A recent Harvard University study indicates female firearm ownership surged in recent years and millions want to know the best way for women to conceal carry.
Research data demonstrates that 42 percent of American gun owners are women, and 3.5 million purchased their first firearm between January 2019 and April 2021, a 14 percent increase over the previous five years. And more than 25 percent reportedly bought their first pistol because of self-defense concerns.
With the number of privately owned firearms exceeding 400 million in the U.S., the Second Amendment isn’t just another boy’s club.
Clothing, accessories, activities, and body form affect how women can carry concealed and this is drastically different than the way a male may conceal carry. For women to make informed decisions about a firearm, accessory, or comfortable method of carry, the following information could prove invaluable.
What are the Concealed Carry Options For Women?
There are a variety of styles for women depending on their wardrobe and wish of accessibility to defend in situations. There are women specific options like the thigh holster, bra bolster and handbags designed for concealed carry. Understanding the best way for women to conceal carry begins with accessibility and wardrobe.
· Handbag Carry: It’s not uncommon for some people to think the best way for women to conceal carry is by sticking a small-caliber weapon in their purse. Hollywood movies may tout this as a stylish way to conceal carry. The issue of handbag carry is of quick accessibility in a surprise situation, and one must be most vigilant of not leaving the purse by itself.
· Bra Carry: There are different versions of this style from low carry to carrying on the side of the breast like shoulder carry. The draw back to this style is the economy of motion to access the firearm.
· Thigh Holster: This works well when a woman is wearing a loose dress or skirt. Best to avoid a tight skirt or dress which will print the firearm.
· Shoulder Holsters: Products that position a pistol along the rib cage can accommodate gun owners who are not inclined to strap on a waist holster. Although some holsters may feel cumbersome, this position conceals well under jackets. The key is you must always wear a jacket.
· Outside the Waistband: Also short for OWB and requires a belt. Carrying a firearm outside the waistband remains the most obvious and longest-standing method. The holsters made famous in Hollywood westerns, are considered “open carry.” This position can be converted to a conceal carry by using smaller holsters, strapped tightly to a belt with a short-barreled gun. Hanging a hoodie, jacket or sweatshirt outside the waistband position can effectively conceal the firearm. The upside of this position revolves around easy access when standing. Some of the negatives involve limited concealment.
· Inside the Waistband: Also known as IWB requires a belt or stretch band and is ranked among the most popular concealed carry methods. An inside the waistband holster can be positioned anywhere along the beltline. The proven benefits revolve around excellent concealment, no need for baggier clothing, and increased security of your firearm. However, retrieving the firearm can be more difficult and may require two hands and additional training.
· Small of Back Carry: This position requires a belt and can be done either inside or outside the waistband, depending on personal preference and holster design. Although more challenging to retrieve under duress, the small of the back often proves comfortable, and the inside waistband method provides great concealability.
· Frontal Position: Commonly referred to as the “Appendix Carry” position requiring a belt and this style places the firearm along the abdominals. It offers great concealment and excellent ease of retrieval. This location of carry also provides good retention of the firearm as an individual can control what is in front of them easier than what is to the side or behind them.
· Pocket Carry: Putting a loose firearm in your pocket is generally unsafe unless you utilize a holster specifically designed for this purpose. Although a small firearm can be deftly hidden in this position, many appear visible through pant legs. Other pocket objects such as keys, gum, ChapStick, or lint can cause problems when it comes time to use the firearm in a defensive manner.
The Best Way For Women To Conceal Carry
Take a moment to consider where you feel most comfortable carrying a firearm. Think through casual clothing, office attire, and routine activities you engage in daily. Comfort and the ability to effectively retrieve a pistol are reasonable factors to work through before deciding. In fact, it may be the case that you want to use different positions during a typical week. However, muscle memory helps with speed. So, if you can utilize the same firearm positioning every time then you will prevent an extra step in your thought process of trying to remember where your firearm is located that day. This in turn will likely help you be faster on your draw.
A woman’s wardrobe varies considerably more than a man, so be prepared to holster in how you are dressed. However, most concealed carry enthusiasts select waist positioning due to comfort, concealability, and ease of retrieval. What some fail to realize before investing in a good holster is that the belt plays a significant role. First-time gun owners often find out the hard way that department store belts are not designed to keep holsters in place or handle a pistol’s weight especially during times of movement.
A reliable belt that is up to the task is a much-needed piece of equipment when carrying concealed. After identifying your preferred position, the best way for women to conceal carry is to buy the right belt.
The hot-trending belt for concealed carry continues to be the Nexbelt line of ratcheting EDC belts. Designed to seamlessly manage each waist carry position, the sturdy and stylish no-pin belts employ a buckle to handle even the toughest environments. The Nexbelt line remains a leading choice in concealed carry accessories for women.