Great Guns for Cycling!

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by jeepguy32, May 27, 2007.

  1. jeepguy32

    jeepguy32 New Member

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    As of this writing (May 2007), forty-eight of the fifty United States have some sort of Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) license available to their law-abiding citizens. Really. Look it up. That’s 96% countrywide approval by state legislatures endorsing law abiding citizens having a reasonable means of protecting one’s self from grave danger away from the home. Illinois and Wisconsin are the only states left which deny their citizen’s the legal ability to carry for deterrence, defense, and protection of oneself and others.

    Since this is the case, the question many cyclists may ask is no longer “Should I carry?” but rather “What should I carry?” The topic of this thread is not whether or not “carrying” is bad. This is a cycling equipment forum…so we’ll talk equipment! As such, let’s discuss what type of handguns are most suitable as a standard piece of cycling equipment and why.

    Before continuing, I wish to state plainly that those who need training should go and get it. If you’re new to firearms, visit your local gun range, find an instructor, get training, get comfortable, and practice, practice, practice. This is a very personal decision and it must be taken seriously. If you need help finding resources in your area the NRA (National Rifle Association) website is a good place to find instructors, classes, and ranges in your area. Sometimes these classes are free! Good instructors love to help and welcome those new to shooting sports. Now, on with the thread…

    To the cyclist who has never owned or even thought of owning a handgun for protection on the trail or tour, the selection of an appropriate handgun can be daunting. There are many aspects to consider. Price? Weight? Caliber? Revolver vs. Autoloader? Color? (Yes, color can be an important aspect of a carry “piece”.) You can see why once the very personal decision is made to accept responsibility for your own safety, a whole new myriad of questions must be weighed and waded through to make an appropriate selection. I’ll briefly touch on each of the aspects I’ve mentioned above to start the discussion, then I’ll reveal what my personal choice is and why.

    Price? Much like buying a bicycle, price can many times indicate quality. You’ll want to spend as much as you can afford to get the features you wish. Something “too cheap to be true” probably isn’t and might not be reliable or may even be dangerous. Plan to spend in the neighborhood of $300 to even think of a reliable, entry-level purchase.

    Weight? This is a double-edged sword. Heaviness reduces “kick” when shot, but being heavy means that it’s HEAVY. We spend a lot of money to buy light bikes. We should probably lean in the same direction when selecting a carry piece. A heavy burden is more likely to be left at home where’s it’s no use on the trail, or in the glove-box of a car which is unwise storage for a number of reasons which I won’t go into right now. I opt for lightness.

    Caliber? Discussions about caliber will no doubt become a large part of this tread. In short, for personal protection, it is generally recommended that at least a .380 Auto or equivalent be the bare minimum. Some say use at least a 9mm Luger cartridge, minimum. In a revolver, a .38 would be the least I’d recommend. Once again, this is a very personal decision. A well-known expert in the field of personal protections says that the first rule of gun-fighting is “bring a gun”…rule two is “bring ENOUGH gun”. For what it’s worth, I use as much “punch” as I can comfortably control.

    Revolver vs. Autoloader? First off, it irritates me to no end when the liberal media reports on a gun related crime and always seems to mention that an “automatic handgun” (an “auto”) was used. To the uneducated, an “automatic handgun” would imply that you squeeze the trigger once and the result is a steady stream of bullets being fired like a machine gun until empty. This is incorrect as I will explain shortly. I personally feel that this sort of reporting is irresponsible and lathers up the gun control types into an uneducated fervor. But I digress.

    Let me describe first what a revolver is and then compare that to an autoloader. Remember, I’m writing this to an audience which may have no firearm experience whatsoever. A revolver is easily identified because it looks like, well, a cowboy gun. It’s what you see in “Hawaii Five-O” reruns. The cartridges (ammunition) are held in a rotating cylinder. Typically a revolver holds anywhere from five to eight cartridges. In most modern revolvers, when the trigger is squeezed once, the cylinder rotates to have a fresh cartridge line up with the barrel, then the cartridge is fired. That’s it. Nothing else happens. One squeeze, one shot. Squeeze again and the process repeats until the ammo is used up.

