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Chest Holsters and Backpacking - UPDATE: First trip review Page 3 Login/Join 
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Those pics are a great help. Thanks for taking the time! I would've never figured it out. Very grateful.
 
Posts: 880 | Location: The Little 'ol South | Registered: September 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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No problem, glad it helped! Smile
 
Posts: 5032 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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So I got the HPG bag out on it's first real trip this weekend. My son, brother, brother's two dogs and I went to Mohican State Forest in Ohio and ended up doing 20 miles in about a day and a half. The original plan was to do 25 miles + in 2.5 days, but the backcountry sites were all full the first night, so we ended up having to car camp the first night then hit the trail on day 2.




Normally for a trip like this I would have been happy with the much lighter-weight Scandium J-frame...there are no bears or other big critters in Ashland County, but I wanted to test the viability of hiking with the new Model 69, so it came along for the trip.



I filled the bag pretty full with the handgun, a map, and my lovely new diabetes stuff (insulin pen and CGM reader). There really wasn't any room for anything else. It carried really well, though. I hiked with a ~25lb pack, and barely noticed the weight of the chest rig out front. It didn't interfere with the pack at all, and the only discomfort I had was a couple of times where the straps rode up against my neck, which was remedied by a quick adjustment. The 2.5lb weight of the model 69 was noticeable, but not uncomfortable. It was actually more noticeable around camp with the backpack off than it was while I was hiking. I did remove the stabilizer strap for the trip and was happy with that configuration for hiking...it's back on for the pictures because I used the bag to run this morning.



It got below freezing both nights, into the 20s on the first night, and I was worried about my insulin freezing, so I actually slept with the chest rig on (thankfully I sleep on my back and side...probably not viable for somebody who sleeps on their stomach!). I wouldn't really recommend it, but it didn't keep me awake any more than the hard ground and freezing temps did, and it seemed like a better solution than putting it in a pocket or having it loose in the sleeping bag and potentially rolling over on it and crushing it.



Being able to keep my stuff with me in a snag-free compartment while I was out gathering wood and setting up camp was really convenient. Easy access while on the move to the map and my CGM reader was also awesome. I didn't have to stop or remove my pack, and didn't slow down the group by navigating or checking my blood sugar.



If I have any complaint, it's that the snubby bag just wasn't quite big enough for all of the things I would have liked to put in it. Like I've said before in this thread, the original plan when I bought this wasn't to become diabetic, and had I not, it would have been about perfect, but all that paraphernalia pushed me over the edge of capacity. The Original Snubby Kit Bag with an extra pocket would probably have been a better buy for me in hindsight, but that's not by any means a knock on this one. It does what it's designed to do very, very well.

 
Posts: 5032 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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92fstech, thanks for this update and the pics. BTW, OH is a beautiful state, especially in the fall.

Sorry for the slight thread drift, but did you guys stay in single-person tents because they're easier to carry? Did you have any heat or just sleep in a heavy bag?

As for HPG, I just bought a 58 Pouch for my Original Kit Bag. It'll give me more storage options. I've put a couple of pics below. This might be something you'd consider for your Snubby Kit Bag. It just attaches to the inside of the bag with hook and loop.



 
Posts: 880 | Location: The Little 'ol South | Registered: September 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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No worries, the whole thread is about backpacking stuff, so not really a thread drift Cool.

I have a cheap two-person trekking pole tent that I got on amazon https://www.amazon.com/River-C...id=1636423769&sr=8-5. It's cheap, but very compact and light (right around 2lb) and fits well in my little 44L pack. Because it uses your trekking poles for support, it weighs about as much as most single-person backpacking tents that I've seen, but is far more roomy when set up. I have a piece of Tyvek house wrap that I cut to use as a ground cloth under it, too, which helps some with moisture and weighs virtually nothing. You can spend stupid money on a backpacking tent...I prefer to spend stupid money on guns, so I have this one Big Grin.

I've actually been very happy with it as a one person tent after I opened up the rear vents for better airflow. When it's just me, there's tons of room for me and my gear, and ventilation isn't a problem. The problem with putting 2 people in it is that it doesn't breath very well and condensation builds up inside when you've got both of you breathing...enough condensation that you can actually get wet. My son and I shared the tent this trip, and it worked ok...there's plenty of physical space...but it got kinda damp which is no fun when it's already cold out. If he decides to keep coming on these, I'll probably buy him his own.

My brother brought his own tent and shared it with his dogs. We don't have a heater...my son and I had 20 degree bags and my brother has a zero degree, which is quite a bit warmer but much bigger and heavier. I wore thermals under my clothes, a hat, gloves, wool neck gaiter, jacket, and 2 pairs of socks to sleep in the second night (forgot the second pair the first night and regretted it!). It worked ok, but wouldn't have wanted it to be much colder out. A nice foam pad between you and the ground is a good thing, too. I went without that in the Bighorns one time and thought I was gonna die! I always take one now.

