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“Rikki Whitaker survived a stabbing outside of her gym in early one morning in March,” reports. “She’s now out of the hospital and learning self-defense . . . she and her fellow gym members, are empowering themselves by pulling the trigger.” Good for her, in that better late than never sort of way. Here’s the problem: while an attack is most likely to occur outside a gym, there’s no guarantee it won’t go down inside. As it did in the 2009 Collier Township LA Fitness shooting. A spree killer entered an aerobics class, removed two 9mm handguns from a duffel bag and fired 52 times, murdering four people and wounding nine others. So, do you carry while exercising? If so, how? If not, do you think you’ll make it to your locker or car? Or do you depend on situational awareness and a Sarah Ahrens-like non-ballistic plan for counterattack? [h/t HT]

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  1. Do I carry when I go to the gym?

    Whahahahahahaha. Stop! You’re killing me.

    Okay, I’ll play: what’s a gym?

    • I laughed at first too.
      Then I thought… Wait a minute.
      I’m likely to jump to conclusions easily enough.
      My wife says I tend to run off at the mouth.
      I run errands at the drop of a hat.

      That’s exercising, right?
      Besides that, I know a guy named Jim, and I carry over at his house.

      • Cut the grass, go to the grocery store, I’m good for a week. Actually, after that I’m ready for a nap.

        • How long do your naps last? Mine usually last for only 5 or 6 hours, then I get up and go to bed. All this talk about gyms is making me sleepy!

      • Hey, Tom, weren’t you the guy who turned himself into a Snyder’s of Hanover pretzel twist and won a TTAG contest?

        I tried that move. I should be getting out of the hospital in August.

        • Sorry Ralph,
          You shouldna done that.
          You should see me shoot from prone while sitting.

  2. I dont, but a guy at my gym who is sort of a friend carries a pm 40 in a little gym bag he moves with him around the gym. It’s a small power lifting gym not a planet fitness or anything. Given the amount of steroids that are probably being bought and sold and the Mma classes it wouldn’t be inconceivable someone would shoot someone there because these guys schedules are pretty predictable. I never thought of it that way, I need to make a change.

  3. I used to carry a snubby in belly band or ankle carry when I went to the local gym. But, now I do the P90X series (currently P90X3) at home.

    It’s a 100 times better, cheaper, and easier than a public gym. No commute, no lines, no people in my way (spending more time ogling themselves in the mirror than actually working out), and I’ve got the 12 gauge ready to rock in the next room.

    Sometimes, I swim in the pool at the county hospital, but I haven’t crossed the preparedness plane into pool carry….

    I’ll let y’all know if I do though.

    • I just ordered a belly-band style thing to try when I’m running. I’ve got a little Tomcat .32 that I use for my pocket gun; I’m hoping that won’t bounce around too much. I live in a safe town, but as I’ve always said, I like the option to shoot back should it be required.

      • The smaller and lighter the gun the better.

        Stick to snubbies and pocket guns and you’ll probably be pleased.

        There are bands with shoulder straps too, haven’t tried one, but if I were to carry something the size and weight of a G26, I would likely purchase the ones with straps.

        I did the G26 in a band for awhile, but it was a bit much for running at times.

  4. I think it would be good, as many people that I know that work out are ego-driven dickheads that would probably start shooting if someone dissed their hairdo.
    Disclaimer: I did NOT in any way mean everyone. Most of them are known steroid users and general nasty types.
    Armband carry would be good, as it would not get in the way of anything you would do.

    • Really? That’s like what the antis say about all gun owners. Why would you stereotype everyone who goes to the gym?

  5. Of course; a work place shooting can happen anywhere; I carry a pocket .380 while at the Gym. One time I was walking to my car after a work out when a woman ran up to me saying her ex-husband was stalking her; as I was talking with her a man comes screeching up in a car and starts yelling crazy stuff at her. I have one hand on the pistol and I hold my phone up saying I’m calling the cops; the man burns rubber across the parking lot. I tell the lady she needs to get a gun.

    If that woman had been at the gym, the ex could have as easily come in and I would not be surprised if he would bring a gun and start shooting; he was acting that crazy.

    • You’re lucky it didn’t escalate, turn into a DGU, with the woman then attacking you and telling the police that you attacked her ex.

      • Yep; those are the chances you take when defending fellow citizens from predators. But to let that stop me defending a person from injury or death is not even a consideration.

        It is also why having a set of audio/video glasses that can be turned on with one press of a button is also a vital piece of equipment to have, (George Zimmerman anyone?)

        • You defended her with a phone. If the gun had come out you would have been defending YOU!

