Concealed Revealed Jeans T-shirt belly band

Concealed/Revealed: Jeans with belly band

In this new series, we’ll show different styles of women’s clothing with different holsters for concealed carry. One of the biggest challenges faced by women who concealed carry is how to effectively carry our handguns while not giving up the clothes we want to wear. Here we’ll present different approaches and options that work with our actual, everyday clothes.

For your consideration today, jeans with a fitted t-shirt and jacket for a night at the movies with the family, using a belly band holster:

Concealed carry outfit jeans tshirt
Concealed – Jeans with fitted t-shirt and jacket

 

Concealed carry outfit with belly band
Revealed – belly band at hips

 

Concealed carry outfit jeans tshirt
Concealed without jacket to show minimal printing

 

The holster is The Well Armed Woman 4″ Belly Band. The jeans are NYDJ Sheri Skinny Jeans, t-shirt is H&M, similar here, jacket is AG, similar here, ballet flats are COACH, similar here. The handgun is my easily-concealable Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380.

I was really pleased at how well this belly band concealed my .380 even considering my wearing a relatively fitted t-shirt and jeans. One of the nice things about this belly band is the ability to tweak the carry location by moving around the placement of the band’s holster. I normally like to do kidney carry, but since we were going to see a movie I knew I would be sitting for awhile and that can get quite uncomfortable. This worked out quite well, and as you can see, with minimal printing.

*Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

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Concealed/Revealed: Fitted dress with thigh holster

In this new series, we’ll show different styles of clothing with different holsters for concealed carry. One of the biggest challenges faced by women who concealed carry is how to effectively carry our handguns while not giving up the clothes we want to wear.  Here we’ll present different approaches and options that work with our actual, everyday clothes.

For your consideration today, a fitted, office-appropriate dress with thigh holster:

Concealed fitted dress
Concealed – work-ready dress and pumps
Revealed thigh holster
Revealed – Thigh Holster

The holster is the CanCan Concealment Thigh Holster. Today it was worn on it’s own (no hosiery), but it also has a separate matching garter belt. The dress is the Etsuko in Crackle by MM LaFleur. Shoes are Donald Pliner, similar here. The handgun is my trusty Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380,

*Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

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What women can teach men about concealed carry

There are many challenges for women who concealed carry, not the least of which is trying to find a holster solution (or SOLUTIONS more accurately) that will work with her clothing choices, her comfort and her lifestyle.  This is a topic of perennial discussion on women’s concealed carry forums and women’s shooter groups.

I myself have a closet full (literally) of failed and not-quite-there holster choices – everything ranging from IWB (In-Waistband) Kydex holsters, to belly bands, to thigh holsters and everything in between. I even ended up having to buy a new gun (darn!) because my beloved Sig Sauer P320 9mm printed on me no matter what holster I used.

Challenges aside, though, there are some things that women can teach men about concealed carry, as aptly discussed in this article by NRA Family: Concealed Carry: Three Things Women Can Teach Men. Women’s sense of fashion can actually benefit our fashion-challenged better halves.

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Keeping your handguns safe – at home and on the go

The primary responsibility of any gun owner is the safe handling and storage of their guns. This is especially true in situations where the gun is not in your immediate possession (on your person) and doubly especially true if you have children or others in your house who should not be allowed to access a firearm without your supervision.

Not having a gun safe was not an option for us

I know for us that when we made the decision to purchase our first handguns, the very next decision was how we were going to properly and safely store those guns when not in use to keep them out of reach from our daughter but yet also readily accessible on a daily basis.

If you are only going to own a handgun (or two) for self protection and home defense, there are plenty of small, reliable handgun safes on the market that are designed for quick access at home.

In our bedroom we have the Fort Knox Pistol Case. It’s amazingly heavy, sturdy, and I love the fact that it uses a push-button, mechanical lock.  You don’t want to have a failure in accessing your handgun if you need it in the middle of the night under stress, and unlike this safe’s push button lock, digital and biometric locks can fail, batteries can die, keys can get misplaced or lost and you can’t dial a combo lock in the dark.

This case is big enough for 2 handguns and has drill holes to bolt it to the floor or drawer for extra security. And even though it’s very heavy steel, the lid has a pneumatic hinge that allows for one-handed access.

In my car I have a portable gun vault by Nanovault, that I tether to the frame of my car and tuck out of view.  In my state, Wisconsin, as in most states, there are areas in which you’re not allowed to carry a firearm, such as governmental buildings, school zones and college campuses.

In addition, firearms are not allowed at my office so I need to have a safe place to store my gun when I head into work. As I’ve noted before, these small safes are inexpensive, and are a bare minimum for safe storage of and quick access to your handgun, particularly in your car. I’ve also used this small portable safe when carrying while traveling and want to be sure I will always have a secure place to store my gun if I need to.

What to consider when choosing a pistol safe

It’s important to think through not only the safety features but also how accessible you want your handgun to be as you think through your gun safe options.

If you’re not going to on-body carry at home, which many people do, you need to think through where you want to keep your handgun while not on body. You don’t want a situation where you can’t get to your gun if you need it, but you also want to be sure that it’s secure from unauthorized people such as children or guests when you’re not able to carry it.

