May 10, 2019
By James Tarr
I’ve got two products to review that help you carry your gun when you’re doing a little, or a lot of, cardio. Before you exercise haters turn the page, hold on. While Elite Survival Systems’ Marathon Gunpack is specifically intended to allow distance runners to comfortably carry a gun with them, the Blackhawk Junk Drawer isn’t specifically marketed as an exercise rig, but I thought it seemed to work great while jogging.
As I’m writing this, the Junk Drawer— a combination holster and pouch meant to be worn in appendix carry—is so new it isn’t even on the Blackhawk website (blackhawk.com).
It is constructed of Blackhawk’s super-grabby TecGrip material, which is a stretchy-padded fabric that reminds me of neoprene. It is covered with a rubbery material that keeps it from moving against your clothing. The attached pouch works to carry a spare magazine, flashlight, knife or other items.
It will be offered in small (size 5) and large (size 6) sizes, and I’m told the large will be what most people will want as it fits everything from compact semiautos to snubnose revolvers.
The large Junk Drawer is 7.5x5.75 inches and reversible, so it will work for right- or left-hand draw. The outside is completely covered with the TecGrip material and simply doesn’t move once you’ve stuffed it inside your waistband. The interior of the holster section is smooth for a quick draw, and you’ll be able to adjust your angle of carry for maximum comfort.
The Blackhawk testers/engineers found that if they left the accessory pocket interior smooth the mag/flashlight would work its way out, but if they covered the entire interior with TecGrip getting mag/flashlight out turned into a wrestling match, so in the interior only one side is covered with TecGrip.
One of the accompanying photos shows a tan Junk Drawer, but that’s a prototype. Production models will be black.
I prefer appendix when jogging because I want my gun in front of me so it can’t fall out unnoticed behind me. The Blackhawk Junk Drawer is simple, but it works. And because it is simple in both construction and design, it is inexpensive, with a suggested retail price of just $35.
I’ve reviewed products from Elite Survival Systems (EliteSurvival.com) before and found these people know what they’re doing, with well-made and well-designed products. The Marathon GunPack is no exception. It is available in two different sizes: regular and large. The large features a holster compartment large enough for a compact semiauto, whereas the regular is meant for subcompacts.
While it’s specifically designed for runners, I could see it being useful on hikes as well. It earns the “marathon” in the title, with two onboard seven-ounce water bottles located on either side of the main pocket.
The main color of all versions of the Marathon GunPack is black, but you have your choice of gray, green or blue zippers. When combined with the water bottles, these colored zippers give the pack a non-tactical appearance.
While I called it a fanny pack, it’s actually meant to be worn in front, around your waist, while you’re running. The pack is held in place by 1.5-inch elastic straps with a plastic quick-release polymer buckle.
The main compartment, accessed through a double zipper, offers an elastic one-size-fits-most holster mounted on a Velcro backer, so it is infinitely adjustable for position and angle.
In front of the main compartment is a smaller pocket meant to hold a phone, ID, car keys, cash, spare magazine and similar items. There is a port in the front of this pocket meant for a headphone/earbud cord.
The Marathon GunPack is constructed of ballistic nylon and neoprene. I’ve run with a stainless steel J-frame stuck in a nylon holster in IWB appendix carry before and learned that sweat soaks right through nylon, requiring the gun to be wiped off after every run. With the Marathon GunPack, the surface against your body has a rubberized non-stick coating over neoprene and nylon, and you’re wearing it over your shirt, so unless you actually are running marathons, I don’t see anyone sweating enough to get the gun inside the pack even humid.
The provided water bottles are securely held by elastic straps in front, with a reflective material to increase your visibility while running at night. Elastic toggles over the tops of the bottles ensure the bottles won’t fall out, and the bottles are angled out so they don’t poke you while you’re running.
The elastic waist straps show this product was designed by people who actually run. No matter how smooth your stride, everything on you bounces to some degree when you run. If the waist straps weren’t elastic you’d have to pull them uncomfortably tight to keep the pack from bouncing crazily while you jogged. The elastic straps seem to work like shock absorbers and nearly eliminate the bounce and flop of the pack while keeping it snug against you.
Suggested retail on the Marathon GunPack is $60 for the regular size and $65 for the large.