Fit To Fight: Holsters For Workout Carry

Sometimes the stars just line up. This time they did for an article topic for the week. Early last week, I saw an announcement of the introduction of the DeSantis Road Runner carry system. That was followed closely by a response from a member of my mailing list to a comment that I had made that people who work out in gyms might be better served to keep a gun on the person in a fanny-pack holster, then shower back home, than to trust a locker at the gym. Then, right after this article was drafted, came one more announcement from DeSantis the Stowaway…

I’m no fan of fanny-pack holsters. I purchased a DeSantis Gunny Sack – to my knowledge, the first of the breed – shortly after it hit the market. That was around the time that L.A.-area cops were switching from revolvers to Berettas and I took to referring to the rig as the “official police-issue fanny pack” as it was widely used by them and made it so obvious that it held a large handgun. One friend who worked in “soft clothes” on LASD’s Special Investigations unit – on the assumption that his most likely threat would be an armed robber – used a variation. He carried an Airweight S&W Centennial revolver in a then-common, small, leather fanny pack, with some small-denomination bills over it. His plan – if robbed – was to start handing over the bills, then suddenly pull out the gun. I guess that would work if such a face-to-face robbery would be the only time that he might need the gun.

My suggestion to my list members was not that a fanny-pack holster is a practical option for jogging. I was not impressed by my correspondent’s stated preference for pocket carry when he goes to a gym to lift weights:

  • I cringe at the idea of his Glock 26 – with its short-stroke trigger – in a pocket, even with a pocket holster.
  • Having done my share of weight training in my younger days, I worry about a pistol remaining in the pocket during some of the exercises, such as the bench press, particularly if you place your feet on the bench, to flex your knees and reduce strain to the back.
  • Where do you carry on the drive to and from the gym? While your vehicle generally makes a more effective weapon than any handgun you can carry, if you should need the gun, most people cannot draw from a pocket while seated, particularly if restrained by a vehicle’s safety belt. Do you swap holsters in the parking lot? Do you leave a second gun in the vehicle? If so, do you take added steps to secure it against a burglary of the vehicle?

Back to fanny-pack holsters, they are, at best, a compromise. To another gunner (or to most cops), they advertise that you’re probably carrying. They usually require two hands for a draw – something that may not be feasible if you’re already deflecting an attack at bad-breath range. Additionally – as with the new Road Runner rig – they are set up only for a draw in one direction, with only the hand on that side. (This is why I make it a point to carry at least one revolver accessible to either hand.) So, why recommend this compromise? Because, in a gym, the odds of having your gun stolen out of a locker are much greater than of needing to use it inside the gym.

Back when I used gyms, people usually changed into workout clothes, such as shorts, “track suits” or leotards to work out. A fanny pack has its own belt and, when it is recognized that you do not use the locker room, should seem to fellow gym users to be a logical place to keep such things as your wallet, car keys, etc., during your workout.

The Safepacker Concealment Holster from Wilderness Tactical Products comes in various sizes, to fit the gun it will carry.
The Safepacker Concealment Holster from Wilderness Tactical Products comes in various sizes, to fit the gun it will carry.

One alternative to a fanny pack that I have recommended is the Safepacker Concealment Holster, from Wilderness Tactical Products. This is basically a disguised flap holster, with a quick-release buckle for the flap. If you can wear a belt, it can be worn on a belt. It can be carried in the hand, as a purse. It can be worn on an optional shoulder strap as well. If you’re right-handed, it can be worn on your safety belt while driving (or, if you’re left-handed when you’re a passenger on the right side of a vehicle). It’s been years since my arthritic knees allowed me to run so I’m in no position to vote yea or nay on the optional Runner’s Pack system.

The new Road Runner holster from DeSantis – like the original DeSantis Gunny Sack fanny pack – seems to scream that it contains a gun.
The new Road Runner holster from DeSantis – like the original DeSantis Gunny Sack fanny pack – seems to scream that it contains a gun.

That new DeSantis Road Runner rig? It looks as though it should eliminate the potentially painful flapping of a fanny pack while running but it surely seems to advertise that you’re carrying something more substantial than a wallet and your house keys…

The new Stowaway holster from Desantis offers similar placement to the Road Runner with the discretion of wear under a cover garment.
The new Stowaway holster from Desantis offers similar placement to the Road Runner with the discretion of wear under a cover garment.

A more discreet option for joggers may be the more recently announced DeSantis Stowaway. Marketed for women, I see no reason why it might not work for a man. I find it very reminiscent of the recently discontinued (coincidence?) Naturally Concealed holster – essentially a belly band with shoulder straps intended to keep it in place below the bra. It is pictured worn under a loose workout jacket – a concept that may also work for some men, particularly those with bulging pecs or small handguns.

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