|Concealed Carry For Women|
Conceal and Carry, Concealed Carry, or CCW, is defined as the carrying of a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one's person or in proximity. Concealed Carry for women poses some important questions and challenges. Women have some unique challenges to effective and safe concealed carry such as: holster locations on our curvy bodies, a variety of clothing styles that can make concealed carry challenging and the way a woman lives out her life.
The Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), ruled that the Second Amendment protects "the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation". Self-defense is a fundamental right. The U.S. constitution, the constitutions of 44 states, common law, and the laws of all states recognize the right to use arms in self-defense. Right To Carry laws respect the right to self-defense by allowing individuals to carry firearms for protection. The laws change and it is imperative that you know the laws in your state.
Make sure you have read the laws of your state and the permitting requirements prior to carrying your gun in a concealed manner. It is your responsibility to not only understand the concealed carry laws but also understand the seriousness of the responsibility you assume when you choose to concealed carry.As intelligent women, we instinctively know that we need to protect ourselves and that the world we live in, sadly requires us to always be aware of our surroundings and know that there are some very bad people out there that will do us harm. I don't want to dwell on the gruesome, painful realities and statistics of the violent crimes against women, as The Well Armed Women is focused on empowerment. However, in making the decision to concealed carry as a woman it is important to be fully informed. Here are just a few statistics to remind us briefly of the need to protect ourselves, whether our personal plan includes concealed carry of a gun or other methods of self defense. We have provided links at the bottom of the page for your further study.
Once you have made the decision to carry a gun, there is one thing that is not an option and that is carrying a gun un-holstered. Whether you carry in your pocket, in a purse or in your belt, your firearm must be holstered and the trigger covered at all times. Carrying a concealed gun carries the great responsibility of being safe and trained how to use it.
Concealed carry for women has some very real challenges to comfortably and safely carry a concealed gun. Our clothing and our curves cause most of the challenges to carrying a gun on our person. On the body carrying is preferred and is the safest and best way for you to carry your gun. It is on you, within easy reach and the opportunity for someone who you don't want to get to your gun is extremely limited. Let's start with the challenges our clothing present for effectively carrying a concealed gun and then discuss the best options for women to overcome them.
Women tend to wear more fitting styles and many of the fabrics we love are thin and sheer. Naturally this can make it difficult to conceal a gun. Dresses pose an additional set of challenges as the absence of a belt add to the challenge. Yet, to provide the security we desire, we must have our gun readily available and accessible to defend ourselves and yet be hidden from view. Therefore, the gun must be close, accessible and ready.
The other key challenge is that most holsters are made for men, with a woman's curves and physical differences, comfort is compromised with concealed carry holsters made for a man. A holster made in pink, is not a guarantee that it was designed for a women's body. The industry has made some progress in addressing these issues, but finding them is extremely difficult both online and in gun stores. The Well Armed Woman has sought out the best options and designed a line of holsters for women and has made them available. View concealed carry holsters. Every woman's lifestyle, needs and of course body's are different and finding holsters that work for you and that are comfortable is an absolute necessity.
"Carrying a gun isn't supposed to be comfortable, it is supposed to be a comfort"
Clint's quote above is very revealing and it is important to understand that concealed carry for a women comes with some changes and some concessions. There may be times that is is an inconvenience or a little uncomfortable but it just comes with the territory. With time, you will feel naked without your gun on you. If you are ever required to use it to save your life, believe me it will all be worth it. So lets discuss some issues with concealed carry holsters for women.
There are some key things that are necessary for the optimal comfort and protection. First is the selection of your gun. It should be the right size for you, your body and your hand. Your gun selection is the most important decision. Here is an article that can help, What Kind of Gun? A safe holster is one that is designed for your gun and secures to your body correctly and comfortably. Finally, the clothing you wear to cover your gun must be considered. All of these things are necessary and of equal importance. They work together for a safe and complete concealed and carry system.
You will likely need a variety of different concealed carry holster styles that work with different clothing choices and your activities. Carrying your gun in a specially designed concealed carry purse or briefcase is an option that is very appealing to many women. This poses a set of problems that are not ideal for ultimate personal defense or general firearm safety which we will discuss below. We will tackle On The Body concealed carry holsters for women first as this is the preferred method. We suggest you find the one(s) that work for you and use this as your primary method of conceal and carry.
Here are the current options for effective conceal and carry ordered by location on the body:
Belt or On The Waist Carry
Belt carry or on the waist carry, is the preferred and most common form of concealed carry for women. It is the first and best choice. Although alternatives are offered here, it is important to know and remember that alternative methods of carry are just that: alternatives to the preferred method. The larger and wider the firearm is, the harder it is to keep concealed. The heavier it is, the less comfortable it is to carry, a very important thing to consider when selecting your self defense gun. Not all of these options require a belt. Some of clips that clip on the waistband without a belt.
