Concealed Carry

Holsters for Women. Stop Telling Me My Choices Suck!

Woman wearing blue jeans green shirt and a firearm

“I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.” – Marilyn Monroe

I generally avoid ranting on any of my blog posts. However, being an Internet blogger means I get to break the rules a little bit. Like being able to start a sentence with like and and. So, I’m going to go ahead and skate on thin ice here, break the rules and write about something that has been chapping my hide lately. In the past few weeks, I have been reading some men’s opinions on the proper way for women to conceal a gun. Most of the comments—on my personal blog and on other’s Facebook pages—have read something like this:

“How dare you suggest a crappy holster. Stop trying to look cute and carry something functional.”

Now, I know a little something about women. Seeing as I’ve been one for nearly 40 years. And something a lot of us like to do is look and feel pretty—ain’t nothing wrong with that. Our figure-fitting tops, black skinny jeans and 5-inch heels not only make us feel confident and hot, but I know you guys appreciate it, too. (You’re welcome, by the way.)

She can carry her holster of choice and still look cute. Photo courtesy of Oleg Volk.
She can carry her holster of choice and still look cute. Photo courtesy of Oleg Volk.

Yes, I know most of our favorite outfits do not lend well to conceal carry and many of us are not willing to sacrifice beauty over function. It is what it is. Get over it! Therefore, please sit in silence as we struggle to find the right holster that not only retains our favorite carry gun, but also is comfortable and works well with our favorite clothes. If we have problems finding just the right holster, have patience. I’m pretty sure you have a drawer full of holsters that do not work either.

Women-Specific Holsters are not Just Gimmicks

Fortunately, there are a myriad of holsters coming into the market meeting the specific needs of women who carry. You may think they look flimsy or unpractical, or that a girl won’t be able to access her firearm. Well… you think wrong. Plenty of women-specific holsters work perfectly. I know. I’ve tried them. Lisa Looper’s Flashbang bra holster allows you to draw your gun in under two seconds. Same with Donna Bickert’s Femme Fatale thigh holster. Both allow me to wear tight-fitting t-shirts and skirts that would make my grandma blush. Neither holster forced me to adapt my preferred way to carry or my outfit. Just because a holster looks ridiculous to you, does not mean it won’t work for us. Quite frankly, unless you grow breasts and hips, you will have no idea what it’s like for us to find a comfortable and functional way to carry.

DeSantis has introduced a new holster that secures a firearm in purses. Though off body carry isn’t ideal, it is the only way some women choose to carry. I’m not going to chastise them for that choice. You shouldn’t either.

When Momma is Happy Everyone is Happy

When you tell us what’s right for us, we start thinking about our fathers. Believe me, the last thing you want your girl to be thinking about while you are wrapping up your date at the shooting range is her daddy. Besides that, put yourself in our shoes. Imagine this: you take your lady home stereo shopping. As you are browsing through the Bose speakers, your lady pipes up, “You want Infinity speakers because they use a ceramic metal matrix diaphragm driver that is both light and rigid, resulting in a highly accurate reproduction of your audio source.” A bit emasculating, isn’t it? It can be quite discouraging when all you hear is, “don’t do that,” “stop wearing that” and “No! That’s wrong.” The last thing you should want to do is discourage women from carrying. So unless she asks for help and guidance, let her figure it out. She will eventually find something that works for her. Keep in mind that when momma is happy, everyone is happy. So, stop dogging our holsters. We’re working hard at making wise, independent and thoughtful decisions about our self-protection. I don’t see how you can argue that. We want to encourage more women to carry, right? Can’t we at least agree on that?

This Chick is Packing

A 2013 Pew Research Poll found 26 percent of women own a firearm—that’s an estimated 15 to 20 million women. As female firearm ownership grows, I think it is safe to assume so will conceal carry permits issued to women will also grow. Regardless of how she got there, how many holsters she went through or what you think is right for her—remember, under that hot mamma outfit, this chick is packing! And that’s what counts.

Okay. I am done. I will get off my soapbox now. I welcome your comments, even your ugly ones; however, this not an open invitation allowing you to call me a man-hater. There is nothing further from the truth. I have plenty of smart and funny men in my life that I enjoy a mutually respectful relationship. Most of them like to take me shooting. It might have something to do with watching me flinch when hot brass flies down my v-neck t-shirt. On the other hand, maybe it’s just because I make an equal and awesome shooting partner.

[suzanne]

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (29)

  1. Right on! Fortunately, my boyfriend knows better than to give unsolicited advice about MY carry (his mama raised him right!). However, I’ve heard comments from instructors and other guys that really left me wondering how they managed to keep a spouse 😉

  2. I’m new to guns and carrying, but not to a/v equipment, and that Bose vs. Infinity quip was brilliant! You gained instant credibility with that remark, so I will be reading and following the rest of your posts now :).

