A Chest Holster for hiking, backpacking, and other practical reasons. It’s one great way to carry a firearm when outdoor activities make it inconvenient (or impossible) to hip carry.
Activities including hiking, back country travel, hunting, fishing, riding an ATV, backpacking, etc.. may be more comfortable while wearing a chest holster if you choose to carry a firearm.
Disclaimer: Know your local laws if carrying open in this way.
Depending on where you live, venturing out to hike, fish, camp, scout game trails, etc.. can put you at risk. Whether it’s protection from teeth and claws of 4-legged predators or life-threatening encounters with 2-legged predators, it may be smart to include a sidearm as an important part of your gear.
I read an article from Concealed Carry magazine which stated the following:
“Sadly, in some areas of our country, illegal human activity might be more of a threat than wildlife, and it could require serious defensive action on your part. For even the non-hunter, carrying a sidearm into those wilder regions of our outdoors provides a sense of security.”
A problem is this:
For those of us who get out into the woods, back-country recreational areas, along hiking trails, in fishing streams or at campsites, everything we have is attached to various parts of our anatomy and must work together with all other gear strapped to our bodies. Adding the mass of a sidearm makes it more inconvenient if not impossible to deal with.
This is where a chest holster comes in…
Advantages Of A Chest Holster
While a hip holster (IWB or OWB) might work okay for a casual and relatively short walk in the woods or trail with a light-small backpack, this will not be the case for a longer or more strenuous hike especially with a larger backpack and other gear that you may be wearing.
A chest holster will be more comfortable. Shoulder and sternum straps across your torso distributes the weight of the firearm to your body core rather than hanging on your hip.
A chest holster allows you to carry a larger backpack. Carrying a sidearm on your hip will likely interfere with the carry of a larger backpack.
A chest holster provides quick access to your firearm. Seconds count. A chest holster will carry your firearm up higher on your chest (hence the name!) which makes it uniquely ready and quickly accessible for draw when shouldering a backpack, fishing with waders, etc.. during times when other methods of carry may be prohibitive, difficult, or not possible.
A chest holster that fits snug eliminates snags and a floppy gun. Hip carry will more likely snag on things while traversing the woods. A chest holster enables a snug carry right in front of you and the firearm will not slap around as you move about.
A chest holster could be critical during a bear attack. Front access to your firearm, even during a fetal position could save your life. I live in bear country. When I’m out roaming my property, or in the forest, this is one way that I may choose to carry.
Wearing over a winter coat or jacket. Similarly, if I’m out and about on the property, I may choose to wear a chest holster over my jacket. Sure is convenient. You just have to adjust the straps to fit.
Best Chest Holster
There certainly are a variety of manufacturers of chest holsters. One company that I highly recommend (they are not an advertiser) is GunfightersINC. I say this because I have a number of their holsters and have been 100% satisfied.
A commenter on Modern Survival Blog said, “I’ve got the Gunfighter’s Kenai chest rig with holsters for several of my handguns. Very comfortable, very accessible when wearing a pack. A little on the pricey side, but worth it.”
You may find a chest holster that fits your firearm here:
Chest Holsters from GunfightersINC
(view their storefront on amzn)
Are There disadvantages of a Chest Holster?
There’s no perfect holster. Each has their pros and cons.
A commenter on MSB said, “The biggest disadvantage I found with a Chest Holster (I actually tried one) was the draw length. Meaning the distance from gripping the firearm to the point the barrel clears the holster. This action brings the ‘draw’ quite high to the shoulder.”
However, another perspective…
A former LEO on MSB said, “I have used chest carry for years, but had to fashion my own rigs. Other than the concealment factor, chest carry is far superior to all others in accessibility, comfort, and being able to maintain control of the weapon being snatched from your person by an attacker.”
So a question for you reading this…
What has been your own preference for carrying a firearm while out in the woods, on the trail, or places such as this?