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5 Best Ways To Concealed Carry With A .38 Special Revolver

revolver and handgun

Fitting A .38 Special Into Women's Concealed Carry

One of the most popular concealed carry pistols for women is still the compact .38 Special revolver. Many women have moved on to compact and subcompact 9mm pistols, but the .38 Special snubbie hangs on.

While there are, to be sure, plenty of reasons not to carry a snubbie revolver, they still have virtues. They’re simple, good examples are very reliable, they’re light and compact for easy carrying. If you put in the work and choose a good carry load, they’re accurate and effective. 

What’s the best way to concealed carry with a .38 Special revolver? Here are 5 easy ways to make it easy, comfortable and effective…

Different gun experts and enthusiasts have varied opinions. So, which is better for self-defense? The short answer is…kind of complicated. Really, the answer is whichever you shoot best, but the devil is in the details, really.

Regardless of which you choose you will need a concealed carry holster to carry it in every day.

A .38 Special Revolver In An IWB Holster

belt and holster combo for women
Tactica Defense Fashion's IWB Holster

Of course, the best method for concealed carry would be to carry your .38 Special in an IWB 

holster. It’s more or less the default method for daily concealed carry and for good reason. 

It’s typically the best balance of comfort, concealment and function. An IWB holster of good design can be carried all day without issue and is easy to cover up. 

A good IWB holster also gives you a smooth, clean draw from concealment so you can get the gun on target in training and, if you ever have to, when it really matters. 

That’s why the IWB holster is considered the first, best choice for concealed carry, whether it’s with a .38 Special revolver, a modern slim subcompact 9mm, or a 1911 Government model in .45 ACP. 

A .38 Special Goes Great In An Ankle Holster As A Backup Gun

tactica ankle holster
Tactica Defense Fashion's Ankle Holster

One of the classic roles for a compact .38 Special is as a backup gun in an ankle holster. It’s definitely old-school, but sometimes the old ways of doing things hold on…usually because they work. 

Obviously, ankle carry is not a good idea as a primary carry method. Accessing the gun in an emergency is awkward and slow, unless you’re already sitting, kneeling or on the flat of your back. 

As a last ditch, it’s one of the best ways to have a second gun on you in case the first runs out of ammunition or fails. However, you have to take care to find an ankle holster that offers you good support and is comfortable to carry with, or else you’ll find reasons not to wear it. 

Concealed Carry In An OWB Holster Is Also Easy

holster for women outside the waistband
Tactica Defense Fashion's OWB Holster

Another proven method for concealed carry with a .38 Special revolver, or almost any gun, is with a high-ride OWB holster. With the right holster and cover garment, it’s just as easy to fully conceal a gun as with an IWB.  

With a small pistol like a compact revolver, OWB concealment is incredibly easy. An OWB holster that rides high on the belt and tight to the body just requires a light outer layer over top and little else; you don’t need a jacket to cover a small pistol. 

Many people also find OWB concealment the most comfortable way to carry a handgun. It’s arguably the most functional concealment method, as having the gun outside the waistband facilitates a faster draw. 

This was the most popular way to conceal and carry a gun for a very long time, and it won’t take you long to figure out why. 

In A Concealed Carry Purse...With A Purse Holster

drawing from red concealed carry purse
Tactica Defense Fashion's Contemporary Concealed Carry Purse

The old-fashioned standard for women’s concealed carry was a .38 Special revolver in a concealed carry purse. You still can, of course…but you need to do it right. 

What you don’t want to do is just put a loaded gun in your purse. The purse can be stolen. Even double-action triggers can be snagged. A loaded gun just tucked into a purse can be grabbed by a toddler. 

Modern guns are made to be drop-safe, but drop-fires do happen and they have happened a lot from guns carried in purses that were dropped. 

If you’re going to use a concealed carry purse correctly, it needs a dedicated holster compartment. You should have a purse holster inside that compartment, which holds the pistol securely and protects the trigger guard. 

The purse should be carried cross-body, so it’s securely attached to you and for a more efficient draw. 

And, of course, you should love the purse while you’re at it! 

A Corset Holster Makes Deep Concealment Easy

nude corset holster
Tactica Defense Fashion's Corset Holster

A more modern way to concealed carry a .38 Special revolver is with a corset holster

A concealed carry corset gives you a bit more freedom in terms of wardrobe as you don’t need a belt to support the holster as you do with an OWB or an IWB. 

Take care, however, to select your cover garment. It needs to conceal the corset and the gun, with minimal imprinting. It must also facilitate quick access to the pistol for training as well as in the moment of truth, should it ever arrive. 

Getting a concealed carry top like a two-piece, concealed carry sweater or hoodie with a false pocket is a great idea, as this lets you reach the pistol through the hole in the cover garment. 

However, take care to select a concealed carry corset that’s made correctly. It should be sized for you, and protect the trigger guard for safe carrying. This requires more than just fabric; the holster pocket should have a rigid liner to keep the gun protected. 

If you equip yourself with the right corset holster, and the right cover garment to match, it’s a breathtakingly easy and comfortable way to carry a .38 Special revolver. 

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