Belt carry or on the waist carry is the most comfortable on the body form of concealed carry of a gun for most women. With a properly designed holster, it also offers a high level of security and easy access to your gun, should you need it. Belt carry also works with much of women's clothing styles. Pants of all kinds, skirts, shorts etc. As mentioned above, most belt holsters are designed for men and one size does not fit all, especially when curves and wider hips are involved.
The belt is a key to comfortable and effective on the belt carry. I recommend you purchase a good sturdy contoured leather belt. These have the slight U shape when lying flat. The belt must be wide enough to fully support and distribute the weight of the firearm.
There are many variations of belt carry and on the waist holsters and your gun can be belt carried on the outside of the belt or inside.
Outside the belt with clip, belt slots or paddle (OWB Outside The Waist Band)
Carrying outside the waistband is naturally more comfortable and easier to draw from than inside the waistband. It also will be cooler in warmer climates and the gun does not touch your skin. Concealment outside the waistband requires larger, longer shirts or garments to effectively hide the gun. In some states it is legal to open carry, in which you can wear your gun without cover. The concern here is that with the firearm exposed someone could grab your firearm out of its holster. A locking holster with a Thumb Break (a strap or mechanism that must be opened or released to withdraw the firearm) would be necessary to keep this from happening. Outside the waistband holsters come with clips to clip onto the belt or waistband, with slots for your belt to secure the holster or with a paddle that lays flat on the inside of the pants.
The Annie holster requires a belt. This holster is specifically designed for a woman's body. It is model specific so not all models will fit in this holster.
The Magnetic on the waist holster requires no belt and is a great option for slacks and thinner waisted pants and shorts
The Build Your Own on the waist holster is one that is made specifically for your firearm and you can choose the leather and thread color to your own taste.
You must wear a jacket, long sweater or vest that you will have on the entire time you are out to carry outside the belt.
Inside the belt with clip (IWB - Inside the Waist Band)
Carrying the firearm with the bulk of the firearm inside the waistband is a very popular form of concealed carry with women as only the grip or butt needs to be covered and the firearm is very accessible and easy to draw. Most regular women's shirts will cover sufficiently and most pants can "stretch" to make the adjustment necessary to fit the firearm.
The Betty holster is a sleek, low riding in the pants holster made for many firearm models. These have a tuck-able "slot" to tuck your shirt into in-between the clip and the firearm itself.
The Build Your Own in the pants holster is made specifically for your firearm and you can choose the leather and thread color to your own taste.
The location of where you carry is a personal one. What is comfortable and easy for you to draw from are the keys. Most common are on the strong side (the same side as your shooting hand) in the front or towards the back just off the hip with the handle angled properly for easy drawing or appendix carry with the gun placed in front, between your belly button and your hip. There is a tuck-able model that has a "slot" to tuck your shirt into in-between the clip and the firearm itself.
This is practical for women when wearing pants, slacks, or a skirt with strong waistband or shorts. There are options made in leather, plastic and nylons.
Other waist area methods are:
Women's Compression Concealment shorts are a way for women to carry and conceal a handgun when they're wearing a skirt, slacks, gym shorts, sweat pants, jeans, or dress pants without a belt. The concealed holster is made from surgical grade elastic and sewn into a pair of authentic compression shorts and holds your firearm securely. They feature two holsters offering ambidextrous concealment and you can also carry spare magazines, or other important items on the other side.
The sling style Thundewear is made from cotton and is worn under your garments but over your underwear. The low below the belly position makes for very good conceal-ability.
Another option is the compression tank top. These "undershirts" have holster pockets on both sides and holds the firearm just under the arm pit. These are not considered fast draw holsters as depending on the clothing you are wearing - you will have to get to the firearm to draw it, this can slow up your draw time considerably.
They are very comfortable and a great option for women to effectively conceal carry in many clothing styles.
Fanny pack style
A Fanny pack holster has the look of an ordinary fanny pack but carries a concealed handgun in a hidden compartment in the back of the pack. This fanny pack style concealment holster allows you to carry a pistol or other protection device like pepper spray. These can be helpful when warm weather dictates dressing in light clothes. A handgun can be drawn from the concealed carry position very quickly. You pull the front of the bag with one hand to open the firearm compartment and draw with the other hand.
Fanny pack carry is very comfortable and the look is quite common when walking outdoors, at events or large spectator events. Unlike purse carry, a properly designed fanny pack provides the quickest access to the firearm if you need it in a hurry, and as it is secured to your body - you are less likely lose it or have another snatch it off of you.
