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Thread: A couple of quick OC stories from a backpacker

  1. #1
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    A couple of quick OC stories from a backpacker

    It seems like since I've changed OC rigs a few months ago for when I'm out hiking/backpacking, people have taken more notice and I thought I would share some of the encounters with the forum.

    Most of the good encounters have appeared to have been from other gun owners and comments were along the lines of "nice piece" or "I usually carry X but it's stuffed in the pack." There was a small group of people out at Lake Serene that I spoke with for a little while as they thought my P226 was a 1911 and had asked about my holster since they couldn't find a comfortable way to carry while backpacking. I may have created a Serpa convert from Fobus.

    The one really good encounter that sticks out in my mind was last weekend up at the top of Mt Pilchuck. It involved a family of 5 people, 2 moms and their young boys out for a hike on the mountain. One of the kids asked me if I was a cop as he said he saw my gun and one of the younger boys leaned over out of curiosity. They were curious so I answered their questions and chatted with them while their Mom was there watching. When the question came up with why I carry, one of the Moms (younger one) pretty much answered for me (not rudely mind you) with, "so people won't bother him" which was clarified to creeps that hide out in the woods shortly after. They were then setting up to take a family photo and I offered to take it for them which they thanked me for taking it. I was polite and courteous the whole time and we parted ways as they headed down the mountain. It at least appeared to me that one of the Moms understood that there is good reason to carry, and overall I thought this was a pretty good encounter.

    Later that day some photographers came up who had the same idea I did, and that was to take pictures of the sunset (which was magnificent by the way). I had moved my photo equipment to a spot I decided would provide a good vantage point and left the arrivals be, passing them occasionally to get a different lens or the filter I had forgotten. One of the photographers in the group came down and joined me and we chatted about cameras a little, shot the sunset, and then parted ways when his group went down the mountain, not even a peep about what was on my hip. It wasn't until a group of two guys who had the same idea as me to stay the night did I realize that the photography group took notice as they told the two guys coming up that there is a "MWAG" up there in that "you better watch yourself" tone. The irony of this is of the two guys they told, one of them was carrying a G21 in his pack. After he told me what that group said, we laughed, chatted about guns and hit the sack not too soon after another group came up who was also carrying (concealed).

    Aside from the photography group, the only other time I've ran into an "anti" that was actually willing to speak their mind directly to me was at the trailhead of Mt Pugh (pronounced like a church pew). I had arrived the night before my climb so I could hit the trail early for some photographs, so it was dark when I ran into an older Canadian couple in a VW Bus. I stopped, rolled my window down and chatted with the gentleman that was there and he was kind enough to assist me with parking my car. I don't remember exactly how the topic came up of us "Yankees and our guns" as he put it, but he was firmly a believer that anyone who owns a pistol gets drunk and goes around shooting people. Oh, and pistols are only good for one thing, and that's murdering others. Of course I was offended by this but I was tired and didn't feel like getting into it with some Canadians, so I said "yeah" and "mmm hmmm" a lot all the while being friendly. He too was very friendly to me as well so I didn't feel the need to bring up the obviously open carrying of my pistol that he clearly didn't see while being within 10ft of me, although in his defense it was pretty dark.

    Other than that, people either haven't noticed as they weren't paying attention or they don't want to bring up such a polarizing topic. Of the times people have brought it up, I was and will continue to be courteous and as warm-hearted as I can towards them. Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by onlurker; 08-02-2010 at 06:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    I have OC'd my pistol while backpacking for three seasons now... it was my intro to open carry.

    I have heard a few teens say "Woah!" or "Did you see that?" as I passed by. I have had some wide eyes and possibly disapproving looks... though it could have been trail weariness.

    Only one time did someone actually ask me about it... an old timer at Packwood Lake, July 09, asked if my thigh-mounted Serpa was a police holster... we chatted briefly.

