Holsters and Hunting


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AlexM
September 1, 2011, 01:34 PM
I've been asked to write a series of articles on the topic of Gun Holster choices in relation to hunting. My particular expertise is more based towards combat and law enforcement type scenarios so I'd like a little more insight into the sportsman's or hunter's perspective. I'd imagine with the danger of larger game and/or predators a large caliber revolver must be the favored side arm for this genre, so what kind of qualities do you look for when selecting your holster for these weapons?

So far off of my own knowledge base I would consider the following traits as necessary.

-The holster is subdued allowing the hunter to blend in with his camo
-I'd suggest a thick leather or nylon type holster for the ruggedness of walking through thick brush, and also that the holster have a way of covering the vast majority of the firearm to help protect it from dirt and damage
-For barrels that aren't too long I'd say a hip holster of some kind would probably suffice but with barrels longer than say 5" I'd probably suggest a shoulder holster canted down, or a similar rig worn somewhere across the front torso making it much more comfortable to wear during the long hikes

As I stated earlier I am asking these questions for research on a couple of articles I'll be writing so I'd really appreciate constructive criticism from those of you who have a little more expertise with hunting and recreational outdoor type shooting.

My apologies for the length of this initial post, and my for-given thanks for the help.

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The Lone Haranguer
September 1, 2011, 01:46 PM
-The holster is subdued allowing the hunter to blend in with his camo
-I'd suggest a thick leather or nylon type holster for the ruggedness of walking through thick brush, and also that the holster have a way of covering the vast majority of the firearm to help protect it from dirt and damage
-For barrels that aren't too long I'd say a hip holster of some kind would probably suffice but with barrels longer than say 5" I'd probably suggest a shoulder holster canted down, or a similar rig worn somewhere across the front torso making it much more comfortable to wear during the long hikes

Your thoughts pretty much mirror mine. A holster with a full coverage flap, worn crossdraw toward the front of your body in case you have to walk through tall grass or brush, is the ideal belt holster IMO. For larger and/or scoped handguns, a center-chest (often called a "tanker") holster will help balance the weight without making you lean to one side.

David E
September 1, 2011, 02:21 PM
I don't care if my holster is camo or not.

I often wear a .44 magnum as backup to the rifle, should it fail for any reason. Therefore, I want it handy while carrying a rifle. I also don't want to beat up the rifle butt on the handgun while walking, so strong side carry is out. Belt mounted crossdraw works very well and allows longer barrels to be easily carried. I like the Bianchi #111 Cyclone or the KyTac WoodsWalker for this. Both cover and protect the gun well.

A shoulder holster is another option, if slightly uncomfortable, but worn under the coat, it's very protected. It's a very good way to carry 8 3/8ths" or longer barrels.

Extra ammo is carried in an Ammo-Wallet, Speed Strips and/or in a cartridge belt carrier, such as one made by Desantis.

I don't like nylon due to durability, snagging, gun wear and moisture retention issues. If I had to use one, I'd spray it with a waterproof coating.

SharpsDressedMan
September 1, 2011, 02:54 PM
I was tickled pink to find an old Safariland 101 shoulder holster specifically designed for a 6 1/2" single action (left handed, too, as I am). Fits my newer Ruger Flattop .44 Magnum like a glove. This keeps the gun tucked under the arm, and well protected when hiking about, yet really accessible with either hand if necessary. First rate construction, too. A well designed and made shoulder holster is a choice for many.

Eaglestroker
September 1, 2011, 04:30 PM
To me it depends on the gun and intended dress. If it's warm I would want a field holster with a flap, think the issued 1911 holsters or the like. If it's cooler I'd rather have less leather because what is exposed will be covered by a jacket. Two really popular 'field holsters' are the Tanker style rigs and the Tom Threespersons, both of these pictured are from El Paso Sadderly (not mine, just nice leather).

I personally wouldn't worry about my rig being camo in any way - maybe no flashy buckles though.

http://i961.photobucket.com/albums/ae95/Ssthis07GT/IMG_2567.jpg

AlexM
September 1, 2011, 08:20 PM
Some good feedback everyone, I'd like to also ask about specific weapon choices that people might have. The two areas in particular are, hunting in the Rockie Mountains, and the wilds of Alaska. What would be the choices of weapons, specific ammunition (to include gran, full-metal, hallow point, etc..) what would you take with you to ensure you could safely take down a grizzly bear, mountain lion, or something similar? Would you think that you'd need a longer barrel for this purpose initially, or should the longer barrels be reserved more for people who intend to hunt with this weapon and not just have it for safety.

I say this obviously knowing that the first choice would be the high powered rifle you'd assume would already be with the hunter.

