Fanny Pack Holster - Proof of Concept

Discussion in 'Handguns: Accessories, Holsters, and Optics' started by Alllen Bundy, Nov 15, 2021.

  1. Alllen Bundy

    Alllen Bundy Member

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    I ride a bicycle for 95% of my transportation. I ride at all hours of the day and night, sometimes ride in sketchy areas, and have a need for self defense. Unfortunately, riding a bicycle presents serious problems for concealed carry.

    If the temperature is over 70°F and I plan to ride for more than a mile, I will usually be riding without a shirt. That eliminates outside the waistband carry for concealment. Inside the waistband at the side is impractical while riding a bicycle because of the constant leg movement. Even if I lost the extra 35 lbs around my waist, appendix carry would be difficult because of the forward lean while I ride, and appendix carry makes me nervous. Inside the waistband at the rear would also be exposed. Also, it would take too long to pull a pistol out of my panniers. A holster mounted on the bicycle frame might be possible, but hiding it may be difficult, not to mention the vibration issues.

    The only practical solution would appear to be a fanny pack holster, provided that I can make it look geeky enough that nobody would expect me to be carrying a pistol inside it. I ride a bicycle with panniers on both front and rear and with full fenders and 2.25" wide tires. So while riding on my bicycle a fanny pack would not seem at all out of place.

    I haven't found anything to my liking at any local gun shops or online. So I decided to make a fanny pack holster for my Sig P365X. This is a proof of concept prototype. Meaning that I needed to make a fanny pack holster prototype that I can use to see if I can realistically and reliably draw a firearm and backup magazines. If it works I can make refinements later.

    I used the Sig holster that came with my P365. FYI, this holster is now obsolete and Sig makes a similar holster that fits both the P365 and the P365XL. This fanny pack is designed to also hold the new XL compatible holster. I glued one end of the trigger guard retention bolt to the holster so that it could be adjusted with only one Allen wrench. I used JB Weld Plastic Bonder, which is a 2 part urethane adhesive.

    I cut off the normal belt clip mounting points from the holster. To clear the magazine button extension, I cut a slit into the holster, softened it with with heat gun and then bent it and held it in place until it cooled. I glued the holster to a couple of sheets of aluminum to achieve the necessary spacing. I used JB Weld Epoxy to hold the aluminum sheets together. I used JB weld Plastic Bonder, to hold the plastic holster to the aluminum mounting plates. I drilled 3 mounting holes in the aluminum plates. I may add a few safety wires across the holster, just in case the glue breaks loose, but I don't really think they will be necessary.

    Sig Holster Modified.jpg

    With the limited tools that I have at my disposal, I chose to use a rectangular aluminum extrusion for the internal frame to hold the holster and magazine carriers. The extrusion is 1/8" thick with external dimensions of 1.75" x 5.00" and internal dimensions of 1.50" by 4.75". The extrusion is way too thick and too heavy. But I first need to know if I can even draw from a fanny pack at the rear and this appears to be the easiest material to use for the prototype.

    My first attempt was with a cardboard mockup that was 11" long. It seemed like it might work and would be able to hold 3 additional magazines. But after I mounted the holster on the aluminum extrusion and belted it around my waist, it became immediately apparent that the end of the pistol was just too far outward for my arm to move even further outward far enough to be able to draw the pistol from the holster behind my back.

    Fortunately I bought extra extrusion for more than one try. This time I reduced the extrusion length to 7.50" long. It would only be able to hold 2 extra magazines. I modified the extrusion and mounted the holster to it. I belted it around my waist behind my back and lo and behold I was able to draw from the holster relatively easily.

    The next step was to make a form to simulate the magazine shape so that I could bend hot ABS sheet around it. I cut down a piece of 1.5" by 1.5" poplar to nearly the required size and then sanded it to the exact size and shape needed. I used 0.060" thick ABS sheet because I had it, it's easy to form, and I do not yet have any experience with Kydex. I may try using Kydex sheet in the future.

