Most people frown on off-body, considering it an amateur approach. The cite the slow access, the possibility of purse-snatching and other practical problems to dismiss the practice. And yet gun purses for women continue to sell well, as do various man-purses. Turns out that off-body carry has several advantages.
The first advantage is that it permits amateurs to carry guns. And, imagine this, most of us are amateurs and we carry guns for non-professional reasons. We have to carry other items — laptops, cameras, diaper bags, grocery packets — as primary, while guns ride along against the rare case of dire need. Depending on the weather and the social occasion, dressing around the gun may be impractical or nearly impossible. Could one conceal more than a P32 or a PSA .25 in the outfit shown on the left? A woman can try to justify a cover garment on an evening dress or she can bring a purse and have a decently sized defensive pistol available in it. Would that be an ideal solution — probably not, but then fighting for your life while wearing heels isn’t ideal either. Then point is that many people do not want to subordinate their lives and their wardrobes to concealment of a sidearm, and off-body carry allows them to still go armed. Under less glamorous circumstances, a diaper bag attracts less attention than a dedicated gun purse and new parents have to carry such items anyway. Adding a revolver to the child welfare and protection kit is a logical step. It is important to separate the weapon from all other contents and to practice rapid access. A fouled-up zipper or snagged grip should be discovered at the range, not during a defensive shooting. Cold weather is another circumstance when off-body carry may be advantageous. Trying to reach a gun under a thick winter coat can be difficult, while carrying an extra weapon in a pocket means that it would have to be somehow secured or transferred once the person takes the coat off indoors.
The plus side of such a carry method is in being able to tote a fairly large weapon comfortably. Double-stack pistols with larger magazines than typical of subcompacts fit in a shoulder bag just as easily and they are usually easier to shoot well. The major requirements are keeping the bag secured at all times and training with it at the range. The mechanics of deploying from a holster not attached to the body can be quite different from the expectations. The payoff can be quite considerable: being able to go with a full-size service pistol or even a rifle-caliber handgun instead of a subcompact.
Where legal, off-body carry even enables bringing a long gun along. Most useful in conjunction with a handgun, a carbine like a folding Sub2000 can be carries easily behind a laptop and deployed rapidly if greater reach is required. Too slow to counter a mugger at five feet but just right for a rampaging active shooter at thirty yards. Commonality of magazines with the carry pistol means that you would never confuse two kinds of ammunition under pressure.