  6. Kydex appendix holster and a Kahr P380. Just finished a bike ride and still have it on. I know a .380 isn’t anything to hunt grizzlies with but I could conceal it in a speedo (not that I would), and as they say “A pea-shooter in the pocket….” Blah blah blah…

  7. Off body carry.Handgun kept in bag which stays nearby at all times.

    Unfortunately, treadmills and handguns don’t mix. Any holster which will conceal well in athletic attire will be basically as slow or slower to draw from then a separate bag anyways. And ,unlike the street, there much more risk of accidentally exposing the gun as you’re exercising.

    • “Unfortunately, treadmills and handguns don’t mix.”

      Try a belly band or one of those under amour style shirts with the holster. I can full on sprint with a belly band pulled tight, a little uncomfortable, yes, but so is running.

    • “Any holster which will conceal well in athletic attire will be…” faster to draw from than your locker or the pistol safe out in your car.

      I don’t have a good answer for how to carry in a gym or at/in a pool, but it sure seems to me that an arrangement with the management to allow open carry would simplify things and (in most cases) deter the majority of overly aggressive behaviors not only against you, but everybody else in the room.

      I wonder what it would be like to swim with a titanium S&W snubbie in an ankle holster?

  8. Waiting for an indepth treatment of the following situations. Should you carry when:

    1. Undergoing colonoscopy.
    2. While skydiving.
    3. Having sex. On body or off? Should you have 3 gun carbine nearby?

    The POTG desperately need answers to these burning questions.

  9. On an unrelated topic, did anyone else think that Ms. Whitaker might have been better off with a semi-auto pistol? She seemed barely able to control the snubbie revolver. Couldn’t tell, but if that one of Smith’s Airweights, its not what I would have recommended as first gun.

    • Contrary-wise, the S&W Airweight in .38 Spcl, assuming you do not load +P ammo, is not too bad a shooter and is a definite improvement over a .380 ACP. Loaded with +P it can be exciting for a small person to fire and if it is the .357 with full power loads it is a definite handful for anyone.

      That said, the noise and flame from the first shot from one of these should easily cause an attacker to rethink their priorities, whether or not you actually hit them. All other things considered, the fireworks from these snubbies are pretty impressive.

      BTW, I have an S&W Airweight in .38 +P as my choice for hot weather or difficult concealment situations. The only concern I have about it is the limitation of 5 shots. Solution – make your shots count.

    • Another thing to consider is that any of the hammerless snubbies can be fired while still inside a purse or gym bag. A small semi-auto, not so much.

      • Yeah, got my bride an Airweight with a hammer, she carries in a gunpurse, have thought of buying a hammerless for shooting through the purse.

      • Sure you can fire semi autos in the purse, but they are only semi auto for the first round, after that, not so much

    • Really. I’m not that familiar with a Camelback, is this a special model, or do all have room for that?

      • there are several models with room to carry a pistol in them. Problem is the same as any off the body carry, not to quick to put into operation

  10. If its just lifting weights then its a smart carry holster with a M&p Shield. It works well for concealment and it doesn’t interfere with movement. I like the camel back idea listed above. Gonna have to start doing that when I use a treadmill. For outside run in I use Hill People Gear’s runners kit bag. You can carry a full sized pistol and a spare mag in it along with your CCL and iPod.

  11. We’re members at 24 Hour Fitness, which is very useful because we travel and they have facilities nationwide. Even citywide is helpful to us. We only use the swimming pools, though, for lap swimming. So we’re basically screwed on carrying.

    The lockers cannot be trusted. It’s not unheard of for someone to wait until the coast is clear, then cut the locks off and raid people’s lockers. We can’t risk that, so we don’t use them. Rather, we keep it minimal; wearing our suits to the gym and carrying only a towel and change of shorts in the bag into the pool area itself. Guns, wallet, cell phone are all left in the car.

    I figure any attack at the gym is going to be personal and target a specific individual, or like the L.A. Fitness attack, a like-group of people. That’ll most likely take place in the main exercise area and not in the pool area. Plus there’s an emergency exit to the outside from the pool area, too.

    • “The lockers cannot be trusted. It’s not unheard of for someone to wait until the coast is clear, then cut the locks off and raid people’s lockers…”

      “Guns, wallet, cell phone are all left in the car.”

      Do I even need to say it, brother?

      • Sure, go ahead. Let’s hear your better solution. I have a Console Vault in the truck where those items are stored, and I lock the ignition key alone in a hitch safe.

        Unless and until I can put a 25 meter lap swimming pool in the backyard, or have Bloomie’s goon squad guard my effects 24/7, this is the best we’ve come up with.

        But do, please enlighten me with your idea.

