So now you have decided on your perfect Concealed Carry Gun, you’ve gotten the appropriate training, been to the range enough to be proficient, and gotten licensed if necessary. Now what? Well, now the fun really begins! In our last series we walked you through a list of things to help you choose the right gun for you, now let’s find the appropriate Method of Carry to suit your lifestyle. In the next few articles we will expose you to some different methods of carrying you’re your pistol, touching on both open and concealed carry. Let’s get into it!
Methods of carry are numerous. Through this series of articles we will explore several methods of concealed and open carry, including Inside the Waistband (IWB), Outside the Waistband (OWB), Ankle holsters, Pocket holsters, Hip holsters, Appendix, Small of Back, Off-Body, and we may touch on some additional methods as well. It’s important for the novice to gain an understanding of the different methods so that you think through your individual needs before making an uninformed decision. Most of us have a whole drawer full of holsters we never use, and some of us even end up in the business of making holsters because we are unsatisfied with any of the available choices in the marketplace! Hopefully we can prevent that from happening to you.
I think the place to start is by defining and discussing On-Body Carry vs. Off-Body Carry methods. When most people think of concealed carry, they probably think of an Inside the Waistband Holster, and honestly this is the most advantageous method of carry for several reasons. It’s pretty obvious that this would be defined as On-Body Carry, as would an OWB Holster, and Ankle Holster, or any other method of carrying a concealed or open firearm on your person. Pretty straight forward right? So let’s move on to Off-Body Carry.
This is where it gets a little sticky. There are pro’s and con’s and therefore people who will argue for and against Off-Body carry. I’m not going to enter into that debate any more than necessary as this is merely intended to be educational. However, I will at times point out the arguments against this method as I feel necessary to inform you of the perceived dangers involved. This is particularly informative for our female readers, as in my opinion Off-Body Carry is at times the only viable method of concealed carry for women. Women face some interesting challenges in an effort to carry on a daily basis. Due to factors like body shape, style of dress, and others it’s just difficult for them to stay protected and still maintain an acceptable level of concealment. We’ll talk more about that later, for now let’s stay on topic.
The term Off- Body is fairly self-explanatory; it is any method of carry that concerns an individual having a firearm that is not physically on their person. This is most typically referred to as carrying a gun in a purse, or other handbag so that will be our focus.
Off-Body Carry in a purse or handbag is frowned upon by some in the concealed carry community. The main concerns are that the weapon can be left unattended or stolen by a purse snatcher or other thief. I completely understand these concerns and I don’t want to dismiss them, or diminish the importance of being aware of them, but I also believe there are some mitigating factors involved. First off, women are usually hyper-aware of where their purse is at any given time. I don’t think there are many women who aren’t already very careful to know the whereabouts of their handbag when in public. However, they may also not be accustomed to having that same sense of awareness with their bag while in a more private place like at home or somewhere else they perceive to be safe. This should be acknowledged, especially when there may be children who have access to the purse in these places. Ideally, a handgun would be removed and placed in a secure place when in the home. As far as thieves go, there are handbags, both designed for concealed carry and not, that are constructed with a wire running in the center of the strap to prevent it from being slashed by a purse snatcher. This can certainly serve to limit the purse being stolen while being worn on the body, but it doesn’t do any good if it is simply left unattended. While proper diligence should be given to these concerns, ruling out this method of carry completely is very limiting for women. There are so very few good choices for methods of carry for women day-to-day that I think one needs to be aware of the risks, take precautions, and maintain the heightened sense of situational awareness that needs to be practiced while utilizing any method of carry.
There is a sizable market for Concealed Carry Handbags with numerous choices. These range from purses designed specifically for concealed carry in various forms to simply choosing a well made purse (keep in mind the wire reinforced strap) and utilizing another holster to fit inside the purse. Whatever your choice, please keep safety in mind at all times. I think the two most important aspects are having a completely covered trigger guard to prevent accidental discharge, and that the gun stays in the same place in the purse at all times. In a situation where you need it, you simply will not be afforded the time to dig through your purse to find your handgun. It must be readily accessible and always be in the same place.
We haven’t yet solved the problem of producing a universal solution to accommodate all styles of purses (we have designed a pretty slick universal gun mount), but we’re still working on it. We have designed and built a number of custom gun holsters to fit inside personal handbags, so if you would like to speak with us about your personal needs please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ll keep working on it!