Holster Alternatives from ESS

Elite Photo Bag

Elite Survival Systems introduced a number of pistol carry options recently. These are not your typical holsters, and they might have a useful role for shooters needing a non-traditional carry method.

Photo Ops GunPack

First up is the Photo Ops GunPack. This lightweight carry pouch looks like a camera bag and can carry a camera and other photo gear. However, it also has a dedicated compartment for carrying a handgun. The handgun section has a Velcro adjustable holster to secure the pistol.

While a photo bag might be a greater target for a thief, the bag can make sense for carrying in certain environments where a camera pouch would not attract any attention. The bag can be worn on the belt or over the shoulder.

Marathon GunPack

Another alternative carry solution is the Marathon GunPack. This fits into the general waist pack (aka fanny pack) category, though it appears to be purpose built for runners and others engaged in vigorous exercise.


The system has a dedicated pouch for concealing a subcompact pistol like a Glock 42. The pouch can be quickly accessed by pull tabs. The compartment is ambidextrous.

It also has a padded pouch for carrying a smart phone, iPod, ID and other small gear. Although I don’t recommend tuning out the world from a safety standpoint, the reality is that many people will want to listen to music while on a run. So, there is a pass through between the phone area and the exterior for earbuds.

Each side of the main pouch is flanked by a pair of included water bottles. While these plastic flasks are not large, they are compact and fit snug to the body. They are, perhaps, more easily carried that a typical water bottle.


The belt on the Marathon Gun Pack is backed with a silicon-type material to reduce movement when exercising. The belt is completely adjustable, has a quick release buckle and incorporates reflective material for better visibility when running near roadways.

While this product may not be ideal for every runner, I certainly like the design better than some of the other options on the market.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


  • William Johnson

    The smaller water bottles are usually intended for a water soluble energy gel like produced by Hammer Nutrition, rather than just water.

  • Rock or Something

    Personally, for running, I prefer something other than a “fanny pack” because it restricted my movement a bit too much. I ended up getting a chest rig instead, for about a 100 bucks online at thehillspeople.com. It’s a decent enough size that I can conceal carry a phone (for emergency contact) and a full size P07 duty. I also strapped a head lamp on the front for evening runs, and it works in a pinch.

    Not a big fan of putting your firearm in a psuedo camera bag, because that will be the first thing thieves go for, not unlike purse carry.

  • nova3930

    Fanny pack? Doc, did we mis-program the DeLorean and end up in 1993?

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    WTF is that plastic silver thing next to the phone in the first picture!?

    • It’s a point and shoot camera from 1993, about the same time these fanny packs were what everyone wanted. The bag looks good if you’re wearing your Rex-Quan-Do baggy zebra stripe badass pants.

  • USMC03Vet

    *suddenly a wild Yankee Marshal appears*

    • *suddenly a wild nutnfancy appears*


      • Gizmo

        Why not both?

  • Nocternus

    Que the off body carry haters.