Is that a gun in your pants?
I don’t know about you, but I barely have room for myself in my jeans, let alone me and a holstered gun. My choice for concealed carry is a purse. The purse for a gal is a very normal accessory. A purse on a guy is going to attract attention, no matter how manly it is. He could call it a satchel, but a man-purse is still a man purse.
I want to take a look at all the ways that I can carry and see if any of them can persuade me to give up my purse. Sometimes you just look wrong with a purse so another way for me to carry is a good idea to research.
Concealed carry clothing
Going for tactical type clothing screams concealed carry. You are not going to dress like a solider or hunter to go out to a local street fair. Every day looking clothing that is adapted for carry is a better choice.
Let’s take a look at some alternative carry options to in the pants for a start.
Any top can become a concealed carry top if all you want to do is cover the gun on your waist. The top should be loose and hang well. A patterned top works better than a plain one. There are better patterns than others. Stripes can draw attention to the gun lines, so an irregular pattern is better. Hawaiian shirts are great as a covering shirt. A lot of the shirts and jackets I looked at, offered holes to access an already holstered gun. But if you are looking for a top that is made to hold a gun, then read on.
Concealed Carry tank top.
This body-hugging tank top has a holster under your armpit on each side. Made to be worn as an undershirt, with the two holsters offering a spot for a lefty or righty. This set up would allow for a longer handgun. The butt of the gun lines up with your boobs to help conceal the gun bump. You would always have to wear a loose overshirt or sweater, and both options should be front opening. It would be a very high lift and difficult if you had to lift up a pullover type top. Some gals access this type of holster from the neckline. Sweaty pits might not be the worst thing about this type of carry top. I think the draw would be quite difficult, take two hands and lots of dry
Choosing this type of vest holster is great for cool weather, where extra clothing would not look out of place. Just sticking a gun in your jacket pocket is not a good idea. Your gun can just fall out easily and the weight can pull down whatever you are wearing. You need to look for a vest with a built-in holster.
Biker style concealed carry vest. Left and right access to your pistol. Space on the back for your club patches
Jackets are a good concealed carry choice
As I said earlier, just sticking a gun in your pocket is not the best option. There are more jackets than vests out there and most can be accessed from the left of right and include a built-in holster.
Adapting clothes you already own is another option. Sewing in a holster into your jacket is not as hard as it sounds. Check out this Vlogger, who has many carry ideas, but this is a nice one using a beer cozy.
This softshell jacket is more than it appears. A velcro backed holster fits into hidden pockets to hold your personal firearm. Embroidered Cinch logos on the front chest and left arm.
A bra carry is an option. If you have the means to hide your gun in your bra, more power to you and the girls. I don’t have much hiding ability in that department.
For the bra carry, it comes in two parts; a holster that covers the gun, and a strap to loop over the center of the bra in the front. The gun is held inside the bra and pulled sharply down to draw.
Notice that she is wearing a top with an irregular pattern. That helps to hide the pistol.
I am a little skeptical about how this might work, but I have read a lot of happy reviews. The gun is held in a clamshell that is custom made for each model, so the trigger is covered. The shell has a slit in the bottom for the pistol to exit. I think this would be better for short barrel carry pistols. The pistol actually goes inside the bra and the muzzle has to share the space. A lot of the reviews I read talked about how it took trial and error, with bra fitting and the length of the strap, until it worked for them. Flashbang has made videos to answer any questions. I would consider this for my S&W Airweight.
They answer common questions about fitting, the super-strong snap, and how to handle sweat. It was quite enlightening. In the video below you can see gals drawing from a flashbang and firing in under 2 seconds at a close-range target. 3 feet is a realistic distance for short barrel carry guns with point and shoot.
More Concealed Carry Options
Belly carry girdles are great when you want to wear pants without a belt or a skirt. The belly holster needs to be accessible by holding up the top you are wearing, or clothing that has access through a pocket hole. Accessing through a pocket is problematic, the pistol can snag on clothing and be very difficult to draw.
Perfect for Concealed Carry - Comfortable Neoprene - Adjustable Retention - Secure Fit - Men or Women - Made in The USA - State pistol model when ordering
The reason I am interested in this belly band type holster is because of the hard shell. Lots of belly bands just offered stretchy fabric to hold the pistol. This holster by Tactica has a fitted hard shell for full trigger protection. You need to put in your gun model, and left or right-hand draw to get the correct holster. I would consider this for my M&P 380 Sheild EZ
You can wear this holster under a loose top. A bonus with front carry is that the gun will not be sticking you in the back when you sit in a chair. As with all concealed carry options, you need unloaded practice and range time till you get your groove. I would give this holster a go, for its simplicity and hide ability.
Though I just complained about sticking a gun in your back and using fabric as the pistol holding method, you may want to try undie carry. The gun is held in compression fabric in the small of your back. Loose-fitting pants or a skirt would work with this setup, but you would still need a generous top to cover the bulges.
Shorts are AMBIDEXTROUS - 2 easy-access holsters on each side of the garments for left-hand AND right-hand shooters.
Made in USA
Concealed carry on the inside thigh would be an option when you are wearing a dress or a skirt. You can wear this type of holster in hot weather without wearing extra cover clothing so you will look good in summer. Having a floor-length dress would be impractical, but the dress or skirt has to be long enough to cover the hoster. On the inside of your leg, it would not change your silhouette, but it could be quite uncomfortable. A smaller gun would be a better choice for this type of concealed carry. Here is a review that covers the shorts well, inside and outside carry plus the back holding pants we just looked at.
