hand.

  28. avatar Dan says:

    While the .380 Bodyguard is a well made gun it is as pointed out a .380.
    You can carry a Sig P290 in 9mm capable of +P rounds and the size and
    weight difference is virtually impossible to detect. But yes…..carrying while
    running is tough and doing so while maintaining concealment is REALLY tough.

  29. avatar Pat Yates says:

    Can’t run anymore, but I’ve been carrying a 3″ S&W 360 M&P .357 in a Pistol Wear Trump Card holster for three years now mountain biking out in the desert 3 to 5 times a week, 12 to 20-mile loops. I wear it as a chest holster (shifted over to the left side almost in shoulder holster position) with the furnished support strap, under either a jersey or one of the very lightweight long sleeve sun blocking shirts. It’s extremely comfortable, as accessible as almost any concealed carry method I’ve ever used, very secure, and I don’t believe it’s ever been spotted. The revolver doesn’t move noticeably on fast downhills and is out of the way of my hydration pack straps.

    Pat

  30. avatar Troutslayer says:

    Can’t thank you enough for writing this article. I ran college cross country & track in rural area. Carrying was a necessity on all runs due to large concentration of drug trafficking in area (rural midwest). We all used glock 26’s in .45 but had to make our own rigs. Unfortunately they had a hard time holding up to 90+ mile weeks. Wish we had this info then, forwarding this to my coaches. Thanks again.

  31. avatar Allskillnoluck says:

    So the Glock 26 now comes in .45?

  32. avatar Roman says:

    I have the PT-2 & I love it. I run 3 miles a day & I carry my Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. I have no problems with the weight of the gun bouncing or moving. It’s a perfect holster.

  33. avatar Tony says:

    Great entry. This reads like an article that belongs in a gun mag.

  34. avatar Roll says:

    Oh no, did you just call me fat?!

    Just kidding, good advice of the carry rig. I’ll think of wearing something like this when jogging.

    1. avatar Zebulon Pike says:

      Looks a lot like the old “Thunderwear”. The problem I had with any running holster that has the gun vertically is that the handle of the gun is not covered and would rub skin raw after about 5 miles. In the case of the BellyBand, the slide/muzzle is also exposed. The PistolWear is the only one I’ve seen where the entire pistol is enclosed and thus no part of it will rub or chafe. Or be exposed directly to sweat.

  35. avatar Rokurota says:

    +1 on the PT-2. I carry a P3AT in it vertically, with my phone in the other half of the compartment. It does move around a bit, so I might try the horizontal orientation you have (and which PistolWear recommends). I have used the PT-2 for regular dress as well.

  36. avatar Soon single? says:

    POTG?
    OFWG?

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