    Then last month, 7/21 at the Greenwater Lakes trail head my wife and I were waiting for friends so we could drive up Dalles Ridge and begin our hike down to Lost Lake. I was standing near my rig in the parking lot, looking at my map, when a couple came down off the trail walking their dogs.

    The wife obviously saw my pistol and the way I was dressed... she asked, "Are you giving us a ticket?"

    I didn't hear the first time, so I asked her to repeat herself and she did... and added, "We forgot our Forest Pass, are you going to give us a ticket? We have one, I promise. We just forgot it."

    I laughed, so did my wife.

    I replied, "No, I am not law enforcement. And I promise not to tell on you." With my most charming smile...

    At that point they took off. Apparently a kind civilian with a gun is more intimidating than a ticket from a LEO.

    Usually though, I pass by everybody I see without discussion. Or they wander past me or past my camp site without much more than a hello. Children, teens and adults alike... most of them do not even bother to bring it up.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Mech's Avatar
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    That's great to hear! For some reason, people seem to have an easier time understanding the idea of OC'ing while backpacking, hiking, etc. Maybe it's the very idea of doing something out in the "wilderness" and being armed go hand in hand, who knows. I'm glad you had those positive OC encounters; I never go hiking without my gun; like the mother pointed out, you just never know who/what you might run into in the woods!

    And I guess some people will just never change their views on firearms; I guess we can't really blame them, since we most likely would NOT change OUR minds about owning firearms, either :P

    Btw, when you said SERPA holster, did you mean Blackhawk SERPA CQC holster?

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    I've open carried on the trail in Wyoming and Colorado and never had a negative experience. Nobody in Wyoming ever even mentioned it. Second nature in the Cowboy State, I guess. In Colorado I had two comments. One was to simply ask if it was a 9mm. As the weapon is clearly a revolver, my daughter laughed and answered for me, "No, it's a bit bigger than that." The other comment was simply a recognition that I was armed and an assertion that he'd brought his sidearm, too. We met plenty of people on the trail (Mt. Columbia and La Plata Peak) and nobody else thought the weapon was worth mentioning, though it was impossible to miss in the thigh rig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mech View Post

    Btw, when you said SERPA holster, did you mean Blackhawk SERPA CQC holster?
    It's actually a Level II Serpa Duty Holster. I figured I'd take a page out of law-enforcement's book and get a holster that moves the pistol down and away from the waistline. I tried a CQC and it was too similar to my Galco leather holster in that it pretty much rendered the waist straps useless since they had to wrap around the holster.

  6. #6
    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Here's a great holster for carrying a pistol when a standard belt holster or shoulder holster is impractical.

    http://www.specialforces.com/store/c...t_Holster.html

    Put this on before you put on your backpack and it will still be there when you dismount your pack for a break.

    Used one similar years ago while riding on my dirtbike in the mountains.

  7. #7
    Regular Member Mech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onlurker View Post
    It's actually a Level II Serpa Duty Holster. I figured I'd take a page out of law-enforcement's book and get a holster that moves the pistol down and away from the waistline. I tried a CQC and it was too similar to my Galco leather holster in that it pretty much rendered the waist straps useless since they had to wrap around the holster.
    I see. Yeah a lot of times I feel like the CQC holster rides too high on my waist line so I have to reach higher when I'm drawing. But then again the relatively high position clears the muzzle of my pocket so I can still utilize that.

    I'll have to look into the Serpa Duty holster. Can you adjust the angle of the holster in relation to the paddle? And does the paddle come with hooks to catch your belt/waistband, etc.? Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mech View Post
    I see. Yeah a lot of times I feel like the CQC holster rides too high on my waist line so I have to reach higher when I'm drawing. But then again the relatively high position clears the muzzle of my pocket so I can still utilize that.