That 58 pouch is cool, but I don't think it will work in my snubby bag. I don't have the hook and loop straps in mine, but there are already 2 small built-in organizer pouches inside the front pocket, which are nice. The problem I'm running into isn't organization, though...it's just the overall size of the bag is too small to fit everything I want to fit in there, even if I carried the J-Frame. It's stretched to the gills!
 
Posts: 5032 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Another good post 92FS. Thanks again for the info and sharing your hike experience. I’m now also leaning towards the original snubby bag. I just carry too much stuff. Trying to get everything out of my gym shorts pockets for cycling, hiking and jogging.

BTW, I’m new to trekking poles. Used a staff for years but the poles really work better. We were in Arizona recently and did a number of day hikes and the one time that we didn’t bring along poles, we regretted it. And then my wife slightly sprained an ankle. This was two days before we had planned to hike part of Bright Angel trail in the Grand Canyon. Sorry for the drift but enjoying this thread.
 
Posts: 43 | Location: Houston area | Registered: September 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Agreed about the trekking poles. I always thought they were kinda for sissies and looked goofy, but when I bought the tent I needed them to support it, so I bought a couple of cheap ones on Amazon. My first two trips with them I just used one, and gave the other to my hiking partner. That ended up feeling unbalanced, and I ended up with knee and back pain. My wife and brother ended up getting their own pairs, and I started using two. What a huge difference! It gives you a ton more stability when doing technical stuff like water crossings or steep scrambles, helps you climb hills, and takes a bunch of the jarring impact off your joints when you're going downhill. I won't hike without them anymore..and not just because I need them for the tent!

That cheap pair is still holding up, too. I've probably got 5 or 600 miles on them now.
 
Posts: 5032 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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92fstech, thank you for the info on the tent and the sleeping bags. Very helpful. Camping out like that is something I want to get into in the near future as I ease toward retirement. There are so many places to camp like that in Arkansas, I feel like I've been missing out all these years.

Appreciate the clarification on the 58 Pouch not fitting the Snubby kit bag. I mistakenly thought it was a compatible with all HPG systems, so this is good advice.
 
Posts: 880 | Location: The Little 'ol South | Registered: September 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah, It will probably work with most of them, but mine only has 2 pockets...one main one for the gun and a small, almost sleeve-like one on the front that's just big enough for a small phone or map or something like that. It's very minimalist...which is great if that's what you're after, but it doesn't leave much opportunity for expansion. They do offer other good options for that, though.

I'd definitely encourage you to get out and camp the Arkansas outdoors! I think we may have talked a bit about it before, but it's on my short list of places to go. We drove through for the first time on the way home from Arizona this summer, and it was beautiful!

The best advice I can give is don't take anything you don't need...ounces quickly begin to feel like pounds on the trail! I don't have the money to be a true ultra-light hiker as the really high-end gear gets expensive, but by shopping around and cutting out stuff I don't need, my base weight (not counting water and food) has gone from 30+ down to about 12-13 lbs for a 3 day hike. I also don't wear boots...a good pair of trail-runner tennis shoes are much lighter and easier on the feet.
 
Posts: 5032 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are like 2 versions they send the bungee runners strap with. The snobby and the one with runner in the name. I thought I had the snobby but I checked and I don’t. It’s the one inch thick runners version with mole on the front. I prefer no mole to be a little less “tactical” looking.
 
Posts: 4362 | Registered: June 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by pedropcola:
There are like 2 versions they send the bungee runners strap with. The snobby and the one with runner in the name. I thought I had the snobby but I checked and I don’t. It’s the one inch thick runners version with mole on the front. I prefer no mole to be a little less “tactical” looking.


What are you carrying in yours, and in what environments?

I just went out to the website, and it looks like they just renamed everything and changed their prices at the same time. Everything went up a bit. I do agree about the molle on the front (I think they call that the "recon" version), and the less "tactical" look was what led me to order one without it. In hindsght, though, I've decided worrying about the apearance is kinda silly...if you're wearing one of these things, especially without other backpacking gear, that ship has pretty much sailed. Even the low-profile ones definintely scream "nerd with a gun". I'm good with that, though. I just use it for hiking and running in my neighborhood. Everybody around here already knows I'm a cop from the car in my driveway, and I'm already happily married and not trying to attract women, so stylish aint my thing!

I took it out to the range today to get some practice in drawing from it under time pressure. It's definintley slower than a belt holster or something like the Kenai chest rig. I was shooting too fast trying to make up for the draw, and the groups definitely reflect this.

Times with the 360 at 7 yards:

2.90
3.79
4.48
5.22
5.92



Times with the 69 at 7 yards:

3.59
5.18
6.45
7.46
8.49



The bigger gun is tighter in the bag and a little harder to establish a grip on becasue of that, which resulted in the slower draw time. .44 Mag recoil accounted for the rest.

