You do not have to look hard to find reports of assaults, robberies and other heinous crimes committed against persons out running in their neighborhoods or on municipal paths. For good reason, I make it a practice to carry a concealed firearm while I’m working out or jogging.
If you’re a concealed carrier with an active lifestyle, you likely face situations in which your activities dictate a wardrobe that makes a traditional waistband holster impractical, if not impossible. Rather than go unarmed, you should consider other carry alternatives. Off-body carry is a popular option for when you’re at the gym, but it is not without its inherent limitations and concerns. Additionally, carrying while you’re jogging poses other issues that must be considered — everything from comfort to support to accessibility at a moment’s notice.
I have been looking for a better way to carry a concealed handgun while working out and jogging. In my experience, available options for discreet concealed carry that provide comfort, stability and quick access while running have been limited. I’ve looked at a number of products in my search for a better way to exercise and dress comfortably without compromising on preparedness. But I was unable to find a well-rounded solution — at least until I discovered Arrowhead Tactical Apparel’s products.
An Innovator in the Self-Defense Industry
This American company was founded by five friends who share a common goal: to redefine urban readiness through purposeful apparel that is designed to support concealed carry for an active lifestyle. The founders also experienced the frustrating lack of effective concealed carry options in the realm of comfortable athletic clothing, so they decided to address this shortcoming themselves.
The company’s line of “Carrier” products — Carrier Sweatpants, Carrier Joggers and Carrier Shorts — was designed to combine the comfort of athletic wear with the functionality of tactical clothing. Although it’s currently manufacturing its inventory in China under close supervision for quality and consistency, it is exploring American production options to support the American textile industry as it grows in scale.
The founders also experienced the frustrating lack of effective concealed carry options in the realm of comfortable athletic clothing, so they decided to address this shortcoming themselves.
Arrowhead Tactical Apparel provided me with a pair of its signature Carrier Joggers and Carrier Shorts for evaluation. On the surface, this apparel appears no different than stylish athletic wear. However, looks can be deceiving. These garments are purpose-built for concealed carry and provide an unprecedented EDC experience without sacrificing the wearer’s comfort.
In a way, the Carrier line offers the best of both the tactical and athletic worlds. Additionally, it lets you carry your gun in your own holster while maintaining the draw position from which you have practiced so many times, checking boxes for both efficiency and safety.
■ The Carrier Joggers retail for $99.99 on the company’s website and are available in Carbon Grey (shown), Midnight Black and Army Green. The Carrier Shorts retail for $64.99 and are available in Midnight Black and Chalk Grey. A Carrier Rapid Clasp Retention Belt is included with every pair of Carrier Joggers and Carrier Shorts.
So What’s the Secret?
To understand how the Carrier line achieves this effect, we must first start with the shortcomings of common athletic wear. A traditional elastic waistband does not safely support an IWB holster and loaded firearm during rigorous motion without the firearm bouncing, swinging and possibly even detaching from the wearer’s waist. Although the Carrier Joggers and Carrier Shorts feature elasticized waists with adjustable drawstrings (similar to conventional athletic apparel), they also have a simple but ingenious difference.
The secret to the Carrier Joggers and the Carrier Shorts is a patent-pending Carrier Retention Waistband, which is designed to support a holstered handgun — from compact to full-sized. So, just how does it work?
The Carrier Retention Waistband supplements the elastic waistband and drawstrings mentioned above by adding a proprietary 1.5-inch-wide retention belt. This belt is threaded through belt loops inside the waistband and is fully concealed from view when worn. According to Arrowhead Tactical Apparel, the defining feature of this thin Rapid Clasp Retention Belt is that it “offers a slight horizontal elasticity while maintaining torsional rigidity.”
According to Arrowhead Tactical Apparel, the defining feature of this thin Rapid Clasp Retention Belt is that it “offers a slight horizontal elasticity while maintaining torsional rigidity.”
This means the waistband is slightly stretchy side to side but solid up and down, allowing your firearm to flex with your body during motion while ensuring that the holstered handgun does not become unstable. The belt features a low-profile metal buckle that is secured magnetically and by tension when worn, and it is fully adjustable to accommodate a wide range of waist (and firearm) sizes.
