Hiking and firearms


February 7, 2003, 03:01 AM
A long three part question!

How would you carry a compact pistol when hiking? I have a PPK that I would want to carry with me when hiking, but have a few problems:
I use my old Army outer frame backpack. I cannot wear the pistol anywhere on my hips because of my hip belt. I preferably don’t want to carry it on the hip belt itself, because I unclip it when I climb or cross rivers, so that it frequently gets wet and sandy. Ankle carry is out, because most of the time I wear shorts, and with a heavy backpack on I would just keel over if I try to get it out fast. In South Africa you must wear a weapon concealed which is another complicating factor, and in our Nature Reserves firearms are prohibited (although attacks on hikers and fishermen has started as well). Because of this I would like to carry concealed in some manner, but in a way that the pistol can be reached quickly if needed. If this is not possible, then so be it, rather have a fine from Nature Conservation than being six feet under. My pocket holster doesn’t work, because it keeps slapping against my leg, and really gets irritating after a few miles. Is there someone with experience on this?

Another firearm isn’t an option, because our firearm legislation prohibits us to one firearm only. And I am not going to get another type of pistol, seeing as there cannot be anything as beautiful as a real European Walther. ;)

In a few months my wife will get the license for her Astra Cadix .22 snubby. When she is with me hiking, that will then be the hiking firearm, because it can be loaded with snakeshot. Would .22 LR snakeshot work against snakes a little bit bigger than the US rattlers? What is the maximum distance this type of shot would be effective? I plan to carry 2 cartridges of this with a few heavier local made cartridges for the bigger problems you would encounter in the bush and mountains.

What do you carry when hiking and why? How do you carry it? How many reloads do you carry?

Thanks a lot in advance!

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February 7, 2003, 03:09 AM
I usually carry my AK or my mossberg 500, you never know what you'll run into.

February 7, 2003, 03:45 AM
Concealed with a pack huh?
Well BTDT, being right - handed I slipped my 1911 style about 10-11o'clock, inside waistband (using holster). Left shirttail out to conceal...when it warmed up I used T shirt to conceal.

Shoulder holsters work for some--not me--they bind with pack straps.

In a pinch once -- I used laynard ring on a Mil-Spec and a pc of leather ... around my neck inside my shirt...not ideal, but did keep concealed and on body at all times.

February 7, 2003, 05:51 AM
A sholder holster could work, as mentioned.
Crossdraw holster. Since the PPK is so small, carrying it in front of the hip bone under your shirt wouldn't be a problem. Would be underneath the backpack's hip belt, but with a comfortable holster, this might work.
As for owning more guns in SA, I suggest you look into practical shooting.
Contact the South African Practical Shooting Association (http://www.sapsa.co.za/) and find a club near you.
This will allow you to own many many firearms.
The South African law, is that everyone (from the age of 16) has a right to: 1 handgun, 1 shotgun and 4 hunting rifles. Guns has to be stored locked away, and like you said, when you carry a firearm, it has to be consealed. You can carry when you have a gun license (which you have to have to own a gun, and bring with you at all times while carrying) from the age of 16.
Go to a police station and request a copy of the firearms law (small book) that is free. Interesting reading. :)
Practical shooting is fun, gives you great experience, and allows you to own the guns you want.
Good luck.

February 7, 2003, 06:55 AM

The problem will arise when I actually use the firearm not designated as my self defense firearm against another person. With a lot of work and belonging to associations, I can get another firearm or two, but may not use it for self defense if I stated on my license form it is going to be used for sporting purposes.

I always thought a shoulder holster is to be worn over a shirt, havent even thought about it under a shirt...

February 7, 2003, 07:05 AM
Well, the Glock I brought to SA was for sporting purposes, but I never heard anything negative about using it for self defence.
When I was there, people even carried their Modified class pistols... Red dot and hybrid compensated barrel isn't what one would consider a self defence kind of gun.

What about a fanny pack for your gun? Would be worn so that it will hang below the waist belt.

Byron Quick
February 7, 2003, 07:39 AM
No hip carry because of hip belt.

No ankle holster because of concealibity and balance.

The shoulder straps of the pack are probably going to gall with a shoulder holster. Depending on your body build there is also a possibility that the pack will interfere with the draw from a shoulder rig.

I would consider ways to attach a kydex holster to the right side of the pack itself at the bottom behind my hip. Sew a cargo pocket around it if one is not suitable on the pack. Velcro closure with a large stiffened flap to break open the pocket.