I'm nobody special...not a speed shooter or competition guy who spends a lot of time working on splits. Looking at my results here is kind of a kick in the butt that maybe I should do more of that, but I imagine my times are a decent reflection of what one could expect your average guy to be able to achieve. Many could I'm sure do better. Splits would definitely be quicker with a semi-auto, but I imagine the time to get off the first shot would have been about the same for me. I guess I need to take it back out with my G26 and actually run the numbers.

What you do with your off-side arm on the draw is important. You've got to conscioulsy move it out of the way after you yank the zipper so you're not flagging/putting a bullet in it. The same goes for muzzle and trigger discipline as you draw, and making sure you don't put a round in your chest or abdomen.

I found that positioning the zippers properly is also very important. I made sure the front pocket zippers were out of the way on the right so that I didn't accidentally grab them while trying to open the gun pocket. The lower gun-pocket zipper needs to be below the curve in the pocket, and the upper one needs to already be around the upper corner (like pictured below) so you can just pull it straight across for the smoothest opening.

 
Posts: 5032 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I took the bag out again today to try it out with the Glock 26. A few observations:

1. It's been a while, and I have to say, I forgot how much I like this little gun. It's about the perfect balance of shootability and concealability.

2. The G26 fits very well in the snubby bag. It's flat profile might even be a bit more comfortable than the revolvers, because there's no cylinder bulge to hit you in the sternum.

3. Not surprisingly, my splits with the Glock were faster and the groups were a little tighter, especially once I got warmed up.

4. Interestingly, though, the Glock was slower out of the bag. I attribute this to my natural aversion to shooting myself. The revolvers have a very distinct grip that lends itself to positive, tactile differentiation between the grip and the trigger. It's pretty easy to safely grab a revolver without looking at it. The Glock is one big block of plastic, and it took me an extra second or so to make sure I was grabbing it by the grip and was 100% clear of the trigger. I think if I was going to carry a Glock in the HPG bag, I'd at least want one of those trigger-guard covers. The bag does have a loop in there to tie it off to, so it will come off on the draw.

Additionally, the revolvers take a natural nose-down attitude in the pocket which puts the grip right at the angle that your hand is entering the bag. The Glock, due to it's shape, sits more square to the pocket, and thus the grip is a bit below the opening, and you have to get around the side zipper to get to it.

 
Posts: 5032 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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92fstech, I am glad to see that your Kit Bag is working well, for you. Smile Even if you had settled upon a different solution, I would, of course, still enjoy reading your posts, and seeing your images.

Amen, regarding the G26. I had let my Gen4 G26 get away from me, after my Glocks, G19 and smaller in size, had started vexing the arthritis in my right thumb, hand, and wrist. (Glocks with G17-sized grips remain my “orthopedic pistols.”) The first to go was my G26, to one of my former rookie trainees, who needed a back-up gun that could accept the mags he was carrying for his duty G17, so, I have no regrets, but, I soon realized that I would probably be replacing that G26, and I was right. This year, as new Glocks started trickling into dealers’ display cases, I bought a Gen3 G26, new, which happens to have the best out-of-the-box trigger pull I have experienced, with any Glock.

Karma; I helped a rookie, by asking a low price for my Gen4 G26, and, a few years later, I am blessed to find a new G26 with a wonderful trigger pull. Win-Win. Smile

I will not be shooting this G26 right-handed much, if at all, but that is OK, as my left hand has become my usual auto-pistol hand.


Have Colts, will travel
 
Posts: 3148 | Location: SE Texas | Registered: April 08, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah, it's hard not to love a G26. Mine is a gen 3 and has gotten a lot of carry time over the years, but since they started issuing backup guns at work, it's switched to an around-the-house gun. I actually like it better than my P320SC, but it's hard to argue with "free" and "policy".

Mine had a Ghost Rocket connector in it, which got rid of the overtravel and made the trigger pretty excellent, for a Glock. Most importantly, it's always been 100% reliable. I am a weirdo and actually like the finger grooves, becasue they fit me. I also don't carry with a mag extension becasue my pinky wraps under the gun with the flush base-plates, and locks it in nice and tight. It's almost like they used a model of my hand to design the gun. Come to think of it, though, for carry in the kit bag a longer grip with the extensions (or a G19 or G17 mag) might position the gun at an angle that makes it easier to grab...

Sorry to hear about your arthritis. I'm sure I'll get there eventually. I froze my hands last weekend hiking ad pretty much couldn't use them for about 30 minutes until I got them warmed back up. I actually thought "this is what it must be like to have arthritis...and it really sucks" Frown. I'm glad you were able to find some solutions that work for you.

