Congratulations on becoming a part of the growing community interested in concealed carry for women! Whether you are brand new to the world of guns or you just want to update your concealed carry style, this article will help you from head to “stile-toe”. Truly, this article will start with your mind; concealed carry for women is a lifestyle and once you choose to carry, you choose to take on a certain mindset. As Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben said, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Now, there is no need to be a superhero. But a gun has been called the great equalizer as it strips power away from the strong and gives it to those once perceived as weak. This is especially important for concealed carry for women as carrying a gun instills a certain feeling of security and power in instances that may have otherwise been intimidating or frightening.
The sense of extreme fear has an extreme pitfall, however, and so does the sense of extreme invulnerability. Many articles you read will jump straight into guns and holsters, but here you will start with discovering your mind and the steps you will have to take to prepare to take on the charge of being a concealed carrier.
Knowledge is also of the utmost importance. Within this article you will find out about concealed carry for women, concealed carry laws and permits, the basics of a gun and ammunition, as well as find the resources that will help you continue your education. You will always need to know the laws in your state, the laws regarding travel and reciprocity, and how to handle encounters with law enforcement while carrying concealed. You will also learn the basic tenets of continued practice to make yourself adept and confident in carrying your weapon as well as keeping it safe in your home and vehicle.
As if all that wasn’t daunting enough, you will then be led through discovering your body. Don’t be scared; when considering concealed carry for women, all body types are loved. Once you evaluate your own unique lines and curves, you will be much better suited to choosing the equipment that you need, and many options will be discussed.
Then you will make that equipment a part of your body. You will design, try, correct, and try again until you are comfortable and effective with your own personal concealed carry rig. Here you will also find an abundance of resources to shop for all the equipment, accessories, and even clothing created specifically to complete your concealed carry for women look.
And finally, the spirit; the spirit is last but certainly not least. Once you have become comfortable with your knowledge and mindset as well as your concealed carry rig and style, you will feel different. You will feel like a different person and perhaps even different from those around you. And that is ok. You may feel more freedom, more confidence, and may even feel more like yourself. So, enjoy your journey, and let’s dig into all things related to concealed carry for women!
1. Concealed Carry for Women – The Mind
In this section, your mental state and knowledge of being a concealed carrier is discussed. You may be tempted to scroll past this section and start looking for holsters and guns, but you’ll find out the first time you carry concealed that there is a certain emotion that will come over you; this emotion is fear. There is an innate fear that comes with something new; something unknown.
Do you remember when you tried on that outfit that you felt great in at home only to feel uncomfortable the entire night because it was outside your comfort zone? The feeling is like that. Of course, when that unknown is something as powerful as a gun, that fear can cause mistakes and hesitations that could be catastrophic in both physical protections and legal protections. Here, the common feelings and fears will be outlined as well as the simple ways to overcome those fears and become a responsible concealed carrier. Concealed carry for women can be especially difficult due to the stigma around guns and women.
Everyone has their own reason as to why they want to become a concealed carrier. What is your “why”? Whether you had an experience, or you just want to be prepared for one, you need to find your “why” to help you in understanding the realities of what being a concealed carrier means, especially as a woman. For most, their “why” can be boiled down to this:
“I want to be able to protect myself and my loved ones.”
This statement is especially prevalent when thinking about concealed carry for women. Knowing the meaning and consequences of carrying is the first aspect of mentally preparing yourself for this new lifestyle. Yes, it is a lifestyle. It is not something you pick and choose to do and carrying a firearm affects so many aspects of your daily life. It affects your style, where you can go, what your responsibility and liability is if your firearm is ever used, as well your mindset in carrying all those burdens. Once the weight of that sinks in, that is usually when the fear sinks in too. We’ll now dig into the types of fear related to concealed carry for women.
Fear of the Unknown
This is the junction where many women choose not to be a concealed carrier. Fear sets in and they choose to keep their firearm in their nightstand and/or choose not to get a firearm at all. Rest assured that this fear is simply of the unknown and there are a lot of simple steps you can take to put this fear to rest. Go through this list and take some time to tackle and overcome each fear. Some make it easier than others. Overall, be honest with yourself.
Fear of the Gun
Fear of your firearm itself is the most common fear when thinking about concealed carry for women. “Is the gun going to go off while I’m carrying it?” This fear stems from the lack of knowledge of the internal workings of your weapon. To overcome this fear, become adept at being able to assemble and disassemble your weapon. It sounds more daunting than it truly is, and you can most likely find a YouTube tutorial for your specific weapon to break it down for you. If you’d like someone to teach you, most gun shops or private shooting ranges will have someone that will be happy to show you the ropes.
