Best Ways for Women to Concealed Carry
When it comes to safety, the conventional methods women use to protect themselves have proven to be ineffective, that is why it is important to know the best ways for women to concealed carry.
Whether using pepper spray, a self-defense keychain, or your keys in between your fingers, alternative methods of self-defense will not protect you better than a firearm. For a long time, the options for women were limited. Thankfully, there are now so many more options for women when it comes to concealed carry. Inside the waistband holsters, or IWBs, are very common but are sometimes too bulky and are not always designed to be worn with women’s clothing. Women’s clothing, regardless of style or brand, is much more difficult to conceal carry in.
This growing need to find the easiest and most effective way for women to conceal carry was what led to the creation of Tactica Defense Fashion. Now we have written a Concealed Carry Guide for Women showing the best ways for you to concealed carry to fit your lifestyle.
Why Women Should Concealed Carry
I grew up in a very gun friendly household. My father took me hunting and both my parents were active Friends of the NRA members. At their annual banquet my father would be the master of ceremonies and my mother would help with organizing the event. The night I was born was the regional NRA banquet hosted in Boise, ID. My father obviously had to miss the event but his friends gathered and purchased me an NRA membership when I wasn’t even an hour old. I enrolled in hunter education and passed when I was 12 years old. I would also go to the range every chance I got. When I was a child gun safety was instilled in me by my parents and being a smart gun owner was one of the most important things they taught me. Because I was raised around firearms, and they were a constant in my life, I never fully understood the necessity for them, I just knew they were something we had in the house. It wasn’t until I was older and living on my own that I realized how beneficial a firearm can be, especially for women.
I moved out of my house when I was 17 and going into college. I lived in a sorority my freshman year and got to live the “on campus experience” with the luxury of self-locking doors and secret codes. Being just around 18 years old I thought I was invincible. During my time at college I had issues with some individuals that made me fearful for my safety. The school was aware, but with all the precautions already in place they decided to monitor rather than act at that moment. Somehow, even with all of those precautions, one of those individuals was still able to drunkenly enter my sorority house and go through each floor looking for my room.
Now obviously I could not pack a Glock 43 in my sorority room for many reasons, but that incident made me understand why I needed to be prepared to defend myself. Those individuals harassed me for about three months on campus. To the point where they would follow me from class, confront me at parties, and send me threatening messages over different social media apps. After telling the University all of this I was granted no-contact orders for all of them, but that still did not end the uneasy feeling that they had access to me and could do me harm at any point they chose to.
After that school year I lived on my own with a roommate and had an open door policy with my friends. You can come and go as you please as long as you don’t make a mess or damage anything (I was pretty easy going back then). But that policy quickly had to change after I found out some of the people from school that harassed me knew where I lived. It was at that point that I decided to take my safety into my own hands. After visiting home I went into our gun safe and found the .22 revolver that I had used since I was 13 and brought it back with me. Thankfully I never had to use it, but the peace of mind I gained after just having it available was something I could not have gotten through any other means.
Finding The Best Option For You
In order to find the best concealed carry option for you it is important to understand your body type and carrying options. If you are looking to carry every day at work, commuting, and doing your day-to-day activities, you may want a holster that you can secure on your body. If you are more concerned with safety while out and about with your kids or going out to dinner with friends, a concealed carry purse may be the item for you. If you are out hiking and you are carrying a backpack and don’t want to also carry a holster, concealed carry leggings are an amazing option. For the women who want to carry on their body but may be wearing a dress or skirt, corset and belly band holsters are what you are looking for. Paired with a top or dress made specifically for concealed carry, you will never have to worry about access to your firearm.
The first way many women choose to carry concealed is with an IWB holster. IWBs attach to a gun belt or directly to your pants. Because it sits inside the waistband it is very close to your body making for a quick and easy draw. IWBs are meant to be worn with sturdy pants like denim, corduroy, or leather. I personally love to wear my Tactica IWB Holster with my leather pants. Even though they are skin tight and high waisted, my holster is able to sit comfortably in the 4:30 position for an extended period with no printing. I like to carry this way when I am working at the office or going to a casual dinner. IWBs are very versatile and can easily be hidden to match your style, but if you are looking for a more convenient draw this holster offers that as well. Whether you are hiking through rough mountain terrain or taking a stroll on your local greenbelt, an IWB is the ultimate holster for convenience and concealment.
