Sunday, November 15, 2015

Women gunnies...HELP!

OK. I was just informed that my sister wants her first handgun and that she intends it for concealed carry. (She already took the class and got the permit.) Apparently she has the plan that she can just keep it in her purse, an idea that sends me right over the edge, as an effective self-defense handgun has to be kept absolutely secure and instantly accessible, and a purse, in my mind, is neither. I may be swayed regarding some of these new "concealed carry purses" but haven't made up my mind yet.

She also doesn't know what she wants yet, and I'm too far away from her to take her shopping at a few gun stores to get a feel for what fits her best.

So this being the case, I'm putting out a call to every red-blooded American woman who carries a firearm for personal protection. Please reply via post and tell us what you carry and how you carry it. I know what works for me--big gun with big bullets in a leather OWB holster--but her needs and shape are different.

Also, if you've tried anything in the past that worked or didn't work well, please share that too, if you don't mind.

All replies will be greatly appreciated. And please pass this link around to ensure that it reaches as many pistol-packing women as possible.

Thanks in advance.


  1. No purses!!! No purses for pepper spray, no purses for guns. You won't have fumbling time and you will be shaking. It will be like a neighbor who used to keep an unloaded gun by his bedside and the one time he needed it he was shaking so bad he couldn't get the bullets in. The gun is still by his bedside but it stays loaded now.

    I like my Kahr CW 9 EXCEPT for the problem I need to remember to call them about - the first bullet of a mag loaded with self defense rounds won't chamber without a fight. The Ruger LC9 is nice - I got to test one at the range one day. And there's at least one baby Glock out there that fits my small hand as well. But she will have to get used to the slides - our weaker hands have trouble with them until they break in and we get accustomed to them. The slides, not our hands. Well, maybe our hands, too.

  2. Have her copy this in her browser and read.

    1. Sent her that already. Thanks. :-)

  3. I agree that the purse is not a very good way to carry. I personally don't carry a purse at all so it's not even an option. For me, in the waist band carry is the way to go. I prefer the most minimalist of holster because I like my clothes fitted, but still secure and so I use a Well Armed Women holster. My choice of carry is a Glock G43 because it's super slim, it's light, it's accurate as well as reliable. I use this holster here and it fits the gun like a glove even with tight jeans and you don't need to wear a belt:

    There is so much information on the WAW website that could help her as well as a plethora of options for concealed carry. All for WOMEN. Carrie Lightfoot shows great videos of how all the holsters fit and look on real women who dress in women's fitted clothes. The website is a great resource and everything they sell is quality and specifically geared to the female shooter.

    Best of luck in her search

  4. When I tried to give my baby sister a pistol, I discovered she was very particular about how it felt in her hand. So, my initial suggestion would be for her to visit a gun store or rental range, and simply handle as many handguns as she can, to perhaps divide them into acceptable, or not, categories. Have her take a notebook, and record her impressions. Then she can talk to you about which of the guns in the acceptable group she should try working with. You, of course, would be looking at reputation, caliber, size, etc. Once the two of you winnow the group down to a manageable size, she can borrow or rent them to get a more definable handful of finalists. In the meanwhile, you can research carry options, which may have bearing on the decision.
    Bear in mind, that women will fight the thought of changing clothing styles to accommodate the carry of a gun. That, combined with their different body proportions, is usually what drives them to the default purse carry.

    It would really help to get suggestions from a woman who has the same body size/shape. Even if you can't find this person already a gun carrier, finding someone local to you that you could use as a clothes/holster model would be helpful.

    One option that is often overlooked for women is a shoulder rig. There are 4 general orientations for them. Horizontal, angled, vertical muzzle down, and up. They can be found in plastic (Ken Null), and leather. The biggest drawback to shoulder rigs is that most trainers/schools have an aversion to them, originating from the square range training format.

  5. Go read everything over at "The Cornered Cat", and send her the link.

    1. That was one of the first things I sent her. GMTA.

  6. I was going to suggest "The Cornered Cat", but that's been done.

    I was going to suggest Dragon Leatherworks, but that's been done.

    I will suggest the IWB kydex holsters at (just got one for my Kahr PM9 and I absolutely LOVE it!!!), but the entire site is good for poking around on.

    As for what I carry... I've got fairly good-sized hands, so I'm not all that fond of itty-bitty guns, but there are a lot of times when I need -concealed- as a primary objective. For those times, I have my Kahr PM9 or a Kimber Solo. Holsters for those are both IWB (Kimber holster is from a local guy at

    When I don't care so much about absolutely concealment, I either carry a Beretta Px4 Storm Sub-compact (OWB holster by Zlogonje) or a 4" S&W 1911 (OWB holster by Dragon Leatherworks).