Just becasue, here's some close-ups of a beat up old G26:



 
Posts: 5032 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The arthritis is not a bother, yet, really. It just affects what I want to shoot, with my right hand. I think I did most of the damage with big-bore Magnum N-Frames, in the Eighties, which were just a bit too large for me to reach the trigger, so I shot them with an offset grip, so that recoil really pounded the base joint of my thumb. I carried a Model 629 .44 Magnum on duty, during my rookie year, and then followed that by carrying a Model 58 .41 Magnum for the next five years.

Interestingly, I carried an HK P7, on and off the clock, for about six months, during the interim between the .44 and the .41 Mag revolvers. Duty pistol policy was quite permissive, in those days, and there were local holster makers who were willing and able to craft a PD-spec flap holster. (Yes, flap holster; the standard until 1986 for revolvers, and somewhat later, for autos.)

I practiced lefty shooting mostly with my back-up/hide-out J-Snub, in those days, with the result that my left hand is much healthier. By 1990, I understood more about ergonomics, and gun fit.


Have Colts, will travel
 
Posts: 3148 | Location: SE Texas | Registered: April 08, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I see you're in Texas...you didn't by chance work for San Antonio PD, did you? I know they carried the Model 58 there for a while. I have a buddy at work who is nearing retirement (he's got almost as many years on the job as I do on earth) who I like to shoot and talk guns with. Back in his Army MP days he was stationed at Fort Sam. He's a .41 Mag aficionado, and has told me quite a few stories about SAPD and their Model 58s. You guys got to carry much cooler stuff back then!
 
Posts: 5032 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by 92fstech:
I see you're in Texas...you didn't by chance work for San Antonio PD, did you? I know they carried the Model 58 there for a while. I have a buddy at work who is nearing retirement (he's got almost as many years on the job as I do on earth) who I like to shoot and talk guns with. Back in his Army MP days he was stationed at Fort Sam. He's a .41 Mag aficionado, and has told me quite a few stories about SAPD and their Model 58s. You guys got to carry much cooler stuff back then!


I worked for Houston PD. My Model 58 was an SAPD duty gun, before i bought it. When I retired that old sixgun, its parts were were getting to be just a bit too loose.


Have Colts, will travel
 
Posts: 3148 | Location: SE Texas | Registered: April 08, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Slow response time on my part. Yup, the names seem different and I do think my second bag is the recon. I’ve used it primarily for hiking and biking. Mainly biking. Some bike guys hate the idea of a chest bag but for mtb riding it is perfect for me. Backpacks lay in your bag while you are sweating, a chest rig naturally falls slightly away from your chest so it isn’t so warm.

Currently my rig has a 365XL in back main compartment. In the zipper I keep my keys and my phone and a package of NATO waterproof matches because, well just because. Lol. I added a small and medium pouch from HPG to the molle just because the extra room is useful and mainly because I really hate the molle. I have no idea why I bought that version. The small pouch is awesome bike kit. It fits a 27.5 inch tube, a pair of tire levers, and a small pack of scabs (patches). The medium pouch is a work in progress. A small multi tool (squirt size), a half liter (empty) water bladder, and a cheap folder. That’s it and I don’t think that’s optimal. Like I said work in progress. Somewhere in there I need to add a spare mag.

On the subject of guns. HPG videos show the zippers in a completely different spot than you are using. Ie, right on either side of neck strap and the pull on zippers from front pocket. It works but I’m still undecided on how to deploy fast. Because of that I will probably fuck up any draw impressively. I went with the 365 because a) I’m on a 365 fanboy tour and b) mine have manual safeties which for placing somewhat loose in a pouch I prefer a safety. Now on that I’ve been practicing draws with the MS and it’s become pretty ingrained. I try to thumb off safeties on everything now. Lol.
 
Posts: 4362 | Registered: June 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Backpacks lay in your bag while you are sweating, a chest rig naturally falls slightly away from your chest so it isn’t so warm.


That's an interesting observation. I haven't done a lot of riding with mine yet, but I can definitely see the advantage.

As to the draw, I know HPG advocates grabbing the string loops for the front pocket zippers and pulling out to open the bag. I tried that and couldn't really get it to work for me. I'm still playing with it, though, so maybe I'll figure out something better.
 
Posts: 5032 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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92,

One comment from what I read in you trip, if you bag is a true 20 degree bag then I recommend taking off the additional clothing, I sleep in mine with either underwear or one layer of thermals.

Stacking layers in your bag can prevent you from getting the full benefit of the bag. Not saying this happened on your trip, but something to be aware of.

Counter intuitive I know but 1 pair of socks and I thin layer or just underwear is best for a genuine cold weather bag in my experience. Not sure if it has to do with trapped air or what.

Maybe other have different experiences.

Thanks for the review, I'll definitely be grabbing a bag for when we go camping and hiking when I get back to the states.





13 years to retirement! Just waiting!
 
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