Safe Riding

Carrying Concealed While Riding

Written by  December 22, 2015

 I have a few passions in life; three of which are motorcycling, travel, and guns. I’ve been riding motorcycles and hunting since the age of seven, so riding and shooting has always been a part of my life.

While I’ve always had guns in my home, a few years ago I decided to take a CCW class so I could legally carry a firearm for self-defense. Thankfully, I’ve never been in a situation yet where I needed to use a gun to defend myself; however, after getting married and having a wife and daughter to protect, I figured it only made sense to do whatever I could to protect them should the need arise. A couple years ago my wife and daughter also took a CCW class, which they both passed with flying colors, including the classroom portion and the range time. Nichole now has her CCW; however, Skye has a few years to go before she can legally own and carry a firearm. I’m really proud of Skye because she’s developed a healthy respect for firearms and firearm safety, and has shot every gun I own, including my Glock.40, my Mossberg 12 gauge tactical shotgun, and my AR-15. I feel that educating our children is the best way to ensure firearm safety at home. OK…enough about me, so let’s get down to the brass tacks of carrying a firearm while riding a motorcycle!

Unfortunately, every state’s firearm laws are different, so until we have universal conceal carry, you need to be aware of each state’s laws when traveling with a firearm, whether it’s on a motorcycle or in a vehicle. A few states require no permit at all to conceal or open carry, some are reciprocal, which means your state’s concealed carry permit is honored by other states; however, this isn’t the case in what I often refer to as “Communist States.” Those are the states that either don’t allow its citizens to obtain conceal carry permits for self-defense, or make it nearly impossible for them to obtain a permit due to politics and an endless barrage of red tape. There are several websites available that explain each state’s firearms and concealed carry laws, a few of which are handgunlaw.us, usacarry.com, usconcealedcarry.com, and nraila.org.

In Missouri, the Castle Law also applies to your personal vehicle and motorcycle, which means that any resident of the state who can legally own a firearm can carry a loaded gun in their vehicle either out in the open or concealed in the vehicle or even on their person. The only thing is that you can’t legally get out of your car carrying a concealed firearm unless you have a CCW permit. The same laws apply to motorcycles in the state of Missouri, in which you can legally carry a concealed firearm while on your motorcycle; however, if you get off your bike you have to secure it on your motorcycle. This is why I think it’s smarter to just take the course and get your permit. It just saves a lot of time and hassle.

I know some of you may be thinking “Screw a CCW permit; the only permit I need is the 2nd Amendment!” While I agree with this general philosophy and wish it were true, I don’t think it’s a very good game plan if you want to stay out of prison and avoid huge fines and legal costs should you get caught carrying a firearm without a permit. I also hear a lot of folks say “I’m not getting a permit because I want to stay “under the radar” and don’t want Big Brother to know I have guns in case they decide to come take them.” Again, while I agree the less the government knows the better, I prefer to legally carry a firearm rather than walk around being paranoid about getting caught and going to jail. To each his own, but I know I’d rather spend my time riding and enjoying time with my family than doing time behind bars because I failed to follow the rules.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of concealed carry on a motorcycle, let’s talk a little about when you might need a gun while riding your motorcycle. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but as the old saying goes when it comes to guns, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.” I’m not even going to get started on the various ways there are to carry a concealed handgun, because there are about as many opinions out there as there are firearms. Therefore, I’m going to talk about how I prefer to conceal carry while riding my motorcycle, and you’re welcome to use whatever method works best for you.

For me, it quite simple. I conceal carry while riding my motorcycle the same way I carry every day, whether I’m riding or not. I carry “everywhere” I go unless there are metal detectors present, such as at courthouses, airport boarding areas, and large entertainment or sporting events. This is my personal choice, and to each their own.

Before leaving the house I choose which firearm to carry depending on my own set of “risk assessments.” In other words, if I decide to walk down the street to get the mail or run through the drive-in window at a local fast-food joint, I normally choose to carry a smaller caliber firearms, such as my Ruger LCP .380, which is small enough to stick in the front pocket of my shorts, jeans or sweatpants. I prefer to place my .380 inside the small nylon case that came with the gun; however, there are also small pocket holsters available that work as well. It’s better to use some type of case or holster rather than just sticking your gun in your pocket because it helps prevent imprinting (someone can tell you’re carrying a gun because it shows through your clothing). Although it’s not illegal, some people are uncomfortable when they see someone other than a police officer carrying a firearms and may call 911. This creates unnecessary confrontations with law enforcement officers, and is one of the main reasons I prefer to conceal carry even where it’s legal to open carry. When traveling or going somewhere I consider to be a bit higher risk, I’ll usually carry my Glock .40 in my Packin’ Tee with an extra magazine on the opposite side. For those unfamiliar with concealed apparel such as this, it’s basically a reinforced T-shirt with an elastic holster that attaches to the shirt on the side of your body under the armpit with heavy-duty Velcro. It’s quite comfortable, even with heavier firearms, and you can wear it under any button-up shirt, vest, or jacket. It comes in black or white, in both male and female sizes, and is also available in a V-Neck style. When I carry my Glock and extra magazine, I also carry my Ruger .380 in the front pocket of my jeans or cargo shorts. I normally carry an extra magazine for my .380 in a pocket of my cargo shorts. The way I see it, it’s always a good to have a backup firearm and as many magazines as you can comfortably carry.

I’m right-handed, so I normally carry my Glock on my left side; however, when riding, I sometimes carry it on my right side, so in theory, I can draw it using my left without taking my hand off the throttle. Although I’m sure many feel it’s unnecessary to be able to draw your firearm while riding, I like being able to draw my weapon any time and any place. Besides, if Billy (Dennis Hopper) would have been carrying a handgun this way in the movie Easy Rider, he may have been able to defend himself against the rednecks who shot him off his motorcycle when they pulled up next to him in their truck. LOL

Although I always prefer to carry on my person so I’m armed at all times, such as well going into a gas station or restaurant; however, if you choose not to carry on your person you may choose to secure a firearm in your windshield or tank bag. You can also carry any size of handgun in your saddlebag; however, you may not be able to access it as quickly should the need arise. Wherever you decide to carry your firearm, you should practice retrieving it (preferably unloaded) as quickly as possible so it becomes second nature should you need it.

Whenever possible, I prefer to plan my trips around “Communist States,” however, this isn’t always possible or realistic, so you should also carry a lockable hard-sided gun case for states that require you to secure your firearm in a lockable case. Yes, it’s a pain in the butt, but it’s a lot better than spending most of your trip sitting in a jail cell. When planning more lengthy motorcycle trip which goes through several states, I like to create a motorcycle laws by state “cheat sheet,” which I fold up and keep in my windshield bag. This way I can look at it at a fuel stop or rest area before entering a new state.

Again, it’s a personal choice whether to carry a firearm or not, and a personal preference as to the best way to conceal carry while riding your motorcycle, so do what feels right, don’t do what feels wrong, and above all, make sure to protect yourself and your loved ones in any situation.

Always carry, and carry on!

 

Mike Schweder

Editor-in-Chief - Kansas City, MO

Mike is the original founder of Cycle Connections Online Motorcycle Magazine and an avid motorcycle enthusiast. He has been riding for over 40 years, belongs to several local and national motorcycle organizations and travels to numerous rallies and events throughout the US each year. Mike has been a writer and editor for many years and has a passion for sharing his motorcycling experiences and stories with you. Contact Mike at mikes@cycleconnections.com