Once you have become skilled at this, a lot of fear of the gun will be alleviated. You’ll learn that without force pulling the trigger, a gun is simply a paperweight. From here, place your weapon in your chosen holster and test it out (unloaded). If you have chosen the right holster, it will have good retention and require force to pull the weapon out. When you test it, you can drop it, yank on it, and wear it around your house until you are comfortable.
A middle ground that a lot of women will settle on instead of overcoming their fear is to carry their weapon without a round chambered. This alleviates their fear of the weapon “accidentally going off”, however, this is not recommended. If you take the time to do what was discussed, you will know that there is no “accidentally going off” for a firearm. The trigger must be pulled.
Also, a concealed firearm will only ever be used in emergency life and death situations and adrenaline will run high. Fine motor skills are the first things to go in these types of situations. The time lost in racking a round can make all the difference. Just take the time to overcome your fear instead of settling for a less effective carry style.
Fear of Skill (or Lack Thereof)
When considering concealed carry for women, once you’ve gotten over the fear of the gun itself, you might start to fear that you do not have the ability to use it accurately whether that means pulling the gun from your chosen concealed carry holster or being able to shoot responsibility and accurately.
There are three cures for this fear – practice, practice, practice. If you cannot commit to practicing at a shooting range once a month, perhaps this is not the lifestyle for you. Practice is crucial for your safety and others. Just like any skill, your shooting can be sharpened or lost.
Practice will help you in becoming confident in shooting your target. You’ll know the recoil of the gun, become familiar with remaining on target, as well as knowing how to reload quickly if necessary (extra magazines/rounds will be discussed later). You may not ever feel like a sharpshooter, but that is ok. That’s not the goal of concealed carry for women. The goal is to be adept and accurate in shooting in an emergency life or death situation.
Fear of Harming/Killing Someone
For this fear, there is no easy solution and there is no one size fits all. This fear is something you need to explore with yourself. Or talk the topic out with someone who has experience in the realm of concealed carry for women. Perhaps they have some good insight for you or maybe you’ll find that they haven’t even prepared themselves for such a situation. The truth is that when you carry a concealed firearm, you are taking on the burden that if you use it, you may take someone’s life or seriously injure them. You must accept this before you begin to carry.
Once you have pulled your firearm, hesitation in using it because of this fear can lead to an even more dangerous situation for you and others. Visualization techniques can be helpful to put yourself in a situation where you might need to use your weapon. When training concealed carry for women, visualize yourself using it and what the consequences may be, both bad and good. Do not carry a firearm until you have become confident and comfortable with this outcome. Learn how to draw your firearm.
If this is the end of your concealed carry journey, that is ok. For some people, concealed carry for women is not for them. It is better to know yourself and choose to not carry for the safety of others than to push past this and cause a dangerous situation down the line. If you have overcome this fear, good for you! Time to tackle the next one.
Fear of Stigma
The other fear related to concealed carry for women that is discussed a lot is the way others may think of you for concealed carrying. There are already polarizing views on the right to bear arms and even more on the way they can be carried and used. Add gender to the mix and you’ve got yourself a whopper of a debate.
However, if you’re already this far into this article, you obviously have a pro-gun, pro-concealed carrying attitude and you’re a strong lady to boot. So besides that, what does it matter what other people think? Some common thoughts that may go through your head when considering concealed carry for women are:
- “What if I start dating someone that doesn’t like it?”
- “What if my friends aren’t comfortable with me coming over to their house?”
- “What if my friends just think I’m paranoid?”
- “What if my boss doesn’t approve?”
These are all questions that have been repeated over and over along with many others. While the simplest answer is, “if they don’t like it, tough luck,” it’s obviously more complicated than that. This is where that recommitment to the lifestyle must come into play.
Truth be told, most women don’t tell anyone that they are concealed carriers. It’s frankly none of their business. However, those closest to you will eventually know and the situation should be discussed with them honestly and with a teacher’s heart in place. Most of the time, opposition comes from the same thing that is being discussed here: fear. Know who needs to know that you are carrying (law enforcement, private homeowner, etc.), who never needs to know (acquaintances, co-workers, etc.), and who may need to know eventually (dating progressing to significant others, growing children, etc.).