  3. Thank you for your post. I do have one issue with mine. I bought a Kahr 40 cal and I can’t really afford to buy another gun. Anyway, I bought the Flashbang and I love it but the gun is a little heavy and my medium sized boobs aren’t big enough to truly conceal it in most cases. I would really like to find another holster that would work with most things I wear (because I like form fitting t-shirts too.) Do you have any suggestions for a gun that size on a small framed female? I would like to note that I bought a 40 cal because I work in law enforcement and it makes the ammo interchangeable if need be.

    1. take a look at the new alien gear shape shifter package, 4 holsters in one purchase, and has additional options for shoulder,ankle and off body carry. 99.00 starting price , and made for each gun specifically, so it carries well

  4. Lauren: Don’t give up. It’s not much better for us guys either, really. Not if you want something truly comfortable all day, without worry of dropping your gun, and not having it lashed to you so securly that you have to drop what’s in your hands to wrestle it into play with both hands if actually needed. Making conceal mandatory in certain states doesn’t help either. This puts a lot of demands on holster choice. Any holster can look good in the ad or in the store, but the application of said holster is where the gritty truth is realized.
    With all the new sub-compact guns and new carry laws, it’s been hard to find guns, ammo, and much of anything relative in the past year, but I believe things will catch up. I carry a Springfield XDs with a Crimson Trace Laserguard, and they haven’t yet offered anything suitable for that combination, that I’m aware of. Keep a positive attitude, and keep an eye out. Technology will surely catch up.

  5. Man Girl!!! You totally hit it on this one!!!

    I have literally been laughed out of a store looking for holster’s (by guys that just don’t get it!)… and finally gave up on actually carrying!

    Thank you for your suggestions on women’s holster’s. The search is back on!

  6. I know it is late to comment, but I just came across your post. Your remark about men probably having holsters that really do not work really hit home. I probably have at least 7 for one handgun alone. I am not talking about cheap holsters either. Some are the top of the line in leather or plastic, everything from ankle holsters, inside the waist band (custom leather about a hundred bucks), pocket holsters and shoulder holsters. I even tried a lanyard under my shirt. I liked the hard plastic tension holster that came with my Sig until it fell out onto the floor one day. The only one I use is the leather, front pocket holster (by far the cheapest). I say if you like it or want to try it good luck. Anyone that hit the perfect rig on the first go was very lucky. Anyone that finds fault with a woman struggling to find the right holster is just trying to be funny or probably believes the “little woman” should stick to using a frying pan for a weapon. I can tell you from experience, the frying pan is not aerodynamic or I would probably not be writing this! Good luck and I enjoyed your article.
    Joe

  7. Don’t tell anyone how to or not to protect themselves. Self defense is a natural right and should not be infringed in any way…

  8. You make many good points, though you have to be careful with the tone in this article. I’m assuming that, as a firearms blogger, you are fairly experienced and well versed in defensive firearms theory and tradecraft. While [holster] choices may not be “right or wrong”, they can certainly be placed on a spectrum of “poor to ideal performance”, based on a number of factors. I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that any experienced shooter/instructor “shut up and stop telling me my choices suck”. The choices do suck, for men and women, because everything about pistols and concealed carry is a compromise from what is ideal in a defensive situation (e.g. a powerful, large-capacity, readily available firearm… probably a carbine slung to your chest). The key is in understanding your choices, and the consequences and trade-offs of those options. Understanding that takes discussion, and knowledge transfer.

  9. Suzanne, by all means stay cute and sexy. And “Yes” we do like it. Much like a new car you have to test drive a bunch till’ you find the one that’s just right. Also not all firearms work the same for everyone, not all holsters will function the same for everyone either. Each person (man or woman) should always find and use what works well for them individually (regardless of others sexist or just plain stupid comments).
    PS: I need a new set of speakers for my truck, any suggestions?

  10. Hey Suzanne! I’m thinking that Brad has nailed it! “Binzinga!”, LOL! If your environment and more specifically the men in it are responsible for your stated perceptions I’d suggest its time it may be make for a change! Its my understanding that Alaska has always looked for and welcomed woman who are self-reliant, smart, tough, adventurous, have an opinion and speak it, have their own firearms, a CCP(even though we don’t need them up here), bait their own hooks, clean their own kills, and can in 30 minutes be drop dead-take-out-to-dinner-an-turn-heads-stunning …………. and built their own kick-ass sound system! Its aways to come but there’s lots of space, good people, an life is good. Good call, Brad! Just saying………this was my best grin of the day!

  11. Suzanne, you said “You want Infinity speakers because they use a ceramic metal matrix diaphragm driver that is both light and rigid, resulting in a highly accurate reproduction of your audio source.” would be emasculating coming from a female? Hardly. Any secure male would find it impressive! The rest of the conversation would be haggling over the price!

  12. I really enjoyed reading this article.

    I always carried the same weapon off duty as on and have worked out the holster issues. I use a fanny pack when I have to be dressed up (never have liked purses) and a shoulder holster when in off duty casual or when wearing a jacket.

    Inside the pants holsters make me nuts and I don’t always have a sturdy enough belt. I am a full figured type and I don’t like getting poked in tender areas.

    Each person has their own tastes and needs. It all boils down to safely carrying and being comfortable with the choice.

