Best Bear Gun Holster

Galco's Kodiak shoulder rig is perfect for the great outdoors.

I recently spent some time in the Wyoming backcountry where I was not, shall we say, at the top of the food chain. Originally I'd planned to carry my S&W 629 .44 Magnum in a hip holster as bear medicine, but the trip turned out to entail more backpacking than I'd expected, so I needed a different rig.

I considered a shoulder holster but was concerned that the way they typically position a big revolver would not be ideal for backpacking. So Mike Barham at Galco suggested the company's Kodiak Shoulder Holster ($190), and he set me up with one. My 629 has a five-inch barrel and the stock Kodiak is for an 83/8, so they had to make it a custom job--which they commonly do (for an extra charge, as you'd expect).

The Kodiak goes around your shoulder sort of bandolier style and positions the gun diagonally across your torso; a second strap goes around your midsection and clips to the holster to hold it in position.

Not only was it ideal for carrying the N frame with a pack on, I also did the usual camp chores--setting up a tent, firing up the stove, filtering water--while wearing the Kodiak, and it didn't get in the way. And that's the beauty of a holster like the Kodiak: You're more likely to have it on you all the time and, after all, you never know when a grizzly is going to decide it doesn't want you around.

Mike also let me try the Kodiak Holster Bandolier ($55), which slips right over the Kodiak holster and gives you six reloads at the ready--no digging in pockets or trying to figure out where to carry an ammo pouch or speedloader.

I highly recommend this setup for anyone who carries a big revolver while hiking, camping or fishing, and it would make an excellent hunting rig as well. I saw on the Galco website ( that it now offers a version of the Kodiak for scoped wheelguns.

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