February 7, 2003, 08:26 AM
I can't help you on the carry options
But I would never rely on .22LR snakeshot for large snakes. The CCI shells don't pattern very well at all, and the shot is very light. I use it to shoot sparrows inside a pole barn once in awhile, they don't peirce the sheet metal siding on the barn, and they really only wing the birds from more than 10 feet away.
Federal makes crimped shells with slightly heavier shot. This stuff hits hard for what it is and gives you about 50% inside a 1 ft circle from 20ft. I still wouldn't rely on it for anything that could come after me.
I haven't tried it, but most people say they won't cycle a semi either.

Lone Star
February 7, 2003, 08:28 AM
You said that your wife's .22 will be carried partly for snakes. I really don't think I'd want to shoot a big puff adder, mamba, Gaboon viper, Rock Python, etc. with a .22, let alone with shot cartridges. I think you're better off with ball ammo, and I'd try to get good hollowpoints.

Keep in mind that the gun you're carrying for snakes may also be needed for tsotsies (I hope I spelled that Afrikaans word for "thugs" right...) or the odd leopard that might want want to bite.

What pistol ammo is widely available there? Can you get USA brands? I'd opt for the Federal Hydra-Shok if you can find it in .380, and Stephen A. Camp has posted elsewhere the superb accuracy and perfect feeding that he got from Federal's classic HP's from a Hungarian .380, a Walther copy.

Which pistols do the police and army there use? I've seen the Z-88 Beretta clone mentioned, but also saw a story saying that the Vektor form is used now. Do detectives still carry PPK's?

Why did you choose a PPK if you can have only one handgun? Seems a little limited compared to a .38 Special or .357, and many PPK's are of uncertain reliability, at least with some ammo...

Lone Star

February 7, 2003, 09:38 AM
Lone Star

It is spelled tsotsi's, and that actually is not an Afrikaans word, but a Bantu one.

Ball ammo on fast snakes can be very difficult, I have tried it a few times, that's why I'd like to opt for some snakeshot.

I must admit I don't know what the Police here carry anymore. At one stage it was a Star 9mm, then I ceased to have interest in their choices.

I chose the PPK (in .32 ACP caliber) for a lot of reasons. It is a Manurhin one, so it is well made and extremely reliable. It is small and flat, and quite cheap here second hand (about $200). I chose not to go for revolvers because of their width, and with my big fingers I could never get a speedloader in fast. So I chose a small flat reliable automatic, with which I am a good shot.

I dont subscribe much to all the debates on calibers. As a good friend of mine always says: "I have been in the Army for 20 years, and all that time operational in the Border War and townships. I have seen people shot with everything with a slingshot to a RPG7. So learn to shoot before bothering me about calibers!" His carry weapons are a .25 CZ (for which he handloads) and a .45 1911. And he has used both successfully in self defense situations.

The fanny pack sounds good...

February 7, 2003, 09:47 AM
What do I carry when hiking? Depends where I'm heading.

In the Tucson basin, a Smith&Wussy model 19 loaded with two rounds of snake shot and 4 rounds of 158 grain hollow points. In bear country, Ruger Vaquero packing 260 jacket hollow points reloaded...dare I say it....for bear. If we are heading down towards Bobaqueveri, Three Points, Mogillon or anywhere along the line or other spots where there are plenty of two legged varmint, 1911 loaded with hardball, 1911 chambered in 400 Corbon or Bereta 96 chambered in 357Sig. The truck use to sport a WInchester 94, but these days is toting either a SKS D dressed up Dragonov or an AR15. For each of these firearms, at least three reloads.

February 7, 2003, 10:47 AM
I carry something in my Camelback bag...usually my Jetfire.

February 7, 2003, 12:27 PM
I use a small fanny pack with the pouch at 2 o'clock. The pack's waistband goes over or under the fanny pack depending on how it fits. I'll keep a knife, compass, map, small first aid kit in the fanny pack as well, so its all easily accessible and readily available regardless of my backpack being on or off. Having a gun anywhere else is kind of pointless, not too many bears will wait for you to shuffle through your backpack to retrieve your piece. Also, I keep it holstered in the fannypack to keep the trigger covered

Many National Forests and open space land prohibit the carry of a weapon, so open carry is out the question.

February 7, 2003, 04:00 PM
My preferred way to carry is shouder-rig. Seems to work the best for me. I forget it is there. Belt carry seems to have me catching the holster on twigs etc.

