Previous Post
Next Post

TTAG reader EM writes:

I just picked up my first motorcycle and am wondering the best way to carry on a bike. Just because I’m on the bike doesn’t mean I want to leave my piece at home. Any suggestions on firearms and carry methods would be appreciated.

Sent from my iPad

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. actually, i know some people who do a lot of cycling/commuting and wonder the same thing. Except, you know, on a bicycle.

    • kinda different; but the position could be the same depending on the kind of bicycle and kind of motorr cycle

  2. I prefer a hip holster OWB as opposed to my usual IWB carry when on my motorcycle. I also live in a state where OC is good to go, so I don’t worry about my gun showing while on my bike. My holster retains my gun well, so I don’t worry about losing it either.

  3. I carry just like I always do. My shield inside my crossbreed holster IWB at 4:00. I usually try to tuck my shirt to stop it form blowing up and showing but Iowa has open carry so if it dose i really could care less.

    Otherwise if i’m heading to Missouri or someplace that doesn’t have open carry I pocket carry.

    • I slide the Shield to 3:00 from normal 4:00. The Comp-Tac IWB Infidel allows the holster to securely straddle the 3:00 blue jeans belt loop. At 4:00 I get nervous because the muzzle gets push up by the seat and feels like it may come off the belt (even though it won’t)
      CCW and Open Carry in WI so it doesn’t matter which way the wind blows.

      • I ride a Yamaha YZFR1 I’m leaned ahead pretty good if not just laying on the tank so being at 4:00 helps keep the sights out of my gut (i’m a little on the puddgy side CURSE YOU DESK JOB!)

  4. Assuming you’re wearing a good jacket, a shoulder rig may be the way to go. Although that only works while you’re riding…

  5. IWB like always. However depending on the angle you are sitting at and the size of the IWB holster, it can dig in to your leg. I have this happen on on some hybrid holsters like the crossbreed.

  6. A motorcycle very much resembles a horse. The cool thing about being on a horse or motorcycle is that you can go with a long barrel revolver like 19th century Calvary if Open Carry is what you want.

    Things get more tricky with concealed carry cause motor cycle jackets are short and creep up. If you wear under a shirt, the shirt will typically blow up exposing your gun. So even if you are using an inside the pants holster the gun will show.

    You may want to consider a shoulder holster to wear under your riding jacket. You may try to fit an inside the pants holster in your boot with a small gun.

    You may want to consider going lefty holster too, since your throttle is on your right side.

  7. You need to think to your self: “Self, how much extra will it hurt if I crash with the gun here”? A pavement impact at even modest street speed is going to hurt. It will hurt worse if you put hard steel right next to bone and then crash on it. You are balancing risks here.

    If you look at where motorcycle racing suits have armor, those are place you probably don’t want something really hard next to. There are plenty of suit makers out there who make great gear. Aerostich is one such. They have all kinds of gun friendly pockets.

    use your best judgment.

    • Yeah – I kept cringing everytime the driver’s head got muzzled, Which was like the entire time.

  8. Tank bag for me (although I ride a Ducati, not a cruiser). I keep it in the left side pocket (lefty) and it’s much easier to access on the move.

      • “Stupid”? That seems a little harsh. I thought the whole point was being able to access the firearm while moving, if neccessary.

      • I drive by all the time. Every time I get into my car I drive by all sorts of people and places. I even pass occasionally on the road. I don’t think it’s stupid to drive by. Sarcasm Fully on.

        Lighten up Francis. Man made a valid suggestion and you hit him with the S word?

      • Are you just an idiot or what??!! The man asked a very valid question and you run your mouth like a bad case o diarrhea!!! As they say you can’t fix stupid!! Maybe someone will return you for a refund since you are unrepairable!!!
        Must be an Obama Supporter!!!

        • This isn’t a Facebook comment section. You do not have to drag Obama into every goddamn thing.

    • I suppose it’s a valid question sort of. I do the same thing with everything in my pockets (my commute is 10 miles on surface streets, so I usually wear street pants), place them in a secure zippered spot that I can access on the bike. My wallet goes in the map pocket for the same reason, so I can gas up or pay toll without digging, or god forbid, having it slide out of my pants pocket. Obviously off body carry is less than desirable, but I hate having anything in my pants when I ride.

  9. When I take my bike to work I always pocket carry my PF9 in a desantis nemesis pocket holster. I ride a ZX-9R, so the wind blows my shirt up. Fl has no open carry. My G19 or G26 resides in my backpack…you know…just in case. Ymmv.

