Summer and early fall mean a more relaxed lifestyle for most, along with more daylight to pack with more activities, including honing personal protection skills and just having some old-fashioned fun on the range.
While most of the products discussed here are certainly useful year-round, they have a summery vibe that may inspire you to check the respective companies’ websites or check at your local gun shop for these, or similar products.
For many women, the change of season means a change of handbag. Largely propelled by women who
made the first such bags for themselves and then built their business through word-of-mouth and gun show attendance, the first examples of gun purses, while filling the bill admirably, had, like the fanny packs before them, a not quite invisible “gun in here,” quality about them.
There are now nearly as many concealed carry purse options available as there are non-carry bags and the number of women who carry this way has also grown. It makes sense that if you do carry this way, you might want more than one bag—one for the warmer months, and perhaps, one for dressier occasions.
For those who use a purse for concealed carry, a change of bag will necessitate more than just shifting your bag’s contents (including your gun) from one place to another. Familiarity with the product and practice will be key. Most of the companies producing concealed carry bags, including the one we have featured here, have videos on their websites to guide you through the mechanics of use, but, as with everything, practice makes perfect.
A more sporting looking, non-leather bag might be your pick for summer, and we chose Concealed Carrie’s fabric crossbody bag, in “Spice” as a good example of a casual-looking bag for warmer weather.
The vertical Casual Carrie line of lightweight microfiber Crossbody handbags with brown synthetic leather trim maximizes function and space. The unique compact design includes a discreetly hidden ambidextrous exterior firearm compartment with magnetic closure for quick easy access. The main compartment offers storage pockets with additional room for personal items. Discreet exterior cellular phone pocket allows for quick easy retrieval. The removable shoulder strap easily adjusts up to 52” for crossbody comfort. All Concealed Carrie handbags come with a Concealed Carrie key chain and fashion tassel. This handbag best accommodates any compact or sub-compact handgun and can also securely hold Tasers, stun guns, pepper sprays and like forms of non-lethal self-
Also from Concealed Carrie and designed by women, the Concealed Carrie Athletic Shirt is for women who want the opportunity to protect and defend themselves while enjoying the great outdoors. Ambidextrous concealed carry pockets positioned below the breast bone allow for a free range of motion yet safely and securely store
a handgun, Taser, pepper spray or similar self-defense product. The hook and loop zippered closures allow for quick and easy access. The drawstring waistband tightens and adjusts to specific body types while elastic at the base reduces vertical motion. Concealed Carrie’s athletic top is best suited for use while walking, hiking, and cycling. Runners will notice increased vertical motion depending on the weight of the desired self-defense products. Compact firearms are best suited and suggested. Currently available in black with color-block wicking fabric in bright apple green that breathes and draws moisture away from the body. Available in sizes S-XL, $94. Removable, adjustable holster not included, but the company carries those as well.
Whatever the setting, you might want to add a little drama—and some fun—by using something other than a black and white bullseye target. Maybe you’re headed out to the family’s summer cottage (lucky you!) where there will be an opportunity for some intergenerational plinking. Or perhaps you’ve finally convinced a few work friends to head out to your club to try some shooting and see what you’ve been raving about.
Birchwood Casey is one of “the” names in the target business, and as they pioneered the popular Shoot-N-C targets they also developed a number of other options to make target practice less like practice and more like fun.
Their “burst” targets come in a variety of sizes in orange and black, and when the target is hit, a bright white burst appears so that you can see your hits from almost any distance. The 6” bullseye version is 12” and self-adhesive with four targets per sheet and available in 25 and 100 packs.
Bullseye not challenging enough? Add some more fun and perhaps a shiver or two with Birchwood Casey’s Darkotic series, a line of 4-color zombie themed 12×18” targets. We found the Ground Crew appealing as we’ve never quite understood the love of garden gnomes lurking in beds of perfectly innocent petunias. Each hit on the splattering targets explodes in a white or neon green halo around the bullet hole, so you instantly know where you hit the target. Shots specific to the head area result in a highly-visible neon green halo. Great for use with all firearms and calibers, according to Birchwood Casey. The Darkotic line is extensive, so you can target practice on everything from zombie pirates to zombie rats.
One of the many joys of summer is casting aside your extensive collection of sweaters and getting out your favorite summer clothes.
A number of companies are now marketing women’s outdoor clothing lines and one of the best is Colorado-based Prois Hunting.
They don’t just make hunting gear (although they have you covered for just about every hunting situation).
The Prois Adventure Pants were designed for your day at the shooting range, your African Safari, your high alpine mountain goat hunt or just a day in the great outdoors. Lightweight and stretchable fabric engineered with 94% nylon and 6% spandex. Waistline rests at the natural waist. Cut with ample room through rear, hips and thighs. Elastic drawstring cuffs to keep pants tight to boots. Plenty of pockets to protect your valuables. Comfortable and flattering. XXS-XXL, regular $129.99, now $100 in stone or olive.
Top those pants off with the company’s Ultra Short Sleeve Shirt in wicking polyester. Available in XS-XL, $44. Realtree AP, Realtree MAX1 and Black. Prois website also has a “girls” tab, if you’re mentoring a youngster to the pleasures of the outdoors.
A place for everything and everything in its place is one of those so-called old wives tales that has stood the test of time. Being organized is a great time saver, and when you’re headed out to the range, you don’t want to spend all your time hunting down your gear.
Browning makes an extensive line of range bags, but we’ll settle for highlighting the Cimmaron II two-pistol range bag. It’s compact size holds two pistols and other gear with durable water-repellent PVC exterior.
It has the great looks of all the Cimmaron line of bags and cases. And with the added good looks of a fuchsia trim and Buck Mark logo.
Features include: 600 denier water-repellent PVC shell and two padded pistol pockets with lockable zip closure. The main compartment has double zip opening for easy access. Adjustable padded shoulder strap with 12 elasticized interior magazine loops. The 8×8-1/2×13 bag weighs 3 pounds empty and carries a suggested retail of $49.99 (although we found it a little cheaper online).