    Mag Carriers.jpg

    I used a heat gun to soften the ABS sheet and bent it around the form into a U shape. It took about 3 tries before I had a usable shape. I did some careful trimming of the U-shaped ABS and glued on the back using a solvent based ABS plumbing glue. I made a second carrier tube the same way. I glued a spacer onto the side of each magazine carrier. Then I glued the carriers to a couple of ABS mounting straps.

    I cut out a notch on the front and rear of the aluminum extrusion for access to the magazine bases. Then I mounted the magazine carrier to the extrusion with screws. After some experimentation I determined that I needed to cut a round notch from each side of the magazine carrier tubes to be able to better grab the base of the magazines with my forefinger and thumb.

    The magazine carriers grip the magazines almost too well. I did some sanding to the inside of one of the magazine carriers to make it slightly easier to withdraw the magazine.

    The first carrier tubes that I made had dimples that pressed into the cutouts that are used for the magazine catch. It held the magazine well, but I noticed that the edges of the hole were sharp enough that they were shaving the ABS when the magazine was inserted and withdrawn. The subsequent magazine carriers were made smooth without the dimples in them. The magazines are held in place by friction. You need to shake the carriers vigoursly before the magazines will fall out.

    An alternative magazine catch mechanism might be to use a spring loaded ball bearing that rests in the magazine catch hole. I may try that down the road.

    Frame Outside.jpg

    The aluminum extrusion isn't quite tall enough for the P365X with the MagGuts modified magazine. So I removed part of the bottom of the extrusion and glued on some poplar to effectively extend the bottom of the extrusion. I used Devcon 2 Ton Epoxy to hold the 2 lays of poplar together and JB Weld Epoxy to hold the poplar to the aluminum frame.

    I did not want the barrel end of the gun rubbing against the aluminum frame while holstering, so I glued an ABS pad to the frame with JB Weld Plastic Bonder.

    Frame Inside.jpg

    As I mentioned, the aluminum extrusion is too heavy, weighing in at 15 oz. So I did some weight relieving by drilling many holes into it. I reduced the extrusion's weight by 6 oz reducing it to 9 oz. It wasn't really worth the time and effort, but I was already watching the Kyle Rittenhouse trial livestream all week long, so I wasn't really wasting any time.

    Fanny Pack Ends.jpg

    I realize that I still need to make one hole in the aluminum frame large enough to slip an Allen wrench through so that I can adjust the trigger guard retention bolt.

    I did not want to use an extremely stiff gun belt to hold the holster in place. But I don't need to. When I reach into the holster frame, it contacts the web between my thumb and forefinger and all that I need do is to squeeze my last 3 fingers on the handgrip of the pistol and it pulls the pistol from the trigger guard retainer in the holster.

    Similarly, when I grab the base of a magazine with my thumb and forefinger, I can brace the rest of my fingers against the frame to extract the magazine from it's carrier tube. The fanny pack does not need to be held in place on the belt nor does the belt need to be stiff.

    The total weight of the aluminum frame, with the ABS pad and the poplar extension on the bottom, is 11 oz. I could probably reduce the weight by using 0.060" thick aluminum sheet, or possibly Kydex with some aluminum supports, and I may try that on the next iteration.

    So far the total weight, with the P365X loaded at 14 + 1, plus two 14 rd magazines, is 3 lbs 5 oz. That's also a total of 43 rounds. If I want to get a bit crazy, I could mount additional magazine carrier tubes vertically on the outside of the frame and could easily add two more magazines.

    This frame may not be ideal, but it appears to be working well enough that it's time for the second phase, which is to sew a rain resistant cover over the frame to make it look like a fanny pack.

    I plan to have a flap opening on each side held in place with velcro. I will probably add padding to the flaps to round out it out so that it looks more like a real fanny pack. I will have a pouch on the rear that can actually hold something small. It will have a big flap over the top, again held down with velcro. I may embroider some bicycle sounding name to the fanny pack so that it looks more like a legitimate dorky looking old man's or bicycle geek's fanny pack.

    For now I'm using a 1.5" wide "tactical belt" that I bought on Amazon for ten bucks. I don't think that it is anywhere near stiff enough for use with a regular holster, but it should work well enough for this "fanny pack" design.

