Greetings fellow bikers and Patriots! I just got back two weeks ago from a fantastic ride through the North Georgia Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. Over three days, I rode 950 miles of some of the most scenic country in the United States. Some of the major motorcycle routes I rode were GA Route 60 through the Suches area, the vaunted Moonshiner 28, the Blue Ridge Parkway and New Found Gap Road. These roads are all quite different, but one commonality on each route was that I was carrying concealed. I rarely leave home without a sidearm. And I mean rarely. In fact, I had my trusty SIG Sauer 1911 We The People on my side, with a spare seven-round magazine on my left side. That is 15 rounds of .45 ACP power! But carrying a concealed pistol in the summer – when the temperatures can cook an egg – can be uncomfortable.
During the summer months, you need to be cognizant of how you carry. When you are dressed in lighter weight clothing, it is much easier to have your firearm “print” through your clothing. While I have noticed a lot of people open carry over the past year, this is just not for me, as I do not want to become a target for someone wanting to score a new firearm. Plus, I firmly believe that surprise is the essence of self-defense. If you are open carrying, and you are unfortunate to be in the same place as a thug committing and armed robbery, you will be the first person the shit-bag aims at.
I am not a small guy at 6′ tall and 205 pounds. This allows me to typically carry outside-the-waist band (OWB). While I own several great inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters, most notably Crossbreed Holsters Super Tucks, I typically wear tighter jeans when I am riding. Carrying OWB inevitably leads to its own set of issues as doing so makes your sidearm more likely to print through your clothing – especially given the fact that I prefer full-sized or commander sized pistols. That being said, I always wear shirts that would be a bit on the large size for my frame when I am carrying OWB. This helps to conceal my pistol, but because the shirt is a bit larger, it can make it more difficult to draw the pistol. If I decide to wear a shirt that is a bit tighter, I carry my compact SIG Sauer P365 SAS in a small OWB holster made by Crossbreed. It certainly is easier to conceal than my larger frame semi-autos but I also like to carry larger caliber pistols like my P226 SIG Sauer Legion and my P229 SIG.
My suggestion for you is to carry the pistol you are most comfortable with, in a holster that makes it comfortable to wear. The optimum rig would be an IWB holster as they make concealing your firearm easier. A lot of people I know also use an ankle or pocket holster. There are certainly some quality rigs for both type of carry, but neither works well for me. I find ankle holsters uncomfortable and pocket holsters only work for compact pistols which are not my preferred firearm since I do not shoot them as well as larger pistols. You, however, may find one, or the other, a very viable solution.
Know The Carry Laws Where You Travel
Traveling outside your home state can present a dilemma if you prefer to leave your humble abode with your pistol. Before any of my out-of-state trips, I always review the concealed carry laws for the states I will be traveling to. Because I travel to Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Virginia regularly, I know my Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit (HCP) is valid in each state. But if I were to venture into Maryland concealing a pistol, I would be subject to arrest and incarceration. If there is any chance that you may change your return ride mid-trip, make sure to check out the laws for each state. (Note: This author never recommends illegally carrying a firearm in states which do not have reciprocal reciprocity with your state. Doing so can result in arrest, expensive legal fees and incarceration.)
If you are planning a trip this summer, consider planning your ride to include only states you are legally allowed to carry in. This September, my beautiful lady and I are heading to The Race of Gentlemen in Wildwood. New Jersey. I definitely will not be carrying during this trip as New Jersey has some of the toughest gun laws in the U.S., and possessing a firearm there is a serious felony which inevitably would require time in their penal system. Something I am just not willing to risk. Some of these anti-gun states do allow you to carry an unloaded pistol, in a lockbox, but may only allow you to do so if you are not staying there – in other words – interstate travel.
Below is a map highlighting states Tennessee have reciprocal concealed carry arrangements with. The states in yellow are good. The states in brown are not so good. The states in black are plain evil and will not get any of my business on long trips on two wheels.
If you are going to conceal carry, carry your pistol in a rig which is comfortable for you. If you are traveling this summer, you should consider only going to states you can legally carry in with routes that take you through states that honor your right to self-protection.
Until next time, brothers, sisters and Patriots, keep the shiny side up, carry often and live like there is no tomorrow.