As I write this, DFW airport just hit 100 degrees for the first time this year and it hasn’t even been officially summer yet for 24 hours—I feel we’re in for a real scorcher here in North Texas this year. Not that we aren’t used to it—it’s hot as blazes here—but that doesn’t mean we like it. Relief from the heat comes mostly from our air-conditioned homes, but for those of us who can’t ignore the call of the wild, we don’t let a little (okay, a lot) of heat stand in our way. One of my favorite ways to get some reprieve is to find a source of cool water. Whether that be a friend’s pool, the lake or the ocean, whenever I can, you’ll find me floating with a cold drink in my hand. For those of you who aren’t fond of ever leaving your gun at home, this can be a problem. Due to the lack of appropriate clothing and level of activity, carrying your firearm by the water is challenging to say the least—especially if you’re going to spend most of your time submerged in the water.

Black and white photo of a sign pointing to the beach
Photo by Max Daley from Pexels

Carrying my handgun in the backyard of a friend’s house isn’t a big concern; however, carrying at the lake or the beach requires much more forethought. You can’t leave your gun unattended on a public beach, so what does a conscientious carrier do? You have five choices: keep it in a lockbox in a beach bag, leave it in the car, go without, carry it on your body in a waterproof container, or don’t go swimming.

Lock Box or Trigger Lock

If you’re spending a full day out by the water, there’s a good chance you’re taking a bunch of stuff—beach bags, cooler, chairs, etc., which means there are plenty of inconspicuous concealment options. Putting a small, lockable gun case in the adults-only beach bag is an option or keeping a trigger lock on your firearm and putting it in a secured place. The only problem with this method is, someone needs to stay with and keep an eye on things the whole time. Which, if there are only two of you, this option doesn’t seem like much fun. However, this is a good option if you are going to be boating, canoeing, rafting or kayaking.

Leave it in the Car

Reflection of a revolver in the sunglasses of a woman standing by the pool
Concealed carry in the summer can be challenging, but doable.

For some of you, this is probably your only option due to local laws. And, for those of you who live in gun-unfriendly states, this is something you deal with a lot. Even those of us who live in freedom-loving places must leave our firearms behind when going into certain establishments—post offices, courthouses and voting stations and often schools, bars, malls and churches. Leaving a gun in the car is not uncommon. The biggest issue with this is that your firearm is far away…quite likely minutes away when seconds matter. But, it’s better than…

Going Without

I read on a firearm forum somewhere that one member had suggested going without. They mentioned—like I did above—there are places where concealed carriers go without taking their firearm. If you know you are going to be partaking in alcoholic beverages, the gun stays locked up at home. There are a lot of concealed carriers that fly for work and vacation that don’t take their gun. If you feel comfortable doing either, you should feel comfortable going without at the beach, lake or public pool. The biggest con to going without is…well…going without. There are pros, however. If you leave the gun at home you avoid breaking any local restrictive carry laws, everyone can enjoy the water together and there is zero chance of your gun getting into the wrong hands.

Waterproof ‘Holster’women wearing a bikini with a gun tan line on her hip

If you aren’t going to swim, this is the obvious and best choice. There are options for carrying with minimal clothing. You can pocket or belly band carry with a cover garment. Undergarments with built-in holsters and fanny pack holsters are other good options. Carrying on the body is easier if you will be participating in an activity like boating, jet skiing, canoeing or kayaking—especially if you are experienced and have a very slim chance of falling in. I’ve read of those who carry their Glocks or small revolvers like the North American Arms Mini Revolver in Ziploc bags in their pockets and carriers who invest in waterproof scuba-bags to keep their gun on them while swimming, but I’m personally wary of submerging my firearm. Also, I find these alternative solutions cumbersome, uncomfortable and awkward, especially in female swimming attire. If you are going to choose this route, pick a high-quality and proven waterproof container, and a gun that is highly-resistant to corrosion, especially if you’re spending time at the beach. Plastic and stainless steel will probably be fine but please God, don’t take my word for it!

Alternative Self-Defense

In certain cases, you might just be forced to sacrifice and leave the heater behind. In that case, stay super vigilant and situationally aware, and carry an alternative form of self-defense such as a knife, taser, stun gun or pepper spray.

Whichever method you chose, remember it is your responsibility to make sure your firearm does not fall into the hands of an unauthorized user. However, there are quite a few ways you can carry and enjoy the summer sun. You know…just in case there is a shark…

I’m really curious—how do you carry when on the water? Tell me in the comment section.