A recent study conducted by the Harvard’s School of Public Health finds that women accounted for approximately half of all new firearm purchases in the US between the years 2019 and 2021. There has also been a corresponding surge in applications for issuance of concealed carry permits and a majority of those applying are women. It is not surprising that there has also been an increase in the demand for women gun holsters, with a lot of interest being shown in gun holsters for purses.
In winter due to the multiple layers of clothing worn, there are a lot of options to conceal carry a firearm. However, with the summers getting hotter each year, it means less clothing, which makes being able to conceal carry more and more difficult.
Dresses are a feminine, beautiful and make a women instantly more look attractive. However when wearing dresses especially short ones, conceal carry can become quite a challenge, if not impossible. The next best friend of a women is her purse or handbag. Whether you need an aspirin, a pen, phone charger, spare change or pepper spray, it can carry a lot of stuff and you can take it anywhere you want. Therefore gun holsters for purses is also a very convenient way to conceal carry your firearm and a popular solution amongst women.
Gun holster purses and handbags are the most common and popular of all the off body carry solutions for women since its easier to place a gun along with your other daily need items in one place. Off body carry refers to any type of gun holster that although secures the firearm, but is not directly attached to your body. It can include purses, handbags, backpacks, fanny packs and even briefcases. They all look like your regular every day purses and bags but are specially designed and manufactured to hold and secure a loaded gun.
Carrying a loaded weapon in your purse comes with a certain amount of risk. The safety of those around you including yourself should always be a priority when carrying an off the body conceal carry solution. A purse or hand bag that can carry a loaded gun should have some features that differentiates it from your everyday women’s purse or handbag.
Essential Features that a good Gun Holster Purse or handbag should have:
1. It should be made from a durable yet soft material such as American cowhide leather. Gun holster purses made from leather last longer than others. Leather also prevents gun imprints otherwise it would defeat the very essence of conceal carry.
2. There should be one independent compartment for the gun. The gun compartment should only be used to keep the firearm and nothing else to prevent accidental discharge. The purse should also have other multiple compartments so that you can store your phone, wallet and other daily use items separate from your gun.
3. The purse should have two zippers on each side for easy access from either side with a zip lock to easily pull and access your gun. The benefit of having a zip on both sides is that it can be used both by a right handed and left handed person. You should also check the zip to ensure that it is of high quality.
4. The gun compartment should be on the side and not in the middle of the purse. There is a natural tendency to put a lot of other stuff in the middle compartment of your purse. In case of poor lighting or at night, it may not be easy to differentiate the gun compartment if it is located in the middle of the purse as compared to the side.
5. A Velcro holster should be included in the purse’s gun compartment. A Velcro holster will restrict movement of the gun and ensure that it remains in a fixed position even while moving as you go about your daily chores. Some manufacturers also use a hook and loop but Velcro is highly recommended due to ease of use.
6. The purse should be have reinforced double stitching to give it added strength to carry the weight of a heavier gun.
7. The shoulders strap should be adjustable so that you can cross carry and not just shoulder carry. The straps should be reinforced (with steel wire) since the purse will be heavier with a gun and spare ammunition.
It is also important to make a habit to cross body carry a gun holster purse. Carrying on your shoulders should be avoided since it makes it really easy to snatch a purse off the shoulder and run off.
Furthermore, in case you have to draw your gun while you are shoulder carrying, depending on how heavy the purse is, it will start to slide down towards your arm. It may eventually end up near your hand thus inhibiting your draw, attention towards the potential threat and your aim.
Important factors and questions that you need to take into consideration before you make the final decision to buy a gun holster purse or handbag:
- Do you leave your purse just lying around or across the back of your chair when you go to the restroom in your office or restaurant ?
- If you are at your friends house over the weekend at a barbecue, how can you a keep a constant watch on your purse with kids playing around ?
- Toddlers just love to go through their mom’s purses looking for snacks or toys to play around with. How do you keep infants and toddlers away from your gun holster purse in your own household ?
- In case of a mugging or armed robbery, are you willing to let go your purse that contains a loaded weapon ? Even a split second hesitation or delay to hand over your purses may enrage the mugger and convert an already dangerous situation into a fatal one.
- The gun draw time is 4 to 5 times longer in a gun holster purse as compared to a traditional thigh or waist holsters. To draw your gun you have to first unzip the purse, reach into the purse, un-strap the gun and then take it out. In case of emergencies that is 4 to 5 seconds too long. At times the Velcro hostler also comes out with the gun inhibiting your ability to properly aim and fire at the target.
- If you have an infant baby in one hand and you are also carrying a gun holster purse, how will it effect your ability to draw & fire with one hand only ?
- If you are running away from danger, do you stop to draw and aim your weapon from the gun holster purse or do you do it while running which increases the possibility of dropping your loaded firearm on the ground.
- If you are short of time to draw your weapon, can you just shoot through the purse ? We have seen this multiple times in the movies, however it is neither practical nor recommended at all.
- A typical woman’s purse contains a wide variety of objects such as a cell phone, credit cards, medicines, perfume, deodorant, chap stick, loose coins, etc. If you shoot through the purse, you are more than likely hit one of these objects which could deflect the bullet off the original intended target and even be a cause for self injury. Even at close range, there is a very high probability that you will end up missing the target and hit an innocent by-stander. This also goes against all the basic 4 rules of gun safety.
- It may also cause your gun to jam and malfunction, thus making your firearm useless at the time you need it the most. You will also permanently damage and destroy the gun holster purse whose average price nowadays is around the $ 200 range.
- In certain cases, cheap Chinese intimation leather gun holster purses that use certain flammable chemicals to give a leather shine have also caught on fire when fired through the purse. Thus it is important to understand the difference between shooting through a purse, making a loud noise to scare off a potential attacker and actually taking down your target.
It important to mention that as with any type of gun holster, you need to practice using a firearm with a gun holster purse.
Carrying a loaded gun in a purse adds a greater responsibility that other on carry gun holsters do not. Off body carry solutions require some time and patience to perfect the draw technique in order to ensure an effective, timely and safe draw.
In the end, the decision to use a gun holster purse depends entirely on an individual’s own personnel preferences, lifestyle and environment. You are more than likely to purchase more than one gun holster for the same gun depending upon the circumstances. Due to the convenience and comfort that they offer gun holster purses are the most common and widely used off body conceal carry solutions currently available in the market.