A lot of the thigh concealed carry holsters were only for looks. Anytime it is just a band that wraps your leg, they do not work. The weight of the gun pulls them down, so do not bother unless you like to dress up for playtime. The shorts style is a body compression short and it cannot fall down, but like this reviewer says, check out as much as you can before you buy. These holsters are not cheap and mistakes will add up.
If you like the shorts, these leggings are very similar. A compression fabric pocket for carrying and extra pockets make this full-coverage legging a good choice. The high waist is good as it is easier on the cover shirt. I could not find an option for a left-handed shooter though.
Squat Tested Leggings w/Side Pockets High Waisted Design: Perfect for comfort but also to help keep the holster high and tight to your body, helping to conceal a pistol and prevent printing with your outfit!
Many law enforcement officers, guys, and gals like to carry a backup gun. And the ankle is commonplace for this secondary carry. Again this would be an option for a smaller pistol, but they do fit a variety of pistols. Slacks would be the only choice, no tight pants here. Here is a short video on two ways to access an ankle holster.
As with the thigh band, the ankle band needs to be more than just one band or it can drop. Ankle holsters have a top band to hold the whole assembly in place. As they are usually velcro there is room for adjustment, and unless you are particularly tiny, they should fit. Measurements are given on the holsters and if you want to measure your calves it’s easy to do. Using a flexible ribbon or string wrap around your calf and down by your ankle bone, then lay it on a tape measure.
4 Styles, B.U.G Leg Holster. Compatible with Glock 43, 42, 33, 30, 27, 26 S&W M&P Shield 9mm, Bodyguard .380, Ruger LCP, LC9, Sig Sauer
Choosing a Regular Belt holster
If you want to wear jeans with belt loops you can get a holster that clips to your belt. You will need a quality, heavy belt that you can adjust. I’m going to suggest this adjustable belt for a starter. You may not know how much to add for your in the waistband or outside the waistband holster. If you start with an adjustable belt you can then measure to get a more fancy belt in the future. This is a great starter price.
An EDC or everyday carry belt needs to be stiff and well-fitting so you are only pulling up the gun not your pants and belt. You also do not want your gun sagging down.
IWB Inside Waistband
I have tried only a few belt holsters. Like I said at the beginning. I don’t really like forcing a gun into my jeans with me. Inside your waistband holsters can be very compact and often have a suede lining to give a soft grip on the pistol and shape over time to fit better.
For S&W M&P Shield - GLOCK 17 19 22 23 32 33 / Springfield XD & XDS / Plus All Similar Sized Handgun
Make sure you get one that fits your gun and left or right. The clip goes on the outside and for a right-hand draw, it will be on the right side of the gun and on the left side for a left draw. If you inside carry on you back, like shown, it is a difficult draw that will need practice. You need to practice all ways, but this type of drawing has larger sweeping areas to be aware of. It will take a lot of repetition to get a tight draw, that is safe. Practice without bullets, or use snap caps.
OWB Outside Waistband
I use an outside of the waistband, or OWB holster when I go to the range. I do not wear it for concealed carry, rather as a good way to hold my gun for shooting practice. We go to an unregulated outdoor range, so I am not sure about the rules at a regulated range when it comes to carrying. That is something to research before you head to your range as each has different rules.
When you look for a holster it is best to have your gun to try them on. My husband has a giant box of failed holsters. They must have seemed good at the time, but until you try drawing and firing from them, you can’t tell. He bought me a holster kit for Christmas for my Smith and Wesson M&P 380 EZ. That way I had 4 different options to try.
So far I like the OWB paddle one, but there is a sizing problem. The problem is with the height of the release, I am finding it hard to press the release and have my hand in the right position. More adjustment is needed.
My Favorite. Concealed Carry Purses
A carry purse can come in 100’s of styles. You are sure to find one to fit your look. Using a bag that is made for the job is the right thing to do. If you just drop a gun in your normal purse it is just floating around. It is dangerous, though it is highly unlikely to go off in your bag, it will not be in the correct position every time to draw. You need a holster built into the purse, a removable/interchangeable one, all the better.
With so many different CCW bags out there, it may be one area where there are ample choices for women. What you need to look for regardless of the style is a crossbody reinforced shoulder strap, separate gun pocket, and holster for your size pistol. Hands-free holding is a must, so don’t skip the shoulder strap. The shoulder strap on a good carry bag will have wire in it to stop a thief from cutting. So no handbags for me. In this video, she shows you the difference between a shoulder and hand bag draw.
When drawing from a bag you will need to get your hand on the gun and remove the bag with the other hand. Again, practice, practice, practice! Drawing from a purse may not be the quickest draw option. A lot of people down on a purse draw because of the steps required. Also, you must always be connected to the bag and have it in your control. Another point to have a shoulder strap bag. The ease of carrying means you are more likely to have your gun when you need it, not home in the safe.
Some Concealed Carry Purses
With Crossbody Strap And Detachable Holster. Durable faux leather, anti-scratch carry bag that can fit in all situations: shopping bag, laptop bag, weekender bag. Gun Pocket 9"x 5"
Soft, quality faux leather/lightweight/lovely contrasting trim/decorative laser cuts. Concealment pocket measures 9.5” W x 6” H Comes with a removable holster
Conclusions on carrying choices for women.
There are many ways to carry concealed, but you will have to train with them all. Keeping your everyday carry gun clean is another thing to think about. With body contact and clothes lint, EDC guns need more regular cleaning.
Making the right choice of how you carry is very personal. The climate where you live can change your top choice. I can only tell you that whatever you choose, you need to practice. If you are uncomfortable with one way, try another, eventually, you will find what works for you.