February 7, 2003, 05:31 PM
If you can get another gun for sporting purposes, why don't you get one in a heavier calibers to carry hiking? You don't have to report anything if you shoot a snake in self defense. They make snakeshot shells (CCI does anyhow) in larger calibers. I think I've seen them in either .357 or .44. Shoots a much heavier load of shot.
With a .22LR your looking at about 1/16 of an oz of #12(CCI) or #10 (federal). Even if you got every pellet on target, there just isn't much punch to it. I don't know how thick skinned those snakes are, but if I have to rely on the little pellets making hamburger out of him I want a lot of pellets. They just don't have the penetration, or size to put a big hole in something.
One of you could carry a revolver in a heavier caliber and the other could carry their designated self defense gun. (and back each other up as necessary)

February 7, 2003, 06:22 PM
I carry a CZ75 in the "officer's" size, but you could carry a PPK in the small one. Looks like a notebook holder:


February 11, 2003, 02:39 PM
Jaco, I have read up on the South African laws.
Another firearm isn’t an option, because our firearm legislation prohibits us to one firearm only. This is not right, but neighter was my quote:
The South African law, is that everyone (from the age of 16) has a right to: 1 handgun, 1 shotgun and 4 hunting rifles.
According to the Firearms control act of 2000, Chapter 6, section 13, you may own ONE shotgun (not auto) OR one handgun for self defence.
According to Licence to posess firearm for occational hunting and sports-shooting, section 15.(3), you may hold FOUR gun licenses.
Section 15.(1) lists the following: (a) handgun which is not fully automatic. (b) rifle or shotgun which is not fully or semi-automatic. (c) barrel, frame or receiver of handgun, rifle or shotgun.

When you look at all the laws in total:
1. You may own 4 guns in total, counting those for hunting, self defence and those that you hold an additional license to, meaning if anyone in your residence has a license, you can obtain a license for that firearm. But this will affect the number you may own.
2. You may own eighter a shotgun or handgun for self defense.
3. You may own only ONE handgun, eighter for hunting/sport or self defence.
4. ANY firearm you have a license to, may be used for a lawful purpose (I read self defence). Meaning, you can use your self defence gun for sport/hunting, and your hunting/sport guns for self defence. Look at section 13.(4) and 15.(4) A firearm in respect of which a license has been issued in terms of this section may be used where it is safe to use the firearm and for a lawful purpose.

As for you and your wifes needs, I'd suggest you keep your PPK, and instead of a .22, get a revolver in .38/.357MAG. The snakeshot available for the latter gun is infinite more usefull than those for a .22.
I'd also suggest (if you don't already have this) you get an Additional licence each for your two handguns. I see this as a way of having lawfull access to two handguns. You should also get a shotgun each (pump?). This still leaves you with the choice of buying two rifles each, for a total of 4 rifles in the house.
A lever action rifle is close to a semi-auto rifle when it comes to home defence.
Also, look into becoming a "dedicated hunter/sports-shooter" as this will increase your number of licenses. This also allows you to obtain semi-auto rifles and shotguns, in addition to more handguns.

Hope this helps someone, but I suggest you contact your police department and ask for a copy of
The Firearms Control Act
Act 60 of 2000


February 11, 2003, 03:26 PM
If you go with a fanny pack, try to get one with a snag-free zipper. My Eddie Bauer model has a very large extra strength zipper that does not snag or break if I have to really yank on it. In it rides either a Ruger Security Six .357 or a S&W M60 .357 both in Uncle Mikes cordura holsters.

February 11, 2003, 03:30 PM
I think kobun's got it. I would feel a lot more secure either at home or in the bush with a shotgun, with a barrel length as short as law allows. If you prefer to carry a pistol, the PPK would be my choice, in a cross-draw paddle holster at 10 or 11 o'clock.

As far as snakeshot goes--it's next to useless. Actually, I believe a pike-type hand-held weapon would be a lot more effective to keep even venomous snakes away while you dispatch them. I've found copperhead heads to be a somewhat elusive pistol target; but that could just be attributable to my skill. :D

TFL Survivor

February 11, 2003, 04:24 PM
For snakes, the more traditional approach would be to carry a Sjambok. Since you live in SA, you can get one in hippo hide.
As for shotguns, I second Leatherneck in getting one with the shortest barrel possible. I have not found out what the law in SA is on the length of barrels. As for getting additional barrels for a gun; don't! This will use one of your four licenses!!! :rolleyes:
The Firearms Control Act of 2000, says about carrying of firearms in public place:
Chapter 9, Section 84.(1) No person may carry a firearm in a public place unless the firearm is carried-
(a) in the case of a handgun-
(i) in a holster or similar holder designed, manufactured or adapted for the carrying of a handgun and attached to his or her person; or
(ii) in a rucksack or similar holder; or
(b) in the case of any other firearm, in a holder designed, manufactured or adapted for the carrying of the firearm.
(2) A firearm contempladed in subsection (1) must be completely covered and the person carrying the firearm must be able to exercise effective control over such firearm.

