The nearly definitive word on gun holsters for women

Once I became comfortable and fairly proficient with a handgun, my next question was, “Now what?”

Should I carry a handgun with me all the time or only to certain places? If I carry, should I have the gun in my purse or use a holster? If I use a holster, which one is best?

image by jeff gunn

The first issue I ran into was clothing. Most of the time I am not dressed in a way that would easily conceal a handgun. That’s not to say that I run around town in a bikini top and Daisy Dukes! Far from it, but still, a comfortably fitted shirt and stretchy yoga pants aren’t exactly concealed carry-wear!

Most men will wear a fairly loose fitting shirt, which easily hides most every handgun. Or if they’re feeling extra fashionable, their choice may be a t-shirt tucked in with an open, button-down shirt. In fact, as I’m sitting here in Starbucks writing this post and checking out the men, I think every one of them could easily be carrying a handgun on their person, even the barista with his green apron!

Now, I don’t want to always dress like a man when I go out. Nothing against women who wear pants and loose fitting shirts all the time, but that’s just not how I dress. So, I took my holster dilemma to Britt Lentz of Next Level Training, the company who sells the SIRT Training Pistol, and he gave me some very good advice:

The type of holster you use depends on whether you are going to carry on the body or off the body. This is a very debated subject. Some people will tell you that off the body, in something like a purse, is not safe due to the fact that you might put your purse down or that the first thing a robber will go after is your purse. These are all true, but if this stops you from carrying your self-defense firearm, then you are not any better off. Having a firearm in your purse is better than leaving it at home in your safe, as long as you get training on how to go about it the right way.

As for a true on-the-body holster, this is how I carry every day, and I feel is the best way to go about it. The issue women have is that their bodies are so different than a man’s. Men like to carry at the 4 o’clock position on their belt. You have a choice of inside the waistband or outside. This depends on the way you dress.

This brings up the next issue for women. If you are going to carry a firearm every day, then you need to dress appropriately. This means every day you need to dress to carry, not carry to match the way you are dressed. That being said, you are going to end up with a whole box full of holsters.”

This advice was helpful to me for 4 reasons:

  1. I’ve avoided carrying a firearm in my purse exactly for the reasons stated, but Britt is right: if I want to have a self-defense weapon with me, then having one in my purse is way better than not having anything at all.
  2. It’s okay to have different holsters for different types of dress. The Flash Bang holster would be a good choice for times when I’m wearing a shirt that would be easy to pull up in order to grab the gun. (I know that sounds strange, but watch this video and you’ll understand. Here’s a review.)
  3. Finding the perfect holster for every occasion is an unreasonable expectation, so I can relax about that.
  4. Britt just gave me permission to go shopping for some cute clothes that are compatible with wearing a holster!

There is one more issue that comes with wearing a holster. Most gun ranges won’t allow holster practice. You will probably have to take a class designed to teach proficiency in that particular skill, drawing from a holster, go out far enough away from towns and cities and practice on your own, or use the SIRT Training Pistol at home.

Do you have a holster that you recommend?




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  1. Sarah says

    I have to say that I have ended up using an ankle holster more often than any other. Since I wear pants frequently, and this works even with a wide-legged yoga pant, it just ends up being the easiest and most comfortable. I find waist holsters very difficult to conceal, and shoulder holsters are monumental instruments of torture. I am a little curvy (not too much though, I am a pretty average sized woman) so perhaps if I were thinner it would be more comfortable or easier, but when I use a IWB (or even out) holster, the gun *always prints, even small guns, and even when wearing a loose shirt over it. The only time the IWB kind works for me is in winter when I can wear a heavier jacket. I have found the DeSantis ankle holster (I think they call it Apache at to be extremely comfortable, so much so that I often forget I have it on. It feels very secure and stable too, even when I spend all day outside doing yard work.

    I know, I know, every article I have ever read tells me that ankle holsters are not easy to draw from (except when sitting down) but the way I look at it is that hey, this way it’s NOT in my purse, it’s on my body and IS accessible, AND nobody notices it. The only time it doesn’t work is when I am wearing a dress or wearing my Frye boots with jeans. (No skinny jeans for me on any occasion, carrying or not!) In the car it actually works extremely well, since I can easily reach down to draw it from a sitting position.

    I do occasionally carry in my purse (when wearing a dress) but I am always careful to keep it in a “pocket carry” holster inside the purse (I love the Remora holsters: – they work well as a quick/easy IWB too.)

    All in all it is still an evolving question for me. Guns have been getting smaller which helps, but as time goes by and I am getting more and more proficient with them too, I find myself wanting more firepower . My EDC right now is the Ruger LC9 without the pinky extension (it sticks out too much for cc, so I practice without it too.) But I have found myself drooling over some of the new compact .45s… not sure I will be able to conceal one though!

