Finding the right holster for a woman is admittedly trickier and certainly different than finding one for the average man. Woman tend to have more varied surfaces to fit to a holster – and those surfaces are more likely to be softer, and more curvy, too.
As more and more women actively carry concealed, the chances that she has to deal with having to make do with holsters made for men are reduced. Today’s woman has a large array of options, from specially-made-for-women holsters and guns to clothing, handbags, fanny-packs and even day-planners specially-made for concealed carry.
Before you shop
Before you even begin shopping for a holster, know what you’re actually looking for, and why. Just because it’s called a ‘holster’ doesn’t qualify it for the job. A holster should hold a gun comfortably in a consistent, accessible location. While protecting the gun from wear and tear, it must protect the trigger area from unintentional manipulation. It should conceal by breaking up the gun profile while securing the gun during activity.
Keep in mind that if you can access the trigger of your gun while it is holstered, or it can become unstable or inaccessible with activity, you are looking at the wrong holster.
First, what will you wear?
Chances are, you expect to start shopping for a holster for the gun you plan to carry, but you’d better start in your closet. What you wear day-to-day – rather than your gun – will determine which holster system you should buy.
Think about it: if you mostly wear dresses or skirts and blouses, your available holster system is going to be different than if you wear jeans day in and day out.
We’ll call most dresses, skirt/blouse combos, yoga pants and leggings ‘flimsywear’ because for the most part, these types of clothes won’t conceal the bulk of a holstered gun. Skirts or pants with elastic waists aren’t capable of supporting the weight of a holstered gun. In either case, you still have options.
Belly bands made of elastic material wrap around your midsection work very well with flimsywear. They can have one or more pockets made for carrying a firearm or other gear, are adjustable and comfortable.
Depending on your body type and clothing, a thigh holster may work well for you, worn on the inside of the leg opposite your dominant hand. You might need a garter belt to keep it from slipping down as you wear it.
Ankle holsters, worn the same way on the ankle, works well with long dresses/skirts and generously-cut dress slacks.
You may decide to adjust your wardrobe and add compression shorts, holster tank-tops, bra holsters or other wearable options are available, or you may consider off-body carry in a purse or handbag.
By ‘sturdywear’ we mean jeans. You’re in luck if your wardrobe is mostly jeans, because it’s going to be much easier for you to carry! A good belt-mounted holster on your waistband is the most stable, accessible, and secure option. Keep in mind that while some holsters have been designed to be worn clipped directly on a waistband, most are designed to be used with a belt, whether inside the waistband (IWB holster) or on the outside (OWB holster).
Coats and jackets are outerwear, but most people don’t usually wear them day in and day out. But they usually have large enough pockets to make them ideal for concealing a holstered gun. If you’re considering a pocket holster, make sure it can be secured in the pocket so you don’t pull the holster out with the gun. For cold-weather wear when you won’t be taking the jacket off and hanging it in public, the pocket holster may be a good option for you.
Now, consider your body type:
By evaluating your wardrobe, you essentially narrowed your holster option. Now, look in the mirror and see if you need to narrow your options even more.
Are you shaped more like a cue ball or a cue stick? Are you more like an apple, a pear or an hourglass? Will a holster fit or will your curves make it difficult to conceal?
Regardless of your body shape, keep a few things in mind. Directly over your spine is never a good option for holster placement – it’s an invitation to spinal injury in case of a fall. And NEVER ever allow your gun to point at your own body when you draw it from the holster. Don’t be misled: soft-sided holsters and many bra holsters are designed to be removed from the body before the is the gun placed in the holster, not while the holster is worn.
Finally, consider your gun:
You probably want to carry the largest gun you can conceal and shoot well. Does the weight of your gun work well with the holster system, your body type and the clothes you wear? You may need to downsize your gun, or otherwise adjust your holstering system and or your clothes to accommodate it.
But, certainly, if you take your wardrobe, your body type and your gun in consideration when choosing a holster, you can be assured of a comfortable daily carry.
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