When women find out I am a concealed carry instructor and enthusiast, most look incredulously at me and say, “You don’t dress like a gun girl.” While I appreciate the comment, it shows most women think that concealed carry equates to oversized sweatshirts and jeans. Ladies, femininity and guns aren’t mutually exclusive.
The secret to marrying fashion and firearms comes down to the right holster. Unlike men who can often get away with buying one everyday carry holster and never needing another one, women need more options. Think of it like shoes. You don’t wear tennis shoes to a wedding and you don’t throw on pumps for a jog. You have different shoes for different outfits. (If you’re like me, you have a lot of shoes for different outfits.) In that same mindset, I have different holsters for different outfits and this allows me to continue carrying even in a mini-skirt.
What I wear determines which holster I chose and often the length of the outfit dictates my go to gear.
Who wears short skirts
Whether you’re wearing a longer skirt or a mini, you can still pull off concealed carry. In fact, I find that skirts are often the most forgiving when dressing up and it’s one of the reasons I prefer skirts to dresses.
My go-to holsters for skirt wear are the Can Can Hip Hugger and UnderTech Undercover compression shorts. I prefer the Can Can because it offers four firearm slots to stow guns and also two extra slots for mags or other peripherals. The firearm slots allow for either back or abdomen carry, or if you’re feeling froggy you can do both at the same time. I usually sport my Ruger or Springfield in the 5 o’clock position as back carry fits my frame and shape better than abdomen.
When I want an exclusive back carry holster and I need something that really hugs me, I opt for the UnderTech Undercover compression shorts. These are actual shorts with a built-in holster, but they work really well with tighter outfits.
For those that find back carry a little too uncomfortable or if you tend to print more when back carrying, switch to an abdomen holster. The Can Can Hip Hugger, again, can be used as an abdomen carry holster but you also have the options of the Belly Band or Dene Adams corset holsters.
If the skirt is tight enough to print, pair a flowing or patterned blouse to break up the outline. For professionals, a nice blazer goes a long way.
Mid-length and longer
Some skirts just won’t work with back or abdomen carry and then there’s dresses, which come with their own intricacies. Time to get creative! For mid-length dresses and skirts I go with the Can Can Garter holster. With one firearm pocket and an extra mag slot, this thigh rig will fulfill your secret agent fantasies. (Did I somersault and draw while wearing this? Maybe.) All kidding aside, this holster is great for that in-between length. I highly suggest investing in the garter belt as well as the garter holster. The holster itself has a tendency to slide on its own; but with the aide of the garter belt it stays in place very well.
If your dress touches the floor, then consider ankle carry. I use a Blackhawk ankle holster but I also suggest the UTG as another viable option. I find ankle carry to be very comfortable and easy to conceal. If you’re opting for an ankle rig, I do suggest wearing shoes that don’t draw attention to that area. Also, remember that ankle carry requires you to take a knee in order to draw. If you chose this method practice is imperative.
When all else fails
If you find yourself breezing through my suggestions yet you’re still struggling to conceal consider a few more options.
Though I personally don’t feel comfortable in this holster, the Flashbang can be used with some dresses. It requires a good fitting bra and a dress that can be pulled down (or a shirt and skirt combo where the shirt can be lifted). This is method of carry that requires a lot of practice to perfect; but if you’re dedicated to putting in the time then it is an option.
Lethal Lace also makes a holster that is essentially a long piece of fabric with a firearm slot at the end. For mommies, it’s the Moby wrap of the holster world. It has a learning curve but it is versatile enough it can be used on the ankle or thigh. I also found that if you’re sporting an asymmetrical dress with one shoulder and you don’t mind a firearm between the girls then the Lethal Lace is a good option.
I always suggest on-body carry versus purse carry; but I am a realist. If you have no other options then grab a purse. Keep in mind, that it is essential that you chose a bag that is designed with concealed carry in mind. Tactical apparel maker 5.11 has a couple of tote bags that, while not super stylish, will safely carry your firearm.
Like shoes, holsters come in many varieties and for different purposes. I suggest stocking up on a few to broaden your concealed carry arena so you’re not leaving your firearm at home. Whether you’re out for the night in a mini with your friends or you’re in the office, being fashionable with a firearm is a reality.