The 5 Best Chest Pack Holsters
If you're looking for the best chest pack holster then this guide should have you covered. Chest pack holsters hold the wearer’s firearm tightly against the chest, typically at 45 to 90 degrees. Chest pack holsters are preferable for several carry situations, including back packing, hiking, and fishing in remote areas, for deep concealment, or exterior carry chest holsters built into tactical vests worn by law enforcement or military personnel.
The 5 Best Chest Pack Holsters Are...
Modified Shoulder Holster
What’s Great About Chest Pack Holsters
Chest pack holsters offer deep concealment under a jacket for armed civilians or off duty carry for police officers. They will hold a firearm discreetly, without flashing or printing.
Freedom of Movement
Freedom of movement and accessibility for fishing, backpacking, hiking, and other backcountry activities where you may feel the need for a firearm in case a grizzly, wolf, mountain lion or rabid Sasquatch on meth commences to use your leg for a chew-toy.
OK, I exaggerated a bit about Bigfoot with rabies on meth, but in some remote wilderness areas, Grizzly or Kodiak bears may be a concern. Both types of bears are territorial and aggressive. There were 10 Grizzly attack fatalities in the North America in the 2000’s (Herrel, 2009). There have also been 25 fatal Black bear attacks in North America over the past 20 years, although Black bears tend to be docile and avoidant ( Hoffman, 2017).
In any potential self-defense situation, including bear defense, prevention should be the first goal before resorting to lethal measures. (Alaska Department of natural resources 2016). The ActiveProGear Jogging Concealment Holster and BLACKHAWK! Universal Spec-Ops Pistol Harness could also be used to hold a canister of bear spray. Another reason to carry while in remote areas, especially if alone, are human predators.
The incidence of violent crime perpetrated in remote wilderness areas if far less than the national average in urban areas (Smith, 2017). In my opinion, carrying a gun is the same as wearing a seatbelt, bike helmet, or a life jacket. You put it on and forget about it, and you hope you won’t need it, but it’s better to have it.
Accessibility when sitting in a vehicle e.g., patrol officers, or at a desk, e.g., detective, PO(Parole/Probation Officer), or other LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) who spends time in an office environment.
Improved Retention from the Chest Carry Position
The wearer can tuck their elbow and keep their forearm close to their body for a stronger grip on their firearm. Carroll (2007) notes the advantages of chest holsters, including accessibility and retention, both if the bad guy (or bad girl *) is trying to take your gun, or you are running, climbing or falling.
What to Look for When Choosing a Chest Pack Holster
Safety: As with all holsters, the trigger and trigger guard must be covered to minimize the risk of an accidental discharge.
Comfort: you will be wearing some types of chest pack holster when carrying a back pack over rough terrain. Once again, your firearm will not help you if you leave it home because it was too uncomfortable to wear.
Retention: especially important when doing outdoor activities
Weight: when hiking, added weight is a consideration
Concealability: if applicable.
Durability: The holster should be able to withstand rough duty use including adverse weather conditions.
Types of Chest Pack Holsters
Harness: A holster which wraps around the chest and over the shoulder to carry a firearm displayed over clothing, or concealed under clothing
Chest bag: A pouch to hold a concealed firearm, which is bound to the chest with a wraparound strap and over the shoulder strap.
Holster shirt A holster shirt is a snug pullover with pockets at the chest to carry a concealed firearm.
Modified shoulder holster: A shoulder holster harness which is modified to carry the firearm at chest level instead of under the arm.
Top Chest Pack Holsters Reviews:
This is a chest pack holster designed for runners. It is a black nylon, Velcro secured bag Level II retention (strap to hold the gun in place) worn on the chest with two adjustable over the shoulder straps and an adjustable waist belt with side release buckle.
This would also be ideal for mountain biking, trail running, backcountry cross -country skiing or snowshoeing, hiking, or fishing in remote areas. Some users have given it bad reviews. Many of the critical reviews sounded like people were using it beyond its intended function, e.g., heavy, large frame handguns, or improperly adjusting the straps.