  10. I carry in an Aker leather OWB (outside waist band – looped through a leather Oakley belt). I can carry a Smith 340 PD or Glock 27 (both have dedicated loop holsters) with a decent amount of comfort. The Glock 23 is a bit larger and more heavy, but is still feasible. My current rides are a BMW R1150 RT (sport touring) and a Suzuki SV1000S (sport bike). You may lose your gun if you crash badly enough, but you are also likely to die in a crash with sufficient force to forcibly eject a gun from a secure holster.

    I usually wear a heavy leather motorcycle jacket, but I have a synthetic / breathable padded Joe Rocket for rides above 90 degrees. Some motorcycle jackets have pockets that are large and strong enough for pocket carry as well. I suppose I could put the Smith in a pocket, but I don’t like carrying without trigger protection.

  11. I ride a 2011 Honda Interstate. Cruiser/touring as has windshield and saddlebags. Carry a SAR K2/45 at 3 o’clock IWB on left side. Lefty anyways. My IWB has a metal clip so I just take the bottom edge of my shirt and tuck it up under the clip. So far hasn’t ever come out and if by chance riding in the rain leather jacket covers it just fine. The K2 is fairly heavy at about 40 oz and a 14+1 .45 but rides just fine. Always can’t the grip forward towards tank just a little since it has a 4.5″ barrel.

  12. I’ve got an AeroStich jacket and a Langlitz jacket. Both have inside breast pockets large enough for a full size auto-loader. Great quality.

  13. I honestly dont have experience but I would think an OWB leather holster with a retention strap. Deffinatley wouldnt carry SOB in case of an accident. I say leather with a retention strap so you dont have to worry about kydex busting up if you dump.

  14. This is weird. I just saw a guy on a custom chopper. With a nickel 1911 (dragon grips)in an iwb holster. With a light button down shirt, which would normally cover it. Were he not on a bike. It was blowing back as he rode. I was next to him at the next red light. I said that he was just asking for trouble, and he is going to freak someone out. He saw my Colt baseball hat, and laughed. Then took off.

  15. I open carry daily on my Harley, I am paranoid about retention so I wear a Bianchi Carrylok on my hip at 3 o’clock. It has a forward cant so it is comfortable.

  16. As I commute daily on my bike or mostly my trike here in Florida.
    Its IWB t-shirt tucked in on my left side.
    Cant let got of the throttle when getting to my piece.
    If i should need it its left handed.
    No better way Ive come up with in 10 years of bike commuting.

  17. I ride both a Ducati Panigale and a BMW f800GS. I carry just like I do every day. IWB on my hip. My leather riding jacket holds my shirt down so I do not show. I have also carries inside the pocket in the jacket which has a zipper to keep the gun in place and the leather is thick enough the gun won’t print.

  18. I spent an hour last night searching the web for advice like this. And found nothing.
    I picked up my first bike (a Ninja) a couple months ago. When I ride, I wear full gear (armored leather jacket, armored overpants, gloves, boots, full helmet).
    * If I put the gun under the gear, it’s not easily accessible.
    * If I put it in an OWB at 8 or 9 o’clock, when I’m holding the clutch with my left hand, at a stop, a pedestrian could grab it.
    * I was thinking outside the jacket on my chest, but can’t find a way to mount a holster there.
    * Now I think I’ll settle with sewing a strap on my magnetic tank bag, and weaving that through my IWB holster’s clip. It’s not ideal (off body carry), but it’s the best I’ve come up with.

    • For OWB carry, consider a retention holster such as one from the Safariland SLS line to address your concerns about being disarmed.

    • Consider the old army surplus tanker’s cross-draw. Left and low carry with a strap over the right shoulder.

  19. There are only three carry methods which I’m comfortable with on motorcycles/scooters/etc, having given this quite a bit of thought in light of the potential for injury amplification if you go down hard:

    (1) Carry IWB or OWB at 3:00 (hip strong point) using a large-body-contact-surface holster to spread out the force of any impact.

    (2) Ankle carry (really, boot carry) inside mid-calf or higher boots, as I’d rather suffer bruises/injury on my lower legs than on my torso near my vital organs — downside is that this generally requires a very compact gun, like a baby Glock or an airweight revolver.