Think through in what situations you will be using the safe and where you will be keeping it – in the bedroom at night, during the day while at work, or in the car or while traveling – to determine not only the kind of safe but what features you want – in particular the kind of lock (biometric, digital, push button, combination, key) and the size and layout (open from the top, open from the side).

Once you have your gun safe, it’s important to practice accessing it regularly. This is particularly true for a bedroom safe where you may keep a home defense handgun that you’re not carrying every day. Practice opening in the dark. Practice opening from on the bed or on the floor.  Practice so it becomes second nature and you can have your gun both secure and accessible when you need it.

*The products listed here I have purchased and use. Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

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Why women should buy two guns, not just one

When I first decided to get a concealed carry permit, I gave a lot of thought as to what I wanted for a handgun. I took several trips to our local gun shop, talking with the very helpful staff and trying a lot of guns in my hands.

I wasn’t comfortable handling the micro- or sub-compact guns that a lot of women tend to get directed to because of their size, and instead found a good balance of size and power in the mid-sized Sig Sauer P320 in 9mm. As an added bonus, the P320 is a modular gun, so I was able to get the medium/compact size frame and swap out the medium grips for the small grips. It feels great in my hand and is a lot of fun to shoot.

After months of training and putting many thousands of rounds through my Sig, I gained some pretty decent gun handling skills and finally felt comfortable enough to start to carry.

I purchased a few different kinds of holsters, but found that both the kinds of clothing I normally wear (skirts, dresses, t-shirts and sweaters) didn’t lend themselves to most holsters, and the holsters that did lend themselves to the clothes I wear didn’t work well with the size of my 9mm. I was printing like crazy (where you can see the outline of a gun under your clothes), and both the belly band and thigh holster I ended up with were just not big enough to allow for a quick draw of the 9mm.

Given that I didn’t want to change the kinds of clothes I wear, I needed to go back to the gun store to find a solution.

The Search for a Small Carry Gun

I went in search of a much smaller gun that I could carry on body in both the belly band and the thigh holster. I was looking for something lightweight and as thin as possible while still being able to have effective stopping power .

I found what I needed in the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380. It is the same height and length as my husband’s subcompact Sig P938, but much thinner and much lighter, due in no small part to the fact his is a tiny 9mm and mine’s a 380, which is a slightly smaller round.

There’s a catch though, and that is that I absolutely hate shooting my S&W Bodyguard.

Oh, I dutifully take it to the range every time we go, and I grudgingly put a few magazines of ammo through it, but I can’t wait to finish and pack it back up. Much like when I first went to the gun shop all those years ago and was handling those little subcompact handguns, the small 380 is no fun to handle or shoot.

Small, subcompact guns have a lot of recoil, because there isn’t enough metal to absorb the energy of an explosive bullet firing through it. If I would have purchased this as my first gun, I don’t think I would have ever purchased a second (or third or fourth). I would have never practiced, never trained, and never learned to enjoy the sport of shooting.

And that would have made me much less skilled and confident, and in turn then, much less safe in the handling of any gun.

Women especially may need multiple options for carrying

Unlike most men, who, both through their clothing choices and body structure can comfortably and effectively on-body carry a mid-sized 9mm that they feel comfortable both shooting and training with, for most women, it’s challenging.

What feels most comfortable to on-body carry (small caliber, sub-compact or micro guns), is really miserable to shoot and train with. And we all know that training and regular practice is critical if you take on the responsibility of owning a gun.

That’s why I think most women who want to concealed carry really need two guns – your first gun a great shooter to train and practice with, and, once you’ve built up your skills and confidence, a second smaller gun for on-body carry.

*Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

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4 Things to Think About Before You Buy Your First Gun

You’ve thought about buying your first gun for protection, and maybe even considered going to a concealed carry class too. Before you take that step, here are 4 things you should think about:

  1. It’s a significant monetary commitment. Buying a gun is not like buying a new sofa or new computer. When you commit to owning a gun you also commit to keeping it safe at home or in your car, carrying it safely, and training, training, training. That means beyond the cost of the gun you need to think about a gun safe, holster, lots of ammo, range fees, training costs and possibly a second gun (more on that in future posts).
  2. It’s a significant time commitment. Training and owning a gun go hand in hand. You don’t just buy a gun and then stick it in a drawer – that’s just asking to become a bad statistic. In addition, gun handling skills are perishable, meaning that you need to practice regularly (live fire at least once a month, and dry fire at least once a week) to build up the confidence and muscle memory to safely and effectively handle your gun when you need it most.
  3. It’s a significant responsibility. Much like owning a car, owning a gun means you are responsible for a tool that could kill or injure someone or cause serious damage. That means you know like your own children’s names the 4 rules of Firearms Safety and you have committed to both safe storage, safe handling and training with your guns.
  4. It’s a significant amount of fun! You may initially start to think about a gun for self protection, but when you realize the amount of practice and training you need to get really comfortable and proficient with your gun, you hopefully will learn to enjoy it as a sport or hobby. Shooting can be really fun! I actually call it a form of “range yoga” because to challenge yourself to shoot well you really need to focus, which can in its own way be quite relaxing. There is so much to learn and the community is so diverse, it’s really a life-long adventure.

We’ll be here with you all the way.