  2. Mammaof3 says

    Yes I do have a drawer of holsters but they are also for different weapons. I open carry whenever possible so i have a blackhawk for my revolver and a galco thigh holster for dresses that are ruffled. I have a holster for my derringer(bond arms) that hooks on a belt. I have several flash bang holsters for my lcp but my fav is the marilyn. it tucks into the side of your bra under your arm and once you get used to the feel of it there, I would say there isn’t any top you can’t wear it with. I have 2 chic holsters one thigh and one ankle for the lcp I love them and they have unfortunately gone out of business. I keep searching and hoping that they will one day come back. Lastly i have a galco purse which has a special place for your gun that even locks! So at any given time i am armed with at least 2 weapons if not more! lol I get lots of comments and have varied replies depending on the person i am talking to and the comment or question asked. My favorites ” Is there something wrong with this neighborhood? or is there something you are afraid of?” 1. I carry everywhere the neighborhood makes no difference, do you think there is something wrong with this neighborhood? 2. Why no not at all. Is there something you are afraid of?
    I always turn the question back to them and of course get many different answers or none at all!
    Most comments are complements or conversation starters. I take great pride in knowing that I can do my best to protect my family, my property and myself. We are the ones who can, who are on the front line and the ones responsible.
    I wish you all a lovely and prosperous day!

    • Rae says

      Do you mean open carry as in it can be seen? I find that interesting because every person that I have ever talked to about carrying thinks that is a bad idea, mostly because if you find yourself in a situation where someone else has a gun and is up to no good and they see you, you will be the first one they would take out and you may not even see it coming. I have always heard it as being advertised as a “come and get me” type of thing as opposed what we would hope it to say “don’t mess with me”. I even had it equated to me like Chicago’s gun laws, basically the bad guys aren’t going to care about rules and if you have a gun, and it only makes you more of a target then less, from that which we wish to not be a part of. Concealing it gives you an advantage, if people don’t know that you have it, then you cannot already be considered a threat and they may not see it coming.

      • Mammaof3 says

        Hi Rae,

        Yes open carry to be seen. I understand and appreciate your comment, but if someone walks into a “place” prepared to kill to get what they want, either there is no stopping them or the show of open weapons may make them think and go somewhere else. My hubby was shopping at a circle k gas station, just in there to get a pop. He and the cashier were the only ones there. He heard the door open and a man came in scoping the place out. He saw my husband walked toward him as another man walked in the door. The man got close to my hubby, he turned so the man would see his gun on his hip. The man turned, looked at the man by the door and shook his head no. They both walked out the door and left! The cashier said to my hubby that she thought those guys were gonna rob her and she was probably right! The visual of my hubby’s gun was a deterrent not a come and get me to those men and I think in “most” cases, depending on the situation, the result would hopefully be the same.
        I open carry to show I am armed, I am confident, I practice and know how to use the weapon. It is not just for show. Now some crooks may see an open carry as just a show and try to take you down. I believe that most will be surprised that those of us that do open carry do know how to use our guns! Of course I am not saying that if you choose to conceal it means anything other than the element of surprise for any crook. They should all be worried that some 90 yr old lady is packin and whether or not to try to steal her purse or hijack a car because they may come face to face with a judge!

        The choice to open carry or conceal is not always a choice either. Unfortunately not all states allow open carry, not all allow you to conceal. Such a crazy world we live in. I do hope though that none of us have to use our weapons we carry but knowing that we are all prepared to do so makes me feel safer and more aware when i go out and at home!

  3. Karen says

    I have a purse that is designed for concealed carry with a center area for the gun. To get to this area there is a strip of velcro. That has to be the strongest velcro I have ever encountered and I am afraid that it will take me way too much time trying to get the darned thing out. It was sweet of my hubby to get me the purse but it is not practical. I have practiced and practiced with just trying to extricate the thing out of this center area.

    I do carry a Vipertek stunner in my purse so I can hold it in my hand while walking through parking lots and other places where an encounter would most likely be very close.

    I would love to find a holster that would work for me, curvy body and clothing that is not loose, and would also work in our Florida heat (shorts and t-shirt weather)

  4. josh says

    I really like the Versa in the pant holster. This little holster adds almost no weight and shaves a little time off my draw. Just bought one of these for each of my brothers. I carry on average for 12 hrs a day and this thing fits comfortable!!!

  5. JillyBean says

    I bought a Flash Bang holster. I could not get it to not flip up. It also showed. I let two other friends try it but it didn’t work for them either. I think you have to have a bigger bust or something.

    • says

      I just ordered the Flash Bang a few days ago and am looking forward to give it a try. I also want to try out their armpit style holster. One commenter here said she really liked it.

    • Mammaof3 says

      I agree! that is why i tried the one that goes under your arm inside your bra, still easy to get to but comfortable once you get used to. Also depending on the clothes you wear try galco for thigh holsters. works great under a fluffy or long dress but not a tight one!

