Why are folks so afraid of a buttpack? Is it because there lacks a cool factor over traditional holsters?
Don’t knock it until you try it
During our Concealed Carry Tactics classes we discuss the buttpack in the main brief as well as encourage students to bring them to class to get first hand experience in their operation and limitations. Probably the biggest advantage they have is a true “grab & go” platform and for that reason I still keep one stocked and ready. To many they are surprised at how well they work for the role they were intended. I got so comfortable using one I would even take it into the showers overseas. I have used buttpacks for a few decades now in one form or another and they serve a valuable purpose and here is why.
The weak links
First off, a complaint from many is the “obvious” fact you are carrying a firearm in the bag strapped to your waist. I would say it is not as obvious you may think and there are ways to take the edge off making it even more benign. Others complain the drawstroke is slower. For optimal performance it does require two hands, but with practice it is becomes an efficient drawstroke. These are the main issues against, but the valid reasons in support outweigh them easily.
The buttback basics
The construction of most concealed carry buttpacks have a main compartment with a skeletonized holster. As is the case with any holster, this hybrid must meet the requirements for safe carry. The biggest being protecting the trigger and securing the pistol. In addition, there is usually a magazine strap and that is about the only complaint I have with the concept. The strap is probably the easiest solution, but lacks a little in deployment. The smaller external pocket is ideal for flashlights, small knives and even medical equipment. Many of the modern buttpacks also have “wing” pockets for storing small items such as batteries, locks and ear plugs.
Portable soft sided safe
Staying in hotels or with family while on vacations created a unique problem regarding safe storage and quick access. With small children around it was very important if the pistol wasn’t on me it was secure. It seems difficult to consider this situation, but leaving a loaded firearm on a nightstand with children in the room while you sleep is a major consideration. I doubt many have given thought or asked the “what if” and hopefully there are some juices flowing from the discussion. If the storage needs are greater I can use a small lock to secure the zipper then strap it in a closet out of reach. It is piece of mind that is hard to quantify.
True grab & go
Have you ever thought about half way through investigating a disturbance in your home late at night, “damn, I wish I had this or that.” I’m betting most folks, myself included, probably just grab their pistol. Grabbing a stocked buttpack, strapping it on can give you a good loadout for bumps in the night. Having the buttback secured to my waist gives me not just a pistol, but a spare magazine, flashlight, knife, medical equipment plus a few other items. It is pretty good loadout if you are buck naked.
Dress for success
There are times when I am not wearing the best clothing to support concealed carry, going to the gym is a perfect example. I visit the gym frequently and when I do even in winter it is hard to carry concealed, but with a buttpack it makes my life easier. I have seen comments in the past to the effect of “dressing around” concealed carry and while optimal, it is also limiting. Carrying concealed can restrict some activities, but it should not adversely affect your life. The responsibility of carrying concealed does come with restrictions, some are genuine while other are self imposed. I am not going to give up my fitness or overly complicate it when this is a solid solution.
The mistake folks make regarding modern day buttpacks for concealed carry is in failing to see the advantages and instead focusing on the perceived disadvantages.