What is the best way for a woman to conceal carry a handgun? With so many variables in our body styles, this is not such an easy question to answer. In addition to our curves, women’s clothes are made to hug our bodies. And we are expected to wear dresses and heels to many functions. Unfortunately, all of these things cause us to “dress around our gun,” and leave us with no consistent conceal carry method. We have to learn to conceal carry in multiple ways, and with multiple products.
Now some good news! The market has responded to women’s needs and we have many choices when it comes to conceal carry products. Things to keep in mind when choosing your conceal carry product are trigger guard protection, comfort, full concealment, and ease of access. This article is meant to be an overview of what is available; I will individually review many products one at the time in the future. Here is a list of the numerous ways women conceal carry today:
- Belly Bands/Corsets/Garters/Yoga Pants/Tanks
- Bra Holsters
- Ankle Holsters
- Traditional In The Waistband Holsters
Conceal Carry Purses
While a purse may seem like the ideal way to conceal carry your handgun, it is actually the least desirable way to carry. How many of you can say that you have your purse completely in your possession at all times? If you sit it in your shopping cart, hang it over your chair in a restaurant, hang it in the bathroom stall, sit it on the table at your friends house, or leave it in your car for a minute while you are pumping gas, it is NOT in your possession. Not a chance in Hades you will be able to get to your handgun fast enough if you need it. And what about the nightly news reports of purse snatches? You may think this will never happen to you, but neither did any of the women who it happened to. Furthermore, even if you were in possession of your purse and you had to draw your gun quickly could you do it? Practice this and get back to me.
Now there are times, such as when in formal wear, where a purse may be your only option. The ladies over at Gun Tote’n Mamas make some pretty awesome and beautiful conceal carry purses. But being the practical woman I am, and due to the fact that I may only dress formally once or twice a year, I prefer the tactical cross shoulder Ranger Bag. No way anyone is ripping this off my shoulder. And its easy to draw from. Just not pretty to look at.
Conceal Carry Clothing
I have put into this category belly bands, corsets, garters, yoga pants and tank tops, or things designed to be worn on your body like clothing. If you watch one video today, make it this one from Dene Adams. Even after years of watching this, I am still AMAZED at what she is able to carry, completely hidden, on her person! Please, stop reading and watch it now!
I do own one of her corsets and I like it ok. One of the main things it lacks is trigger guard protection. In fact, all of these soft garments lack trigger guard protection. Your pistol goes into the pouch and that’s it. If the fabric rolls, or shifts, the trigger could accidentally get pulled. If you bend over and you are “lumpy” like me, your fat roll could catch the trigger. And if you are jogging or exercising, the gun tends to move around and may even fall out. Conceal carry clothing does an excellent job of concealing, but it comes at the cost of safety. If you choose any of these options, be sure to add a kydex trigger guard insert inside the fabric pouch to provide trigger guard protection. And while mostly comfortable, keep in mind that belly bands, corsets, and garters tend to make you hot in the summer time. I usually only wear mine in the winter.
Two new contenders to the conceal carry clothing line include tank tops and yoga pants. I haven’t had a chance to test out the tank top, but I am currently testing out a pair of conceal carry yoga pants. So far I’m not very impressed, so look for my review real soon. As I previously stated, if you go this route please get a kydex insert to protect your trigger.
Now this is one conceal carry method I have never tried and never will. I just can’t imagine how this could ever be comfortable, or easily accessible! You have a handgun across your heart, in between your girls! It is my understanding, however, that bra carry enables you to hide even the largest handguns with ease. If you choose this method, be sure to go with with original Flashbang kydex bra holster. It does a good job protecting the trigger guard.
Ankle carry is perhaps the easiest way to conceal a handgun. All it takes is long pants! Since I am a farm girl, I am always in cowboy boots so this method of carry is especially appealing to me. But is it the best way? Drawing from an ankle holster can be quite a challenge, especially if you are standing up. The proper way to draw while standing is to take one giant lunge step backwards with the non carry leg, bending both knees as you do it. Then simply reach down, pull up the carry pant leg, and draw the handgun.
Ankle conceal carry is best for someone who sits at a desk all day. Easy and comfortable. But try drawing while driving (or parked) and see for yourself the challenge of getting around the steering wheel! Most folks who ankle carry do so only with their back up handgun. Yep, you read that right. They carry this way for their second pistol.
Traditional, In The Waistband, Holsters
Also known as “man carry.” This is my preferred carry method. All of the beautiful feminine options aside, this one works best for me. While at home on my farm, my gun specific hard holster is tucked in the back of my pants, but when out and about in town, I prefer it to be tucked “appendix,” or slightly to the left of my belly button. The challenge here comes if you tend to change around the guns you carry. Each hard holster is gun specific. You need a different holster for each handgun. While I wouldn’t exactly call this carry method comfortable, I would rather sacrifice comfort than safety.
In the waistband holsters are often a challenge for women to conceal. It seems that the only solution is to wear a larger size clothing than we actually are. Men are fortunate in that their pants and shirts always seem to fit loosely. My husband doesn’t ever have to think about what he wears regarding to conceal carry. Unfortunately we women do not have that luxury. It is hard enough to shop for clothes that fit, are affordable, and cute! Now we have to add “be able to conceal a handgun” to the mix?!
Which Conceal Carry Method Is Best?
Honestly, everyone’s “best” is different. All of the above mentioned conceal carry methods have their positives and negatives. I encourage you to try out as many methods as possible and choose the few that you feel best fit your needs. You will be able to find cute clothing in your size that conceals well, but it won’t be easy. Anyone can wear a belly band or corset, just be prepared to get hot. You can carry a purse, just never let it out of your possession. And most importantly of all, practice drawing and firing from all of these methods! You will be stressed enough if you are forced to use your handgun in self defense, so do yourself a favor and get your mind and body trained to use these methods instinctively! My final words on this…go shopping!