A very good option for women and preferred over purse carry as it is on your body. These can be worn with any clothing style. The key factor is are you able to keep it on your body at all times?
Belly Bands and Underwraps
These work very well when wearing skirts or dress slacks without belt loops. The belly band allows you to position the firearm high or low, toward the front or toward either side.
Carrying your firearm in your pants or jacket pocket is an option, but jacket or vest carry makes it easy to become separated from the firearm, which of course makes for a serious safety issue. Pocket carry is only practical with very small firearms or very large pockets. There are many pocket holster styles and materials. The most important thing is that it covers the trigger guard area completely to protect and prevent accidental discharges. The pants you wear must also have enough room in the pockets to comfortably pocket the firearm. If you wear looser pant styles, or cargo pants with multiple pockets this may be a comfortable option for you.
A pocket holster is also necessary when carrying your firearm in your purse or any other bag. It must cover the trigger guard to prevent you from accidentally pulling the trigger while reaching in your bag or getting small objects in your purse in the trigger guard area. They are available in fine leathers as well as nylons in fun prints.
Ankle and Thigh Holsters
When wearing pants, the ankle holster can be a good option and can be worn quite comfortably all day long. These wrap around the ankle with a holster on the side. Many come with an optional calf support and some padding for added comfort. Because of the loose nature of the hem of the pant leg, this keeps your firearm very well concealed without bumps and lumps in your clothing.
There are some challenges with ankle carry. One is that it is impossible to draw your gun while you are moving or running away from danger. It is; however, good in a situation in which you are sitting such most of the time, as at the office. The draw from standing can be awkward and practice is necessary. Thrusting your leg out to the side or front as in a lunge can make drawing faster.
The thigh holster is a great option when wearing dresses or skirts. The waistband with garter keeps it from sliding down. You can adjust the height to accommodate your skirt and surprisingly, when worn correctly are unseen, even when sitting.
These holsters are designed to attach to your bra in the center between the two cups. They offer easy access when wearing a blouse, shirt or sweater. There are two forms of bra carry. One clasps the holster to the center of your bra, the barrel and handle tuck slightly under the bra underwire. The second clips on teh outside of the cup and the smoothest draw is through the top of the shirt.
To be blunt - the more you've got- the larger the firearm you can conceal and the better you can conceal it. So for those of you who are well endowed this can be a very comfortable and effective form of concealed carry.
One concern is that the firearm can cover the non-shooting arm as the firearm is pulled from the holster and raised to shoot. Practice and awareness are necessary with this form of holster.
The Flashbang shown above right is worn in the center of the bra.
The Marilyn shown to the right is worn on the inside of the side of the bra cup
This off body method of concealed and carry is most appealing to women as most of us carry a purse, so there is no added equipment to attach to our bodies. As stated earlier, on the body carry is superior in all aspects, and the recommended form of concealed and carry. Thieves will target your purse for your money and credit cards, which lands them with your firearm too. A firearm that is carried in a purse is also at great risk of a child or other innocent accidentally getting ahold of your firearm and of course the results could be tragic. A great responsibility that comes with firearm ownership and carrying a weapon is its security and inaccessibility to others, especially children. Carrying a firearm in a purse requires the firearm be holstered in an appropriate holster in a separate compartment of the purse, preferably lockable. The trigger guard must be covered completely to prevent anything in your purse from accidentally levering the trigger either on its own, or when you reach in to grasp the firearm. The purchase of a concealed carry purse which is designed for this purpose is highly recommended. They have separate, lockable compartments with a holster built in to hold the firearm safely and in the correct position. Most have side compartments so you can discreetly have your hand on the holstered firearm when in dangerous, dark situations, such as dark parking lots.
Another challenge has been design. Naturally there is not the selection as with traditional purses. So some sacrifices in "style" may be necessary. Finding a well made purse with a simple design that will work with multiple clothing choices is possible.
Briefcases and planners
These options are the least recommended options as they are very likely to be set down and left unattended. As with the purse, these must have separate compartments with attached holsters. In the planners these offer discreetness when opening the unit to use as a planner. Currently there is a very limited selection of stylish briefcases and planners.
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Here are some links for further study when considering concealed carry as a woman.
For information on statistics related to women and safety please visit the following websites:
Crime Characteristics / Statistics - Bureau of Justice
Criminal Offender / Statistics - Bureau of Justice
Drugs and Crime / Statistics - Bureau of Justice
Sexual Victimization of College Women -National Institutes of Justice
Stalking in CollegeLINKS
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