There are numerous options for concealed carry. Most involve wearing a weapon in a holster, even though that isn’t always practical or called for. So what do you do if you want to take a gun with you, but don’t anticipate needing the immediate access that traditional concealed holsters provide?
One often overlooked method is off-body carry. Here are five practical options.
1. The purse
Seems obvious enough. I’m clearly not the first to think this is a good idea. The purse itself can be an effective weapon. I still have a piece of pencil lead in the palm of my right hand—lead from a Ticonderoga #2 that lanced the side of a purse my sixth grade girlfriend swung at my head — but I digress.
Something about the idea of women in sequined dresses carrying Colt Vest Pockets seems so very noir-sexy. Now days it is more apt to be a .357 than a .25 ACP. Much more persuasive.
While any purse is capable of becoming an off-body holster, some are now made specifically for the task. Mygunpurses.com provides some options. This is their Roma 7027 purse. It sells for $59. But the options are endless. Even the major holster manufacturers, like Galco, are getting into the market.
2. The man purse
But maybe you would attract more attention if you started carrying a purse. I often carry an old Mountainsmith messenger bag.
It is smaller than most purses, but keeps all of my junk in one convenient place. It is my purse and I could give a rip what anyone thinks about it. And it is the perfect size for a J-framed Smith & Wesson, or a 1911.
Other companies have taken a more masculine/tactical approach to the man purse. Maxpedition makes a solid rig that is made for off-body concealed carry.
The Maxpedition Jumbo Every Day Carry sells for around $79. Is there a downside to this design? Maybe. It isn’t exactly subtle. It is rather blatant, actually. But cool.
3. The briefcase
I don’t carry a briefcase, and anyone who knows me knows this. So I don’t know that I’d ever be able to pull this off. But there are those among us who do. While soft-sides are more fashionable these days in the business-casual set, I like the old-school leather briefcase.
There is something very retro about a briefcase. But, as the photo at the top of the page shows, it is the perfect place to keep your Uzi when you are guarding the President.
The Uzi talk forum has an interesting discussion of the briefcase holster.
What if you’d rather carry a handgun? Check out the options from Executivedefense.com. They can even be used as makeshift body armor. Unlike a regular briefcase, the Executive Defense is also a “Level IIIA bullet resistant shield.” How much do they cost? You’ll have to call to inquire.
4. The small case
The case is so compact and innocuous. I can put it in my Mountainsmith bag, or a backpack, or the console of a car. It isn’t safe from kids, exactly. Or theft. So you have to be very conscious about where the gun is at all times. It is too easy to get complacent.
The Otterbox 3000 costs less than $20. At almost eight inches, by almost four, and at a little over 1.5 inches deep, this is the perfect case for a Ruger LCR. Or a Colt Mustang. Waterproof, padded, virtually crushproof. But not lockable. What do you do if you want it locked?
5. The locked case
There are ways to fight the complacency I mentioned earlier. If I’m ever going to have to leave a weapon someplace (like a locked car, for example), I will lock it in a small steel box.
There are times when I want to take a gun with me, but want to keep it locked up. This is common when I’m traveling back and forth to the range. I will lock up a pistol or two in Lockdown’s Large Handgun Vault—it is solid built and reasonably secure. I’m more interested in keeping curious hands off the gun—if you follow me. The lock keeps my son out, and that’s enough sometimes. They sell for $20 or so.
But you can’t get into one of these things fast—so it isn’t really going to serve the same purpose as a holster.
None of these ideas are new, exactly. They are more inventive uses of existing products. But as concealed carry becomes more popular, new ideas will arise.
Regardless of what method you chose, you have to pay close attention to your surroundings. Off-body carry increases the chances of being separated from your weapon. If that could present any kind of safety concern, for you or others, than there is probably a better way to carry.