Every one of us has women in our lives — people we want to keep safe.
Or, if you're reading this, maybe you ARE a woman who is thinking of carrying, or already carrying, for self-defense.
The thing is, it can be hard for women to get quality instruction.
A lot of male instructors and gun store yahoos talk down to women.
The fact is, carrying a gun all day, every day is not just a choice.
Concealed carry for the armed woman is a lifestyle.
What does concealed carry mean for women?
Is it different for a man?
Do you just need to put something in your purse?
Well, as it happens, there have been some high-profile incidents involving “purse carry.”
I talked to firearms expert Susan Carrichner-Rexrode about this recently, and here are three tips she gave me.
3 Realities Of The “Armed Woman” Lifestyle
Getting quality firearms information can be very intimidating for both men and women, especially if they don’t know much about guns.
There is this common stereotype of the chest-thumping know-it-all you’ll meet behind the gun counter.
Most of us who have shopped for guns have met people like that.
They intimidate men, but they’re often even more intimidating for women, because there’s so much testosterone in that one location.
And, while I hate to admit it, a lot of male gun owners, gun instructors, and “gun store guys” tend to speak down to women or condescend to them.
Here, though, are three very real pieces of information every armed woman needs to know… and every man needs to impart to his armed lady.
1. “Purse Carry” Could Get You Killed
A woman put her purse down and the gun inside it went off, in one high profile story.
Most likely, something in her purse became wedged inside the trigger guard.
Guns don’t just go off, after all.
A revolver probably wouldn’t have done it, because they have heavy trigger pulls.
But a small automatic, such as a woman might carry in her purse, could easily go off if something got caught and wedged against the trigger.
How you carry is as much about safety as it is about concealment.
You can’t just put a gun in a purse that isn’t designed for carrying a firearm.
But even purses with inserts designed for that purpose can be problematic.
That brings me to…
2. SECURE Your Gun
Your gun must be secure.
Typically for that gun to be secure it has to be in a holster.
For it to be in a holster inside of a purse, you basically have to pull that gun out of the holster in order to get your finger on the trigger.
So tell me how you’re going to be able to shoot through that purse really effectively?
The answer is, you most likely won’t.
So purse carry… let’s put that out of our minds right at the outset.
There was another horrible incident not that long before this writing.
A woman had her gun in her purse and her toddler got hold of it while they were in the grocery store.
The child accidentally shot his own mother and killed her.
Off-body carry in a purse can be very dangerous for that reason.
You have to be able to put your hand on that gun to defend yourself.
You can be separated from your purse.
You could even have your purse stolen.
Now, if you have no other option, keeping your gun nearby is better than not having one.
But if you can be separated from it easily, it isn’t much better than not having a gun at all.
So that brings us to putting a holster on the body.
3. Where To Carry
Women’s bodies are shaped differently than men’s bodies.
Large or small, women have curves.
So a woman has to find something that works for her.
For a lot of smaller women, even a paddle holster will cut into the waist because of the curve of a woman’s hips.
Some manufacturers are starting to catch on and make changes to their designs.
But your choices also make a difference.
Cross drawing across your body in an appendix carry can be a problem, for example.
Even if it’s comfortable, there are a lot of things that can go wrong.
Not to mention the time that it takes for you to get that gun out of the holster and just point it towards the target.
Small-of-the-back carry is arguably even worse.
If you’re a woman, more than likely you’re going to be thrown down on the ground, so you’re going to fall on your gun.
That’s going to hurt and could injure you badly.
If you’re attacked from behind, your attacker could take that gun away from you, maybe even before you know what’s happening.
Your gun has to be easily accessible and you have to be able to get to it quickly.
Women have a harder time than men concealing a firearm because of the nature and styles of their clothing.
They must therefore devote more time and effort to concealment options because they can’t just throw on a dress and solve the problem.
(I mean, yes, you could, but you would look out of place.)
And drawing attention to yourself is not what you’re trying to accomplish.
Plus, women want to be armed and still go about their days looking like women.
They don’t want to be women wearing guy’s clothing.
They want to be both feminine and functional.
This requires some serious devotion to training, method of carry, and accessories related to it.