Practice the conversation that you would have with those that may have questions about concealed carry for women. Being prepared and having simplified and educating answers often alleviate any issues. However, be prepared that some people may be opposed to the situation regardless of your thoughts and views. Friends may be lost over this new life decision. This is something you will have to come to terms with if you decide to remain on this road.
Fear of Printing
Once the big fears are overcome and you are ready and prepared for your first day of concealed carry as a woman, you put your holster on and slip your blouse over it only to look in the mirror and see a giant outline of a gun! Not to worry – this happens to everyone. This is called printing – seeing the gun through your clothes because you know that it is there even though no one else can see it. If you’ve styled yourself correctly (tips discussed later), the likelihood of anyone seeing your firearm is extremely low! How many times have you noticed someone carrying a concealed gun? Exactly.
Printing is normal and has to do with your inexperience of carrying a weapon and your hyper awareness that you are. This fear will ease with time. A helpful hint is to have a small gathering at your own home and wear your weapon without telling anyone. You’ll find that no one notices the perceived outline, and this will help ease your mind. It’s a great step down the path of concealed carry for women. Also, see the helpful hints later in this article about styling to become more confident with concealing your firearm.
Once you have overcome these fears about concealed carry for women, you’ll be a much more confident and responsible practitioner. Overcoming these fears does not mean they might not creep back up now and then so always be prepared to continue practicing and working through them. Again, being a concealed carrier is a lifestyle that takes hard work and determination. It also takes a lot of studying which will be discussed next.
Concealed Carry for Women – Confidence in What You Know
In order to be effective and responsible in the area of concealed carry for women, there are a lot of things that you must come to know such as the laws in your state and federally, your weapon, and other safe practices. This section will equip you to be confident in your new lifestyle and in everyday situations that you will now have to face differently.
First off, you must know the laws in your state as well as the consequences for breaking those laws. For example, in some states you do not need a concealed carry license, others you must apply and they “shall issue” a concealed carry license, while other places such as Washington D.C. is a “no issue” district and it is illegal to carry concealed.
States have different allowances for types of weapons and magazine capacity as well as certain establishments where concealed carry for women (and men) is not allowed such as bars and private businesses if they make the appropriate posts viable to customers. Each state is different so please take the time to get to know the laws in yours. Find a few valuable resources on this subject here:
There are overall federal laws that you must be aware of as well. There are certain places where even if you obtain a concealed carry license, you are not able to carry your firearm. Here is a list of places where it is illegal to carry your firearm:
- Federal Courthouse
- Federal Buildings (owned, leased, or rented – also to include federal credit institutions or banks covered by the FDIC)
- Federal Prisons
- U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
- National Cemeteries
- Military Bases
- Post Office
- Indian Reservations (must check with Tribal Law Enforcement to include some federal and state highways that go through the tribal land)
National Parks are often asked about as they are considered federal land, however, due to the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, if you are legally able to possess a firearm, you may carry your firearm on any national park (just not in the national park buildings).
While this article will not go into detail about all the laws because they vary state to state, it is strongly encouraged that you get well acquainted with the laws that pertain to you. This will help you navigate through your day to day life prepared and with peace of mind. It is the next step to being fully aware about concealed carry for women.
You’ll learn everything about choosing and carrying your firearm in the “Body” section, but are you prepared for when you aren’t carrying it? Secure storage is something to consider before bringing a firearm home or carrying it when you may need to leave the weapon in your vehicle. You may be thinking that storage is not at the top of your list of priorities or wondering if it is even necessary. It is strongly encouraged to always secure your firearm in a quick-access safe or storage area with a locking device.
Why? If you have children, the answer is obvious, but even if you don’t, the likelihood of a mistake, accident, or incident occurring with people in your home (guests, contractors, utility workers, etc.) goes up if you are not in the habit of properly storing your weapon. The first hesitation here is usually, “my gun won’t be as accessible”. While this is true, if you have truly committed to the concealed carry for women lifestyle, you will be carrying your gun while in your home too. The only weapon you can ever count on having access to is one on your person and this is true even in a home invasion.
Also, car storage is often overlooked. Many times, when you are running errands and you are carrying concealed, you will need or want to go somewhere where carrying your firearm is illegal, such as the bank. Be prepared so that this inconvenience doesn’t cause complacency. You never want a visible firearm left in a vehicle as it encourages theft, and if theft does occur, you want to make that firearm as safe and inaccessible as possible. Also keep in mind that in some states, gun owners are held legally responsible if a firearm is not stored properly and is possessed by a prohibited individual including minors and felons (even if it is stolen).