The Rapid Clasp Retention Belt is threaded through extended belt loops on the inside of the waistband. The extended belt loops minimize belt-to-body contact while preserving ease of belt installation or removal. All Carrier products may be worn without the belt, but it must be installed to safely carry a handgun.
Selecting the right holster is also essential for both safety and comfort. An IWB holster with 1.5- to 1.75-inch holster clips is recommended for best results. The wearer can affix these clips over the entire waistband or directly to the inner belt, depending on preference. The internalized belt design does not support OWB holsters, though you can use the system to carry reloads, flashlights and other EDC components.
Built For Everyday Use
The Carrier Joggers and Carrier Shorts have all of the functionality of tactical pants without appearing as such. They are built for everyday use and feature multiple low-profile pockets that are strategically placed to hold your daily loadout without looking like cargo pants. In my experience, these products do not draw any unwanted attention or give away that you might be armed, making them perfect for the “gray man” (or “gray woman”).
Each of the side pockets on the Carrier Joggers and Carrier Shorts can easily hold a large smartphone. Both products also have zippered rear pockets (two for the joggers and one for the shorts) for secure item storage. The rear pockets also include a useful hidden feature.
A significant percentage of defensive shootings involve more than one threat. I always carry a spare magazine, and so should you. While it may seem convenient to toss a loose magazine in your pocket, that’s not a good plan. Unsecured, the magazine can easily snag, dump rounds or lose its orientation, which can make it difficult to access quickly in a high-stress environment.
Unsecured, magazines can easily snag, dump rounds or lose its orientation, which can make it difficult to access quickly in a high-stress environment.
To solve this problem, each zippered rear pocket on the Carrier Joggers and Carrier Shorts features an internal pouch designed to hold a backup magazine. Each magazine pouch is elasticized and fits most single-stack and double-stack magazines in common calibers. The pouch keeps the magazine upright and indexed for rapid reloads, and an easy-to-use rubberized zipper pull provides quick, reliable access to each pocket’s contents.
Prefer to carry your spare magazine up front? No problem. I have found that the Galco Gunleather PMC Pocket Magazine Carrier works well with the Carrier Joggers and Carrier Shorts for front-pocket carry. Constructed of premium center-cut steerhide, the PMC is designed to keep the magazine in the same general position in the pocket at all times for quick access, to conceal its shape and to allow proper indexing of the magazine. The carrier utilizes a hooked shape that catches on the pocket to allow for a clean draw while the carrier remains in the pocket or drops free on the draw.
Comfort and breathability are paramount with any athletic or leisure wear. With that in mind, the Carrier Joggers are constructed of breathable cotton/polyester fabric, with durable knee paneling and elasticized ankles. The Carrier Shorts are made of a soft and durable nylon-based fabric, and they offer a breathable and flexible mesh crotch gusset.
While the Carrier Shorts are targeted at men, the Carrier Joggers are a unisex design and come in sizes that will comfortably fit both men and women.
The Carrier Joggers also come with a removable Arrowhead hook-and-loop morale patch (the standard 2×3-inch on the right inseam). You can affix it or your own choice of morale patch or leave the patch field blank for maximum discretion.
Each pair of the joggers and the shorts also features a rubberized logo and side stripe on the left leg in the same color as the fabric. I found this to be a nice touch that reflects the overall attention to detail that Arrowhead put into designing products that are not only functional but also attractive.
While the Carrier Shorts are targeted at men, the Carrier Joggers are a unisex design and come in sizes that will comfortably fit both men and women. The company is also developing a women’s line of products that should be available in the near future.
Preparedness Without Compromise
I have been very happy with the performance of the Carrier Joggers and Carrier Shorts. I am an avid runner, and the climate in the Desert Southwest where I live is demanding to say the least. Both products have proven to be comfortable, durable and well-constructed.
Although I prefer to carry a compact or subcompact handgun when I’m running, I have carried a full-sized 1911 on numerous occasions with the Carrier Joggers and the Carrier Shorts with no issues whatsoever. The Carrier Retention Waistband has worked well to keep my holstered firearm safe, secure and stable.
For those of you who live an active lifestyle, the good news is that you no longer have to compromise your safety because you can’t take your gun on a jog or because you have to employ off-body carry at the gym. Better yet, you don’t have to modify your workout based on your ability to carry. Arrowhead Tactical Apparel is ensuring you’re comfortably prepared at all times.