    An autoloader, on the other hand, looks like what James Bond uses, or what you might see in a WW II or Vietnam movie. It stores it’s cartridges in the handle, or “grip”. An autoloader may hold from as little as five to as many as fifteen cartridges (or more) depending on the style and caliber. In most modern autoloaders, when the trigger is squeezed once, a cartridge is fired then a fresh cartridge is automatically loaded, waiting for the next trigger squeeze. That’s it. Nothing else happens. One squeeze, one shot. Squeeze again and the process repeats until the ammo is used up. Notice how “Auto” means auto-load, not auto-fire? Do you feel duped by the media? Once again, I digress.

    Historically, revolvers have been considered more reliable and take less maintenance than autoloaders. Modern autoloaders, however, have a great track record of reliability when kept only marginally clean. I am not saying it’s good idea to let any carry piece become dirty, but most quality autoloaders, if not equally reliable as revolvers, are probably close. I’m sure these aspects will be covered as the thread develops.

    Color? Color can play an important role to the cyclist wishing to keep a concealed carry piece actually concealed. Our eyes are drawn to light whether that be from a television, a campfire, or even reflected from a stainless steel or nickel plated firearm. I’m one who truly appreciates firearms: historically, mechanically, artistically, and so on. I am especially fond of the brightness and crispness of stainless steel. But if the strategy is concealment, then darker colors are the way to go. A darker piece tends to visually disappear into the recesses and shadows of a handlebar bag or pocket, whereas a bright piece will visually tend to call attention to itself.



    My Choice? After months of evaluation and contemplation, for my standard cycling carry piece I chose a Smith & Wesson model 340PD revolver. From the S&W website:
    “Smith & Wesson combined a Scandium alloy frame with a Titanium cylinder to build the strongest and lightest weight .357 Magnum revolver made. The result...maximum power in a small, lightweight, easy-to-carry package. Scandium alloy is used for small, medium and large frame revolvers. Smith & Wesson's lightest and strongest revolvers deliver dependable power every time.”

    The scandium alloy doesn’t corrode, so I don’t mind if I handle it while sweating. Unloaded it only weighs 12 ounces, so it’s easy to take with me everywhere I go. The .357 is an extremely effective self-protection cartridge, but cheaper and milder kicking .38’s can be shot from the same gun for practice. The “HIVIZ” green light-pipe front sight is easy for the eye to pickup in bright light. For low-light situations I installed a Crimson Trace laser sight, which increases accuracy if tensions are high, but is also an effective visual deterrent without ever squeezing the trigger. The laser sight is built into a slightly smaller grip, which makes the piece even more compact. I can almost completely conceal the unit in my hand. The “PD” designation is the dark (almost black) frame, which doesn’t announce itself as much as it’s shiny “Non-PD” brother (which I think is more attractive, but what the hey). ​


    So what do you carry? Why? How do you carry it? Why? Got any good tips for others? Let’s hear ‘em. Any beginners with questions? Ask ‘em!


    “An armed society is a polite society.” - Robert A. Heinlein​


    Hello Joe West!​


    :)
     
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  2. Don Shipp

    Don Shipp New Member

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    You have forgotton to explain the crucial difference between single action and double action.

    Also you mention weight but entirely neglect the matter of aerodynamicity, which is much more important at anything over 20 mph. Remember, this is a cycling forum.
     
  3. matagi

    matagi Well-Known Member

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    I laugh at your piddly little S&W 340PD ... I'd go for a Weatherby Mark V Deluxe, and the calibre? .460 Wby Mag naturally. Of course, it would take several minutes to unstrap from the bike and get ready to fire but the stopping power would be awesome, especially for rogue elephants (we get a lot of those in Australia)

    Hmm, can you hot load a .460 Wby Mag?

    Seriously, I'd go for a crossbow - completely silent and the bolts are reusable, as long as you can retrieve them.
     
  4. Stu07

    Stu07 New Member

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    For god's sake yes this is a cycling equipment forum. Despite the fact that you may carry one whilst riding, a gun is not a piece of "cycling equipment". I carry a mobile phone while cycling. I do not, however, feel that it is a piece of cycling equipment for discussion on a cycling forum. Other forum members couldn't care less whether a carried a Nokia or Sony or any other brand, any more than they care what type of firearm you carry.

    Why don't you head off to firearm forums and leave cyclists in peace from this irrelevant crap.
     
