Alternatives

By Roy Huntington

I think too many people default to the word “holster” when they think of carrying a gun. There’s nothing wrong with using good holsters and frankly, you’d be nuts if you didn’t have good ones for your carry guns. But at times, some sort of alternative method makes good sense. In our case here, we’re taking a look at two good options for both ideas — holster and alternative carry.

Elite Survival Systems began life in 1979 and were arguably the very first company to make holsters and weapon cases from high-strength nylon products. Today, the company has morphed into a maker who has kept up with new technology and now offers a broad cross-section of concealed carry, alternative, mainstream and accessory ideas, all from various nylon-synthetic materials.

I particularly like the “hide it in plain sight” concept and Elite manages it in a wide number of ways. From the classic but still functional “fanny pack” to backpack systems looking like standard day packs — but formed to handle firearms and modular accessories — Elite is a go-to source for peace officers and we regular Joe’s alike.

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Elite Survival Systems’ Marathon GunPack is a low-key way to stay armed even while doing strenuous
physical work like biking, running, hiking and such. That’s a Kel-Tec P32 hiding in there, but you
can also stash Kimber Solo sized autos and even J-Frame revolvers.

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High Threat Concealment was founded by real world soldiers and others who have carried
guns in bad places, and it shows in their gear. The “1911 Holster” (shown) has become
Roy’s go-to rig for range day.

If you lead an active lifestyle and like to run, ride bikes, hike and such, either the Marathon GunPack (with water bottles) or the Photo Ops GunPack might expand your carrying options. I like to ride bicycles and found the Marathon to fit snugly, having a sort of non-skid material on the back. It doesn’t bounce around and would be comfortable for jogging or even mountain bike riding too. I find the small bottles handy to keep an energy drink like Gatorade handy. The small pouch is just right for up to a medium-sized auto (think: Kimber Solo size), and a lightweight J-Frame fits neatly too. It’s low-key, and there’s also room for keys, money and even a cell phone if you like.

Their Photo Ops GunPack looks like a day-at-Disneyland camera case but easily hides a small frame auto or J-Frame (if you use the main compartment). It can even actually carry your smallish camera and accessories too. And to anyone looking at it, it just looks like your camera bag. I have tossed it over my shoulder when riding my motorcycle, since digging under riding jackets isn’t exactly a speedy proposition, if you get my drift. “Who me? Just a tourist here is all.”

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Elite’s Photo Ops GunPack looks just like a small camera bag dad might have over his shoulder,
but it’s set up to carry medium and small handguns and accessories hidden in plain sight.

High Threat Concealment

HTC is more of a classic “concealed carry” gear maker. They were formed by a group of real-world soldiers and others who have carried in bad places. They put their experiences to use to design tough-as-nails solutions to all sorts of carrying challenges. Also, they make their gear out of Boltaron, not Kydex. According to my research, while both products are capable, Boltaron seems to be higher in impact resistance and has a high resistance to cracking in Arctic-level cold, or deforming in the high heat of very bad desert environments.

I found the test holster for a 1911 (called, interestingly enough, their “1911 Holster”) to be robust, well made and highly detailed, with — and I liked this a lot — simple but substantial belt loops. It’s my go-to range holster now. Have you ever had a holster get torn off your belt or had at least one belt loop fail during hard action? I have and suddenly there you stand trying to get your gun out of a holster you’re holding in your hand, or trying to capture it at your side as it swings free. Oops.

HTC’s stuff is obviously well thought out and almost invariably minimalist in design and function. Holsters hold guns, mag carriers hold mags and belts hold the other stuff. There’s nothing with too many gadgets or widgets to fail. Simple really is best.

Their Low Profile System is a combo set of holster, mag pouches and other accessories, all turning into a great “grab it and go” rig for anyone, not just cops or military. Bump in the night? Strap it on, even if you’re just wearing your skivvies, and you’re good to go.

Take advantage of options available, as every day is different and may have different concealed carry needs.

For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/index

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