SharpsDressedMan
September 1, 2011, 08:54 PM
For whitetail hunting, I have a Ruger .44 magnum, as mentioned above. For bear protection, I have a short barreled .500 S&W, and it gets carried in a crossdraw Milt Sparks HSR on a sturdy belt. My bear defense load is a 385gr JHP @1120fps (clocked from a 2 3/4" barrel). Stout enough for the little gun and me. Gun & ammo shown with a .45ACP round for comparison. http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m247/matquig/DSC05273.jpg

rayban
September 1, 2011, 10:28 PM
I just finished making this one for a hunter.. nothing new here, several makers make them, this is just my version of it.
It can be adjusted to wear on your chest, under your arm, or down by your belt line. (shown with GP-100 blue gun)

Derry 1946
September 1, 2011, 10:59 PM
Rayban -- excellent work. Very beautiful and functional. Kudos.

Derry

rayban
September 2, 2011, 07:59 AM
Rayban -- excellent work. Very beautiful and functional. Kudos.

Derry
Thank you Derry!

David E
September 2, 2011, 02:03 PM
It depends how/what I'm hunting.

Am I pursuing elk with a handgun? Moose with a rifle? Squirrels with a rimfire?

Based on the premise based on OPs last post, I'll presume big game hunting with an appropriate rifle. In that case, I'd carry either my 6" Model 29 in a crossdraw or shoulder-holster loaded with Speer 210 Gold Dots @ 1500 fps or so, my 5" S&W Model 25-5 (.45 Colt) loaded with 255 grain SWC in a crossdraw KyTac WoodsWalker rig, or my .45 Colt Ruger 5.5" Bisley Blackhawk loaded with 250 grain Gold Dots @ 1350 fps, also in a WoodsWalker.

I would choose the 8 3/8ths" after those 3, unless there was some reason demanding a longer barrel, but given the scenario, I can't think of one.

rcmodel
September 2, 2011, 02:29 PM
For typical hunting handguns, I prefer a hi-ride strong side belt holster like an El Paso Tom Threepersons, or Bianchi 5BH Thumb-Snap, worn behind the right hip in the 4 O'Clock position.
It is out of the way of rifle slings, brush, etc.
It must have a closed end to prevent sticking the gun muzzle in the mud when setting in a ground blind, etc.

Coupled with a good gun belt, a sixgun carried that way goes unnoticed until it is needed.

Cammo is not necessary, as if I am facing the game, or moving that direction, they simply can't see through me to see the gun or holster.

I hate shoulder holsters with a passion.
They are uncomfortable, bulky, heavy, and often in the way.
The only time I would even consider them is if I had to wear a gun under rain gear, or it was a 4+ pound monster Magleum too heavy to carry on a gun belt.

BTW: I believe the above is the reason shoulder holsters never did become popular in the early American west. Solders, lawmen, outlaws, and cowboys figured out a good gun belt & holster was the best way to carry a hog-leg 24/7 while working, no matter what came along to get in the way.

rc

AlexM
September 3, 2011, 12:24 AM
BTW: I believe the above is the reason shoulder holsters never did become popular in the early American west. Solders, lawmen, outlaws, and cowboys figured out a good gun belt & holster was the best way to carry a hog-leg 24/7 while working, no matter what came along to get in the way.

You know a very good point rcmodel. I happen to love history in general but have learned that quite often if you simply look at why something was done over another way of doing it you'll usually find that our predecessors had in fact thought of our ideas as well, and quite often found the best way to handle things. This might now always be the case but I've found that to be true for a good majority of situations like this though.

One more quick question guys, and thanks in advance for all the awesome feedback I've been getting. Do you think that the longer barrel revolvers are better options here since they allow for the higher velocity and more burn on the powder per round? Again, I'm thinking of this more as a side-arm situation for defense against dangers that might come into play during a hunting trip. The intended game is not the issue, but the random grizzly bear that you didn't mean to stumble on is. So from that perspective I wonder if the longer barrel, though giving a better result on the target, might not be as wise a choice should the gun need to be put into action quickly and possibly rolling around on the ground.

Is there anyone here who has had first hand experience needing a hand gun in a situation like this? Thanks all for the help, this is great stuff you're giving me.

tguil
September 3, 2011, 11:25 AM
I know enough to stay out the way of grizzlies and there aren't all that many here in the midwest. :D I hunt with a handguns a whole bunch and most of the time I wear a shoulder holster. I find them to be more comfortable than hip holsters, especially when moving through heavy cover. I use Uncle Mike's nylon vertical shoulder holsters for my Ruger Mark II 5 1/2 inch bull barrel and Ruger GP-100 6 inch barrel. For my 7 1/2 inch Ruger Redhawk, I use a Bianchi Ranger HuSH System bandoleer type holster. I have used these holsters for over 25 years...durable, comfortable and inexpensive. Good customer service from both companies if necessary. IMO they are hard to beat.

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