The Active Pro Jogging Concealment holster holds the gun tightly with no bouncing, and is sweat resistant/sweat proof. This is a good choice for under $50.
While this is called a shoulder holster, it consists of a black nylon, Velcro secured Level II retention wrap-around chest strap with an over the shoulder strap. It is available in sizes M (33 to 38 inches to XL (45 to 50 inches), and in right or left handed models. It has a firm hold and is perfect for off duty carry, or for armed civilians.
The Blackhawk is a black nylon bag with a Level II retention buckle and adjustable shoulder and chest straps. It can be worn chest high, or low on the waist. This chest pack holster is known for its good fit and retention. The "Spec-Ops" part may be a bit overstated however. Attach the words tactical, SpecOps, or Special Operations to toilet paper and it will sell better.
The 5.11 is a 80% polyester 20% spandex shirt, available in black or white, with an integrated left and right shoulder level I retention (gravity and friction hold) pockets to hold a small to large size firearm.
This holster shirt is intended for deep concealment. Its retail price ranges depending on the size, from S to XXX large (time to either get to the gym or lay off the gym for a bit). This shirt is really comfortable. This is also ideal for discreet concealed carry with no printing or flashing under a jacket.
Kenai makes a variety of models of chest holsters for various size handguns. It is a Kydex Level I retention holster with three adjustable chest straps, available in multiple color schemes including black and camouflage. .
Although it's the most expensive on the list, this chest pack holster has the best retention and comfort. It will hold your firearm snugly against your chest without bouncing. This holster is great for outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, riding snow machines or four-wheelers, mountain biking, or snowshoeing.
Overall, it looks like the best chest pack holster is the GunfightersINC Kenai Chest Holster. Among all of the holsters I discussed here, and others I researched, there were always a small number of very low ratings. Some of the reviewers who assigned a low score sounded like they were trying to use the holster beyond its intended function. Other reviewers indicated their product was of extremely poor quality, and became worn and tattered after only a few wearings. This sounds like poor quality control from the manufacturer. There will always be dissatisfied customers, or a bad batch in any mass produced product. The buyer has to consider the number of reviewers, and the percentage who were dissatisfied when choosing a holster.
* IME, the most violent individuals I have ever dealt with as an offender counselor are women. The only time I have ever had violence between group therapy members involved women. Some are absolutely feral. Don’t underestimate them.
Alaska Department of natural resources. (2016). The essentials of traveling in bear country. Alaska Department of natural resources. Retrieved August 25, 2017 from http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/kodiak/kodbears.htm
Carrol, W. (2007). Time to ditch the thigh holster? DefenseTech. Retrieved August 25, 2017 from https://www.defensetech.org/2007/05/10/time-to-ditch-the-thigh-holster/
Herrel. K . (2009). Ask A Bear: How Many Bear Attacks, Really? Backpacker. Retrieved August 25, 2017 from https://www.backpacker.com/news-and-events/ask-a-bear-how-many-bear-attacks-really-2
Hofman, J. (2017). List of Fatal Black Bear Attacks in North America Over the Last 20 Years. WideOpenSpaces. Retrieved August 25, 2017 from http://www.wideopenspaces.com/list-fatal-black-bear-attacks-north-america-last-20-years/
Smith, J.R. (2017). Sleeping alone in the woods while female. Outside.com. Retrieved August 27, 2017 from https://www.outsideonline.com/2141556/sleeping-alone-woods-while-female
About the Author:
David A. Porter is a Republican, Second Amendment advocate, and conservative academic, who has taught psychology and criminology for 21 years. He is also a licensed clinician who provides substance abuse and anger mgmt. treatment for the Vermont Dept. of Corrections, and has written over 145 scholarly articles on psychology, neuroscience, substance abuse, criminals, their victims, politics, and guns. He is the co-author of Gun Control: The maligned Second Amendment