        • Since you asked, here’s an idea, maybe not a good one, but seriously, I would not leave all that stuff in your car.
          Get an NAA mini revolver in 22 Mag. Then have a canvas wrap-a round-pouch made, that would wrap around your ankle using Velcro fasteners.
          You could keep the mini gun, and credit cards with some cash and it would take up very little space. The Velcro would make it easier to transfer from leg to arm depending on what exercise you are doing.
          This “contraption” would barely be noticeable, if made from a skin color fabric. The items inside could be protected from water by Zip-lock bags, although I doubt if you would want to go in the water while wearing this.
          Just an idea.

        • Not the worst idea in the world. Maybe limited practicality, but you’re thinking, which is great. Thing is, trips to the gym aren’t isolated events. It’s on the way to work in the morning or home in the evening. So I’m going to have two firearms when I show up there, or else be under armed all day if I go with just a mini .22. I’ve considered half a dozen or more other ideas, too, but it really seems to come down to picking the least undesirable option, as no really stand out good ones seem to exist.

  12. There are two public situations where being armed is next to impossible:
    (1) Gym
    (2) Pool/Beach

    It is next to impossible to carry a handgun while working out in a gym … and even more impossible to be armed while swimming at a pool or beach.

    The best that you can do is have a handgun in a small carrier of some sort as close to within reach as possible. In a gym that means you can have a handgun that you can bring to bear within two to three seconds since you can haul a gym bag around everywhere you go. The same applies if you are relaxing on a beach or poolside. If you are swimming, however, you are just plain sh!t out of luck. At that point you hope that someone else who is relaxing on the beach or poolside can take care of business.

    Oh, there is a pretty big down side to this. If you have a handgun in a carrier (gym bag or beach bag), someone could walk by and steal your bag when you are distracted or actually swimming. I have no good answer for that.

    • “There are two public situations where being armed is next to impossible:
      (1) Gym
      (2) Pool/Beach”

      Not at all; the other posts talk about a number of viable methods for carrying at the gym. The beach would be where a fanny pack or a camel back would work very well.

    • You couldn’t be more wrong about gym carry.

      S&W 642 no lock in a Mika pocket holster in a pair of regular gym shorts. I do deadlifts, rows, military press, squats, benchpress, pullups, dips, arm hangs. And cardio on the elliptical. Zero problems doing this at a major franchise gym with lots of obnoxious pop music and commercials playing over the loudspeaker at all times.

  13. I’m pretty sure that gym carry couldn’t have stopped this. Even if one of the person doing the aerobics had the gun physically on their person it would have been dicey that they could have stopped what they were doing fast enough draw and shoot the guy.

    No the ONLY solution to this situation is that we need MOAR GGWAGs (good guy with a gun) so that maybe someone might see a bad person coming in to do harm before they could have made it into shooting distance.

  14. I’ll never go to a gym again. I do “convict conditioning” at home. I used to lift weights, deadlifting, squatting, etc because I didn’t know it was possible to get very strong doing body weight exercises; I thought they were mostly for endurance. I was wrong. I think I’m probably stronger overall now than when I left the gym deadlifting 500.

    • “I didn’t know it was possible to get very strong doing body weight exercises; I thought they were mostly for endurance. I was wrong.”


      I’m stronger from 30 mins of intense interval training at home with only my body weight and/or maybe a 25lbs plate than I ever was spending hours lifting in the gym.

      • False.

        You have a higher GPP (general physical preparedness) than you previously did, but body weight exercises by definition are not strength exercises. Building strength means increasing the maximal load you can bear, that can’t be accomplished with body weight alone.

        There’s nothing wrong with body weight style training (infinitely easier on the joints for one), but don’t kid yourself into thinking it’s the same as high intensity resistance training.

        • I can do more pull ups, more push ups, run faster, and jump higher, all those things are strength that I can use on a daily basis.

          I don’t ever find myself needing to lift 350lbs off my chest while laying flat on my back.

          I’m stronger with activities that actually translate into the real world (ei lifting my own body weight.) I’m not kidding myself, results are results.

  15. I carry an M&P 9c in a PistolWear PT-2 belly band type holster. It sits in the small of my back with no problem. I worry more about loose Pit Bulls than I do anything else.

  16. That’s why my carry piece is an LCP, was the only gun that wouldn’t sag my gym shorts if I try to carry it. Tie on the drawstring to the gym shorts and it’s pretty much stays on always.

    • What this piece shows is that there’s a growing awareness, even among cosmopolites, that spree-killers (the right word for them) deliberately choose places where there is a reduced likelihood of meeting effective opposition. This sharply undercuts the presumed moral superiority of “gun free” zones which are much favored by members of social classes who wrongly wrongly assume they are unlikely to ever encounter trouble. In fact a gym, theater, or coffee-shop full of attractive 20-somethings is a perfect target for a spree killer for whom winning is inflicting as much death and mayhem as possible on people who can’t defend themselves. The fact that they can’t defend themselves just makes it all that much better. To send their message, spree-killers want maximum drama. Searching out places where they won’t be opposed makes perfect sense . . . to them.