  5. jeepguy32

    jeepguy32 New Member

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    Hi Don! Good catch! I wavered over whether or not to include the difference between single action and double action in my first posting. I decided to leave it out deliberately. I did not want to make all of this information any more confusing than necessary for someone new to the concepts. I frankly don't think the difference is that "crucial" at this level of introduction, because a good instructor (remember I said for newbies to get one of those) will explain the differences thoroughly. Plus, the vast majority of CCW focused products work exactly the way I explained. I seriously doubt that the Ruger Vaquero will become the hot ticket on the “concealed cycling” circuit.

    By the way, I have deliberately left out a book’s worth of knowledge because I don’t wish to talk over the audience’s heads. I hope this thread will prompt creative discussion and learning. If right-out-of-the-gate I start going on about terminal slug behavior of the good old .357 magnum “FBI Load” when discharged into standard mix ballistic gelatin, then all I’d be doing is spouting off for my own ego. That would conflict with what I’d like to accomplish. I appreciate your comments, though! Feel free to explain the differences in single vs. double-action in your own words. I think your contribution would be valuable to the thread. Take care!

    P.S. - I freely admit I know nothing of the areodynamics of a concealed handgun traveling at greater than 20 MPH. [​IMG]
     
  6. jeepguy32

    jeepguy32 New Member

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    Okay...Okay! I'm donating my piddly-little-pea-shooter to the orphan's toy drive and will upgrade to the Weatherby you suggest. I encounter some quite dangerous toy poodles (flea-ridden-fang-weilding-blood-snarling-fluff-balls-o-terror) on my regular route which might respond quite nicely to the Mark V's "encouragement" to not nip at my knickers. [​IMG]
     
  7. jeepguy32

    jeepguy32 New Member

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    Actually, I would be very interested in your cell phone problems and success stories as it relates to their use while cycling. I am personally working toward bike touring and would be interested in such cell phone attributes as battery life, coverage, analog vs digital network connectivity, recharge times, weight, size, shape, and more.

    In a similar vein, I'd be interested in tents, stoves, bug repellent, sleeping bags, sun-block, and many, many other items, none of which are exclusively "a piece of 'cycling equipment'." As unrealistic as it may seem to you, I suspect we will find that this thread does appeal to more cyclists than you imagine.

    I sincerely appreciate the effort you took to express your views regarding this thread. I wish you a good day.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. matagi

    matagi Well-Known Member

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    Actually if you're going to go cycle touring, the sensible thing would be to carry a satellite phone, especially if you want to head into less populated areas. Only issue would be battery recharging, and a small solar panel attached to the bike would take care of that.
     
  9. jeepguy32

    jeepguy32 New Member

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    That's a good idea. I'm kinda feeling stupid for not thinking of it myself. Oh well, it's not the first or last time I'll ever be stupid. [​IMG] I've heard there are phone-recharging solar panels like you suggest. I'll have to research that. Thanks for the feedback!
     
  10. Bikelyst

    Bikelyst New Member

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    I wonder why...probably because we are wandering around drunk half the time.:rolleyes:
     
  11. pistole

    pistole New Member

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    12 gauge.

    strapped to your back.

    .
     
  12. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Seriously where do you conceal a firearm when you are riding? I wouldn't feel safe with it behind me in one of the pockets of my jersey. I have a hard enough time reaching back there to grab a banana, much less a gun. I have a seat bag that is just big enough for a spare tube, multitool, patch kit, wallet, keys, and cell phone. Theres no room for anything else.
     
  13. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    Hi Jeepguy,

    A good and informative post. It took me back to my younger days while browsing the S&W page. :D I owned a S&W N Frame, 357 black Mod 29 with a 8&3/8" barrell back in the 80s.

    I got nearly as good scores over 300yds with it as with my rifle. ;)
     
  14. jeepguy32

    jeepguy32 New Member

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    That's a good question. I understand your concerns. The very first time I “packed” in public (legally, of course) I thought everyone would notice and I was very nervous about it. Now it’s all very routine. When I leave the house I make sure I have my wallet, cell phone, keys, pocket comb, handkerchief and snubby.

