The concealed carry industry can sometimes be male focused. However, a huge amount of concealed carriers are women. Some studies show that the number could even be over 50%! Below is some information on concealed carry options focusing on women.
The decision to obtain your Concealed Weapon Permit can be made easy. The benefits of safety, confidence, and self-defense justify the small investment of time, modest training cost, and the application process.
Once you have the permit in your possession, however, you have another decision to make. How are you going to carry your firearm? Here we will show how concealed carry for women can be easy and fun!
Concealed Carry Options For Women
Practical options abound for concealed carrying women. There are purses and handbags, and a variety of holsters and waist packs available. These are all great options, each with their own advantages and drawbacks. If you are looking for recommendations check out our recommended gear page.
The first thing to consider is the concealed carry firearm itself. While there are many options, not all options are suitable for everyone. Often times I hear people recommend to women the smallest gun they can find. This is NOT a good idea.
The smaller the firearm, the more recoil you typically have (when looking at the same caliber). I recommend the largest pistol you feel comfortable carrying. If that is a Ruger LCP, go with that…if it is a Sig Sauer P226 Legion, rock it girl!
Purses and Bags
In the purse or handbag category, the sky is the limit. This is the choice millions of women choose. Cross-body, hobo, bucket, satchel, tote, clutch, messenger, and even wristlet or smart phone pouch are among your style choices.
It is important to get a purse designed for concealed carry!
Check out the huge selection of concealed carry purses on Amazon. They have options for every taste.
These are available in a huge array of colors and materials. It’s always best to choose a sturdy construction since durability is important.
Most bags feature a zipper-secured side slot or pouch which keeps the gun separated from your belongings in the interior of the purse, and provides immediate accessibility with no fumbling or searching.
Often, a holster comes along with the handbag, sometimes mounted or attached inside, or with a snap allowing for its removal. Should you decide to carry your gun in a purse not specifically designed for this purpose, it’s wise to secure the gun in a holster first.
Another practical option is a backpack. Depending on the dimensions and model, there may be a dedicated compartment for your gun. Due to its location on your body, you’ll have the comfort of knowing you have quick access. Many are made to swing around to the front fast for easy draw-time.
However, when it comes to off body carry such as backpacks and purses, your draw time is always going to be slower than on body carry.
If you are looking for a backpack designed for concealed carry, check out our best concealed carry backpacks article.
Holsters create a completely different style of carrying concealed. While a wild west gunslinger or police officer look may come to mind, it’s possible to carry your gun in a holster quite discreetly. As a rule, you will need to obtain a holster specifically designed for the type of gun it will hold.
If you want some good options for a holster, check out our best holster guide and find one that works for you.
Outside The Waistband
OWB (Outside the Waistband) options can be very comfortable and easy to use. However, this comes with a trade off. OWB holsters are not nearly as easy to hide your firearm. While it can be done with the right holster and clothing, typically OWB holsters are used for open carry.
Inside The Waistband
There are many IWB (Inside the Waistband) options as they tend to be more popular for concealed carry than the OWB. If you are interested in the different types of carry, please see our article Concealed Carry Positions.
While not terribly popular for ladies, shoulder holsters are quick to don, and easily hidden under a blazer, light jacket, or similar garment.
This choice is very comfortable, but unless you take the time to properly fasten the straps when putting it on, this option may not keep your gun firmly against your body, even though the gun is secure in the holster itself.
Pocket holsters can be easy to use, and are easily hidden. While they prevent you from getting the faster draw that the IWB and OWB holsters offer, some people use this as an occasional carry option.
We have an entire article that covers pocket holsters, so be sure to check it out if you are interested in carrying with this style.
Belly band holsters, which secure your firearm snugly to your body in the midsection or lower abdomen area, make concealed carrying comfortable during a vast range of activities. From jogging or exercising, to sitting at a desk, or even driving a car…belly bands make it easier.
Typically constructed of elastic, Velcro, and polyester, this type of holster ideally will wick moisture away from your body, and offer a bit of padding to keep you comfortable. Some savvy manufacturers spice these holsters up with lace and other decorative touches.
The highest quality products are usually custom made to your measurements, or otherwise sized, ensuring the best fit possible. I’ve been told this style of holster is quite pleasant for bicycle trail rides, and even jogging.
The Future of Women’s Concealed Carry
The various options discussed here are not exhaustive, but tend to be among the most popular, cost effective, and easily obtainable.
New and improved products are hitting the market frequently. Materials and designs get better and better. Manufacturers have begun to recognize that their customers value not only quality, but also fashion, and as a result, selection expands daily.
With the number of concealed carriers who are female on the rise, we should see many more options in the near future.
You want to take into account the gun you’ll carry, your lifestyle, and the type of activity you’re involved in… or even the occasion at hand.
Your preferred clothing style and body type also contribute to the perfect set up. Generally, an everyday purse or handbag will easily and comfortably conceal almost any handgun, and won’t limit you to just one option.
However, today many women are turning to the same IWB holsters that many men carry. I know many women who carry both AIWB and IWB. Find what works for you…and go with it!
Thankfully, an ideal method for concealed carry exists for women of every background and every situation!
If you are new to concealed carry, make sure you check out our Guide to Concealed Carry!
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