How to carry on a motorcycle

Not open for further replies.

If it helps in evaluating my options below, the bike I bought is a Suzuki Boulevard C50 cruiser (non-motorcycle types, think Harley style ...
Your choice of a cruiser will (or should) influence your decision about how to carry. A cruiser keeps you in one seating position that is usually comfortable at first but then becomes very uncomfortable on longer rides. That position is also a slightly leaned back position. My view is that you will NOT like any holster that attaches to your belt, and especially those worn further back than 3 o'clock.

I do lots of dual sport riding, and get into some pretty challenging dirt sections which means that it's not unusual for me to have unplanned get-offs. I strongly prefer to carry on the upper body. The harder impacts and longer slides will generally involve your lower body, so from both a comfort and safety standpoint, I avoid any waistbelt option. I either carry in a pocket holster (Walther PPS makes it easy) inside a chest pocket, or if I'm in more dirt oriented gear I'll use a large soft side camera case that is zip-tied to my chest protector.
Last edited:
I usually just wear my pancake under my leather coat or in warmer weather vest, for other times I shoulder rig it, and when all else fails I have a CCW vest with special inside pockets large enough to comfortably hide the full size HK USP.
I ride a BMW RT sport touring bike. I have equipped it with a tank bag that has a quick access pocket on it. I think it was designed for holding toll $$ and such, but now it's home for my S&W model 36. I really like the bag and use it to hold what normally goes in my pockets as well (wallet, pocket knife, keys, cell phone, surefire, and all that other crap I can't seem to go anywhere without). It makes my ride a lot more comfortable. The gun rides by itself and I can get to it within a couple of seconds if necessary. When I stop, it gets transferred (discretely) to my person.
If I carry on my person, the most likely way would be a pocket gun (in a pocket holster) and drop it into one of the zippered pockets on my riding jackets. They'll be relatively easy to access, hopefully they won't increase the chances of injury much, and the gun will be quite secure from the zipper.

Other than a shoulder holster, this makes the most sense. The pockets of your riding jacket are generally in the area of your gut, so if you do come of the bike and land on it, there's no bones in the vicinity to break.

My bigger concern if I had to use my pistol while stopped on the bike, would be the gloves.
When I ride I carry a .380 in a belly band. That way I can wear a t-shirt in the 100 degree heat.
My bigger concern if I had to use my pistol while stopped on the bike, would be the gloves.

I really don't think I'd ever use a gun while on a motorcycle, unless I was half-way geared up, as the biggest advantage of a motorcycle is quick acceleration, and ability to fit through small gaps. Gas, dump clutch, and get out of Dodge.
I anticipate there could be occasions escape wouldn't be feasible. Or like I said, stopped.
I think this situation is where being a lefty has a bit of an advantage, before I sold it I carried my Springfield ultracompact 1911 crossdraw. I carry my XD40sc OWB strong side (left). After 40 years of murdercycles I can generally get by one handed. I've been down hard and landing on a pistol is not even near the top of the list of concerns at that moment.
Last edited:
Sometimes in cold weather I carry a Lightweight Commander in a Galco shoulder holster, under my vest and jacket. In warmer weather I still wear a heavy leather vest with two good pockets that will hold a lightweight Smith 38 special, and I usually carry a North Amercan arms mini-revolver in 22 mag on the other side.

Sometimes I have carried a gun in my saddlebags or a pack, but forget about getting to it very quick.
I anticipate there could be occasions escape wouldn't be feasible. Or like I said, stopped.

I don't see myself trying to defend myself from the motorcycle, either. If I'm stopped and I can't get away, the bike is going to get dropped if the stand isn't down. I don't think about trying to draw while I'm on the bike. I'm think about when I'm geared up and then walking to the bike or get where I'm going (entering/leaving the grocery store, etc), how can I most easily reach the gun without having to unbuckle a bunch of gear? How can I keep the gun in the same place at all times, so I can avoid having to move it from place to place on the bike or on my person?

