Dress to impress without leaving your concealed carry gun at home.
Many women make their selection of firearm for concealed carry based on what they can incorporate into existing wardrobes. When fashion dictates the choice of life saving equipment, rather than the other way around, it’s time for a serious conversation about priorities.
This isn’t to say we all need to start wearing mumus and holstering up the biggest double stack 1911 ever made. It is important to realize that making a few alterations in the way we dress is a small price to pay compared to value of your life.
Because women come in all gorgeous shapes and sizes, and we make up a growing demographic of consumers in the firearm industry, the market has responded to meet our unique needs.
Holsters are being designed specifically with women in mind and for carry locations that work best for our curves and contours. There are bra holsters, inside the waistband (IWB), outside the waistband (OWB), thigh rigs, ankle holsters, corsets, belly bands, and many more. Finding options isn’t as hard as settling on one or two types to incorporate into your day to day routine. No holster is a good one if you can’t get to it quickly and efficiently under stress or wear it daily with comfort.
For those carrying appendix, IWB or OWB, a sturdy, reliable belt is a key component to the CCW set up.
Gun belts are all over the place, but their militaristic look may not fit your personal style. Choose a wide belt that fills the straps or loops of your holster. This will keep the gun secured in place and won’t rock around when you draw or shift position during the day.
Make sure the belt is a thick, rigid, material that has the strength to support the weight of the gun without making your pants sag or warp on the draw. Lastly, choose a belt with a simple, low profile buckle to help slim down your profile and keep material from snagging when you clear your cover garment.
Revisiting your closet
There are plenty of options for women wearing skirts and dresses, but for the majority of us gals, we live our lives in casual and semi-formal attire, and that means jeans and khakis. Your pants and belt are now your holster’s holster, so it makes sense to choose fits that are flattering and comfortable with the gun on.
It’s time to revisit your closet and get the full-length mirror out. With your pant, belt, and holstered gun on, start trying on tops you already own. Raise your arms, crouch down, bend at the waist, and rotate at the hips. During any of those movements, was the gun visible from underneath or pressing through and “printing” through your clothes? You may be surprised at what works and what doesn’t and which types of garments are more successful at concealment than others.
You have your gun, holster, and your favorite jeans. Now ask yourself this: Are you ready to shop?
If you realize that concealing a gun in a cat suit just isn’t going to work and you need to go shopping, there are a few things to consider on your way to the store. Wear your favorite pants, belt, holster and gun to the store (if it is legal to do so) and test out garments in the privacy of the changing room. Should the establishment not permit firearms on the premises, inquire about their return policy before you buy so you can return what doesn’t work once you’ve tried it out at home.
The combination of the gun, holster and carry position dictate your success at concealment. Accessories can help add visual distraction as well as assist in covering areas of subtle printing. A loose cardigan over a fitted blouse can act like an FBI agents’ suit coat and cover and conceal a full size pistol on your strong-side hip. A draped scarf can cover and mask subtle printing from an IWB appendix carry gun. Accessories can be your friend so long as they don’t impede your ability to effectively draw and present your pistol.
It comes down to personal preference. Are you willing to look five pounds heavier? Are you willing to rock that three-month gun-baby bump? In the moment where your life depends on your ability to defend it, those five pounds will be worth their weight in gold.
Choose the gun that you can be the most proficient with and carry in the optimal draw location for your body type. Your ability to be accurate, consistent, and be an educated consumer is key. Build your wardrobe to complement your firearm by selecting garments that flatter as well as conceal.