This is an amazing piece of content that mr. Marty Hayes, President and Director of the Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc., has put out on this matter.
We wouldn't be able to say teach any of this better. If you're interested in the original post, the link will be on the bottom
I have several passions in my life: One is, of course, teaching people how to use firearms for self defense, including teaching the laws surrounding that activity.
Another passion is golf. There are not too many places I would rather be on a nice sunny afternoon in June than on the tee getting ready to smash the little white golf ball 280 yards. (Okay … 260 yards, but I did hit it 280 once!) My third passion, and one which I have pursued since I was a teenager, is motorcycle riding. I have ridden motorcycles my whole adult life, and can’t imagine life without my two wheeled steeds at my beck and call.
And, since I can’t imagine life without carrying a pistol either, I have managed to work the two into my life without a great degree of trouble. I want to share how I do it, as I know many people have the same requirement.
But before we get into the nitty gritty of concealed carry on a motorcycle, let’s talk a little about when you might need a gun while riding on a motorcycle. You won’t. The idea that you will need the gun to be instantly accessible while riding is, in my opinion, an idea born in the imaginations of Walter Mitty types, not folks grounded in realism. I can’t imagine an instance where I would need to draw and fire a handgun while operating the motorcycle.
But, I can imagine any number of instances where I might need a gun when I have just gotten off the motorcycle. Examples of this which come to mind are hitting a rest stop, gas station, your motel room and the local eatery, where you just need to get off the bikes for an hour or so.
Methods of Carry
The first method is with a good quality belt holster under a jacket, sweatshirt or a vest. The problem with this type of carry mode is that the wind from riding the bike will open your jacket or vest at the most inopportune time, and the sweatshirt WILL ride up as you reach out for\ the handlebars.
To counter the former, you will need to button the jacket or vest, and regarding the sweatshirt, the best option is to use an inside the waistband holster. Of course, buttoning your jacket is logical in cool weather, but when it is hot (good motorcycle riding weather), I really like to avoid the traditional method and carry in a pocket.
I have two favorite guns for pocket carry, a North American Arms .380 with a Crimson Trace Lasergrip, or the old standby, the S&W Model 642, again equipped with the Lasergrip. I am very aware of the ballistic limitations of each of these calibers and weapons, but I personally am willing to make that trade off in ballistic power for the value of having the gun instantly available. I consciously tell myself that I am carrying a mouse gun, and I give up a little (well, maybe a lot) of the tactical advantage. Again, it’s a trade off, but a mouse gun in the pocket is better than a real blaster in the saddlebag.
One must be careful when carrying in the pocket, because the gun will want to slide out. I always use a holster with the pocket gun, which will go a long ways towards keeping the gun secure. But the main thing is to make sure the pocket closes on itself when sitting, and is deep enough to not expose the grips of the revolver. Most blue jeans fit the bill nicely.
While on the subject of concealed carry using holsters, I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the shoulder holster. Shoulder holsters come in two basic styles. The first type is the horizontal type, such as the Galco “Miami Classic” made popular from the 1980s TV show Miami Vice. This holster seems to work well for some people, but there are some drawbacks.
The first obvious drawback is where the gun is pointed, that being horizontal and backwards. You will seriously offend anyone behind you if you take your jacket off. And, for skinny people using a full sized handgun, the horizontal shoulder holster doesn’t do a very good job of concealment, as anyone behind you will notice the bulge (it is too\ high for a colostomy bag.)
In addition, one of the main drawbacks that I personally have with the horizontal shoulder holster is the likelihood of pointing the gun at your left brachial artery when you remove the handgun from the holster. When we train someone with a shoulder holster such as this, we require that they raise their left arm (assuming a right handed shooter) to the extent that when they draw, the gun is not pointed at a body part.
The other style of shoulder holster was popularized by the “Dirty Harry” movies. In these movies, Harry Callahan used a Smith and Wesson .44 Magnum in a vertical shoulder holster, which allowed him to carry that large of a handgun under his corduroy suit jacket. The vertical shoulder holster is a better bet, in my opinion, but I rarely carry in a shoulder holster anyway.
If you just can’t imagine carrying a .380 for self-defense, but instead want to carry a full-sized gun, there are still some options. The first option is the ubiquitous fanny pack also known as a “waist pack.” I find this mode of carry particularly useful when I am feeling a little insecure and want a larger caliber handgun which holds more ammunition.
One thing I personally do, though, is wear either a vest or jacket to help camouflage the fact that I am carrying a fanny pack with a gun in it. The long tails of the vest or jacket simply break up the outline of the fanny pack.
One of the great advantages of the fanny pack is that it is put on and taken off very easily. Many times, I will secure the entire fanny back in my tank bag, especially if I need to layer up for cold weather riding. When I pull over to gas up, or more likely to take a rest room break at the local rest stop, it takes about 10 seconds to arm myself, and frankly (and perhaps indelicately), the fanny pack is also much easier to manage some of your bathroom needs. I will allow you, the reader, the luxury of expanding this train of thought using your own fertile imagination!
But what if you need the gun immediately upon dismounting your faithful steed? If that is the case, I submit that you parked in the wrong location to begin with. Nothing says you have to park as close to the restroom as possible. In fact, I prefer to park away from the main group of cars anyway, for two reasons aside from the gun issue. One is for security of the motorcycles and what is strapped on them. It is much easier to keep an eye on them if no one else should be around, as is not uncommon for people to come check out your motorcycle. Secondly, I usually want to stretch my legs, and this gives me the opportunity for a little exercise.
The tank bag also provides a convenient place to store a gun in a pocket holster. When you dismount, first make sure no one is watching, (remember the part about parking away from people) and simply grab the gun out of the tank bag and slip it into your pocket. Reverse the steps when you get ready to roll again.
For those who are concerned about having a gun strapped to them in the event they take a spill, the tank bag provides a very convenient solution to that problem. I personally have never felt a lot of angst over this issue, because if I take a spill while riding, I would be more concerned about my old noggin (hint: always wear a helmet), and the risk of broken arms and legs, or a broken neck or back, none of which are really affected by wearing a gun. But, having said that, a great flat gun for concealed carry on a motorcycle would be a Kahr P9.
Lastly, there are several boutique clothing shops which design motorcycle clothing that incorporates a holster. I haven’t worked any of these articles into my life. It’s not because I wouldn’t want to, but because there are simply so many other ways to carry guns on motorcycles easily I haven’t bothered.
No one said carrying a gun is easy. Friend and colleague Clint Smith is reported to have coined the phrase “carrying a gun is not supposed to be comfortable, but it is comforting.” That works for me.