Caving / climbing gear while CC'ing

I started getting into caving with a couple local grottos (caving clubs). Just like I brush my teeth in the morning, I put in my EDC. Going on a caving trip is no different.

Whenever I do a trip like this, I always wear a minimum of two layers: a under garment which is “supertucked” into my IWB holster and pants and a snug belt (so it won’t untuck), and an outer layer. This also helps a little with printing.

I’ve done this on two multi-day caving trips to Lava Beds National Monument, but no ropes and no real tight spaces for me.

Had a minor problem recently while crawling through a tunnel or tight place, my firearm somehow pushed toward my side hard enough and pressed the mag eject button. I didn’t notice this until we got back to one of the guy’s house for pizza (he lived closed to the cave, while the other two of use were 90+ minutes away from home). I popped in to use the restroom to change out of my dirty clothes, and when I undid my belt and pulled up my shirt and went to unholster my firearm, the magazine wasn’t seated. Because of he way I carry, and with the tucked short, this didn’t drop the magazine. I know the magazine was well-seated, because my routine is to always pull on the mag just before holstering each morning.

Ok, so no big deal, other than my weapon wasn’t in the best condition. Oh, and coming out of the final cave, my OC gel somehow fell out of my support-side pocket (which also keeps my mag pouch with two spare mags) and the guy behind me found it on the way out and said, “Anyone drop this?” - Hah, yup.

Then we had a “ropes practice” day and I was trying on different climbing/repelling rigs folks had (Frog, Mitchell, RopeWalker, Texas) - for that, and because I’d be under scrutiny for training, I first unloaded and locked up my firearm in the car. But once I buy my own rig and am comfortable putting it on and making sure I can wear my IWB without printing, I plan to CC like normal.

Another possible alternative is carrying my firearm in my pack. The downside to this is that means I can never leave my pack unattended (we often leave our pack behind and do some more descending when we know it won’t be much lower), nor can I pass it off to other cavers. I’d probably just duck out and use the restroom behind a tree before/after caving to move it from/to my IWB/pack.

Thoughts? It’s not so much about CC’ing in a cave, it’s the getting there and back to the cave(s), which is sometimes a number of miles from where we have to park. Additionally, one set of caves is near an old rock quarry where there are typically a half dozen different groups set up shooting, and frankly, I just don’t care if someone has a gun, there are a lot of stupid out there, so I want to be armed.


When I am doing active things where I can’t easily or legally carry on me I either lock it in the car in a hidden locked case cabled to the car, or carry it in a small locked case inside my pack. This way if I have to hand off or drop my pack for a bit I am not giving anyone quick access to the firearm. It’s not perfect but better than having someone find and quickly access an unsecured firearm.


Understood, but cavers are very much concerned about pack weight. Carrying a safe is adding a fair amount of weight. Cavers debate over one climbing rig vs. another over just a few pounds difference. I suppose a cable lock isn’t too much weight, but honestly that or a small safe are both easily defeated with a tool or two (or a big rock with the safe), but it is better than nothing.


I had some of the same problems when I was on SAR, my suggestion would be to keep carrying IWB, as imperfect as it may be it is a price we pay for carrying. I bought pants with snap pockets front, back and sides to keep things from falling out.
When you unstrap your harness’s just remember the mag. I would rather keep the firearm on me. :us:


Agree it is better to keep it on you if you can do it securely. Maybe a hybrid belly band holster with very good trigger protection and retention that you can shift from side to side to get it out of the way when scrambling??

I used to do a lot of long distance backpacking so understand the anal ounce counting @Jason95357 :wink: For in the car I have a metal locking combo case with sturdy cable. Wont stop a real thief but will really frustrate a smash and graber. When forced to keep my handgun inaccessible in my pack, I have a somewhat sturdy but very light zippered case (like what you might put a tablet in). I lock the zippers with a TSA style combo lock. Only good for keeping curious kids out or stopping someone who grabs your pack from having instant access to your weapon.


It sounds like the issue with your current setup is that you are worried your magazine release might be activated again under certain situations. We don’t know what holster nor firearm you are using, so suggestions might be a shot in the dark from most of us.

I might suggest the easiest fix is to either find a holster that protects the magazine release, or have one custom made. For example, my Vedder Supertuck for my CW45 slightly overlaps both sides of my mag release. Conversely, my Vedder Supertuck for my PM45 does not (both were made to order for the corresponding model).

Also, I don’t know if you have an extended magazine release or not. If so, you might want to see if you can get away with a normal size.


Well, the magazine release is one issue. I have the stock mag release. No, the holster doesn’t cover it, so perhaps that’s something I could take a look at if the problem ever occurs again.

I was just thinking out loud and looking for any suggestions that I might not have considered for carry or concealment, especially as I’m moving on to harder caves that require more than just a rope hand line, and have dozens of feet (or more) of vertical access and the use of a climbing harness and.

I do all sorts of physical activities (biking, hiking, kayaking) and have never had the magazine release occur. However, there was at least one tunnel I had to rotate to my firearm side down, and perhaps it occurred there, who knows.

To answer your question, I run the Bianchi Suppression Allusion Tuck IWB:

The fact of the matter is it may just not be practical to go caving with a firearm, or perhaps I need to find a better way to deal with it. The problem is this isn’t something I can let the majority of the gotto know about. Some are definitely hippy types and very anti-gun from my casual observation of their other life choices, but there are plenty of pro-2A folks as well. Perhaps one option might be to go with an even smaller carry for these trips, like a G43.


For sure, I’ll keep carrying and be mindful of the mag. I will definitely be doing the “old man with his hand on his back” to subtly check my mag after each crawl or using a harness in the future. It’s easy enough to fix after a quick duck-to-the-side (to be out of sight) with a quick squeeze to get the mag back in place without ever removing my shirt or revealing the firearm.


I always kept mine on me to. Better to have it and not need it… :us:


I’ve not done any “caves” per say but I’ve been in some tunnels and have done some climbing. I specifically will not carry center of back because you can land on the gun if you fall and it can have a direct “impact” on your spine. With a harness all kinds of things get “bunched up” and you can actually dislodge a holster from it’s normal spot or if the belt/straps go over the gun you can have other issues similar to the back as above.

If I were doing it I would probably consider an ankle holster (you might need to buy a smaller EDC after your first walkabout) or an INSIDE thigh rig that you would probably have to make yourself (think womans garter belt but with bigger stretchy stuff and a holster sewn to the inside) AND modify your britches to have a Velcro fly at the knee/thigh. Once you come out of the cave/off the line you could switch back to a regular carry holster for walking around. Food for thought and worth what you paid for it!




I’m trying to wrap my brain around what would happen should you ever have to squeeze one off in a cave :thinking:


It’s very unlikely that that would ever occur. I can’t really ever see the need to ever draw my weapon in a cave. However, these caves require a hike, are in the middle of nowhere, might unknowingly end up passing by some illegal pot farms, etc. These are “wild caves” not at an “amusement park” type setup where you park, go into an air conditioned building, pay a fee, and go on a tour.

The most recent cave I visited near an old rock quarry which is used by many people for target practice. There were about two dozen folks there last time, 4 different groups. I’ve no problem with them or that in general - but I have experienced some pretty sketchy folks in these locations as well. This particular location has no cell phone reception, about 30 minutes on a dirt road until paved road with cell signal. Some places are even further out, some less so.

So, much like any hiking/camping/wilderness type adventuring, there can be sketchy 2 legged types; plus there can be 4 legged types as well (but I’ve never had a situation with that sort that a bunch of noise won’t deter them).

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