    This is not going to be as fast to draw as a holster at my hip, but I think that it's the best compromise that will work under the conditions for which I will use it.

    If you have any suggestions for improvements, let's hear them. Especially if any of you have any suggestions for working with Kydex.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
  2. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    How are you going to wrap your fingers around the grip? From the pics it looks like it will be hard to get a positive hold when drawing the gun.

    Some suggestions based on experience -
    Wear regular shorts (not cycling shorts) and a button down short sleeve shirt and carry like you normally would. Even with the shirt unbuttoned a 4oclock to small of the back carry won't be seen. If your accustomed to wearing cycling shorts there are plenty of other options for the padding.

    I used a slightly modified removable top tube bag for a few years.

    A quick internet search found a bunch of fanny pack holsters. I know, it takes the fun out of building your own but lots of ideas can be found.
     
  3. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    WOW! Thats a lot of work. :thumbup:

    On occasion, I use a fanny pack while backpacking. I just dedicated the one pocket for the gun, and velcroed one of the holsters that come with some of the patrol-type coats into it.

    I use a CamelBak Mule when I bike (road and mountain), and did the same with it as I did the fanny pack. I would think anything on your waist would be annoying while biking. The CamelBak is multipurpose (tools, tires/tubes, clothes, extra water, etc) and there are plenty of options. Its not anything quickly accessed, but its not slow either, if you work out a plan and practice a little.

    This is my CamelBak....
    dWDP5ZdA7LI-ODz8pBfFdr2m4_eoRCk10ucaIqCe7ffHDJpwno-pEcjtJnw?cn=THISLIFE&res=medium&ts=1636981931.jpg
    dWDP5ZdA7LI-ODz8NFhEK4Oh-MW3x9D9GrpS8rnHjCyIZu59oV2we_kMG9A?cn=THISLIFE&res=medium&ts=1636980644.jpg

    If you want a good source for working with kydex, look to YouTube. Lots of good stuff and ideas there. I built a press and picked up a lot of good info there. Ive made a lot of holsters, mag carriers, and knife sheaths, among other things. Once you get started and the hang of working with it, all sorts of solutions for all sorts of different things pop up.

    Tool wise, things Ive found handy working with kydex are a jig/scroll saw, a belt sander, good sharp knife and straight edge, and one of those pocket torches.

    This place has a lot of things you might need, and there are others if you look around.

    https://knifekits.com/vcom/holster-making-shellskits-kydex-sheathholster-kits-c-137.html?view=all
     
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  4. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    I'd suggest...

    Start with a concealed carry fanny pack and modify if/as needed. Most of them don't look tactical at all.

    Sew on geeky patches if you want to geek it up more.

    Wear a shirt. It can help with several things including melanoma.

    Cyclist conceal carry shirts that zip up for as well regular looking shirts are also available.
     
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  5. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Whoa, yeah, wear a shirt.

    Wear a moisture wicking undershirt and a loose fitting cover shirt. You will be more comfortable.

    These things are very handy for bag carry.

    Dale Fricke Zacchaeus https://dalefrickeholsters.com/product/zacchaeus-concealment-holster/

    RCS Gear Vanguard https://rcsgear.com/holsters/by-series/vanguard
     
  6. Alllen Bundy

    Alllen Bundy Member

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    You don't draw in a conventional manner. You don't wrap your hand around the grip and pull the gun from the holster. The edge of the frame is against the webbing between your thumb and forefinger. Your fingers squeeze against the handgrip and it pops out of the holster and into your hand and your fingers are wrapped around the grip.

    I wear cutoff jeans and a polo shirt. I don't own a single button down shirt and haven't since 1975.

    I've looked quite a bit. Most of them have zippers or take way to long to draw from.
     
  7. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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  8. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I like a chest pack for such uses.

    They make several versions of these. This is the lightest, least expensive version.

    Hill People Gear | Real use gear for backcountry travelers

    Used properly it is fast to unzip. Click on the instructional video on the page
     
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  9. Phydeaux642

    Phydeaux642 Member

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    I carry a S&W 442 in a small Timbuktu2 messenger bag while riding my bicycle. I can shoot it while it's still in the bag if need be.
     