    I'll have to look into the Serpa Duty holster. Can you adjust the angle of the holster in relation to the paddle? And does the paddle come with hooks to catch your belt/waistband, etc.? Thanks!
    My Blackhawk lvl2 SERPA has hooks on the paddle that work great, and the angle is adjustable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mech View Post
    I'll have to look into the Serpa Duty holster. Can you adjust the angle of the holster in relation to the paddle? And does the paddle come with hooks to catch your belt/waistband, etc.? Thanks!
    You can adjust the cant angle similar to the CQC; rearward cant, neutral, and forward cant. There is no paddle per se, but rather a pair of "clamps" that the belt goes through and clamps down with two screws. It's an absolute PITA to attach to a belt, which is why I keep mine permanently attached to my carry belt.

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    Here we go, the pictures should make it pretty clear what I'm talking about. I'll direct link them so as to not take up too much bandwidth.

    http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k2...c/P8020002.jpg

    This one, you can see how the holster attaches to the belt.
    http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k2...c/P8020001.jpg

    You can see here how low the grip sits.
    http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k2...c/P8020003.jpg

    The space between the belt and the grip is big enough to get the pack's waist strap between the grip and your waist.
    http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k2...c/P8020004.jpg

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    Regular Member krazichinaman's Avatar
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    Glad to hear the good encounters. I recently just purchased the Thigh rig for my Serpa for whenever I go hiking. I mean if you have a pack on, more then likely you'll have the waist band strap on too, which would just get in the way. Now if I could only find someone to go hiking with so I can try it out....=D

  12. #12
    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    I do a lot of hiking in Western Washington, many times off the trails to remote summits and lakes. I carry my G20SF in a standard military Bianchi holster attached to the hip belt of my pack. If your pack is properly fitted, and you want it to be for long hikes under a heavy pack, then it will ride higher than your regular belt. This can cause some painful pinching between the two belts. Most of my hiking pants donít even have belt loops for a regular belt, but just a built in web belt to cinch them with. Trust me on this, if youíre eight and a half hours climbing a ridge you will feel every little lump and wrinkle under your pack belt, another belt is usually nothing but agony. The big problem with attaching a holster to your pack belt is the giant buckle that wonít go through the slots on the holster. The Bianchi solves that.

    I havenít any issues with open carry on or off the trails.




    http://www.topohiker.com/Hikes/hikes.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mech View Post
    ... when you said SERPA holster, did you mean Blackhawk SERPA CQC holster?
    Mine is a CQC w/carbon fiber finish, mounted on the thigh rig. I take the paddle attachment along for easy on / off when I don't want to wear the belt. Luckily the 3" nylon duty belt I wear with it hangs low enough to ride below the hip belt of my backpack.

    Slung low... Han Solo style...

    I have tried several cross-draw, chest rigs, etc but getting it down off the waist and torso is the only way it works for me. It is a little more obvious... and I guess in the greens and browns I favor for backpacking I probably look more official than I really am.

    I am still waiting for the first obnoxious encounter in the woods.

    Most people I think do not want to antagonize the "crazy man with a gun" that far from civilization...

  14. #14
    Regular Member gsx1138's Avatar
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    The only wide eye's I've got on the trail is usually from Seattle suburban yuppie hikers with 3k in REI gear that they take out once a year. (how's that for a generalization).

    Out here, on the Peninsula, no one seems to give a rats ass. I also make a point of it to be especially nice anyway when I OC.

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krazichinaman View Post
    Glad to hear the good encounters. I recently just purchased the Thigh rig for my Serpa for whenever I go hiking. I mean if you have a pack on, more then likely you'll have the waist band strap on too, which would just get in the way. Now if I could only find someone to go hiking with so I can try it out....=D
    I'm up for hiking I am in the same area. Thinking of going to Heliotope early Sep. I Hike a lot up behind my house. PM me if ya got somewhere ya wanna go.

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    Regular Member skiingislife725's Avatar
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    Ya beat me to the offer Rob! Looks like we might have to have a OC hike now. Maybe Ptarmigan Ridge, Heliotrope, or Yellow Aster?

