Concealed Carry, A Woman’s Perspective

 

shutterstock_294491978I’m not sure why it was that — when I moved back to Nashville after my two-year sojourn in New York — I suddenly became interested in guns. I grew-up knowing they were in the house, but it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I decided I needed to learn to protect myself. My dad had always offered to teach me how to shoot, and I finally took him up on it. When I went to the range for the first time, I was simultaneously intimidated and thrilled. And after that first real squeeze of the trigger… I was hooked!

I got my first gun — a Ruger LC9 — for Christmas that year and soon started the process of getting my concealed carry license. That was the easy part; figuring out how to actually carry concealed was the hard part. At the time, I didn’t know another woman who carried concealed, so I had to figure out on my own what worked and what didn’t, since the guys that worked at the gun store were about as helpful as titties on a boar hog. So, to save the other ladies of Ricochet some of the trouble I had to go through, here are the things that I’ve learned as a woman carrying concealed:

  1. The best gun to buy is the gun that you’ll actually carry everyday. I get a lot of flack from my bros at the gun store for carrying a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 because “It’s too small,” “You need something with more stopping power,” “You’re going to hate shooting it,” and “That’s not a real gun.” All of these things may be true. I do hate shooting it, and I wish I could carry a larger caliber, but facts are facts: As a woman, I’m not built to accommodate a .45 caliber handgun. Women’s bodies are curvy (something you gents are thankful for), but this means that a gun sits differently against our waist and hip. But the biggest obstacle women face in on-body carry is our clothes. Oy! Women’s clothes are not meant to conceal a gun, so it’s for this reason that I carry different caliber pistols at different times of the year. When it’s sweater and coat weather, I’m all about carrying one of my 9mm guns; but, as soon as it turns to t-shirt and tank top weather, the .380 is coming out.
  2. Clothes are a woman’s best friend … and our worst enemy. Women’s clothes really aren’t meant to carry concealed: Our jeans have stretch in them that doesn’t support a heavy pistol, the pockets on our pants are virtually nonexistent, and our clothes are tighter and often made of thinner fabrics. However, because we have so much variety and possibilities in our wardrobes, carrying concealed is easier than many women think… just not as convenient. I’m a big believer in dressing like a normal person. You don’t have to wear cargo pants and baggy shirts in order to on-body carry. I dress what I call “pseudo hipster:” skinny jeans, ankle pants, and maxi dresses. I wear all these things, but I do have to make modifications to carry. As a result, cardigans are my best friend. Light little cardigans in summer, and drapey sweaters in winter. With some wardrobe modification I can carry almost every day.
  3. A low-profile holster is essential. Every guy I know raves and raves about the Cross Breed holsters. I have one like it, but it really doesn’t work for me. Because women’s clothing has more stretch and is generally lighter, bulky holsters “print” really easily. I discovered the (don’t laugh) Pin-Up Collection from Looper Law Enforcement. It’s an entire line of holsters designed especially for women. I have a couple different holster styles from them — including their equivalent of the Cross Breed — but the ultra low-profile kydex Betty style is my favorite. It has a heavy metal clip that doesn’t require a big belt, which makes it easy for me to adjust the kant. I can wear it with yoga pants, bike shorts under a sundress, maxi dress, or skirt. And it allows me to reposition the holster easily. There are other products out there targeted towards women’s concealed carry, and the Internet has a wealth of resources on the matter.
  4. Don’t let the guys at the gun store bully or intimidate you. The only time I’ve ever experienced blatant sexism was at the gun shop. I can’t tell you how many times when I asked to see a particular model of gun, the guy behind the counter would hand me the pink or Tiffany Blue one. I even had one guy say, with a knowing twinkle in his eye, “I’ll bet you like that pink handle, don’t you?” to which I replied, “No, not really. I don’t feel the need for my gun to demonstrate to the world that I have a vagina.” Many times, the guy were genuinely clueless as to why they were steering me in the wrong direction. “You could put this holster in your jeans pocket,” they’d say. “Um, no, I can’t,” I’d say back. Eventually, the guys saw that I was a good shot — and could take their teasing in stride — and even came to see how, as a woman, I carry differently than a man. You just have to suck it up, and show them you’re made of stronger stuff.
  5. Carry the same way everyday. There are lots of ways you can on-body carry: ankle, back, hip, appendix, bra, belly, thigh. Just pick one, and carry the same way everyday. Much of the purpose of training and practice are to create muscle memory, so that we can react without having to think in a stressful situation. Carrying in a different manner everyday will obliterate that muscle memory.
  6. Purse carry sounds great, but… no. I can remember maybe five times in the past two years that I’ve carried my gun in my purse. I’m pretty vehemently against purse carry, because the last thing you want to do when confronted with an attacker is have to dig through your Mary Poppins purse to find your gun. And when was the last time you cleaned out your purse? It’s filthy in there! You don’t want that junking up your gun. Yes, I realize there are concealed carry purses with special pockets reserved for your gun, but — come on! — they’re hideous! But my biggest reason for not liking purse carry is how distant we are from our purses and how easily they can be snatched. We set our purses down on counters, on the floor, in the back seat, and the grocery cart. Purses are easy to misplace and easy to get stolen.
  7. Learning to protect yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself. Feminists are missing the boat when it comes to real female empowerment. You cannot rely on others to protect you at all times and — if you want something done — you have to do it yourself. The other day, I saw the story of a very pretty nurse and single mom in Seattle that had gone on a date with a guy from Match.com (we’re pretty sure Whiskey Sam’s alibi is tight), and he murdered her on their date. Carrying a gun can’t ensure that nothing bad will ever happen, but it gives you a fighting chance if it does.