  10. Alllen Bundy

    Alllen Bundy Member

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    Moderators,

    Sorry, I didn't think to put this in the holster section like I should have.
     
  11. KenW.

    KenW. Member

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    Get a Fanny pack and put a Canadian flag patch on it, or a diabetic supplies label. People can be easily diverted.
     
  12. toivo

    toivo Member

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    I use one of these when on my bike:

    https://www.gungear.com/concealed-carry-cordura-fanny-pack?variantId=84

    They're meant to be worn in the front so you can pull the "rip cord" with your weak hand while drawing with your strong hand. Front placement doesn't work in a biking posture, so I wear mine on my strong side. The draw is slower, since I have to pull the cord and draw the pistol with the same hand -- unless I get off the bike, in which case I can reach across with my weak hand to undo the pack.

    They don't look at all tactical -- in fact, they look pretty outdoorsy -- and they have enough extra pockets to hold a knife, small cellphone, my carry permit, and my housekeys.
     
  13. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    I have a leather fanny pack I bought more than 20 years ago, but I don't use it for biking. I mainly use it as a kind of range bag for one of my pistols.

    I carry IWB, about the 4 O'clock position and have no problems with this. I don't have issues with concealment or movement, and this is with a full size 1991A1. Choice of clothing and how the clothing is worn easily makes this work very easily.

    I have nothing against a fanny pack of that's what you want to do. There are certainly many market options, not to mention other similar designs like leather belt pouches or drop leg bags. Even building your own, as you have.
     
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  14. Dunross

    Dunross Member

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    I was a full-time cyclist in N/C Fl for seven years. Didn't even own a car. Carried nearly every day - a Star PD in .45acp.

    I tried multiple different ways of carrying from fanny packs to small-of-back. Given the particular circumstances of cycling I eventually came around to strong side hip carry, usually inside the waist band. I always wore a shirt. Usually a somewhat oversized button down untucked over an undershirt, but sometimes just a t-shirt.

    My only concern with the fanny pack is that after all these years if I see a grown man wearing one who otherwise has trouser pockets I assume he is carrying. They are not the norm these days. If you're wearing bike shorts possibly that might be different. I never got around to trying a shoulder holster for bike carry. It always looked like it would be uncomfortable.
     
  15. toivo

    toivo Member

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    When I ride a bike, I'm never wearing regular pants: always sweatpants, either full-length if it's cold or cut-offs in the summer. Some of them have pockets, but nothing you'd want to carry a pistol in. I've never had anybody comment on the fanny pack.

    I agree with you on strong-side hip carry -- that's where my fanny pack rides. I've thought about a Sneaky Pete, but I'm mostly mountain biking and don't feel that I can trust that magnet closure to keep the gun secure in rough terrain.
     
  16. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    Waist pouches, often worn as across-the-upper-body bags, are quite the fashion, lately, for men, and so no longer automatically associated with carrying firearms. As pockets in trousers and jeans have become useless decorative accents, rather than functional, it makes sense to carry/wear a bag.

    The Safepacker, VERY well-made, and sold by, The Wilderness dot com, is quite fast-to-access, with a Fastex-type side-release buckle. A small bit of ingenuity allows one to opt for magnetic retention of the flap. If worn on a trousers’ belt, it is not “off-body carry.” Some cycling shorts and trousers have belt loops. I have been using Safepackers for decades, often to carry my full-sized duty pistol, during personal time. Notably, a larger-sized Safepacker looks like a case for carrying electronic tablets, and, one can order a Safepacker with an interior intended to accommodate a tablet.

    www.thewilderness.com

    The Hill People Gear Kit Bags are VERY well-built, designed for being worn on the front of the torso. There is a waist pouch version. There are daypacks, such as their Tarahumara, than can be rigged to work as a system, with the Kit Bags. Non-tactical-appearing color options are available. HPG also makes a portfolio brief type of bag, that works well as a sling bag. HPG is good stuff, for daily life, not just packing for firearms. My wife tends to use a Kit Bag for purposes other than packing a pistol. She does carry guns, but almost never in a Kit bag. Notably, knock-offs of the Kit Bags are marketed as club wear, and fashion wear, rather than tactical gear. (I do not approve of purchasing knock-offs, of course; just pointing out that nylon gear is now mainstream.)

