Yes, you can concealed carry with a purse. And no, it doesn’t have to be more dangerous than carrying on your body, if you do it correctly.
Women deserve to be able to protect themselves as they see fit. But there are unique challenges women face to do this that men, frankly, don’t have.
Women’s outfits are not usually as forgiving as men’s outfits, who can just wear some baggy clothes to conceal their gun. Women also have more curves than men which makes carrying a gun on your body pretty hard for some of them.
As a result many women are now concealed carrying in their purse. It’s a good way to get the protection we need while maintaining the fashion we want.
Although a lot of people say you shouldn’t carry “off-body”, the process of using a purse to carry is a lot like jogging. You need to get the right accessories, plan ahead, train, and think about safety. Getting ready to conceal carry with your purse is like getting ready to go for a jog – but a lot easier to do everyday!
The first step in the process is figuring out if it is right for you.
Conceal Carry with a Purse: Is it Right for You?
Of course, even before you get to this, you need to be mentally prepared to concealed carry. But after that, there are three basic questions you should ask yourself to figure out if using a concealed carry purse is the best option for you:
- Have you committed to the carry lifestyle?
- How often do you carry a purse?
- How good are you at keeping track of your purse?
Let’s run through these quickly:
Have you committed to the concealed carry lifestyle?
We’ve written about this before, and you can find our article here, but before you carry at all you need to make sure you are mentally prepared to take on the responsibility of carrying a gun at all. Some people are. Other people aren’t and there’s no shame in that. But this is always the first step.
How often do you carry a purse?
The point of carrying a gun regularly is to have it on you when you need it. So if you don’t carry a purse regularly, this solution might not be a good fit, unless you are willing to build the new habit.
How good are you at keeping track of your purse?
One of the most important aspects of concealed carrying in your purse is keeping your purse on you. If you are the type of girl who tends to lose her purse (guilty!) while out on a date or at a girl’s night, this is probably not the way for you to carry.
Rules for Carrying in Your Purse
So you’ve decided to carry in your purse. How do you conceal carry in your purse safely?
Carrying a handgun in your purse is actually a lot like carrying a handgun on your hip, and although one way may not be better than the other for you personally, there is definitely a right way and wrong way to carry in your purse. If you’re going to conceal carry in your purse, here’s the best way to do that.
Think About Safety
The number one concern most women have – which you should have – is safety. The news has plenty of stories of children or friends accessing a gun that was not properly secured. Although your gun can be improperly accessed whether it’s on your body or in a purse, it’s much easier to imagine in an “off-body” carry set up.
The number one concern women have with carrying in their purse is safety. Tragedies like this one where a child accesses their mother’s gun are easy to find.
That doesn’t mean it’s unsafe to use a purse to carry your handgun. But it does mean that it is very important to get the right mindset and build the right habits – as with any way of carrying. Getting a real concealed carry purse that is designed for a gun is one of the best ways to keep yourself and those around you safe.
When you are concealed carrying with a purse, you should think of that purse as an extension of you. It’s now a part of you. When you treat your purse like that, this “off-body” method of carrying becomes almost like an on-body method of using a traditional holster.
The other mindset change to make is to treat your purse like it’s the most important item you own. Make sure you don’t lose it! Women are already protective of their purses, we keep a lot of private and personal things in there after all, but that protectiveness needs to be doubled if you are using your purse to carry.
Mindset is a good place to start, but you also need to build the right habits which is what the rest of our rules are about.
“At Hand or In Hand”
No matter what carry method you use, you need to build the right habits to do it safely. The most obvious and most important habit to build is, of course, keeping your purse “in hand or at hand”.
In other words, make sure your purse is either in your hand or somewhere you can instantly grab it. It should always be within arms-reach.
This one is obvious, but it can’t be overstated. It may require you to plan ahead. If you are at a restaurant keep it slung behind your chair or set it on a chair next to you with the chair leg through the purse strap. At work, it should be locked in your purse or in a locker, if possible. Make sure you know what you will be doing with your purse and have a plan ready.
If you are worried about this, it’s a good idea to practice it first. The next time you are out, before you put a gun in it, track your purse more closely and see how easy or hard it is for you to keep it in hand or at hand. Get into the habit of doing this before you use it to pack heat. This is a great way to build strong safety habits and work out any unforeseen kinks in your system.
Have a Dedicated Pocket
Ideally, the purse you use has a dedicated gun pocket built in. Using a normal purse to carry your handgun can cause damage to your purse – or even worse, cause someone to get shot, which is why we recommend buying a concealed carry purse.
What is a concealed carry purse? A concealed carry purse is a purse designed to hold a gun, with a built in pocket and holster for it and usually coming with locked zippers for extra safety.
But if you don’t have one yet, at least have a pocket dedicated to carrying your gun. This does at least two things for you:
- It allows you to use your purse as a purse.
- It gives you easy access to your gun.