For some illustration of how this works, I’ve posted some photographs and videos on the Members Feed.

 

There are 58 comments.

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  1. Member

    Vicryl Contessa:And just for funsies:

    IMG_0016

    Really gotta watch the cats. They are all assassins on the side, some working for the government:

    carcat1

    • #1
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:06 pm
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  2. Member

    Damn, Vicryl! You can nurse a man back to life…or put him in his grave! I like the versatility. Because some people need to be kept alive. And some people need to be put in the grave.

    • #2
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:06 pm
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  3. Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    Gary McVey:Damn, Vicryl! You can nurse a man back to life…or put him in his grave! I like the versatility. Because some people need to be kept alive. And some people need to be put in the grave.

    This may be one of the greatest comments I’ve ever gotten on a post.

    • #3
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:08 pm
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  4. Member

    Gary McVey:Damn, Vicryl! You can nurse a man back to life…or put him in his grave! I like the versatility. Because some people need to be kept alive. And some people need to be put in the grave.

    Her rates are pretty steep Gary…….

    • #4
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:10 pm
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  5. Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    1967mustangman:

    Gary McVey:Damn, Vicryl! You can nurse a man back to life…or put him in his grave! I like the versatility. Because some people need to be kept alive. And some people need to be put in the grave.

    Her rates are pretty steep Gary…….

    That depends on whether I’m saving or taking out.

    • #5
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:11 pm
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  6. Moderator

    Vicryl Contessa: Carry the same way everyday. There are lots of ways you can on-body carry: ankle, back, hip, appendix, bra, belly, thigh. Just pick one, and carry the same way everyday.

    Um… what if you’ve had your appendix removed (and how do you retrieve a gun from there, anyhow)?

    • #6
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:13 pm
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  7. Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Vicryl Contessa: Carry the same way everyday. There are lots of ways you can on-body carry: ankle, back, hip, appendix, bra, belly, thigh. Just pick one, and carry the same way everyday.

    Um… what if you’ve had your appendix removed (and how do you retrieve a gun from there, anyhow)?

    With your appendix gone, you should have more room!

    • #7
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:18 pm
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  8. Member

    1967mustangman:

    Gary McVey:Damn, Vicryl! You can nurse a man back to life…or put him in his grave! I like the versatility. Because some people need to be kept alive. And some people need to be put in the grave.

    Her rates are pretty steep Gary…….

    You know how it is, Stang. There are those occasional days at work when I’d consider either one, depending on the price quote.

    • #8
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:19 pm
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  9. Inactive

    Vicryl will be one of the featured models for Ricochet’s new calender, Hotties with Heaters.

    • #9
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:20 pm
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  10. Member

    Vicryl Contessa:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Vicryl Contessa: Carry the same way everyday. There are lots of ways you can on-body carry: ankle, back, hip, appendix, bra, belly, thigh. Just pick one, and carry the same way everyday.

    Um… what if you’ve had your appendix removed (and how do you retrieve a gun from there, anyhow)?

    With your appendix gone, you should have more room!

    And you just whip it out through that scar.

    • #10
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:21 pm
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  11. Member

    Douglas:Vicryl will be one of the featured models for Ricochet’s new calender, Hotties with Heaters.

    That’s a brilliant idea.

    • #11
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:21 pm
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  12. Member

    Well done, informative post, VC. As a new (after a hiatus) gun owner I appreciate your sharing the things you’ve learned from your own experiences – useful for an old dude too.

    • #12
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:23 pm
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  13. Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    Arahant:

    Douglas:Vicryl will be one of the featured models for Ricochet’s new calender, Hotties with Heaters.

    That’s a brilliant idea.

    I think that would mostly consist of me and Barka.

    • #13
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:24 pm
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  14. Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    OldDan Rhody:Well done, informative post, VC. As a new (after a hiatus) gun owner I appreciate your sharing the things you’ve learned from your own experiences – useful for an old dude too.

    Actually, my dad loves the holsters I use- the low profile really makes a difference. I took some video showing my holsters, but it was too big to load…

    • #14
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:26 pm
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  15. Member

    Vicryl Contessa: I think that would mostly consist of me and Barka.

    You might be surprised. Still, that would work.

    • #15
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:26 pm
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  16. Member

    Douglas:Vicryl will be one of the featured models for Ricochet’s new calender, Hotties with Heaters.

    Douglas, after five years, you and I are finally in total agreement about something.

    • #16
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm
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  17. Moderator

    Vicryl Contessa:

    Arahant:

    Douglas:Vicryl will be one of the featured models for Ricochet’s new calender, Hotties with Heaters.

