by Shelley Rae - Thursday, May 12, 2011
Women's fashions necessitate a redesign in concealed-carry gear, as we prefer not to put on a baggy polo to cover the holster in our blue jeans.
One of the main mistakes committed by companies attempting to target this market is a failure to treat women differently than men. The fact is, if I wanted to wear my boyfriend's baggy tactical pants around town, I'd just steal them from him; I don't need to go buy my own. Then again, I have absolutely no desire to wear baggy tactical pants. Making pants specifically designed for men a little bit smaller and labeling them as "women's" is not really what we're looking for.
However, for every company trying to get us to wear men's pants, there are 10 more that have developed unique and creative concealed-carry clothing options for women. To many of us, it is important to remain fashionable even while toting around a handgun; we shouldn't have to sacrifice vanity for safety.
Some great options for women who are looking for a way to carry include UnderTech compression shorts and shirts, which fit under normal daily clothes and have an integral holster that keeps the gun in tight enough to be easily concealed under most garments. It gives you freedom to wear what you want without having to figure out how to attach a gun belt.
Another way the industry has really stepped up for women is in the development of off-the-body carry, as it can be very difficult for women to conceal on-the-body given today's fashions. While some of the bags and other items are tacky and appear to have been developed for a very unfashionable grandmother, there are actual purse designers who have started to show interest in developing products for this niche. For example, Kate Woolstenhulme of CC's Designer Concealed Carry has done a wonderful job developing fashionable holster handbags for women interested in carrying purses that not only look fantastic, but are also tough enough to handle the weight of the gun. These totes have a cleverly designed elastic holster that is easy to access and fits a variety of handgun sizes.
One important element companies must remember is women differ greatly in their tastes and therefore their concealed-carry needs. No two women have the same style, and most women can barely agree on the best type of carry gun or even what type of holster is ideal for it. We need a variety of customizable products we can purchase to fit our individual needs.
On top of having our own unique styles, each of us has many different outfits to account for within our tastes. These varying outfits often result in the need for each woman to have a variety of concealed-carry options. While most men can get away with an inside-the-waistband holster and maybe a pocket holster for any occasion, women's wardrobes are often a little more challenging. In order to successfully carry with all of our outfits, we need more variety in holster selection. While some days off-the-body carry may be the only option, it's important for us to consider garter holsters, ankle holsters, pocket holsters and inside-the-waistband holsters as well so we can do our best to avoid the risk of having a holster bag snatched by a criminal. While an ankle holster may work well with a pair of boot-cut jeans, the garter holster comes in handy when wearing a dress. The pocket holster might be useful if you're wearing a pair of cargo pants, while the hip holster is for the day you're wrapped up in your favorite pea coat.
As the industry continues to develop creative and functional options for women, it should remember that if we wanted to dress the same as men—and therefore conceal our weapons in the same manner as men—we would have started doing so a long time ago. Thanks for the offer, but I don't want to wear men's pants.
E-mail your comments/questions about this site to:
For questions/comments about Shooting Illustrated magazine, please e-mail:
You can contact the NRA via phone at: NRA Member Programs
To advertise on Shooting Illustrated, visit nramediakit.com for more information