Guns and Motorcycles

After many years of podcasting and blogging about , as the Black Man With A Gun, it is only fitting that I include this element of my life here.  On this episode of the podcast I got the opportunity to talk to a long time friend that is opening a new service business in Virginia called, .  Then  you are going to hear from Mary Hayes. He is the president and director of the Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc., and one of the founders of the Citizens’ Legal Defense Network. He has over 30 years experience in law enforcement and firearms training, along with extensive experience as an expert witness and legal consultant.

Marty is a Iron Butt rider as well as you will soon hear.

Riding while armed

I have been asked about while riding a long before I started this podcast so I am glad to have a very qualified source to quote here.  Do you need a gun while riding on a motorcycle. You probably, won’t. Here’s what Marty said.

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.

Gal Bike
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.


Some motorcycles have places to store pistols. On author’s 1987 Goldwing, there is a handy spot below the fuel door where author can store pistol, wallet and debit card for gas stops.
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.

Marty occasionally enjoys carrying a Smith & Wesson J-frame in a Kramer pocket holster.
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.


The right tank bag can make carrying a pistol on a motorcycle very handy. Marty prefers a tank bag that is held on by magnets and is easily removable from the bike. In the accompanying photos, the author can pull up to the gas pumps on his ‘96 Moto Guzzi, retrieve his wallet from the top pouch of the tank bag, run his debit card through the pump and replace his wallet. Then, setting the tank bag on the seat, he can fill the tank, and if he is thirsty or hungry, simply carry the tank bag into the gas station store with him.


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.

**parts of this post come from US Concealed Carry Magazine. Use granted by editor/owner. Original can be found here:
Podcast Episode 3

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