    That’s a brilliant idea.

    I think that would mostly consist of me and Barka.

    Well, that depends… Are all categories of heaters all0wed?

    妇女在加热器附近温暖-28327631

    • #17
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm
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  18. Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Vicryl Contessa:

    Arahant:

    Douglas:Vicryl will be one of the featured models for Ricochet’s new calender, Hotties with Heaters.

    That’s a brilliant idea.

    I think that would mostly consist of me and Barka.

    Well, that depends… Are all categories of heaters all0wed?

    妇女在加热器附近温暖-28327631

    You look so young!

    • #18
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:32 pm
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  19. Inactive

    Awesome post, VC, and timely for me – I just passed my CCL training here & am waiting patiently for my card to come in the mail (in another 90-120 days, thanks IL!). In the meantime, I’m practicing at the range more & considering various holster options, so I’m ready to go when my license comes. Love all your input & photos, thanks so much! I joined USCCA, and just ordered the 3-DVD ladies special on carrying concealed, have you heard of them? They provide insurance too, which I signed up for – just in case there’s ever an incident & will need an attorney & suchlike. I will check out the holsters you mentioned from Looper Law Enforcement, thanks for the tip.

    • #19
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:38 pm
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  20. Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    Lizzie in IL:Awesome post, VC, and timely for me – I just passed my CCL training here & am waiting patiently for my card to come in the mail (in another 90-120 days, thanks IL!). In the meantime, I’m practicing at the range more & considering various holster options, so I’m ready to go when my license comes. Love all your input & photos, thanks so much! I joined USCCA, and just ordered the 3-DVD ladies special on carrying concealed, have you heard of them? They provide insurance too, which I signed up for – just in case there’s ever an incident & will need an attorney & suchlike. I will check out the holsters you mentioned from Looper Law Enforcement, thanks for the tip.

    Yay! Good to have another girl in the club. You really have to play around with things. Another thing I’ve learned is that it takes a LONG time to get used to carrying, especially on-body.

    • #20
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:40 pm
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  21. Inactive

    Gary McVey:

    Douglas:Vicryl will be one of the featured models for Ricochet’s new calender, Hotties with Heaters.

    Douglas, after five years, you and I are finally in total agreement about something.

    She’s a uniter, not a divider.

    • #21
    • May 4, 2016 at 7:48 pm
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  22. Reagan

    Curious VC how long does it take to lift your dress to access your gun? Seem like an awkward maneuver when time is critical. Do you include this in your practice (bet that is interesting sight @ the range) Does it give away your “packing” status should the need arise?

    • #22
    • May 4, 2016 at 8:01 pm
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  23. Inactive

    I’ve heard same, re: playing around with what works. Our instructor told us, “get ready – you’re about to spend a lot of money trying out different holsters!” Maybe with your suggestions, I can now narrow the options & get something that works great right off the bat. ? Love the low-profile option you’re sporting, I’ll look at same, since I dress similarly & have been worried about printing thru lighter fabrics…this is another reason to love cardis! Altho – with longer, cooler temps here, I can conceal better with heavier fabrics/layers.

    • #23
    • May 4, 2016 at 8:02 pm
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  24. Member

    Excellent advice! I will plan on taking it.

    • #24
    • May 4, 2016 at 8:04 pm
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  25. Member

    Vicryl Contessa: Another thing I’ve learned is that it takes a LONG time to get used to carrying, especially on-body.

    The real problem is when you get so used to it that you forget it’s there…and then go somewhere armed where you shouldn’t.

    • #25
    • May 4, 2016 at 8:06 pm
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  26. Member

    image

    • #26
    • May 4, 2016 at 8:14 pm
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  27. Thatcher

    Arahant:

    Vicryl Contessa: Another thing I’ve learned is that it takes a LONG time to get used to carrying, especially on-body.

    The real problem is when you get so used to it that you forget it’s there…and then go somewhere armed where you shouldn’t.

    It has been amusing hearing anti-gunners sounding flabbergasted that someone could forget they were carrying a gun but entering in a no gun zone. But is true. One forgets. One begins to see it as normal when one carries.

    • #27
    • May 4, 2016 at 8:52 pm
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  28. Member

    David Carroll: One begins to see it as normal when one carries.

    Just like putting on one’s pants in the morning, and half-naked without it.

    • #28
    • May 4, 2016 at 8:58 pm
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  29. Member

    Arahant:

    Vicryl Contessa: Another thing I’ve learned is that it takes a LONG time to get used to carrying, especially on-body.

    The real problem is when you get so used to it that you forget it’s there…and then go somewhere armed where you shouldn’t.

    That would suggest forgetting your watch/cellphone or leaving your fly open going out the door. Men simply have the advantage via mode of dress when it comes to carry. Tell me where Diana Rigg carried her pistol in the Avengers.

    That aside, one never forgets when carry appies – Period.

    • #29
    • May 4, 2016 at 8:59 pm
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  30. Member

    Arahant: some working for the government:

    Which government?

    • #30
    • May 4, 2016 at 9:02 pm
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