    www.hillpeoplegear.com
     
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  17. Alllen Bundy

    Alllen Bundy Member

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  18. dodo bird

    dodo bird Member

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    A58144FE-4948-4F37-B277-3E00C89CCC7C.jpeg
    I ride a mountain bike a lot with a fanny pack. Been doing it for years. I have found it’s the best way to carry for me. It is not very fast to deploy. I found that out when a coyote tried to get my dog during a rural ride. Most of the places I ride coyotes are not a problem. Safety is the most import thing for me as i fall from time to time. I carry a hammer fired semi in a leather holster with a thumb break. Once again it is slow to draw. I think for something safe and possibly more effective would be to mount a can of OC spray on the bike. I could never see mounting a gun on a bike. OC would be great for dogs or people. Best to pedal fast with danger than do anything else. And the most important thing you can do for your safety is wear a helmet if you don’t already.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2022
  19. 3Crows

    3Crows Member

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    When I was in Germany everybody it seemed from old women, business men in suits and all the way to young people rode bicycles to get around, to commute and as primary transportation. old women would push their laden bicycles uphill and coast down. Nobody was without a shirt however.

    I used bicycles for transportation off and on since childhood and was also a competitive cyclist. I seemed to manage to wear a shirt no matter for sporting or commuting. Nowadays, when I go out for a ride, I generally carry either a Ruger LCR .357 Magnum, a S&W .380 BG or sometimes a Glock 19 in a fanny pack. A fanny pack just screams !!GUN!! but really, when I am on a bicycle, I do not care if motorists think I am CCL or not. In fact, after a few odd encounters once in a great while, I may occasionally open carry a 1911. Kansas is an open carry state. And I may do the same on my motorcycle. On a motorcycle it is easier to hide away a pistol in my armored clothing or in a tank bag.

    I have also used those Belly Band holsters under my shirt and those are adequate for small and medium frame pistols and revolvers. There are also frame bags and I have used them with success and they are even shaped well to contain a pistol:

    https://www.amazon.com/Lifesport-Gear-Triangle-Storage-Accessories/dp/B08L71J8SL/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?gclid=Cj0KCQiAieWOBhCYARIsANcOw0w68WZAPpu0LaBx3Jh62rUl6t3g-SzbtZwsULPY8zdJMwRgoGLbo8IaAji_EALw_wcB&hvadid=174232520761&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9024228&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=e&hvrand=3635926369475896900&hvtargid=kwd-669872493&hydadcr=9381_9621515&keywords=bicycle+frame+bag&qid=1641703255&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&smid=A6PD552CJ7FPA&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzMDVJTVFZVUNBSDk4JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNjc4Mzg5MlREUlFMOU03VE0yQSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMTUyMDMzQ04ySVI0V0k4Q1NDJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

    Here you can see my fanny pack with a Glock 19 and two magazines.

    IMG-1001.jpg

    It is an older version of this one:

    https://www.voodootactical.com/voodoo-hide-a-weapon-fannypack.html

    3C
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2022
  20. toivo

    toivo Member

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    I think it isn't the same when you're on a bicycle, especially when you're wearing bike shorts or another type of athletic wear. Then it screams "Keys, cash, cellphone!"
     
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  21. Alllen Bundy

    Alllen Bundy Member

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    Not to mention that I ride a bike with front and rear racks and panniers front and rear. If I am seriously loaded I may have additional stuff tied to the racks and also be wearing a backpack. 60°F and above I'm usually wearing cut off jeans. While I'm riding on my bike I just look like an old guy with a fanny pack. This fanny pack will be covered in black Cordura that matches my panniers.

    But when I'm off of my bicycle in a store or something, that's when I may not blend in quite so well. Since I ride a Surly I may just embroider that on the rear fake flap of the fanny pack.
     
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