  17. I’ve got a small gym at work where I can open carry. The other guys give me a hard time, but I believe in police station carry.

    At 24 Hour Fitness, I usually don’t carry. I’ll have a knife, but rarely a gun. I do decline and inverted exercises which don’t work well with concealed carry and retention.

  18. Only place I don’t carry. Gun in my car, 30-40 feet away, and the gym has a locked door with members having keys. If I wanted to carry I’d go with a gym bag, gun loose in it, just drop in the car gun, replace it on return. But if I thought it was necessary, I wouldn’t go to the gym!

  19. I’m one of those self-absorbed, ego maniacs so I spend 5 – 8 hours a week in the local gym. 😉

    I in live in coastal California and I don’t have a CCW. However I always have a decent folding knife tucked into my waistband or pocket. If the sh*t hits the fan at the gym I have two plans:

    1) Head out the back door, pronto, or;
    2) Go full retard with knife and empty hand skills.

    • I don’t know…I would be out the fire escape in split second.

      Gym is full of improvised weapons. You could put a hurting on someone with a fire extinguisher, piece of equipment, etc.

      I could probably javelin throw a 25# plate or dumbbell hard enough to fold up anyone short of captain america.

  20. I like the gym for workouts as well as social reasons. I go at 9:00 am,tons of milf’s as well as a bunch of fellow firefighters, a good combination for some,bad for others….

    Most of my workouts involve me wearing a 45 pound vest on stair machines,Jacobs ladder,flipping tires ,hitting them with sledgehammers ,no way I could carry. I do have a Spyderco Delica clipped iwb, that generally stays in place.

    Leave nothing of value locked in a gym locker ever,i have a small safe in trunk of car. Gym locker rooms and cars in gym lots are often targets of theft. Oh and keep your car keys on you never hang them on the hooks many gyms have.
    It’s easy to,grab a set go,out into lot,press button listen for beep, and drive away.

  21. Texas Governor Rick Perry used to carry while jogging, and wound up killing a coyote with his Ruger LC9.

  22. Gonna walk to the beach tomorrow (it’s about a 9-iron shot from my home) if the weather holds up and I will certainly be carrying a snubby.

  23. Having frequented gyms since 1968 I’ve seen it all. Never leave anything of value in a locker. I witnessed a local (young & stupid ) cop whip out his service weapon & procede to lock it up. At the local LA Fitness I KNOW a gangbanger carried a large semiautomatic in his waistband. I’ve seen fights, bloodshed and I’ve been attacked myself. I’ve seen Mr. America injecting drugs. I never worried about my safety untill recently. I have a knife & a pepper blaster which stays in the locker. Gym bags are discouraged on the floor.

  24. I don’t carry to the gym. There are usually off-duty police there working out who have their weapons in lockers. Plus criminals are usually so lazy that the thought of a gym usually keeps them away.

    Out running on trails, the NAA Black Widow fits about anywhere and is so light you hardly know it is there. probably won’t stop a Grizzly Bear or a criminal hopped up on PCP, but one or two shots center mass of anything else will stop them from what ever ill-intent they had. The bigger issue I have is those who run with music/ear buds blarring and totally oblivious to their surroundings. Any gun wont do you any good if you never hear them comming up from behind you.

  25. I always try to carry a full size handgun on me whenever I go out. I have a nice chest rig from ActiveProGear that conceals my 1911 nicely while I work out. It also has a pouch for your keys, wallet, phone, etc. I highly recommend it for all sorts of physical activities!

  26. I haven’t encountered this problem yet because where I live I can’t carry, but I think wearing a sleeveless 5.11 Holster Shirt under another t-shirt might work well with a subcompact or pocket pistol. Enough concealment, and probably comfortable enough to run in with the right handgun. Otherwise I’d look into a minimalist hydration backpack or vest built for running. It won’t raise any eyebrows running outdoors, even indoors at the gym or on a treadmill it’s reasonable to wear- just say you like to drink without fiddling with a water bottle or that you sometimes forget your bottle at the end of a workout. There’s a lot of brands. Camelback is popular, I might go with a Nathan Sports. They all have at least some small pocket space you could put a handgun into. Some people might also want to check out “concealed carry underwear” or Thunderwear. I’d carry with an empty chamber with such a form of carry.

  27. My gym is the Pentagon Athletic Club. It is a federal offense to carry there. I rely on the highly professional Pentagon Force Protection Agency.

  28. I can’t figure out how the hell to carry while doing squats, deadlifts, power cleans, etc. in workout attire. Belly bands are out (try wearing one with a wieghtlifting belt!). Ankle holters and shorts (and vibrams) dont’ really mix…I don’t like but I haven’t worked out a viable carry option for the gym


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