When it comes to holsters, women have many different needs than men. From body shape to clothing styles, women usually don’t wear holsters the same way men do, and thus holsters for women must meet the specific demands of the female lifestyle.
But fret not: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And if you can imagine a way in which a woman might want to carry a gun concealed, there’s likely already a holster or piece of clothing—or a purse, of course—designed to meet those specific needs.
Regardless of who is wearing the holster and the demands of that individual’s specific lifestyle, a holster must—absolutely must—cover a few simple requirements. First, the holster must hold a firearm securely and safely. Secondly, it must keep the secured firearm accessible enough to be reached very quickly. And, just as importantly, it must be comfortable … because if a holster is uncomfortable, it will not be worn, which means the gun will be left at home where it provides absolutely zero personal protection.
So, with those key components always front of mind, here are some holsters for women and the various location options for comfortably carrying concealed.
Concealed Carry Purses and Clutches
Make no mistake, just because a purse has been designed to secure a concealed handgun doesn’t mean that it must lose its functionality or its style. A CCW purse can be stylish and serve with class on a daily basis.
When it comes to holsters for women, purses and clutches are among the top sellers for a myriad of reasons: they secure a gun while still being functional, they allow for a pistol to be concealed easily with a dress or other tighter clothing, and they eliminate the potential bulk of wearing a holster on the body.
And in regard to that style, well … the sky is the limit. Designs have become so intricate that it’s nearly impossible to tell a good CCW purse from a “regular” purse, if you will. The gun is generally held in an inconspicuous, friction-fitted, or zippered sleeve, in such a manner that the gun can be retrieved easily yet doesn’t imprint on the fabric to easily reveal its location.
It’s also worth noting that, when it comes to holsters for women, the purse is the least secure location to conceal a gun. Although the chances might be slim, it’s much easier for a purse (and the gun within) to be stolen than is a gun secured on a person. That’s worth keeping in mind.
Specialized CCW Clothing
Concealment undershirts and undershorts are the two most common types of concealment garments designed to house holsters for women … and many have those gun-securing holsters built right into the garment itself.
And, like with purses, options abound when it comes to this gun-concealment solution. For summertime wear, a gun-concealing tank top snugs a handgun close to the body, most commonly on the side under the arms, or high in the abdominal area just below the chest. Designs vary, but these articles are designed to offer a holster for women that can be worn with most overshirts, regardless of how tightly or loosely the fit.
Similarly, compression-style undershorts are an additional option, securing a handgun in the inner thigh area, offering a holster solution for women wearing a dress or a skirt who don’t want to carry a CCW purse or clutch for a specific occasion.
Carrying a concealed handgun inside the waistband (IWB) has quickly become the most common carry solution for men. This style offers a comfortable method that keeps the gun accessible yet easily covered by a jacket or even a loose-fitting, untucked shirt. Most often, this method requires a stiff gun belt that keeps pants from sagging under the weight of a holster and secures the holster for a quick draw.
The IWB carry method is still an extremely viable holster option for women, though most often compression-style undershorts are worn rather than a holster and gun belt. These “shorts” loosely resemble boxer briefs, but feature a built-in holster near the top elastic band, securing a handgun close to the waistline.
This design allows the gun to be concealed IWB inside jeans, dress pants, or anything in between, covered by as little as a tank top. It’s an extremely comfortable way to carry a handgun concealed for men and women alike.
There’s no question that outside the waistband (OWB) is the most comfortable means of carrying a handgun, but it’s also the most challenging to conceal. In colder months, long baggy sweaters and jackets make OWB a much more viable option, but the opposite is also true in the warmer months.
From clip-on Kydex holsters specifically contoured for women to highly decorated leather holsters for women, OWB carry truly is the “have it your way” solution for carrying a handgun … provided it pairs well with an outfit to conceal it.
Ankle, Belly Bands, and Pocket Holsters
If you can think up a way to use Velcro, elastic, and microfibers to inconspicuously secure a handgun to some part of your body, the odds are overwhelming that someone has already marketed a holster for women to meet that need.
Ankle holsters are an option, but as you might imagine, it takes loose-fitting pants and a willingness to have a “weight” strapped to your ankle to make this work. It’s doable, but many people find this holster solution uncomfortable.
Belly-band holsters also have their place, offering a solution exactly as the name implies: Securing a handgun in the abdominal area, which is easily accessible with a quick lift of the shirt. However, a belly band does fit quite snuggly around the belly, which, like the ankle holster, is found uncomfortable by many.
And, if all else fails to meet your expectations as a viable holster for women, there’s the pocket holster. For this to be an effective solution two requirements must be met: The pocket must hold the gun securely, and the holster must remain in the pocket when the gun is drawn … which is where most holsters will fail with this method of carry. Choose a “sticky” holster that’s specifically designed to cling to the pocket material, thus allowing the gun to be drawn while the holster remains in the pocket.
Holsters for Women, Training for Women
Stock & Barrel Gun Club offers the Ladies’ Only Permit to Carry/Concealed Carry course in Chanhassen and Eagan designed specifically to help women learn and ask questions in a zero-intimidation environment. From holsters to handguns, this class is tailored to women obtaining their permit to carry.
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