    (3) Carry in an accessible jacket pocket (as mentioned by some folks above) but, for me, only if there’s impact armor or a similar force-spreading surface between the gun and my body. One option here is to attach a holster to a 1/8-inch thick Delrin plate contoured to fit exactly into a specific pocket.

  20. I have carried cross draw for years and it has proven to be the most reliable, accessible, and convenient method for almost EVERY situation. My employment requires me to be on the road 90% of the time. Cross Draw is perfect for me in a car as my pistol is easily obtainable from my holster even in a sitting position. Likewise when I’m riding my motorcycle, the pistol is secure and accessible just the same. The beauty of carrying Cross Draw is that the pistol is never “moved” to accommodate my day to day activities. Its always in the holster, in the same spot on my waist. I don’t need an “additional” holster mounted in/on my vehicles. It has worked for me for many years and has proven to me that it is the most consistent way for to carry regardless if you carry open or concealed. On my bike I don’t have to worry about concealment as my leather covers up the pistol nicely. In the car i don’t worry at all as the pistol is only visible if someone specifically looks INSIDE your vehicle. All in all, I’m set for any environment, or activity, with the one carry positioning. I say cross draw all the way, all the time. I prefer Cross Draw, but everyone should choose whats best for them;

  21. Many years ago as I was driving in the west, maybe Arizona, maybe New Mexico I saw a guy on a Harley with a western style saddle scabbard on his bike. It looked like a Winchester .30-30 to me. In those days few people had AR’s and AK’s. As a fan of westerns he looked natural as hell with that scabbard under his leg.

    Also in the old days I have seen people on bikes with shotguns and rifles slung on their backs. It’s been too long since I drove cross country.

    • Had a Honda Trail 90 with a hand tooled rifle scabbard that I rode everywhere. I was stationed at Yuma and rode that little bike to death. Circa 1965. A lever action fit nicely in it, but so did any average sized rifle. Had the scabbard made in Mexico for cheap and it was excellent. Maybe that was me that you saw!

      • I’ve owned both a CT-90 and a CB-160 from that era. Solid little machines. Same piston, by the way; the 160 has a shorter stroke.

        Now it’s a ’65 BMW; I’d never own one made after ’71.

        R69S, the sidecar variety without the sidecar; that earls front end is a thing o’ beauty and the beast eats miles like Congress eats money.

        I cut an extra pocket into my jacket that’s Velcro’d shut but provides good access to my TT-33.

        It’s not cocked, and nothing’s in the pipe. If I need it, I’ll find time to rack the action but if I’m heading for road rash I’ve no wish to make it a dirt nap by way of a 7.62 mm lead supplement.

  22. I carry a .45 IWB at about 4 o’clock or my 380 in a front pocket as an alternative. There’s little doubt that if I have a git off that it’s going to hurt, and I may lose control of the firearm. I’m not really comfortable with that, but so far I haven’t found any sound alternatives. I did get off a while back with a cell phone in my pocket and the bruise I got looked like someone hit me with a baseball bat. It was deep, big and tender. The best advice I have is to use the fact that you’re carrying as an extra reason to ride defensively.

  23. I prefer to conceal carry, however, I open carry on the bike. Zipped up, I can’t sweep the jacket away to draw my pistol. Once I arrive at my destination, I unzip my jacket and pull it over my pistol and my magazines. I, too, am new to riding. I’ve been borrowing my daughter’s sportbike when she didn’t need it. Bought my own bike (a cruiser), 8 days ago.

  24. I hope to never have to draw while moving on the bike. Awfully hard to defend that as self defense. Not to mention I dont practice shooting off the bike. At least not Very often. “Why didn’t you just ride away from the danger?” – Anti-gun D.A.
    Ride a Yamaha cruiser and usually just pocket carry my LCR .357.

    • Someone shoots at you while you’re on the move so you stop. They stop and continue the confrontation. You drive off to escape and they pursue, as fast as you feel safe driving.

      Not too hard to construe a scenario. Also have to consider the usual scenarios off the bike once you get where you’re going.

  25. Just finished a trip from Yuma to Wisconsin and back. Used a fanny pack. I am considering some sort of slung pouch carry as an alternative. I brought a rifle back from Wisconsin, but it was broken down and strapped on the back. Accessing on the move is not easy. I have heard of a group that practiced shooting while riding up in the wide open spaces of Nevada. Firing from left hand, throttle locks, some form of cruise control were all tried with varying success.

    Some people were pretty good. ( So I heard.)