OK, there are a lot of posts since I last posted.

Someone was concerned about the legality of carrying in other states. I know the CCW laws, and what states' permits are honored, for the states in which I would most frequently carry. A FL, UT or VA out of state permit would be fine for VA and PA and aren't too difficult to get (the UT is a bit tougher, but not bad at all), and the UT permit or a MN out of state permit would work for when I'm in MN (the MN permit would be the hardest to get since I'd have to do everything while I was there, and lose family time to do it). For travel, WV doesn't honor any non-resident permits, they only honor out-of-state permits when they are resident permits and in MD it is nearly impossible to get a permit so no carry through WV. IL and WI are a no-no, IN is fine with most permits I'd get.

I think I've settled on pocket carry. One can train to shoot wearing gloves, so I'm not too worried about that (fumbling with the zipper with gloves may be no fun though- I may need to use my pants front pocket). If it is a real issue, I've noticed that several companies offer tactical gloves meant for SWAT, military and other professional shooters that are leather, have gel palms, kevlar armored knuckles, etc just like the motorcycle gloves. Some do leave the armor off the trigger finger for easier access to the trigger however.

Definitely, training on the bike is important. I already took the Rider's Edge course, and I may take the Experienced/Advanced Riders Course through MSF before the summer is out (our instructors said we should be ready for it in about 2 months). I have already planned on buying the Ride Like a Pro DVD.

Anyway, I have it and have been riding it all week, in case anyone is interested here is my bike (I have the saddle bags but not the saddlebag supports so I haven't installed them yet):

IMG_0071.jpg IMG_0073.jpg
Last edited:
Chaim: Try a pair of Lee Parks gloves. I have the DeerTours ones, and they are so supple, I can pull my phone out to text, or pull a credit card out of my wallet, even type on a computer (carefully) without taking them off.

I'd suggest going somewhere where you are able to try them on, as you need to get them tight, almost to the point of being uncomfortable, as they stretch to conform to your hand.

They are absolutely amazing gloves, and I'd have to believe they would make it possible to shoot with. I'd try it, but I just went to the range this morning for the last time in probably several months.:( I did introduce several members of my family to my .22LR and shotgun though. Including my tiny sister who preferred the "little one":D And my uncle from CA who hadn't touched a gun in his entire life. He enjoyed the shotty for sure. Even asked if he could take the targets that had several holes in them home. :cool:

Link for the gloves
Last edited:
Chaim: First, I live in MD. No carry in MD. I only carry when out of state in a CCW state
Becareful in which states you carry with a 3rd state permit. In Michigan you cannot carry even with a permit, Michigan's law states your permit must be issued by your state of residence, no 3rd state permit recipocity. Michigan on the other hand recognizes just about every other states permit issued to residents of that state.
We even allow Canadian law enforcement to carry concealed in Michigan, yet Michigan residents with a permit cannot carry or even take a handgun into Canada. Canada won't even allow a US law enforcement officer to take a handgun into Canada even to do an extradition or prisoner transfer. Grrrrrrrrrr I'm goning to work on getting some different legislation with the next bunch of politicians coming into office this November. We can't affect Canadian law but I guarantee you Michigan's will be changed to reflect equal treatment.
Suzuki more reliable? Not really. Ride a Harley instead of a sissy bike and nobody messes with you. Just kidding. I don't carry because I haven't found a good way to shoot while riding and getting jumped on my bike is way down on my list of worries. But then I must live in a better area.
Suzuki more reliable? Not really. Ride a Harley instead of a sissy bike and nobody messes with you.

I ride a Suzuki with Harley exhaust. I hope that means I sound like a bad dude, b/c I know it means I have troubles getting my carburetor mix right. ;)

Nice Savage. I was in Arkansas in March. Great roads for riding. I meet some good guys that ride and shoot at Fort Smith.
Not open for further replies.