Sunday, July 1, 2012

Carrying Handguns on Horseback

Trailblazervi asked: "Would you please address the handgun which you have holstered. Would that be a good choice and can it be carried on the horse rather than on your person?"

I now carry or have carried several handguns when horseback. When I was an Army Range Rider I carried a Smith & Wesson Model 686 .357 Magnum revolver in a cross draw holster as well as when the Agency changed to one standard handgun I carried a Beretta Model 92 semi-automatic 9mm in a strong side holster. Both holsters were carried on 2 1/4 River Belt.

These days when I'm horseback I normally carry a Ruger Vaquero .45 Long Colt Single Action Revolver which is the handgun in the bottom of the picture at top. Going clockwise from the Ruger are the S&W Model 686 and a Beretta Single Action in .357 Magnum. The most common belt I use today is a canvas and leather cartridge belt and I wear it with the buckle in my back so the cartridge loops are in my front for easy access. I'll carry .45 Long Colt 250 grain lead cartridges, .45 LC snakeshot and usually 6 rounds or so for the rifle I am carrying. Some days I carry blank cartridges if I was planning on doing some gun training on my horse.

Cross draw holsters are seldom used today outside of competition where the ease to grip, draw and re-holster the gun are desired. Other than wearing a holster on your belt, another option is to wear a shoulder holster. There are several excellent makers out there, the two that come to mind are El Paso Saddlery and Classic Old West Styles, both based out of El Paso, Texas. The picture to the left is a shoulder rig from El Paso Saddlery called the Doc Holiday Rig.

Another option is a Pommel Bag. I have never used a Pommel Bag and probably never will as I carry a lariat and a canteen around over the horn of and hanging on the swell of my saddles. El Paso Saddlery not only makes a Pommel Bag with one or two holsters (see picture at right), but also makes saddle bag holsters, although these may be harder to access especially when riding at any speed. Pommel bags, or carrying holters around the swell of the saddle, were prevelent in the Civil War which was the first war that the U.S. was involved in that used large units of Cavalry. Pommel Bags allowed soldiers to carry several handguns, for close in fighting on horseback, because re-loading black powder revolvers took too much time. 

I have seen Craig Cameron carry a flap holster secured to his saddle on the right hand side where the cantle meets the skirt. These seems like a good rig. The flap holster protects much of the gun from dirt and debris. I am not sure how Craig Cameron secures the holster to the saddle, maybe with a saddle screw through where you would normally find one in that saddle position.

I prefer to carry a handgun on my body, but I'm sure either the Pommel Bag or Flap holster would be viable for you.  Most makers can provide a holster for any common handgun you have.  Good luck and let me know what you decide on. Safe Journey.

1 comment:

  1. kAKADU TRADERS has line of ccw vests,coats, and bags that work well in any riding app.