Let’s face it ladies – we’re often in too much of a hurry to organize our purses. For most of us they are a blackhole of necessities we think we might need at some point in the future. And we honestly need our purses to stay that way.
Having a dedicated pocket means we can still dump things in our purse guilt-free. We just have to be sure to put it in the right pocket.
The other thing is this gives us easy access to our gun if we should ever need it. Not only will we know exactly where it is but there won’t be anything between our hand and our gun when we go to draw it. It would be a nightmare to have to dig through our purse to find the gun in a real emergency (as well as a little embarrassing).
There’s another reason to have a dedicated pocket, but this one is so important it deserves its own rule:
Protect the Trigger
Whenever you are carrying a gun whether on-body or off-body, IWB or OWB, you need to make sure the trigger is protected. This is one of the basic functions of a holster because it is one of the best ways of keeping the gun from going off accidently.
Imagine the horror and guilt you’d feel if, while going about on some errands, the gun suddenly went off because it got jostled by some chapstick or nudged by a set of keys. Even worse, how would you feel if you accidentally shot someone else?
Keeping your gun in a dedicated pocket goes a long way to protecting your trigger because it does separate it from clutter. However, something could poke through the fabric divider or what happens if something gets accidentally put in your gun-only pocket?
That’s why it’s important to have a concealed carry purse with a holster built into your purse or at least putting your gun in a wrap-style holster to prevent negligent discharge. But a good conceal carry purse should have the holster built in, not just some bit of velcro.
Why not just rely on the safety? Not all guns have safeties built in, but even if yours does, safeties can malfunction. That is why two of the rules for basic gun safety are keeping your finger off the trigger until you are actually about to shoot and never pointing your gun at anything you aren’t willing to destroy. Don’t rely on the safety.
Thankfully, there are purses that have dedicated pockets for guns and a built in holster so you can carry your gun in your purse with complete confidence that you are doing it safely. If you’re looking for a quality gun purse, we recommend the concealed carry purses made by Tactica Defense Fashion.
Use a Cross-body Draw
Experts recommend a cross-body draw while using a concealed carry purse (also known as a strong-side draw) as this will be the easiest and most efficient way to draw your gun.
Though that’s the mainstream advice on how to draw a gun from a purse it’s important to practice it for yourself to make sure it works for you. Which brings us to our next pivotal rule.
Practice With it
Practice is a part of owning a gun, period. No matter how you carry or draw, even if you only keep a gun at home for home defense, you need to practice with it.
This is because everyone in a real emergency will not be able to think. In those high-stress situations, you have to rely on muscle memory. Practice is how you prepare for panic.
We recommend practicing at home or in a private place so that you can draw your gun from your purse without looking and without thinking. Practice until it’s as natural as putting the purse on, and you can do it in, at most, a couple of seconds.
However, it’s also good to practice at the range. In a real situation, after all, you’ll also need to shoot. You should feel no shame going to the range and drawing from out of your purse and firing at the target. In reality, you’ll probably not only impress the people there, but you’ll also build your own confidence and skill.
Keep it Locked at Home
If you are keeping your gun in your purse at home, make sure it is locked in your purse.
While we don’t necessarily recommend storing your gun in your purse while at home, for some people that may be their only option. In this case, make sure to have a concealed carry purse with locks.
A good concealed carry purse will have locking zippers and give you the ability to lock the pocket that has your gun in it. That way it can’t be accessed by guests or curious children.
It’s a good rule of thumb to keep your purse locked if you are in a setting where you’re unlikely to need it. Anytime you may not need instant access or when there are children around, you should keep that pocket locked with a concealed carry purse.
How to Answer the Nay-Sayers
Now that you know the right way to use a concealed carry purse, you probably can answer those who say you shouldn’t ever use a purse to carry.
“Purses Get Stolen”
This is probably the #1 argument anti-purse people use. But if you adjust your mindset, make a plan, and get into the habit of keeping your purse on you, then you can effectively deal with this objection. Your purse has become an extension of who you are.
“Your gun isn’t quickly accessible”
If you keep your gun in a cluttered purse, this would be true. But if you read this and you have a concealed carry purse then your gun is actually as accessible as necessary to protect yourself. Many people have to untuck shirts or lift them up to get their concealed carry weapon. With practice, if you are using a real concealed carry purse, your gun can be as accessible as theirs
“Kids Could Have Access to It”
This is why you treat your purse as an extension of yourself. It’s also why we highly recommend getting a purse that has a locking pocket or zippers, so that you can keep curious fingers from reaching the trigger.
Ultimately, the best way to answer those who say you should never use concealed carry purses is that for some women it is the best option. Women deserve to have the ability to defend themselves like anyone else, and need to find the best way to do that.
For some women that will mean carrying on their body. But for other women, who may find that impractical or uncomfortable, it might mean carrying in a purse that was made to hold a gun.
And now, using these guidelines, you will be able to carry in your purse as safely and as effectively as someone who carries on their body.
That way, no matter who you are, you can protect yourself and those you love.