  26. A holster that provides positive retention, eg push-to-release, and that threads through your belt.

    That said, as a fellow rider … crashes do happen (believe me I know … Last summer I went down exactly one month before getting married. Fortunately casts come in tuxedo black. Anyway…) So consider placement where it won’t hurt AND think long and carefully about carrying with one in the chamber.

    If you wear dedicated riding gear, consider a pocket holster for riding pants, eg thigh or chest pocket on an aerostich.

    Good roads!

  27. I ride standards and sportbikes,, usually zzr6 a left handed galco stow n go holster tucked into the left inside breast pocket butt toward centerline lets me tote my j frame, or the full size 1911 without much difficulty, also tends to stay concealed when jacket is unzipped off the bike. Holster is 30 bucks and durable, i wouldnt want to try shooting while moving. I practiced accessing (full gear, on bike, in garage, unloaded, wife laughing hysterically) and the system is pretty quick. Make sure your gloves fit into the trigger gaurd. Figure a clutch dump and judicious application of throttle will be faster than drawing, but if pulled off the bike at a stop, gun comes to hand. Did i mention to practice with the gloves on? Oh, and make sure you have a secure spot to lock the gun in the bike, hard bags or undertail. As you will eventually find yourself needing to enter a “no no” area.

  28. Or did you mean a handgun? 😉

    Seriously though, and off subject…

    The other day as I was fueling up on my way to work, I saw this kid of perhaps thirteen meandering through the small town that hosts my ZIP code with a rifle bungeed to the handlebar of his old, beat-up Schwinn single-speed.

    He was likely headed for the track crossing, intent on a morning of chasing cans down by the river — a whopping three hundred feet from (literally) Main Street.

    Noone (including a couple cops) spared him so much as a second glance.

    I do love it here, irrespective of the summers — although this year’s been pretty darned livable.

    Wish I’d had time to snap a photo for y’all…

  29. I carry mine how I always do, either kydex OWB or hybrid IWB depending on what day it is. The only thing I do different is if I’m doing OWB, I slide the holster to the front past 3:00 so it doesn’t interfere with the straps on my backpack (sport bike, no saddle bags).

  30. If you generally ride with jacket on, most of the work is over, coverage-wise.
    Many good suggestions by the TTAG crew, so I’ll address another issue.
    Many cycle jackets today have engineered breathing vents, zippered in front
    and back to generate airflow when riding. I carried a shoulder rig until I finally
    practiced pulling it from the holster. The hammer of my Sig 226 or 228 would
    hang up on the looped nylon mesh that formed the interior of the front vent.
    This was the construction of my jacket, so I don’t know if others do the same.
    You’ve seen the looped nylon webbing on tennis shoes and that accessory
    netting inside some suitcases. Pulling from the shoulder rig would direct the
    hammer right to that webbing. Now it’s stuck between the webbing and being
    almost fully clear of my Bianchi holster. I would have to re-holster the gun just
    enough to free the hammer from the mesh, and re-draw concentrating on
    pulling it out across my body, which is forced and unnatural. Back into the
    holster box for the Bianchi, and online to Undertech UnderCover. There was
    no way I was going to carry on my waist. If you end up in an accident, a hunk
    of metal crushing into your organs(with a belly carry), or your back and hips
    (with a side or back IWB , would be a bad day indeed. Safely tucked under
    your arm pit if you have to roll or slide, seems to be the only sensible choice.
    I wore this in the heat and humidity of FL. If you’re a sweaty beast, you can
    tuck a small hand-towel skin-side in the holster pocket and never notice it.
    I can’t see a better way of carrying on you. An ankle holster is out for the
    same reason as the side and back IWB carry. It’s a metal hammer that will
    greatly help to break any bone its resting against if it hits something hard,
    like,..the road for instance. Feces randomly occurs. It’s the WTF?, in life.
    Remember, it’s rubber-side down…shiny-side up. Don’t forget.

    • Killer advice. My old man gave me a riding jacket with the mesh you described. And no shine on my bike sir. I picked up the shadow phantom which is all black and brushed nickel. No chrome or gloss for me. And the pipes which were chrome got swapped out with Vance and Hines big shot staggered black. No shine except for the mirrors.

      • Off topic but how do you like the Phantom?? Was torn between it and the Interstate VT1300CT. Got the interstate but was curious about Phantoms ride etc.