This means you can carry any firearm, anywhere in SA, as long as the gun is covered.
How people react to you carrying a shotgun in a nylon bag around town I don't know about though.
From experience in SA I can say that I noticed that quite a few young black males that hung around, were looking intently at mine and my friends hips as we walked past.
Our guns didn't show, but I'm sure they knew...


Dave R
February 11, 2003, 05:08 PM
I have done the backpack/fannypack thing several times with good results. The backpack waist band is nice and tight and high. The fanny pack is lower, and goes over the backpack waist band. They do not interfere with one another.

In fact, I think that is the best use of a fanny pack holster. Looks normal with the pack, gives you decent speed-of-draw.

February 11, 2003, 05:24 PM
First off, I go hiking all the time and have never had the need for a firearm. I've got friends who have had run ins with a bear and didn't need a gun--not to mention a PPK isn't going to do anything but make it mad anyway.

If you are going to carry, why not use a pocket holster? My hip belt rides high enough for my pockets to be accessible. Maybe that'll work.


February 13, 2003, 12:02 AM
On my last hiking trip to the mountains of Vermont, I also used a pocket holster. I know you said your gun is flapping around when you use a pocket holster ... are you putting your gun in a cargo pocket instead of your "main" pocket of your hiking shorts?

I didn' t have any flapping problems with my S&W M342 riding in a Kramer pocket holster ... the only thing is that you can get abrasion on your leg so make sure to put some padding or a band-aid to prevent this from happening.


Bob Locke
February 13, 2003, 02:27 AM
Haven't followed through on it yet, but my plan is to sew a pocket onto my pack (Swiss Army surplus) that will accomodate my Ruger Blackhawk (.45 LC). It'll have a Velcro closure for ease of access and will hopefully look like it's just a part of the pack itself. Once I get where I'm going and pull out the needed items at the campsite, then the revolver goes into the top where I can get at it.

That's my plan, anyway! :D

February 13, 2003, 04:55 AM
I'd also suggest (if you don't already have this) you get an Additional licence each for your two handguns. I see this as a way of having lawfull access to two handguns. You should also get a shotgun each (pump?). This still leaves you with the choice of buying two rifles each, for a total of 4 rifles in the house.
I have reread what I wrote.
Seems like I made a small blooper...
I should have said:
I'd also suggest (if you don't already have this) you get an Additional licence each for your two handguns. I see this as a way of having lawfull access to two handguns. You should also get a shotgun each (pump?). This still leaves you with the choice of buying ONE rifle each, for a total of 2 rifles, 2 shotguns and 2 handguns in the house.

Sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused.

February 17, 2003, 02:36 AM

My knowledge of our firearm policy is not only dictated by the Firearm Control Act (FCA) 60 of 2000, but by a lot of calls to the Firearm Control Board, queries at local dealers, police officials, criminal lawyers, and an attorney. And of a few applications, refusals, and an appeal. So in this respect I know what I am talking about :).

Keep in mind that technically the FCA is not in force yet, but some aspects of it is already implemented. In some areas the old Firearm Legislation is implemented. And courts give judgement mostly on precedents.

That makes the whole matter extremely complex. For example on one point the lawyers, the attorney and one dealer agreed: Carry and use only the firearm designated as your self defense firearm. If you use your sporting firearm, your self defense firearm must have jammed, or you must prove that you were on your way home from the range. Which becomes difficult on a four day hike ;).

What I want to say that it is not that clear cut and simple, and it gets really difficult when you try to own and use a second firearm.

February 17, 2003, 05:19 AM
So, how would the Firearm Control Board react to a few Norwegians moving to your country, bringing our collections.
Pistols, revolvers, semi-auto shotguns and rifles. Short barreled rifles, long barreled rifles etc. Probably close to 15-30 guns each. :D

I heard that R10,000 will make even a murder charge "dissapear" down there.
Couldn't carrying a copy of The Firearms Control Act of 2000 around with you help? If you ever needed a gun, you could show the police/investigator the sections about lawfull use.


February 17, 2003, 05:43 AM
Norwegians coming here? Are you mad to come here ?!? ;)

Under the old law you could classify yourself as a collector. There will be stringent rules you have to apply to, but you can pretty much carry what you want.

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