There are many options for storage from traditional safes to the simplest trigger locks that will most likely come with the purchase of your gun. While there are many good options, resources listed here are aimed at quick access:
Concealed Carry for Women Home Safes:
- Fort Knox FTK-PB Pistol Box Handgun safe
- GunVault SV500 – SpeedVault Handgun Safe
- Stack-On PDS-500 Drawer Safe with Electronic Lock
- Vaultex VT20i Biometric Handgun Bluetooth Smart Safe
Concealed Carry for Women Vehicle Safes:
Wherever you go when you do not have your gun on your person, be confident that it is safe and secure. This approach to concealed carry for women will limit stress, liability, and responsibility and increase your confidence in being a concealed carrier.
Once you become versed in the approach to concealed carry for women, travel within the United States becomes a different animal. Certain states have what are called reciprocating laws regarding concealed carriers. This means that if your state reciprocates with any others, your concealed carry license is good in those states as well. However, this does not apply to all states so be sure to know which laws in the state that you are traveling to abide by their carry laws.
If traveling by vehicle, be aware of the gun carry laws through states that you might be driving through. Each state is different regarding their vehicle travel, storage, and concealed carry laws. Traveling via airplane will also be a new experience. You will not be able to carry your weapon on the plane regardless of having a concealed carry license. But you may check your weapon if it is properly stored, secured, and check via the airline’s policies.
Make sure that you have checked the destination state carry laws so that you are adhering to their laws at baggage claim. As always, it is the gun carrier’s responsibility to be aware of and abide by the local laws. Concealed carry laws do not apply to any country outside of the United States.
Concealed Carry License
Now it’s time to get your concealed carry license, if you even need one. A few states do not require you to have a concealed carry license such as Arizona or Missouri. Others require you to apply for a concealed carry permit and will issue one if there are no felony convictions or history of mental illness in your background check and some will require a class or logged fire range time.
If you live in Hawaii, Maryland, or New Jersey, you can apply but the likelihood of it being approved is slim to none. In Washington, D.C., it is illegal to carry concealed firearms and concealed carry licenses are not issued. An easy way to get started with your concealed carry training is using Online CHP. Our certification of handgun competency is the first step towards concealed carry for women.
Once you have found out how to obtain a concealed carry license, you will most likely find that there is a fee associated with the application. These fees vary widely from $35 in Maine to $300 in California. Once you are approved and you receive your concealed carry license, remember that you are required to carry the license with you any time you are carrying your concealed weapon. This is punishable by law in many states. Once obtained, congrats! You now are legally allowed to conceal carry.
Encounters with Law Enforcement
There are many reasons why you may have encounters with law enforcement from a traffic stop to reporting a burglary. If at any instance you encounter law enforcement while carrying a concealed firearm, remember to stay calm. It is highly recommended that you always let law enforcement know that you have a firearm for an array of reasons. While this is not legally required always, it’s still a concealed carry for women best practice. Here are some common situations that may occur:
Traffic stop – In the case of a traffic stop, it is advised that you hand over your concealed carry license along with your driver’s license. If you are in a state that does not require a concealed carry permit, keep your hands on the steering wheel and quickly advise that officer that you have a weapon and its location. At this point, the officer will instruct you from here. Some officers will acknowledge this and ask you to do nothing while others may ask you to step out of the vehicle and may disarm you. This will depend on the state, officer, and nature of the traffic stop. Do not argue with the officer and comply with his/her requests.
Non-emergency police encounter – If you have an encounter with police for a non-emergency reason such as reporting a crime or you are involved in a car accident, advise the police officer that you are a concealed carrier and where the weapon is located. This will let the officer know that there is another weapon on scene and set them at ease if they happen to notice that you are carrying.
Emergency police encounter – If you have had to pull your firearm out of its holster, 911 will be contacted. If you can, make sure that the information is relayed that you are a concealed carry license holder, whether your weapon is still out or not, and what you are wearing/looking like. When officers arrive on scene, they will most likely take your weapon from you and place you in handcuffs. This is only to determine the facts of the situation, not to place you under arrest. Remain calm and compliant.
Depending on the state, you may be required by law to announce that you have a firearm on your person or in your vehicle. Remember that it is your responsibility to know your state laws.