Other on the body holsters that are good for women are corset and belly band holsters. Belly band holsters offer a very versatile type of carry. Meant to be worn with layers or concealed carry tops, they are optimal for concealment and quick draw. Belly bands fit comfortably on the waistline. It is important to accurately measure your waist size to ensure maximum comfort and fit. Belly bands can be worn for any occasion and are easily concealable under most clothing items, even athletic wear. Most tops and dresses are not designed to be worn while carrying. Be sure you are practicing your draw with whatever outfit you plan on wearing for that occasion. There are many apparel items to be worn specifically with belly band holsters. Tactica’s concealed carry tops and sweaters offer ambidextrous openings for easy firearm retrieval. Belly bands are made specifically for function and comfort, for many, this is the most convenient and preferred way to carry concealed.
If you like the abdominal placement of the belly band but want something less bulky and more stylish, a corset holster could be a great option for you! Corset holsters are a fashionable firearm accessory, offering firearm concealment and training of the waist. This holster is perfect for a date night, or any occasion your outfit may be snugger than a belly band will allow. Similar to the belly band it is best to wear this holster with a concealed carry top or dress that has concealed carry pockets allowing for easy and quick retrieval. Usually, most corset holsters come with an additional pocket to hold a magazine or another small EDC item you would need to carry. For many people, a corset is the best method of carrying because of how it makes you feel. Just like any undergarment, it isn’t visible to the public eye, it is about how it makes you feel wearing it. Like putting on your favorite bra and panty set, it gives you that extra boost of confidence while keeping you and those near you safe.
Another way for women to carry would be with concealed carry leggings. Concealed carry leggings offer on the body holstering without having to actually attach a holster to your clothing or body. Because of the fit of leggings, your gun will fit close to your body. If you want to try out Tactica’s Concealed Carry leggings you will be happy to know that they are equipped with TPE Polymer sewn in to protect the trigger guard. These leggings also offer holstering positions in the 12:30 or 4:30 positions. Concealed carry leggings are extremely versatile and can be worn for nearly any occasion. If you are going camping or on a hike, you will not need to worry about carrying your firearm off body or having a holster to pack. If you are working in an office they can be easily dressed up with a long top, scarf and cute pair of booties. Or in the summertime, a cute tank top, sandals, and light cardigan will give you the freedom to feel and look your best while keeping peace of mind.
One of my favorite activities to do here in northern Idaho is hike. Regardless of the weather, leggings are a must for hiking to avoid chafing, irritation from plants, and just overall comfort. The best thing about concealed carry leggings is that they are made with these instances in mind. Tactica leggings are made with thick durable material that wicks away sweat but also keeps your legs warm against cold and wind chill. I always think back to the time I was backpacking with one of my best friends from high school. We were taking a break and heard leaves and sticks breaking behind us, as we looked back we noticed a small grizzly bear cub. In that moment we knew mama would not be far behind. Unfortunately, my friend who was carrying at the time was using a backpack with a hook and loop holster. This made for an extremely slow draw and turtle like movements so as to not make too much noise. In that moment I really wish I would have been concealed carrying in my leggings, because of how much more convenient the draw would have been.
In my opinion leggings are the most comfortable ways to carry. Having the freedom to have your firearm on your person with minimal printing allows for a much more relaxing time out. I don’t have to worry if I want to go for a jog or a hike on my own, because I know my safety is in my own hands. I personally love being able to not have to pack an additional holster while backpacking or hiking. Usually a belly band or IWB/OWB holsters don’t allow me to comfortably pack a backpack, fanny pack, and my firearm. It either becomes too bulky, or my bags will start to weigh on my holster. Either that or my firearm is in my bag, making for a very slow draw in case of an emergency. Leggings give you the comfort to carry on your body without a holster while offering minimal printing and a quick draw.
Deciding How to Carry
Now if you are like me, you find yourself in many different social settings. Many people I associate with and am friends with do not fully grasp or understand the concept of concealed carry. Whether it be lack of education or previous negative experience, firearms can be intimidating to a lot of people. As stated previously, firearms and guns were a constant in my life. I have been around them throughout my day to day and they were integrated into how our family operated. Many people did not have that experience, and that is something I understand and do not take lightly. For that reason, sometimes it is better for me to carry off the body. While carrying with an IWB holster or belly band holster may not print as much as other carrying methods do, there is still a chance someone may see it depending on the clothing you are wearing or how you are positioned. For the sake of avoiding awkward conversation, making people uncomfortable, and less stress for you, concealed carry purses and bags are a wonderful option.
