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Concealed Carry Options For Women

Consider What You Will Be Wearing For Concealed Carry

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, the number of concealed carry permits in the U.S. is surging, and that increase is led by women and blacks. Over 6 percent of the adults in America now have a concealed carry permit - over 8 percent outside of California and New York.

Why Carry A Concealed Weapon?

These permit holders are very law-abiding citizens: In 2016, just 0.0092 percent of permit holders were charged or convicted of a felony. Why do people want to carry a concealed weapon? Almost every permit holder I've ever spoken to says it's to protect themselves or their loved ones from harm. Women are no different in this respect.

The Methods Differ

The difference between men and women when it comes to concealed carry is not the reasons - it's the methods. Many men can get away with concealing even a full-sized pistol in their waistband, but that doesn't really work for most women. For starters, women often wear more form-fitting clothing, so a big pistol would be immediately apparent. Even an inside-the-waistband holster allows the butt of the pistol to be above the belt, and that can print big time on a woman. So what are some other options?

Thoughts On Handbags

The first thing most women think of is a handbag or sling bag, but if you decide to carry a gun in your purse, you need to think very hard about how easy it is to get that purse away from you. If a purse snatcher runs up behind you and snags that bag off your shoulder, he is now an armed thief.

Also, you don't always have that bag in your immediate control. At restaurants, where do you put it? What about in the grocery store? Can your child get into it while your back is turned? At work, do you leave your purse at your desk when you go to the break room or the restroom? These are some of the questions you need to ask before choosing to carry in your handbag.

There Are Many Options

Once you do decide to keep your gun in your purse, your options are almost limitless. Stores like Tombstone Tactical, Sportsman's Warehouse, Cabelas, and Bass Pro Shops all offer conceal-carry bags in a variety of sizes and colors. Margie has one we bought in Tombstone, Ariz., and she recently bought a great red leather tote from Concealed Carrie, a company that also has wallets.

A Stay-Put Holster

When shopping for a bag to carry your gun, look for one with a holster that stays put. The one we got in Tombstone has a zippered compartment that is lined with Velcro, and has a holster covered with Velcro so the gun stays where you put it. You don't want to have to be rooting around when you need it.

Access To The Gun

This particular bag gives you access to the gun from either end of the bag via zippers. If you keep the gun on one end and spare mags on the other, you'll want to identify the gun end of the bag somehow - hang a key chain or something from the strap loop on that side or something, so you always know which end to get into.

What About Velcro?

Some bags have the gun pocket closed with Velcro. This can look more discreet because those zippers are a giveaway to anyone acquainted with carry purses, but you need to remember how loud Velcro is. If you're in a situation in a public place with a gunman holding a hostage and everyone frozen in terror, do you want to rip that Velcro open to get to your gun? These are all things to think about when choosing a carry bag.

Pockets: A Plus

A woman who is almost always dressed in jeans and a t-shirt can carry a pocket pistol if she shops right. The key is to get jeans with deep enough pockets. A little pistol like a Ruger LPC is an ideal pocket pistol. It's a .380, but it can hold six in the magazine and one in the chamber, and if you keep it loaded with self-defense rounds, it makes a great concealed carry gun.

You can keep the gun in your pocket and the spare mags in your purse and you're set. There are lots of small pocket holsters on the market designed to break up the outline of a pistol in your pocket. Get one that covers the trigger completely and stays in your pocket when you pull the gun out. You can order them online for the exact pistol you carry, even if you have a laser on it.

Slacks, Skirts, And Shirts

Another option for ladies who wear mostly slacks and jeans is an ankle holster. A small gun is ideal for one of these, and they really don't show, especially with jeans and sturdy slacks. There are a wide variety of ankle holsters available, and they're comfortable to wear and readily accessible. Again, pay attention to the retention system on your ankle holster and try to find one that allows you to take the gun out of the holster quietly.

If you often wear skirts, there are many thigh holsters available and this is another great way to carry a small pistol. Many have room for spare magazines as well. Some are attached via something that looks very much like an old-fashioned garter belt, but some are simply wrapped around the thigh and secured with Velcro. The gun itself is simply slipped into a snug pocket, so there is no noise when you retrieve your weapon.

There are snug-fitting shirts to which that you can attach pistol pockets, under the arms or on the sides. These tend to be quite hot to wear here in Arizona, and they also keep your gun under your regular clothing, which makes it a little more difficult to access.

These Work Well In Cooler Weather

One option for cooler weather is a vest or jacket designed for concealed carry - they usually have a nice pocket inside the front where you can stash your gun and not have it print. These are great when weather allows.

Another thing you might try is one of the elastic bands that wraps around your middle just above your waistband. These have pockets designed to hold even a full-sized pistol and extra magazines. They do make you quite a bit thicker in the midsection, especially with a large pistol, but if you are in the habit of wearing loose blouses or t-shirts, this might work for you. The downside to these is that they can be pretty sweaty in the summer.

Google For Ideas

A quick Google search will find you an incredible variety of options for concealed carry, and many of them are very pretty and lacy. But, the best option for you is one that you will wear day in and day out, and that might mean that you need several different ways to carry depending on what you are wearing that day.

This is no different for men - most of us have a lot more holsters than we care to admit. So, do some research and try a bunch of holsters until you find the ones you like. Make sure they retain your weapon securely, can be accessed quietly, and don't proclaim to the world that you are carrying a gun. It may take a bit of trial and error, but you have so many options you're sure to succeed.


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