Gun stolen/lost – If your gun is stolen, you’ll want to make a report with local law enforcement as soon as possible. Make sure that you have all the following information stored someplace safe for your records:
- Serial Number
Concealed Carrier Insurance
If you read any of the instances above and began to get worried, try to not to get overwhelmed. The reality is that the mass majority of avid concealed carriers never pull their weapon from their holster. However, if a situation does occur where you choose to utilize your weapon, there will be a legal roller coaster ride regardless if you were within your rights or not. To have added protection, there are concealed carrier insurance options available.
Most of the concealed carrier insurance companies will provide attorneys, upfront financial costs, bail/bond from jail if necessary, and financial protection from civil suits. Sometimes doing the right thing comes with a cost and these companies help protect you and your rights. They also come with peace of mind. While not necessary, if concealed carrier insurance sounds like something that you would want, check out and compare some of the companies below:
Concealed Carry for Women Insurance Resources:
While this first section may have been heavier than you were anticipating, the choice to concealed carry for women is a heavy one and one that should not be taken lightly. It is a bold and strong decision that is supported and applauded and even more so that you are taking the time to do it intelligently and responsibly.
Once you have become confident in the knowledge and aspects of the mindset and knowledge you must have to carry, you can begin to be the next part; figuring out the right concealed carry for women rig (gun, ammo, holster, style, etc.) that fits your body perfectly!
This wraps up the top things to know about concealed carry for women as it relates to your mind. Next, we’ll look at the elements of your body that you’ll need to take into consideration.
2. Concealed Carry for Women – Your Body
Carrying a concealed weapon is already different for everybody because everybody is different. However, this is especially true when considering concealed carry for women for an array of different reasons. Women have far more curves and a less forgiving style for carrying a firearm. When you ask a man how many places there are to carry concealed, most will answer your waist or your ankle because this is what works for most men. But when you ask an experienced carrier that is a woman, she’ll most likely answer with a question, “what are you wearing?”
For a woman, clothing styles are usually form fitting and breasts, hips and tummies all play a factor into the eight different areas that you may carry a firearm. And in true woman fashion, you’ll most likely need additional options for when your style doesn’t fit your chosen personal carry rig. In this section, you’ll walk through the different concealed carry options that have been made for women, what type would be best for your body and comfort and given resources for style and accessory shopping. Consider this a comprehensive primer on concealed carry for women as it relates to your body.
Concealed Carry for Women – Your Body Type
First, you’ll need to examine your body. This is not most women’s favorite thing to do, but it is necessary to decide what will be the most comfortable carrying style for you. After all, concealed carry for women is all about being comfortable in the first place. First, stand in front of a mirror and look at your body from head to toe. Become familiar with your curves and examine the following:
Do you have a shorter or longer waist? The distance from your waist to your extended draw will affect where you’ll want to carry. If you have a shorter waist, appendix carry may work while using your hip on your dominant side may feel cramped. If you have a longer waist, you have some more space so dominant side carry or bra carry may work for you.
Women have curvier hips which, in a lot of cases, makes traditional holsters extremely uncomfortable and even unusable since the pad will not stay put. If you’ve got those curves and you intend on carrying around your hips, you’ll want to search the holsters that are specific to concealed carry for women (see resources below).
You’ll also want to be aware of the cant of your holster and the draw. For some women, they are very curvy to the point that hip carry does not work since any draw would immediately mean flagging yourself (barrel of the gun pointed at a part of your body) or your weapon will be pointed to your side (also unsafe for bystanders). Be aware of your hips and know if your curves will cause these issues.
Women often think that with long dresses or boot cut pants, ankle/calve carry is an option. While it is, you’ll have to find a holster that is made for women or has an option of being completely customizable in size. Most women have much smaller ankles and calves so be aware before you choose an option such as this.
Time to do a breast examination, and this time not for lumps. If you have seen, the hype around holsters is carrying a firearm attached to your bra! This one is completely unique to concealed carry for women and gives a lot of options including attaching a holster to the center of your bra in between the cups and nestling the holster underneath the band or carrying attached to the bra under your arm.
However, before you get excited about this, if you have a smaller or extremely large breast, this option may not work. For those with smaller breasts, the firearm may not be covered by the flow of your blouse while larger breasts may make reaching and drawing your firearm clumsy and difficult.