So, if carrying on the body does not fit your lifestyle, a great alternative for you could be concealed carry purses. Purses offer a great way to carry concealed without fear of printing. As opposed to having to worry about potentially brandishing a firearm, you can relax with your purse hanging cross body or directly next to you. One of the best things about concealed carry purses is that you can take them anywhere. Made with concealment in mind these purses will never cause someone to assume that you’re carrying at first glance. One of the downsides of purses is that they are not always on your body. This does not ensure the quickest draw, but if you are a mother or carrying on the body does not fit your lifestyle, this is the choice for you. Carrying concealed is not always the easiest to do, but a concealed carry purse can take a lot of the difficulty out of carrying.
You may be going out to a nice dinner date or meeting with some friends for lunch and want to wear a cute slim fitting outfit without showing the world that you are concealed carrying. Even if you are in a state that allows open carry, you may not want to call any attention to the fact that you have a firearm. In this case, concealed carry purses offer some of the best ways to conceal. If you are carrying with a regular purse, you will have to deal with fumbling around to find your firearm if it is not directly at the top of the contents of your bag. Furthermore, if you want something other than your firearm you may have to maneuver around it to retrieve the items you need, making for an unsafe environment for your firearm whether it is holstered or not. It is important to make sure you have a purse designed specifically for concealed carry as well as a purse holster. These purses have a specific pocket for your firearm, some offering a grip holster or a hook and loop holster. Tactica’s Concealed Carry Purses come with a grip tuck holster and hook and loop lining . For the best protection, pair with our hook and loop holster to guarantee security.
There are many opportunities for women to safely concealed carry but every woman lives a different lifestyle, which is why we made this guide to help you find the best way to safely carry. On-body is preferred by most people, because of the security of having it so close to your person and the ability to have a quick draw. Inside the waistband holsters are probably the best, most popular, concealed carry method. IWBs offer minimal printing and a quick, easy draw in the case of an emergency. Some other ways to carry on the body are belly band and corset holsters. Both fit snugly around your abdomen area keeping concealment close and pair best with concealed carry tops or dresses. My preferred way of carrying is with concealed carry leggings. They offer great support and control up top and are great for any occasion. However, concealed carry purses are an off-body option if that is what best suits your lifestyle.
Concealed Carry Means Peace of Mind
For the last five years I have worn many different hats. I was a college student, I have worked in a bar, I have done care for disabled adults, I have been a high school softball coach, I have worked at a gym, and now I work to encourage women to feel safe no matter what the situation. I have found myself in many different positions where my safety felt threatened, even on a minuscule level. I think that is something most every woman can relate to. For reasons outside of our control, many people see us as targets simply because we are women. I am of shorter stature and just walking to my car at night alone, or to the bathroom at a restaurant, I am bombarded with the thoughts of “what if?” It would be so easy for someone to come up and attack me if I was not prepared.
Regardless of the lifestyle you live, your safety should be your top concern and priority. Throughout all the different jobs I have possessed, paths I have taken, and situations I have found myself in, I would have been vulnerable in all of them if I had not been thinking about my safety. Luckily I have never had to brandish my firearm or use any self defense tool I have had against a person. The worst instance I had was when I had to brandish my pepper spray to let a man know that his presence was not welcome, despite having told him so numerous times. Knowing that I had that option of safety and the ability to act if necessary gave me the confidence to face the world without the constant fear of predators. The mentality of fear of being a victim is not healthy, but it is not fixed by just telling yourself to get over it. I have thought to myself on many occasions “you are overreacting” or “you are getting worked up for nothing” and in some instances that may have been the case. Carrying concealed, however, eliminates those fears because you will always be prepared. While you may sometimes feel anxiety for your safety, having a tool with the sole purpose of protecting you available at any time can give you the freedom and liberty to live your life the way you want to. So the next time you leave your house and you’re struck with the thoughts of “what if”, save the grief and holster your firearm.
Born in Boise, ID, Emma graduated from the University of Idaho with her journalism degree in 2019. She lives in Spokane Valley, WA. On her days off she enjoys roller skating and tacos.