    I would never carry off-body. Never in a purse. Never in a jacket pocket. Never in anything that I might not have absolute control over because I'd forget to pick it up. I make sure that I've got a good strong belt, though...not a sissy girl-belt, because that just won't cut it.

    If she's anywhere near me, I'd be more than happy to let her shoot anything I've got to see what fits her hands. That's a huge part of what she'll want to carry, too.

  7. Anonymous12:04 AM

    Beretta F92 for semi-auto
    S&W snubnose 357 for revolver
    Slim holster of choice (Uncle Mikes for me)

  8. It's hard to make relevant comments without knowing her body shape and preferred attire. I'm tall and big-boned [heh]. so I don't go for body-hugging clothing. My usual carry is a Colt Detective Special in a IWB holster. The bulk of the gun is inside my waistband and not much shows above.

    But purse carry is sometimes unavoidable for me.

  9. on the rare occasion i'm in a state that honors my Utah permit, i carry my Bersa .380 IWB. i'm not comfortably proficient with either of my 9mm pistols, but i did purchase a PX4 sub in 9mm with the intention of carrying it eventually.

    she needs to hit the range and try everything they have, then she needs to talk to Michael Hast ( or Dennis (Dragon Leatherworks). both of these gents make lovely holsters, and both will make something that will effectively conceal whatever she decides to buy.

    1. I don't think Michael is making holsters any more...

    2. it's possible. i haven't talked to him in a while about holstery stuff.

    3. That is correct. Unfortunately, it just wasn't panning out for our household.

    4. that's a bummer. :(

  10. my wife purse carries (i know i know, but at least she carries) mainly because with her body type (a bit curvy) iwb holsters tend to be very uncomfortable to her, at least every one she's tried so far. As for what she carries, she has small hands, so she bounces between her Sig 238 and Glock 42. only a .380 I know, but better than nothing.

  11. Step Number 1 for all new shooters, male or female, is to learn how to properly grip a pistol. You must know how to grip a pistol before you can tell if it feels good in your hand and how it reacts under recoil. I'm a fan of the Modern Combat Grip (thumbs forward grip). A high quality pistol that is often overlooked is the FNH FNS-9 and it now comes in a compact version.

  12. I'm not a girl, but I've trained a few, so please bear with me:
    If a woman is attacked, the first thing the attacker does is grab her purse. If the purse is taken, not only does she not have a gun, her attacker does.
    On the sheriff's department where my dad worked in the 70s, a female deputy who got caught with her gun in her purse got three days off, automatically.
    I personally know of three female police officers and one Federal agent who were attacked off-duty. The first thing the attacker did was grab the purse. All of the officers saved their own lives because their guns were on their persons and not in their purses. (Two of the coppers and the agent were ankle-carrying two-inch revolvers; the other I don't know about.)

  13. Purse carry is my option of last resort. Yes, I've done it and likely will again. Many, many things to think about there. It must always be in a holster. Keys, lipstick, etc have a nasty habit of finding their way into places they do not belong. I do not like the option of purse carry as it requires I babysit my purse with the same attention I would a toddler. I cannot just hang it over the back on my chair while having dinner as someone walking past would have more control of my firearm than I do. It's really too much of a chore and if done regularly, too much chance of becoming negligent about it. Even if I forget about the gun on my belt, I physically cannot get up and walk away from it accidentally. It is far too easy to do just that with a purse.
    There is no good way to draw from a purse and as has also been pointed out, purses themselves are often the target of nefarious action.
    Carrying in or on the waistband is not nearly as difficult as some seem to believe. I dress like a girl and still carry either a S&W M&P9c in my waist band or a FNP45 Tactical on my waist band every day. I'm not shy, I'll send her pictures of how I carry if it would be helpful.

  14. I carry a .380 S&W bodyguard or several reasons. It fits in front jeans pocket with a small pocket holster. I have physical limitations that prevent me from wearing a belt. It has a safety. I can practice draw and aim using the lazer. it doesn't make me look fat (joke, I'm way past that concern). I only rarely carry in my Gun Toten Mommas bag, usually just church. I recommend changing wardrobe to find the right style to carry, or having skirts and trousers made to accommodate her ccw, especially with tunic style tops in fashion, rather than carry in the purse for all the reasons mentioned above.

  15. I'm joining the chorus of 'no purse carry' - don't even let her contemplate it. I started out using purse carry thinking that I'd get into on-body carry after I found the right holster, belt, wardrobe adjustments, etc. but have never made the switch, just more excuses (and it's been a long time). Shame on me for it - it's got to be one of the worst ways to carry as other, more eloquent, folks have expounded upon. As for guns, I recently changed over the the S & W Bodyguard and am very happy with its feel and performance but would recommend having her try out as many different guns as possible before making a selection.

