As I mentioned in an article last week, I am interested in joining my local Well Armed Woman chapter.
I contacted the chapter leader and was immediately excited. Why? Because this particular meeting was going to be about picking a concealed carry holster. Since I have reached a point in my training that I feel comfortable enough to carry concealed, I am all about learning more about holsters. There are so many options out there and honestly, I didn’t know where to start. I was concerned about spending lots of money only to find that the holster I selected is not what I want. After going to this meeting, that concern was validated and I am very glad that I waited.
When I arrived, I was immediately greeted by the chapter leader. I signed in and went straight into the room. A brief introduction was made by a female range instructor, followed by some Q&A time. We were then set free in the room to try on all of the different types of holsters.
There were 4 tables set up with different sizes and shapes of holsters. The instructors were there to offer advice/information regarding material, which belts to use, and where to place a weapon you’re trying to conceal.
As we all know, concealing a weapon on a woman is significantly harder for women then it is for men. We have tighter clothes, smaller pockets, and items of clothing with thinner material. One of the very first things we can rule out is pocket holsters. I can hardly fit my car keys in my pocket, let alone a 9mm handgun.
Next, we determined that any holster that does not fully cover the trigger/trigger guard on your weapon is not exactly a safe choice. Not only can clothing zippers and strings get caught on it and pull, but it also gets the shooter in a bad habit of immediately placing their finger on the trigger before removing the gun.
We also discussed the pros and cons of having a ‘snap’ over of your gun to hold it in your holster. This not only makes it hard for someone to take your gun, but it also provides an extra step for you to take when you’re already in a bad situation. The instructor showed 2 alternative options. One holster was specifically made for her gun which allowed it to lock in tightly. The second option had a latch that you can to push forward in order to release the gun from the holster. This, in my opinion, was a great holster.
As I made my rounds from table to table, I tried on both leather holsters, Kydex holsters, and a combination of Kydex and leather. The fully leather holsters were a little unsturdy when faced with the weight of the handgun. Part of this could have been blamed on the belt I was wearing, but it was just falling forward. The Kydex holsters were surprisingly comfortable, although I felt it was a tad too bulky. My favorite was a Kydex/leather holster called Galco King Tuck. It fit inside of my jeans and clipped over my belt to help keep it in place. It fit nicely in the small of my back and would easily conceal a 9mm handgun.
TIP: To help break in a leather holster, add leather conditioner to the inside of the holster. Wrap your UNLOADED handgun in saran wrap and work in and out over and over again.
Below are photos of the Galco King Tuk (my favorite holster of the night). I took photos of the holster with and without a gun, just to give a better idea of how it fits into the back of my jeans. I then went over to the shoulder holsters that were laid out. I had thought about purchasing a shoulder holster in the past for when I want to carry during winter months. However, once it was held up and we put it on, I noticed that the gun in the holster points backwards. At first, this wouldn’t seem like too much of a big deal, except this means that you’re gun is pointing at people behind you. One of the first rules you learn when shooting is to always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
The next holster I tried on was an ankle holster. I wouldn’t necessarily use this as my primary weapon, but it would definitely be a good back-up. The instructor also brought up the point that this would be easier to access in the event that you’re sitting in a car or laying on the ground during an attack.
The next couple of holsters I tried on were different style ‘belly belts’. They kind of reminded me of an ace bandage. Although they were extremely comfortable, having velcro hold my handgun up makes me a little uneasy.
Next, I looked over a table of purses made for concealed carry. Built-in holsters and removable holsters were both options. I’ve always been hesitant about purses because people can easily take them from you. If an attacker demands your purse, you are left either unarmed and/or having to call the police to inform them that a criminal now has your handgun (that’s assuming you didn’t have your phone in your purse).
In the event that you would prefer to carry in your purse, the instructor recommended using a revolver because the slide won’t catch on any fabric and you can continue to shoot.
The last one we spoke over was a thigh holster. We were advised to always place the holster on the inside of your non-dominant leg. This makes it easy to grab and easier to conceal. (If gun was placed on the outside on your dominant leg, you will have a gun print showing through your dress).
An important thing to remember when you’re considering to carry a concealed handgun is to keep it with you 100% of the time. Practice how to draw from your holster and get comfortable wearing it. The meeting was extremely informative and I really enjoyed looking into all of the different options. To end the evening, we grabbed our guns and filled the lanes. It never hurts to get a couple rounds of target practice in!