I’m a huge advocate of concealed carry and self-defense. I’m not just of the mind that you should have the ability to defend yourself against a criminal while out in town or in the store, but wherever you may be.
I’ve written recently about what I’d call the best concealed carry holsters for runners, in that article to help you find a suitable holster for your purposes. But this time I thought I’d go into a bit of a deeper dive on the topic, and why running on a trail with a gun is a good idea.
It make sense to run with a gun when you’re on a trail. This is something that should seem obvious for many people, but in case it’s not, let’s discuss why we’d do this before we get into the how.
Why carry a gun while running on a trail:
Even though every trail in every area will be different, there could be 2 legged or 4 legged predators that want to attack you for one reason or another.
In the best case scenario you’ll not only have your gun to properly defend yourself from any sort of attack, but the ability to actually do so. Let’s take a look.
Two legged predators:
Two legged predators, also known as criminals, are much more likely to attack you than a four legged one is. At least part of the reason why, is because people kind of suck.
People a lot of the time feel entitled to the things you own, or even your body. The best thing you can do is be prepared to defend yourself at the moment’s notice.
For example, I live in an area that is in a high tourist area in the Blue Ridge/Smokey Mountain area. Because the area is always so flooded with people not just those who live there, but tourists, there’s always a chance that my family or I could be attacked.
Then again, there are sucky people everywhere and you could be attacked at any point in time. And, there’s no time quite like when you’re distracted by running — especially if you use ear buds when you’re running. More on that later.
Four legged predators:
Of course there are also four legged predators. A moment ago I told you that I live in the mountains of NC.
This is heavy black bear territory. There are also other four legged predators like coyotes, bobcats, and even cougars from time to time depending on who you talk to.
This means that if I’m on the trails doing some running or hiking with my family, that I’m carrying a gun that is capable of stopping an animal attack.
But what if you don’t live in such an area? Well, I bet there are dogs, and you never know if there could be a rabid or otherwise feral dog out of its mind. Nobody wants to shoot a dog, but if my family or I are in danger because any animal isn’t in its right mind I will shoot it.
How to carry a gun while trail running:
You’ll want to carry a gun that is small enough that you can actually carry it while running, and in a potent enough caliber that it suits your needs.
This will mean different things to different people, and will heavily depend on where you are. If you’re in bear territory like I am, you’ll need something like a 357 Magnum or a 10mm Auto.
If you’re not in an area that requires it, something like a 380 ACP or a 9mm Luger will suffice.
And even then, if all you have is something like a Glock 19 or other 9mm Luger chambered gun, you can buy hard cast ammo for it and it’ll work well-enough against a smaller black bear.
Tips for trail running:
In all honesty, the gun and wearing it is just one of the aspects of self-defense while running on a trail. There are other things that go along with it that are just as, if not more, important than the gun and holster you choose.
The main thing that you have to remember is that you also need to be able to defend yourself with your gun. What I mean, is that if you’re distracted by music or something similar, you may not be able to even have the chance to get your gun out.
If you can’t get your gun out you won’t be able to defend yourself properly with it.
Your biggest vulnerability while running is distraction. Your second biggest vulnerability is potentially exhaustion. I can’t help you with that second one, but I can give you some pointers for the first.
We use sayings like keep your head on a swivel and having situational awareness. And the best thing I can say to do, is to be mindful of your surroundings so you can give yourself an advantage.
I don’t recommend using ear phones of any type when you’re running because you won’t be able to hear anything.
Animals are usually quite anyway. You’ll never be able to hear a cougar before it attacks. But a bear may make some noise.
And people can never be truly silent. So you’ll be better at hearing an attacker if you don’t have music in. It’s a huge distraction.
If you’re on a trail, just enjoy the trail and the sounds of the birds chirping.
I always recommend being armed both while you’re exercising or just hanging out around the house. Keeping some form of situational awareness will help increase your chances of surviving an attack, should one come your way.