  16. What does she do with her purse while she shops? Eats at restaurants? If she's one of the large number of women who place their purse into the child seat of their shopping cart, or tuck it under a seat at the restaurant, then fuck no purse carry. If she's going to purse carry that purse has to be physically attached to her at all times when she's out in public, and the gun removed from the purse at home. Period end of story.

    I work retail. Over half the women I see on a daily basis drop their purse into the child's seat of the cart. They may wrap the purse handle around the bar of the cart. But it doesn't matter. I don't care how close you try to keep that cart, but you ARE going to turn your eyes off it as you're shopping, and you ARE going to take your hands off the cart for at least a few seconds as you grab things off the shelf. And a few seconds is all it takes.

  17. If I may, as a non-girl, say something more, this time about holsters:
    When I was a working agent, many of my fellow agents who were female had the same trouble with belt holsters. Their solution was to wear shoulder holsters, usually Galco horizontal models.
    I can hear the kvetching already, but: The Galco keeps the gun (and extra ammo or magazines) close to the body and in an area that is not usually subject to male eyeballing (a factor that most men don't think about). It conceals well under an open jacket, or even a sweatshirt. Most women are used to wearing things with straps that go over their shoulders, and a properly adjusted shoulder harness is not that big a deal.
    Just a thought.

  18. Anonymous4:29 PM

    Tunics and ruffles and such are all in fashion, which makes it easier, if she needs to go in that direction. If one is at all curvy (even, perhaps especially, bony curvy, and yes that is possible!) carrying at the waistband can be quite painful. I'm bony, curvy, and Very petite. Ruffles and ruched tops are my friend. I'll also second the wellarmedwoman.
    Frankly, a lot of experimentation will need to happen if the boxy jeans/boxy shirt isn't her style.
    I like the point made by Old 1811, though I've never tried it for physical reasons.

  19. My experience says it all comes down to body type. You'd think that at 6' tall, I'd be able to carry anything I please, but between being very short-waisted and having stupid-long limbs, I'm limited to a shoulder rig or something that fits in my front pocket. Which is not actually functional, like a guy pocket. Either find a gun she likes and then find a way to carry it (which is what I did with the shoulder rig), or try different guns she's comfortable wearing and learn to shoot it.

    If she's lucky, she'll like shooting one she can wear.

  20. Normally I'm 5'5 athletic 125-135lbs and have several different ways of carrying depending on what I'm wearing/weather. Main preferred carry is IWB: either CrossBreed supertuck delux (LOVE this holster) with Wilson Combat .45CQB or a Milt Sparks IWB holster same gun. I'm not a fan of OWB unless I'm just around the house and then it's either a Milt Sparks or a kydex holster my husband made that sits slightly away from the hip. Second method is ankle carry with Galco holster and S&W .38 (though it is my absolute least favorite gun and highly recommend against it as a girl's first CCW choice....regardless of the obnoxious gun-pushers at the stores). My revolver is punishing to shoot regularly and anyone who's done serious range time with a light .38 knows the pain that's associated with it, even with a decent trigger job. However, ankle carry has it's pros and boot leg jeans are awesome for this. Easy, accessible, and you "forget" that it's there it is so comfortable. I've heard the baby Glocks are great for ankle carry.

    If I'm hiking or short distance running (or exercising with baby stroller) I have a Hill People Gear chest rig/runners bag that I absolutely love and carry a Kahr 9mm.

    Now that I'm pregnant, how I carry is extremely limited. Can't wear a gun belt, boobs are too big and painful for chest rig unless I'm just walking casually, and ankle carry is getting more difficult the larger the belly gets (harder to bend down and reach it in any timely fashion). So my go-to is purse carry....
    Not my first choice by far but in order to carry at all this is what I've got. I am very careful to keep it on me at all times but yes, it's hard to do. I have a Coronado Leather locking purse which has it's caveats for sure (if I lock it do I remember to unlock it?).

    I also have worn the elastic type waist band when I bike ride which is comfortable..

    I am interested in shoulder carry, as I like to wear a lot of cardigan type sweaters with tanks/camisoles, however my only worry to this is the draw. I have taken several classes where men and women have worn shoulder rigs only to not have any clue where that gun is pointing as they make their draw. They tend to cover both people behind and to the side of them and also their own body parts. yikes.

    As I'm sure you're aware, tell your sister to ignore most advice she gets from gun-shop guys. I couldn't believe how many tried to steer me towards either a revolver or a tiny non-self defense pea shooter just because i'm a "girl and all that I can handle" mentality. Are there any ranges that have lady's nights or rentals near her. That is the route I would suggest to her. Try as many guns out as she can until she gets comfortable knowing the difference and how they work for her. Only then consider buying one.

    geez...sorry so lengthy!!!