There are many ways to concealed carry. Some people chose inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters. Others choose outside-the-waistband (OWB) holsters.
There are a variety of specialized options as well, but most of them are designed for men—or more specifically, the way men dress.
Considering the fastest-growing segment of the gun carry population is women, this is changing. When a woman carrying was an oddity, most were told, “Throw a J-frame in your purse and call it good.”
Those days are over, as many females who carry are competent shooters and know what firearm they prefer. They are not willing to carry in a very inefficient manner or to be limited to one type of firearm.
This has led some companies to explore various options that cater to the female body and the realities of their clothing options.
But which are the best? Here are some concealed carry options for female shooters worth your consideration.
Best Concealed Carry Options for Female Shooters
1. Purse Carry
Let’s begin with the simplest and oldest choice: purse carry. This method has undergone significant changes. In my opinion, it is still off-body carry and thus not optimal. But, the choices are better these days.
There are a plethora of styles to choose from and most of the options have a built-in method of retention—and some manner of quick, one-handed access. This is often achieved with either tunnel access to an internal holster or a quick-access external panel.
The Bulldog Hobo purse has a zipper access panel from the front or rear, to allow for either left or right-hand access. These zippers provide quick access to a gun holster compartment.
2. IWB Carry
The days of all IWB holsters being thick leather options with a bulky metal or plastic retention clip are over. Sticky Holsters makes a neoprene-like holster that is super comfortable.
It also has an ambidextrous external tacky texture that allows for nearly infinite positioning of a holster between the body and pants with a solid waistline. This holster will stay in place and well-hidden with any non-elastic or drawstring pants.
The much-thinner and more compliant material help to conceal better in the tighter fit of women’s clothing. With the material being soft/spongy, it is much less likely to rub.
3. OWB Carry
Some women who work in a professional environment choose to wear pantsuits or blazers. For these occasions, an OWB holster becomes an option.
Many companies, like BLACKHAWK! with their Serpa line, offer paddle holsters for the small carry guns like GLOCK 43, Sig 938 and S&W J-frames. With an appropriately stiff cover garment, these options provide quick access and very comfortable carry.
They also provide a simple choice while hiking or in regions of the country that allow the choice of open carry.
Most of the above-mentioned options share one aspect: they do not allow on-person carry while in a dress. Can Can Concealment has an entire line of comfortable concealed carry holsters, from their waistline option, the Hip Hugger, to even a men’s line.
But, where I want to focus on today is their Garter holster series.
4. Garter Carry
The Garter option allows for female shooters to carry a small-to-medium-sized gun while wearing a skirt or dress. The size of the gun that can be carried will depend on the size of the woman, her comfort and how clingy the fabric is.
For most women, this method does not allow for carrying of a full-sized 1911, although they do offer The Big SheBang for that purpose. More realistic options would be the Micro with a Sig 238, Ruger LCP or the Classic for a Glock 43 or a Sig P 365.
The larger Shield 380 EZ might be pushing the envelope for some, but would likely work for others. All Garter holster options are ambidextrous, in that each has mirror image gun pockets.
This allows for right- or left-hand draw from either leg and to choose if the gun rides on the inside or outside of the thigh. The design is based on a 5” wide elastic band with added silicone grip strips at the top and bottom of the band.
These strips and six layers of hook and eye closures ensure a secure grip on the thigh. If a heavy gun is chosen, there is also a garter belt to assist in maintaining the gun in the proper spot. This is most useful in vigorous activity situations like running.
In a normal office environment, it would not be needed, as the base design is quite secure. But, if it helps you feel more secure while wearing your gun, who am I to say no?
Looking for concealed carry gun recommendations? Take a look at our list of concealed carry pistols available now.
There are lots of other choices in the feminine holster category. Companies make bra holsters and other items that fit a niche. (Just think through how that will be deployed and where the gun will be pointing when you draw, under pressure.)
For some, they may fit the need; for others, one of the above options may be best. Just like with men, women now have a vast array of choices and will likely end up with multiple holsters.
Some will get a lot more use than others, but at least now there are quality choices for female shooters that factor in the way women dress, work and live.