  6. gerin says

    see, i have been surfing through a ton of websites, trying to figure out which kind/brand/material/type of holster to get. (this info and the comments have all been very helpful, thank you!) i must open carry because i haven’t been certified for my CC yet. i’m getting one before having it because my boyfriend offered to let me pick one out for my xmas gift. i hadn’t been introduced to the “drawing attention to yourself as a threat” idea yet and that is definitely something to think about. but for now at least, i don’t have a problem with people knowing that i’m carrying.

    my 38 special is too big for the flash bang, although i like the idea of that one, maybe if we can someday find or make ammo for my derringer (all i have for it now are toy gun caps, which are fun in a dark bathroom, but not useful in any outside situation, ha). i’m thinking i would like a shoulder holster, not sure yet. i am left handed too, so that has been presenting a problem because most websites i have surfed so far are mainly offering right handed options, particularly if i go with a belt option. i saw a couple shoulder ones that were ambidextrous and am looking into them. someone earlier on this thread mentioned that shoulder holsters were torturous? is it because of the weight, or where it is? i am a larger girl and i work out, so i’m pretty strong. but i would hate something that would be a constant annoyance. thanks for all the input though, ladies (and josh)!!

  7. Isabeau says

    I use an off-body cc purse by Coronado Leather. It has a dedicated place & holster for my gun. The holster is held in place by velcro and it NEVER moves. It is always in the position that I like it should I need it. The gun is in its own special portion of my purse that is accessed by a zipper (very quiet) and can be locked with a “handcuff key” that comes with the purse.

  8. Deerlady1112 says

    I have been asking my husband for what I call a “summer gun”. I currently carry a Springfield XD semi-automatic 9mm. This gun is by no means easy to conceal in the summer time. The winter time is not an issue because I generally do not take my coat off. In this case I have a “paddle” holster. The paddle slips on the inside of your pant line and the gun is on the otherside. Fairly comfy.

    I have been trying to carry it in my purse b/c I agree to have it there is better than not to have it at all. Only problem is I don’t really carry a purse. So it’s taking some practice to remember to take the gun and the purse out with me.

  9. SusiQ says

    Im in the process of purchasing my first carry pistol (Ive had a 38 for at home protection for years)
    Ive decided against carrying a revolver on my body and it seems like with my petite and curvy body, I can’t seem to find a gun/holster combo that I like.

    Ive narrowed my choices in guns to the following, and would like a woman’s POV on the choices and what you’d suggest for carry options. The boys in my family have tried to offer ideas (im the only woman in my family who’s going to carry), but they like the bigger “toys” and enjoy teasing me about my petite figure (buttheads but I love them all)

    Bare in mind I’m 5 foot and about 130lbs (38/27/40) … I tend to wear skinny jeans and sneakers, my tops are all different styles but they’re rarely super tight.

    So the window shopping has led me to the following – please feel free to offer a different opinion .. Im in no rush to purchase. I plan on being sure of choice before taking such a large amount of money from my saving

    *Baby Glock 26
    *Beretta Nano
    *Taurus TCP 380
    *Ruger P95
    *Springfield XDM s

    • Lynette says

      I have a Keltac 380 and love how well it can be concealed. I can put it in my back pocket. I just ordered the Flashbang as a holster for it.

    • ronni says

      Those are all good choices. Many consider the 9mm the smallest caliber for effective self-defense, but if you are not comfortable carrying a slightly bigger gun, then it’s better to have a 380 on you than nothing at all. Definitely hold and try to shoot before you decide which one to buy. My CCW is the Beretta Nano. It’s bigger than a 380, but slim and sleek and more comfortable to shoot. Favorite holsters are the Remora sticky holster and Flashbang’s Ava IWB, and I am looking for a thigh holster to wear with dresses.

  10. Donna says

    I am rather petite and have a hard time concealing most guns. I have tried several holsters and nothing ever seemed to be quite right until last year when I bought the belly band holster. It is essentially an elastic band that is worn low around the hips with a sewed compartment to hold your gun. It is by far the most comfortable way to carry a gun that I have ever tried, largely because it distributes the weight of the gun around the entire body rather than just one spot. I usually carry in the appendix position but sometimes at 4:00 depending on my attire. I also have a purse with a separate holstered compartment which is lockable. That is also a good alternative when on-body isn’t suitable although I make sure I have an extra-tight hold on the purse at all times when I carry this way.

  11. says

    I can see there is a big difference in the holster needs for men and women. The best advice is just to shop around and find the holster that is best for your individual taste and comfort.

  12. says

    We carry the FlashBang holster because it is popular and most of our women clients like it but it isn’t for everyone. We are working on our own version of a soft, fabric holster that would be similar in design but cushy and comfy. We will be introducing it on our site soon. ( We are always trying to add other lines of holsters but are unsure which holsters are most favored by women so this blog really helped provide some good insight into the pros and cons of many models.

  13. says

    There’s no perfect holster for every occasion nor for everybody. This is why, it is said that we should have more than one holster that we can use to a particular occasion, place and/or situation. And yes, the best thing to do is to shop around and try everything until you finally find the one that’s perfect for you.


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