        • Easy rider man. As far as cruisers go. The interstate is one bad rise though. Probably made the right choice. I have a three war old who I wanna see grow up. So I bought the bike built for slow riding. You’ve got a purpose built machine

          • Cool!! The Interstate has plenty of power but not what I really wanted it for. A very comfortable ride all day. The phantom looks sweet in the matte paint but my only bad thought about it was how fast I could go before it wouldn’t stick to the pavement anymore!!! Rode it home in a outright downpour and the extra bit of weight really helped it cut through the water puddles like a knife!!! Thanks for te info!!

  31. Get a trailer for your motorcycle. Attach trailer to car or truck. Load motorcycle onto trailer. Drive the car around and carry the gun however you like. Problem solved, and now you won’t have to be crippled someday.

    • Sounds like get a gun. Get a metal box. Put the gun in the metal box.
      Weld the metal box shut. Drive around and carry the gun however you
      like. Problem solved. Now you won’t have to worry about accidentally
      shooting and crippling(or killing) yourself. If only Christopher Reeve
      had heard your sage advice, he wouldn’t have suffered that crippling
      injury while riding his horse. It’s awfully good to know that nobody will
      ever be crippled from car accidents any more.

  32. Carry.45, get a DeSantis fanny pack. It’s comfortable, ,and worn off-center to the left it will ride on your left thigh, not your crotch. In a spill, it should secure the gun and the heavily padded backing will secure you from it. You can also carry other stuff in it.

  33. I wear a CZ 82 in a Fobus paddle. I ride a Vulcan 900 and do not change my method of carry. The holster retains well, easy to draw and comfortable to wear while riding.
    I am in Washington State, very good Open Carry crowd here.

  34. Ride a cruiser and almost always carry IWB with a crossbreed holster. Never had any discomfort.

    I also have a leather vest thay has an inside pocket designed for CC. It has an elastic strap for holding the weopon in the correct position. I put an extra mag on the other side to sort of even the weight distribution.

  35. I ride a Harley FatBoy and usually carry a Glock 19 at 4 o’clock in a kydex Raven Concealment holster whether I am wearing a jacket or just an untucked t-shirt. Open carry in my state is fine so I don’t worry if my rig accidentally gets exposed or I print, but I usually tuck the bottom of my shirt underneath the bottom of the holster to prevent this and that works great. When I reach my destination, I pull my shirt down so it hangs naturally. I like shoulder rigs, but I in the hot summer months, I usually don’t wear a jack and in the spring and fall, I like being able to remove my jacket once I reach my destination.

  36. As many others have said, if it is cool enough for a jacket, that will solve 99% of your concealment problems. When it is hotter, a vest makes more sense. Why do you think so many riders wear vests? It keeps your shirt from blowing up and around (the goal in in this case) and storage pockets (another option for carry).

  37. I have to agree with spraynpray. I have a Vanson jacket and it neatly solves any concealment issues I have. It’s heavy enough that it doesn’t blow up in the wind like a loose t-shirt. It’s pretty much inaccessible while riding, but I submit that I am not going to need to shoot someone whilst riding when I can crank the throttle and get away from pretty much anyone not already on a motorcycle. And if I am being chased/hunted by a guy on a motorcycle, I’m not worried about him trying to ram me because he’d go down too. If I need it, methinks I’ll need it when I’m off the bike at a gas station. At at that point, the jacket is open and the pistol is reasonably accessible.

    Although that was a good point about gloves.

    As an aside – If you ride a motorcycle and don’t wear riding leathers… why not? You carry a concealed weapon in case the feces hits the rotating oscillator. Why wouldn’t you wear the armor in the much more likely event that you and your bike have an incident?

    That said, I actually did have an accident on my Ninja while carrying. I had a Glock 27 in a Sidearmor holster at 4 O’clock and went ass over teakettle into an intersection. Glock stayed where it belonged and I didn’t even have a bruise on my hip from it. Honestly, I think the concern about the gun making your injury worse in an accident is a bit overblown. You’re already impacting the pavement at more speed than you intend. The pavement ain’t gonna give any more than the pistol.

  38. +1 for shoulder rig. I rode with a 1911 in an uncle mikes shoulder rig for years and never had a problem. I’ve got an extremely tricky knee so I stay away from the bikes now… mostly.

  39. I ride a victory vision tour and use a leather vest that is designed with integrated holsters for both right and left hand carry. The vest is comfortable and doesn’t look out of place like a fanny pack would.

Comments are closed.