Now examine your tummy and attempt to be non-judgmental. Reach your arm across your tummy to your opposite hip. If this movement is hindered by your tummy, cross-draw will not be the best option. Now reach to your appendix. If your tummy hinders this movement, appendix carry will not work either. Belly bands and dominant hip carry are solid choices and if you feel that it is comfortable and accessible, so will the small of your back. Remember, concealed carry for women is all about what works best for you.
Concealed Carry for Women – Your Gun
Next up on the hit list of learnings on concealed carry for women your hands and grip strength. This is important when it comes to choosing your firearm. When you ask a man, many will immediately tell you that a compact 9mm semi-automatic is the way to go if you are wanting to carry concealed. And for an easy, comfortable shoot, this is probably the best choice. There are also some wonderful small revolver options as well. However, most women who carry still find the compact options to be too bulky for their fashion style, especially once in the holster. Concealed carry for women requires a delicate touch.
The smaller options are subcompact 9mm or .380 semi-automatic. There are many options here as well. The problem is that usually when a woman shoots a smaller subcompact or micro-compact firearm for the first time, she will immediately shy away from it because it is not as easy to shoot as a compact or revolver. You’ll perceive a bit more kick to it because of its light weight and because women naturally have a weaker grip, this may seem magnified.
Also, because of smaller hand size, gripping the slide is often more difficult because of the small frame. And the frame and slide are smaller, so the first time you attempt to aim, it feels like it is harder to shoot well. You may have read that and immediately decided against a sub or micro compact weapon.
However, all those immediate feelings are based on something that you have already learned about; fear. When you overcome the fear and put in the practice to become a confident and adept shooter with your smaller framed weapon, those perceived issues disappear. It is all about getting over that initial fear for concealed carry for women.
While shooting this firearm may not be as fun, it is better to choose the gun that you will be able to easily wear and shoot in an emergency situation as opposed to a gun that you will choose not to wear because it is too bulky on your frame and doesn’t work with that day’s fashion choice. Set yourself up for success and choose the firearm that you can shoot and comfortably wear without the size being a deterrent. You can change the way you shoot, you cannot change the size of the gun.
Concealed Carry for Women Weapon Resources:
Concealed Carry for Women – Your Holster
Now, you own your weapon which is probably the most exciting and liberating feeling. That is until you start wearing it! By now, since you have explored your body, you’ve probably decided what your primary carry area is going to be. As mentioned before, concealed carry for women offers a variety of locations to carry, and your holster selection is critical.
You should choose a primary area for your personal carry rig to become familiar and skilled at drawing from the same place. There will be times that you may carry in other places due to the occasion, but for this section and your first holster, choose your primary carry area.
The most common concealed carry for women positions are around their waist, on their belly with the use of a belly band, or bra carry. However, there are other options as well. Take into consideration your body and how you normally dress.
Most holsters are made for waist carry. Some holsters are only meant for one location while others are created for multi-use. Dominant hip, cross-draw hip, appendix, and lower-back are very common options. Make sure that the holster you order for your specific weapon can be carried where you are planning to as well can be adjusted for your preferred cant. One drawback from carrying on your waist is the issue of going to the bathroom. Be prepared for removing your holster and holding on to your weapon while doing your business.
A belly band holster is a very popular concealed carry option for women. It wraps around the belly and holds the weapon firmly to your body. It offers a lot more options for blouse styles as well. If you have smaller breasts however, this may not work for you. A belly band can also be a good option if you have multiple firearms or you switch your firearm as they do not have to be custom to your weapon. Make sure that the belly band you purchase has good reviews for retention. Retention and trigger guard cover are two of the most important features for a good concealed carry holster.
Bra holsters are the newest trend for women. They can be easy to access underneath the bra band from under your shirt at the waist or you can carry on your bra under your arm and access it through the neck of your shirt or through an open vest/blazer cross-draw style. Fashion styles for flowing shirts are easy to wear with these holsters and not thought of as a place you would carry a weapon by most would-be attackers. One downside to this type of carry is sweat. You’ve surely experienced boob sweat before, so if you live in a hot climate, this could be uncomfortable. Fortunately, some new bra holsters are coming out that use a sweat wicking material.
While it’s already been shown that certain bra holsters can be used under your arm, there are also shirts/camisoles you can purchase that have retention bands for your weapon under your arm. This is used as a cross draw holster to be accessed through the top of your over shirt or through an open vest/blazer. An underarm camisole can also be a good option if you have multiple firearms or you switch your firearm as they do not have to be custom to your weapon.
