I decided that for me, handbag carry is simply not an option. Annnd... cue the wardrobe crisis.
After spending months checking out different carry systems online and in stores, I stumbled across Can Can Concealment: a burlesque-inspired holster company with a fun, feminine name and frills and ribbons to top it all off. Naturally, "skeptical" is a big understatement for how I felt about using one of their holsters.
Still, I decided to give it a shot (ha, ha)--and I was pleasantly surprised! This holster melted away the anxiety of safely concealing a handgun as a lady.
The system is built on a hip-hugging compression band with a long row of hook-and eye closures on the side and elasticized pockets that can accommodate four different IWB positions: ten, two, four and eight o'clock, a.k.a. the left and right appendix and kidney positions (kidney position shown in the cover photo). My preferred position is right-hand appendix, and using the size Large Classic Hip Hugger holster, I was able to effortlessly pack my Sig Sauer P938 BRG, a 5.9-inch-long 9mm subcompact with a fairly bulky molded grip.
But don't take my word for it--a picture's worth a thousand. Below, I've included some high-def photos from a few angles alongside "exposed" shots for comparison.
As you can see, the holster doesn't work miracles, but it comes very close. These pants are those lightweight, summertime-in-Texas stretchy kind that'll "print" with a few credit cards in my back pocket, and I'm wearing them with a form-fitting size Small American Apparel t-shirt. Even still, this holster actually makes them work with a gun. Although you might see a lump from some angles, it does not print in the shape of a firearm, and someone who isn't looking for one would never notice anything. Additionally, it's easy to stick extra mags, a slim flashlight, a knife, and other goodies into a pocket you're not using for your weapon.
An important note: unlike some elastic belly bands and ladies' concealment systems I've looked into, the Can Can Concealment holster is a true holster, in the sense that the gun is in the same position every time you wear it. This is a really important safety point for me. Fumbling around at my waist after the gun has wiggled or shifted is not good in a self-defense situation.
Finally, before I get to the final scoring drilldown, I want to mention that I also tried on Can Can Concealment's full-size hip hugger holster, which is called the Big Shebang, with my Glock 19. Under a loose sweater, it was securely and comfortably concealed in the kidney position at about a 12-degree angle. However, I would need to loosen up my wardrobe quite a bit if I wanted to carry the Glock day to day. For me, the Classic Hip Hugger with a 9mm subcompact strikes a perfect balance.
Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
Probably the holster's strongest suit. This thing makes it more comfortable to carry a gun than to wear your average bra. It's obviously designed with a woman's hips and waist in mind, which is worth a lot to me. You really can wear this all day and forget about it. It's also not a hassle in the bathroom. The company's slogan "Every Woman, Every Gun, Every Wardrobe" really rang true for me.
I gave the holster a vigorous test by jumping, running, sitting down, standing up, etc. I found the retention more than adequate.
I found it very easy to draw quickly without any help from my left hand.
This holster costs $85. That might be a pretty penny compared to some other IWB options, but it's a specialized product made in the States, so I think the price is reasonable.
A holster that actually looks and feels sexy. What more could you ask?
Although I haven't had the holster for a long time, it seems sturdy and I'm confident that it will last. If not, though, Can Can Concealment offers a nice six-month replacement policy on all their products in case of any manufacturing defects.
This is a truly thoughtful option that makes it much easier to carry on your person as a woman. It stays put during everyday and athletic activities, and it accommodates my firearms and other gear smoothly. Customer service is very responsive to sizing questions and other inquiries. Despite my initial doubts, I'm now a big fan, and I absolutely recommend giving this holster a try.
Here is a link to Can Can Concealment's website.