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    I'm wanting to take the kids up to heliotope, the glacier feild is awsome and so are the marmots running around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skiingislife725 View Post
    Looks like we might have to have a OC hike now. Maybe Ptarmigan Ridge, Heliotrope, or Yellow Aster?
    Sounds like fun, count me in!

  19. #19
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onlurker View Post
    Sounds like fun, count me in!
    Lets do it. Im leaving the 24th to 6th. But don't let that stop you....lol.
    Other wise Im in unless it is the 15th, Willow Lake , Seatac is where I'll be.

  20. #20
    Regular Member trevorthebusdriver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Here's a great holster for carrying a pistol when a standard belt holster or shoulder holster is impractical.

    http://www.specialforces.com/store/c...t_Holster.html

    Put this on before you put on your backpack and it will still be there when you dismount your pack for a break.

    Used one similar years ago while riding on my dirtbike in the mountains.
    I totally want that for jogging/hiking but it says its currently not available. It looks really secure and accessible. All the other chest rigs out there just look like a modified shoulder or crossdraw holster and look like they would flop around when jogging....

    I just called them and they said it was discontinued. I can't find it anywhere else.
    Last edited by trevorthebusdriver; 08-09-2010 at 04:21 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudden valley gunner View Post
    Lets do it. Im leaving the 24th to 6th. But don't let that stop you....lol.
    Other wise Im in unless it is the 15th, Willow Lake , Seatac is where I'll be.
    I am for sure going to be making a weekend trip out to Kennedy Hot Springs via the pass near Portal Peak the weekend of the 20th. It's going to be a fairly intense 3-day/2-night 37 mile loop hike, leaving Friday afternoon and heading back into town Sunday night. Provided the weather plays nice, there should be some pretty spectacular views of Glacier peak to the east. Anyone who wants to join is more than welcome to and if you happen to have a NW Forest Pass, we may be able to cut the last 3 miles out of it by parking a car at the trailhead we'll be exiting from.

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    my first post

    Hey there folks, good to see some WA state OC hikers here. I've open carried in National Forest here as well as the Wind River range in WY for over 15 years without any problems. Sure I get a dirty look now and then, but no one has been so rude as to comment negatively.

    I think it has a lot to do with how you carry yourself. I make a point to be friendly in the wilderness, and even more so with a visible firearm. Not everyone is knowledgeable with firearms or the laws that exist within our state. So I feel obligated to put them at ease. We owe it to each other to create a positive image for OC on our trails.

    I've bumped into rangers several times over the years, and had long conversations regarding the trails, weather, bears, etc without ever getting a second glance at it. If it doesn't bother them, it shouldn't bother anyone else.

    Which bring up the obvious question/response to someone who views OC as a bad thing on our trails. If it is not appropriate to carry a firearm in the middle of the wilderness, where is it? I cannot think of a more suitable environment for my .357 or .44.

    More than any animal encounters, which I've had a few, there have been times I've crossed paths with some pretty questionable human characters on the trail. When they saw the gun, they were very respectful and moved on. OC is a great thing in those situations because you don't have to say anything. You can smile and hike confident. I guess that's where they got the name, "peacemakers"

    Anyways, it's good to be here, and look forward to sharing experiences, knowledge and gear tips with you all. Best- E

  23. #23
    Activist Member golddigger14s's Avatar
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    I have a serpa level two on a a paddle which is fine around town. Is there a way to convert it to a drop leg for backpacking?
    Also welcome to the forum EC. (new guys love to bring old threads back!)
    Last edited by golddigger14s; 06-28-2011 at 11:30 AM.
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  24. #24
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    Thigh rig

    Yes blackhawk makes a thighrig platform for the serpa family of holsters, it attaches using the three screws just like the paddle or belt options.

  25. #25
    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    New guys----new ideas, even for old threads.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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