    By the way, let me be clear that I really don't ever envision riding down the bike path wearing my red bandana, cowboy boots and Stetson hat, while at the same time reaching around and pulling out my "Peacemaker" to shoot at renagade-cattle-rustlin'-stagecoach-robbin'-whiskey-drinkin'-poker cheatin'-desparado-bad-guys. Although I admit that it does make for a colorful mental image. I would imagine any encounter I might have with dangerous animals (either of the four-legged or two-legged variety) would be handled after dismounting if cycling speed and other options did not first rectify the situation. I'm not saying it couldn't happen perched on top of the saddle, but I just doubt it would ever play out that way. Now back to the question at hand...

    When cycling I sometimes keep my revolver in a quick-release wedge pack behind the saddle. If I leave the bike unattended I just grab the whole wedge and quickly take it with me. The wedge usually contains my cell phone, wallet, keys, and basic tools anyway, so it's just as easy to take the whole thing rather than unpack it all. One of those small, triangular packs, which attaches to the top tube and the seat tube works well for this purpose. The top of a handlebar pack works great too. I'm also looking into trying a small, stem-mounted pack I recently saw, which might just be perfect for the job, holding the snubby revolver and nothing else right there in front of the rider in easy reach.

    My nice new leather Brooks saddle is now broken in enough that I really don't use the tight, padded-crotch bike shorts anymore (which has been met with overwhelming public approval). Instead I usually wear plain ol' walking shorts or cargo shorts when I ride, so often times I just pop the revolver in a convenient pocket. My particular revolver is so light I almost forget it's there.

    In a related thread, CyclingForums.com member “cbjesseeNH” suggests using what’s known as a “Holster Shirt” for CCW cycling: cbjesseeNH wrote,
    “I rode with it under my jersey today, carrying a Kel-Tec P3AT, and didn't even know it was there - very comfortable. I'd recommend a size up from normal - I wear a Lg and the XL is just snug enough.”

    How to carry can be just as personal as what to carry. It all really depends on the carrier, their body style, activity, comfort level and peculiarities. What works super for one cyclist may not work well at all for another. I have by no means exhausted all of the carry methods available to cyclists. I look forward to hearing more cycling carry methods on this thread.

    Thanks for your question!
     
  15. jeepguy32

    jeepguy32 New Member

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    With that particular revolver in that barrel length in the hands of a practiced shooter, I bet you really WERE getting great 300-yard scores. It's probably not the most concealable revolver for cycling, but I'm sure the accuracy was outstanding.

    Thanks for the post!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Don Shipp

    Don Shipp New Member

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    Given the ongoing popularty of the 1911 and it's varients; the rise of both the double-action Beretta 9mm auto and the (mainly striker-fired) Glock and Glock-type guns I'd say that understanding the differences between how these weapons should be carried safely or brought into action quickly is crucial. On the road situations can develop very quickly, and the unexpected should always be expected.

    When it comes to streamlining the Czech VZ 52 has the advantage over any "Slab-sided" auto and would probably give it's carrier a 4.5 second advantage during a 50 mile TT compared with your more modern, but altogether chunkier revolver.

    http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg58-e.htm

    (Note: this link is good for the picture, less so for the blurb.)
     
  17. Don Shipp

    Don Shipp New Member

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  18. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    Mr Shipp, I've a sneaking suspicion that you're taking the piss... if so, you're too dry for your transatlantic friends.
     
  19. ilmooz

    ilmooz New Member

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    A fanny pack is a nice option for carrying when you'd rather keep everything on your person rather than strapped to your bicycle. Here are two examples:

    http://galls.com/style.html?assort=general_catalog&style=LE792
    http://galls.com/style.html?assort=general_catalog&style=BH166

    There are other packs even more compact but they generally all have a zippered compartment where you can keep your wallet, keys, cell phone, etc., and a seperate compartment for the weapon with a center, left or right velcro tear-away for quick access. Very comfortable and easy to get used to wearing.

    A nice fit for these packs is a Beretta Bobcat or Tomcat - reliable, both under one pound in weight, and just under five inches total length. Reliability hinges on routine maintenance though. Dust and pocket lint can cause problems with the smooth operation of any handgun.
     
  20. Don Shipp

    Don Shipp New Member

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    Scandium is also an essential ingredient in mobile 'phones, a sad irony considering that Mr. B. was killed by a driver using a mobile rather than another cyclist using a handgun.
     
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