While wearing shoulder holsters is an older concealed carry for women style, it is still a valid option for some depending on their fashion style. If your work environment has you wear a suit jacket or blazer or your style is often wearing vests, shoulder holsters might be a good option. The holster can be removed easily and is often unburdening. However, it is limiting in styles that you can wear with it. Make sure you only choose this for your personal carry rig if you know that 90% off the time, you will be able to wear it.
One of my favorite ways of concealed carry for women is carrying a firearm in your pocket. This is great if what you normally wear has big enough pockets and your firearm is small enough to fit with a holster. Many assume that you do not need a holster if you carry a weapon in your pocket. This is 100% inaccurate. You always need to carry your weapon in a holster with retention and trigger guard cover.
There are holsters specifically made for pocket carry. Some have retention clips while others have a “sticky” material on the outside to grip the inside of the pocket. Keep in mind that one drawback to pocket carry is that sitting may be uncomfortable. If your work has you sitting for a lot of the time, this may not be a good choice.
Thigh carry is not a usual choice for a primary concealed carry for women setup. Usually, thigh holsters are utilized for special occasions where you will be in a dress. However, if a dress is your daily fashion, it may be a good choice for you. If you wear flowing dresses or skirts, wearing the firearm on the outside of the thigh is most comfortable.
Even better, if your skirt/dress has pockets, you can cut the pocket on the inside and make a hole for access from your pocket to your thigh holster. If you are wearing a form fitting dress, you can wear a firearm on the inside of the thigh but be aware that this is extremely uncomfortable if your thighs rub together when you walk or you have a bulky weapon/holster.
An ankle holster is a great way to conceal carry for women if you regularly wear boot legged pants that are loose, so you have easy access. Remember, women’s calves and ankles are often smaller so make sure you try your holster not only to fit for comfort, but run it through drills to ensure that when you pull your weapon from the holster the holster remains put.
Carrying concealed on your ankle can also pose an accessibility issue. It is the farthest place to carry on your person from your hand so in order to be effective with this type of carry, practice! Practice your ground position and draw until it becomes smooth so that muscle memory takes over during an adrenaline situation.
Concealed Carry for Women Holster Resources:
What concealed carry for women recommendation list would be complete without a purse option? Concealed carry purses are among the top ways that a woman carries concealed. However, it is also the most controversial. The pros to carrying a firearm is that it makes carrying simple. It doesn’t affect the way that you dress and encourages daily carry. Therefore, it is the most common way women choose to carry this way; it’s simple. If you haven’t thought about the cons, however, this list might change your mind.
Think about how many times your purse is not in your actual possession. Anytime you are not walking/standing, you have most likely placed your purse somewhere else. In an emergency situation, seconds are vital and fumbling for your purse is not where you want to be spending your time. And of course, whatever emergency situation that you’re in could have separated you from your purse entirely, such as a robbery.
The most severe con here is that your weapon can be taken/removed from you and used against you or others. Also, because the purse is not in your possession 100% of the time, the likelihood for accidents increases as well.
This is why it is highly encouraged for women to choose to carry a concealed weapon on their person. It is the most accessible, effective, and secure way for a person to carry. However, this does not mean that purse carry shouldn’t ever be used. If you have assessed your lifestyle and you have determined that purse carry is the only way for you, then just be aware of the drawbacks, carry responsibly, and of course, find the right concealed carry purse.
A regular old purse won’t cut it. Have you ever dived into your purse looking for your keys and simply cannot find them because they’re hiding in the abyss? Well, that can’t happen if you need to access your weapon. You need a purse that has a compartment with easy access and is created for a firearm. And as with any holster, you still need to have retention and a trigger guard cover. Even if you don’t choose purse carry as your concealed carry for women choice, you can still have a good concealed carry purse for certain days where your attire doesn’t allow for carrying on your person.
Another thing to consider is your draw. Drawing from a purse can be cumbersome depending on the purse and it will take practice to become skilled at it. Some concealed carry purses have easy access side pockets that are meant to be able to shoot your weapon through the purse without ever having to draw your weapon. This style eliminates the need to draw saving time as well as never gives an attacker the upper hand of knowing you have a firearm.
However, if you choose this style, know that this is best suited for a revolver. If you shoot a semi-automatic inside of a purse, the cramped space may not allow for the weapon to charge and it could cause a jam. As with any option related to concealed carry for women, take a look around and evaluate the options.
