Defensive Strategy

By Lyn Bates,
Contributing Editor

In this column I’ve been talking, for years, to women who want to have a firearm for personal protection. Once you have one, or even before you buy one, the issue arises, where and how will you carry the darn thing?
Holsters have evolved, from “bra holsters” were a joke―all lace and lingerie―to the functional, developed by a woman, wonderful for many women, called the FlashBang. The desire to carry concealed on-body while doing many outdoor activities has given rise to a sports bra with an underarm holster (Under Tech Undercover Concealment women’s midriff half-tank) and the same company’s concealment tank top
Thigh holsters have also evolved, from lacy jokes to ones that are actually functional, however you must wear a skirt, dress, or exactly the right shorts which is not practical for many women.
In the discussion of “Where should a woman carry a concealed gun?” I have always advocated gun purses, because any place that is safe enough for your money is safe enough for your gun. For most men that location is on body. Most men carry a wallet in their pocket, so on-body feels safe enough for their gun. Most women carry a wallet in their purse, so that is safe enough for a gun.
To those who say “But a purse can be snatched” I say, “Yes, and a pocket can be picked. Have you, or anyone you know ever lost a wallet or a purse or a gun that way?“ The answer is usually “No,” because most women have learned to be smart about ordinary purse security and are easily able to scale up to gun purse security just as men are able to scale up for their on-body carry.
To those who say, “Drawing from a purse is slow” I say, “Yes, but that is one of the compromises many women are willing to make in order to have the advantages of complete concealment, one consistent method, less expense than buying different or larger clothing for on-body carry. It will be with you every day, compatible with changing wardrobes, and more.”
I have been telling women that anywhere that is safe enough for their wallet is safe enough for a gun, so consider getting a gun purse, maybe a little bigger than the one you have now for concealed carry. The purse needs to be one you like to carry, and women are very particular about what they like and what they will carry.
Here is the current problem. Purses are getting smaller and smaller, as cell phones with Square, ApplePay and others make carrying cash obsolete. Many millennials don’t carry a purse at all, or carry just the smallest that will do. Big purses, which mean most “gun purses,” are going the way of the dodo.
Now the most precious thing people carry is their phone, not a wallet. What does this mean for those who also want to carry a gun?
Where do YOU carry your phone?
When I ask women that sometimes the answer is “In my hand. then sometimes I put it down on a table or desk.” Often the answer is “In a pocket” (the matching one inadequate for a gun) or “in a purse” but they aren’t likely to want to scale it up in size.
There are jackets and vests for travelers that are so full of pockets that no woman needs to carry a purse. These are often wonderful for concealed carry (WITH A POCKET HOLSTER) as a few of the pockets will be bigger than phone size. I know, jackets and vests are not suitable for many people in many climates or at many jobs.
Women’s clothes have notoriously small pockets. One woman said, “I wear men’s clothing and use the big pockets they have.” Wonderful for you, if men’s clothes fit your body.
If you have a pair of pants that you would like to have a pocket in that would be enough for a gun you might be able to take it to a tailor who can put a custom pocket in for you.
Let’s go back to purses. What is needed now?
There are starting to be small cell phone cases with long straps that can be worn over the shoulder or crossbody. They are usually just big enough for the phone, a lipstick and a driver’s license, but maybe some enterprising person will enlarge one just enough to have a separate compartment for a small gun.
Fanny packs are decidedly old fashioned, but there are a variety of things like waist packs that go around one’s waist or crossbody bags to allow one to carry a few things while biking, running, or just living. Some are stretchy, some attach with a clip or in other ways. If you find one good enough for a gun, please let me know. I’ve been searching…