  13. Trust me I know the feeling.
    When I ride my horse I use “fanny pack” style from Bagmaster. Some may not think it’s the best but it works for me in the real world. My 45 New Agent rides tight to my side doesn’t bounce and I know it is secure and not going to fall out on the trail..
    It may not be as macho as thigh holster ….but it doesn’t bump on trees.

  14. Thank you! As a twenty something year old, plain clothes (girly) police officer, I’ve had this similar rant with my male coworkers. I struggle to find good looking, professional, tailored attire that still conceals my gun. Plus, women’s dress clothes rarely come with belt loops. If they do, they are about 1/4 inch wide, sewn with three stitches, and won’t hold a respectable belt, never mind a holster and ammo. I caved to my coworkers’ suggestions that I “just buy larger shirts.”. The day I walked in with a polo shirt 3 sizes larger than my true size, I was laughed out of the office. The hem of the shirt was stretched taunt by my holster and hips, while I had an extra yard of fabric ridiculously draped around my non-shooting shoulder side. You could clearly see the outline of the gun, and I looked like a slob who didn’t own a mirror. Imagine walking into a lawyer’s office looking like a slob- no one is going to take you seriously. So I’m always on the hunt for a great holster- and I’m always eager to let my male coworkers know just how easy they have it.

  15. Hey Suzanne, Margee got back to me this morning and was thrilled with your suggested web sites. She has apparently ordered two new modes of carry already. As I understand it they were happy to FedEx International to Paris for her. Also passed this sight on to both gals so you may hear from them in the near. Thanks again, you made the boss look good and get a few more Brownie points! That’s always a good thing when everyone who works with you is a type A personality!! Looking forward to your next post.

    P.S. — How does one get to write and post foundation blogs on the CTD Shooters Log?? Do you have to work for CTD or what? Inquiring mind with a couple of ideas for foundation posts. Regards, Pete sends . . .

  16. Great article Suzanne. I’m right there with Bob, vast majority of the guys leaving those comments can’t deal with strong women. I’ve been teaching my kinda sorta niece to shoot, (my friend wanted to avoid the whole father/daughter dynamic at the range) and helped her pick out a good belt holster. She’s a credible shot and I pity the fool who tries anything on her. Besides, girls with guns are hot, LOL. Don’t know if you’re a fan of the show or not, but Sons of Guns’ Stephanie Hayden is also marketing a thigh holster, not sure who makes it.

  17. Great article Suzanne, and I appreciated the information in the comment section also. I am a new female gun owner and have also been on the hunt for the ‘perfect holster’. I was curious about the holster in the picture (it’s cute 😛 ) and looks like you don’t need a belt for it! I never wear belts so this looks like something I might like…could you post a link to information about that holster?! Thanks!

  18. Thanks Suzanne!! I have passed these suggestions along to the gals and Jenn IM’ed me back right away that two of these she hadn’t been aware of and to tell you thanks. I’m guessing they’ll ship OK to her country. Again, thank you! Information is power, and anything that empowers either of theses two women makes the environment we work in that much safer! Let you know what Margee has to say when I hear from her. Regards, Pete

  19. Hi Pete! Yeah Suzanne, that’s why my wife won’t fish with me anymore. I mighta said somethin’bout lure selection once or twice. I just really wish we didn’t live in a world where the slightest hint you may have a gun is taboo. That’s what makes finding a good holster so hard for both women and men. Since this new era of “concealed carry”, many tried and true holsters are gone from the market. So what, if the bottom 2″ of a black basketweave Safariland shows from under your windbreaker. I just don’t understand the whole concept that it has to be invisible, untill needed. If we could go concealed, open, or any combination/variation thereof through out the day everyday, it would make wearing a gun much easier, more comfortable, and much more enjoyable. Just my opinion.

  20. Suzanne,
    Two of the group that I work with consistently overseas are women. Both are experienced operators and long time shooters I know that they are always on the the lookout for better carry options. I would like to see your list of manufactures who make female specific carry options as there might be one or two on that list that they aren’t aware of. Both are tall, Margerette is 5′ 7″ and Jennille is 5′ 6 1/2″, both are very athletic and have the corresponding body types to match. Margee is a swimmer and Jenn is a distance runner. Both gals favor XD series platforms for CC an open carry. Margee also has a Taurus .454 short barrel wheel gun she is fond of. Your list and suggestions for carry options would be a appreciated. Thanks for a good post.

  21. My wife carries her Ruger SP 101 in handbags from Gun Toten’ Mamas. She’s as good a shot or better than me, and we always go to the range together.

  22. Atta gal, Suzanne. You go girl! Your holster selections for women were great. The men telling you they suck are most likely insecure little boys who feel challenged because many women are now entering an area (shooting and “packing”) that was previously male dominated.
    This is one very secure male who welcomes you women into the fascinating world of shooting and gun ownership. I’ve taught several female friends the basics of shooting and all have enjoyed the experience.
    One of my informal students, who hated (feared) guns and thought they should be outlawed, even admitted shooting was fun AND she now sees the advantages of women owning/carrying a gun for protection.

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