Concealed Carry for Women Purse Resources:
- Class Conceal
- Country Driven
- Hiding Hilda
- Gun Goddess
- It’s in the Bag
- Montana West
- The Well Armed Woman
Your Concealed Carry for Women Rig
Now that you have decided on your weapon, your holster, and carry style, it’s time to put them all together and create your signature concealed carry for women rig. This will be the carry style that you use 90% of the time so make it work for you. More importantly, you work it; practice, practice, practice. You should become so familiar and comfortable with your carry rig that when you aren’t wearing it, you feel naked.
While you are practicing, make sure that the little things that stick out to you are fixed. This might be that you feel like you have to twist your wrist a little too much when reaching to draw. Adjust your cant. If you are carrying on your appendix or utilizing a cross-draw, you’ll most likely want a negative cant while you’ll want a positive cant if you carry on your strong side or lower bank. Most people stay with a neutral can’t carry on their hip, but you’ve got your womanly curves, all of these may be different for you.
Whatever holster you chose will most likely come with instructions to adjust your can’t and don’t be afraid or discouraged from tweaking it until it is just right. Know how much strength you need to draw your weapon. Some holsters have stronger retention depending on where you are carrying.
And another crucial practice point is to draw and dryfire. Dry Fire practice (using an unloaded weapon and pulling the trigger) can be one of the best practicing techniques. Stand in front of a mirror with your firearm (unloaded and double-checked for safety) in your carry rig. Draw, aim, and dryfire – and repeat.
This is important for two reasons; 1) some shooting ranges will not allow you to draw and shoot from a holster and, 2) pulling the trigger needs to be practiced from the draw so that there is no hesitation in an emergency situation. Become confident with your personal concealed carry for women rig and it will not let you down when you need it.
Also, always be aware of your trigger finger. Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot (even with dryfire). You always want to be cognizant when making the decision to shoot and do not want to practice putting your finger in the trigger guard as soon as it leaves the holster. These bad practices can be very hard to break.
Concealed Carry for Women – Your Style
Now for the fun part of concealed carry for women – shopping! Yes, shopping is going to be a big part of this new lifestyle of yours. New you, new clothes. Now that you know where you want to carry your weapon, know what type of clothes work for your personal carry for women rig. Have an abundance of options so that your daily fashion is not what hinders you from continuing to carry your weapon.
For instance, if you are carrying around your waist or bra, you will need flowing tops. This does not mean baggy or oversized. You can find some great shirts and blouses that are flattering that work with your rig. Cinched waist shirts that are flowing in the middle are also great options that still give that form fitting look. If you are carrying in a shoulder holster, on your lower back, or underarm, vests and blazers are great style options.
Now, what about those times that your outfit for a specific day or occasion does not work for your personal concealed carry for women rig? Have alternatives readily available! You never want to be deterred from carrying concealed where you would have been legally able to do so.
For instance, working out can be difficult with a weapon but running alone as a woman can be dangerous and prime time to be a concealed carrying lady. Or maybe you just have an outfit that you have been dying to wear but you haven’t because it’s too form fitting to carry. Have a concealed carry purse available. While this is a lifestyle you need to commit to, you also do not want to make carrying such a burden that you eventually taper off from doing so.
Fortunately, there are amazing women out there that found the need for more clothing styles for concealed carrying women. Peruse the following shops for some great clothing options!
Concealed Carry for Women Apparel Resources:
3. Concealed Carry for Women – Your Spirit
Well, you’ve made it to the final section about concealed carry for women. Congratulations! It’s not an easy or lighthearted decision to carry concealed, especially as a woman, but it is a strong and powerful one. You have worked through the initial fears, learned about the laws and regulations, created your personal concealed carry for women rig, practiced, and have found your personal style to fit your new lifestyle. Question: how do you feel?
You might find yourself feeling more confident and even feel that you have more freedom to be you. Most importantly, you might start feeling different from people around you. You may find yourself evaluating situations and realizing that so many people around you would have little choice other than becoming a victim in many emergency situations. Not you though. You have taken the rights that are afforded to every American and you have chosen to not take them for granted.
Never lose sight that by choosing to carry concealed you have taken on a responsibility to yourself and those around you. Never stop practicing and never stop trying to make yourself better. Complacency is the dark side of the confidence coin. While the hope is that you will never have to utilize your firearm, always be prepared as if you will have to use it today. Stay safe and continue to be the strong and amazing woman that you are!