Run In The Forest Run!

Outdoors exercise can be quite exhilarating — in more ways than one
; .

Some options for carry while running include (clockwise from upper right) the Smith & Wesson
Model 40, Smith & Wesson Model 360SC, Smith & Wesson Model 327 and Smith & Wesson Model
340PD. All these are arguably good choices for this role. They will also require a practiced and
attentive person behind them when fired.

Our esteemed editor issued me an assignment to resolve the issue of how best to protect the average runner/jogger while going about the business of pounding the earth flat one step at a time. The other slight tactical nuance was how to do so in an area where lions — like in mountain lions — may be present.

I do not advocate breaking the law by carrying a concealed handgun where it is not permitted, like in National Parks or where carrying a handgun would be in violation of local laws. I do not advocate the killing of mountain lions where they are protected by law. Last or perhaps first, I do not advocate being killed and eaten by a lion.



The chances of being killed by a lion are rare, unless you are. Records are generally broken into two sections, all of Canada and the United States excluding California, and then California. Arguably the encounters may have to do more with human intrusion into areas historically not populated by people. There seems to be no one definitive reason for attacks, but some suggestions range from hunger, protecting cubs or prior kills and the good old favorite, “it’s running like a ball of yarn so let’s go get it.”

So as to not sound heartless, humans have been attacked, seriously injured and even killed and eaten. Also there remains the potential for these incidents to occur again. I think some degree of levelheaded logic is required from this point forward.


The lanyard may be a very handy item should the contact be at close range.
Access with either hand is an importan tissue. If there is a conflict, it will likely be
on the ground for the human and prior practice with firearms is important.


Where you live and how close you are to wilderness areas may be consideration for concern. Last year on our 800- acre property here in Southeastern Oregon, we had two lion kills of Mule deer within 100 yards of our housing in a short time frame. Soon after the second kill a large 120+ pound plus female was struck and killed by a car at our ranch entrance. So, as the guy said, “We got ’em here baby!” I believe lions are like 6×7 400+ scoring elk — you are darn lucky if you ever see one in your whole lifetime — but it could happen.

I read every credible account I could find of lion attacks and they seem to carry a similarity in that, often, there is stunning violence of action at contact. The Nova Channel has documented a sequence of a full-grown lion attacking a fully-grown cow elk and, at the point of contact, the elk is knocked cleanly from its feet. There is enough documented record to safely state the head and neck of humans are often engaged at point of contact by the lion. Survivors often have severe puncture wounds and massive lacerations as would be expected by a predator of this size and power.

The act of walking, running or riding a bike for that matter is a lion magnet as the lion keys on movement. Make no mistake — the lion will attack with the kill in mind and it arguably plans to minimize its chances of being injured in return during the attack, hence the reason for the element of surprise — a.k.a. ambush — and violence of action at contact. The lion doesn’t plan on making a mistake, but its choices are simple, death in the attack or from starvation. When you catch, kill and eat to live, it casts a slightly different light on life compared to cruising through McDonalds for a burger.


Many options for carry are available. Pick what works best for you.
This waistband works well for Ms. Heidi and gives her a revolver with
lanyard and a cell phone — both potentially helpful items.

The Runner

I would suggest running with a partner like in swimming with a buddy. I would run without a stinking iPod shoved in my ears. Even though humans will probably not hear the lion stage for the attack, why not play the odds? I would carry a revolver as the fight will be muzzle contact and one might foul the slide on an auto pistol by contacting the body of the cat.

Since the goal is to run and not fight lions, a lightweight 2″ revolver might be considered for weight. Carrying a frangible projectile of some kind will probably be best, as the lion is a softskinned threat. CorBon, Glaser Safety Slugs or Pow’er Ball would be good because, if the lion has your head in its mouth, I don’t think I would wanta zing a full-house Magnum though the lion and though my head. Let’s see, I was attacked by a lion and shot myself in the head. Trust me, more than one guy has shot himself with his own gun in muzzle contact fights without even a darn cat attached to their head in most of those fights.


Many or any type of ammunition is good in a fight, but some may be more effective
than others, such as (left to right) Glaser Safety Slug, Pow’er Ball, Barnes DPX and,
probably the least effective in this role, the 160-grain LSWC.


The Smith & Wesson 340PD AirLite .38/357 and the new Model 40 chambered for .38 Special only are both hammerless revolvers and good choices. In addition, if a hammer is preferred, the 360SC .357 Magnum is available. Just before you opt for the .357 Magnums, say over the Model 40 in .38 Special … go turn one of these AirLites loose with a full house .357 up the spout.

I’ll let you be the judge, let me know what you think after your hand heals. If I was going to run (and I’m not), and if I was going to run where there are lions, (and I’m not), what I would carry — and I do anyways, daily — a Model 327 8-shot .357 Magnum loaded with eight rounds of CorBon Pow’er Ball .38 Special. I carry mine in my left pocket.

I would recommend for our runner types a lanyard with enough length they could reach and shoot the revolver with either hand. A bellyband or Thunder Wear holster or a butt pack may serve as placement for the revolver and cell phone. It will probably not be comfortable, which is OK, because the reason for carrying the gun is not so it will be comfortable, but so it can be comforting.

The purist runner will probably blow all this off as way too much trouble as it takes from the joy of running, the rush of the second wind when it doesn’t hurt quite as much as it did a few minutes ago … got it.

Even here in lion country, my wife Heidi runs every day with her gun. Runner she is, a lion hasn’t attacked her yet … at the local gym.

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