by Natalie Strong
In recent years, there has been a growing number of requests for concealed carry permits. You may be surprised to learn many of these requests have come from women.
In fact, a recent Harvard study indicated that female firearm ownership has surged into the millions as 42% of American gun owners are women. Women want to feel safe and take ownership of their security; obtaining a concealed carry permit is a step toward this.
Still, getting the permit is only the first step. Other steps include finding the appropriate clothing that will work best for concealed carry and training in the proper use of your firearm. Keep in mind that how a woman can carry concealed is drastically different from how a man may conceal carry. Clothing, specifically, can affect how a woman can carry concealed as it can be critical to your safety and success.
Fortunately, in this guide, we will be sharing all the essential information you need to know about concealed carry for women.
Concealing your gun carefully and safely is a crucial part of concealed carry. The intended purpose is to be able to carry a firearm undetected both for your protection and safety.
To ensure your weapon is undetectable, you need to have the proper concealment clothing. Otherwise, people will be able to tell that you have a firearm. When others can see your weapon, it defeats the purpose of concealing your gun.
The most traditional method of concealed carry is to combine a waistband holster or a shoulder holster with standard outerwear. However, with concealed carry becoming more popular, gun owners are looking for and finding new and innovative ways to conceal their weapons.
As we touched on before, carrying a concealed firearm can offer women a sense of security. It allows them to defend themselves without drawing attention. When put in a situation where self-defense is necessary, you will have the ability to protect yourself from harm. Even if you don’t have to draw your weapon, you’ll feel safer knowing that you have the means to protect yourself.
Women tend to feel more vulnerable when traveling alone or in unsafe areas. However, a concealed weapon can lessen that anxiety and give you a feeling of empowerment in return. You can feel a sense of confidence in having the means to protect and defend yourself.
And when it comes to concealed carry clothing, women have different needs than men.
Previously, we discussed how women's concealed carry clothing has evolved in recent years. Part of the reason behind that is the old method of “jeans and a sturdy belt” doesn’t always work for women. Women wear various outfits, and we need various ways to pull off concealed carry. You shouldn’t have to be confined to a specific concealed carry look.
When it comes to concealed carry clothing, there are a variety of types and styles for women. And really, understanding what the best way to conceal carry is for you begins with learning about the types of concealed carry clothing available.
In this section, we’ll discuss the variety of clothing that’s out there and how they can be used to conceal carry.
Carrying a firearm in a holster or a belt can add quite a bit of weight to your waist, and it can even throw off your balance as you walk. To supplement this, you can invest in a pair of tactical pants that can stand that extra load along with the wear and tear of daily life.
The right pair of tactical pants will have everything you need and even have extra pockets for carrying extra magazines. You will want to ensure that the pants are durable, with extra reinforcements at the knees and hems.
Many women don’t want to wear pants and prefer the comfort of leggings. Concealed carry leggings are especially beneficial to women who consistently exercise. Even though leggings are usually a thinner material, you can still find leggings made for the purpose of firearm concealment. A good pair of concealed carry leggings should protect the trigger, keep the firearm from falling out, allowing for an easy draw and re-holster, and of course, be comfortable.
This may seem like a tall order, but a quality pair of concealed carry leggings can accomplish all this. Additionally, some leggings come with loops to attach holsters and magazine carriers to, while others require attaching your holster to a belt or having pockets around the waistband.
Some shirts and tops do come with built-in holsters but the same cannot be said for your everyday wardrobe. However, any type of top can be modified to make it easy for you to conceal carry. Bulkier tops such as sweatshirts and hoodies do a great job of concealing firearms. However, these kinds of tops are limited to the colder months unless you want to be sweating bullets in the summer.
Obviously, it can be difficult to hide a gun while wearing a t-shirt or tank top. But a good strategy to obscure the outline of your gun is to wear a top with a pattern. Flowy shirts are not only popular in the summer, but they are great for hiding a weapon.
Additionally, some of the most popular types of concealed carry shirts include peplum style, empire waist, button-downs, and dolman shirts. Pairing your shirt with an accessory such as a wrap or a light scarf can even help draw attention away from where your gun is holstered.
Outer clothing such as jackets, vests, and other articles make fantastic options for concealed carry clothing. Because these items are naturally bulkier, people are less likely to notice that you’re carrying. A jacket with a zipper is especially advantageous because you’ll have easy access should you need your firearm, but you can also quickly cover it up as well. The added pockets are also great for extra magazines. Additionally, jackets and such can be worn in the cooler months but are usually lightweight enough to be worn in the summer months.
For some women, conceal carry clothing may not always work or be the best option. If this is the case, there are accessories that can be used for this purpose. The accessories discussed below can still be kept close to your person.
If you prefer wearing pants, then you might find yourself preferring to wear a belt for your concealed carry firearm. Concealed carry belts are more secure than regular belts because they are built to support the weight of your gun and make it easier to draw and re-holster.
They also provide one of the safest and most secure ways to carry a weapon since you carry it at your waist. Plus, you can even wear your concealed carry belt as a normal one without a firearm.
For those less comfortable with wearing your firearm on your person, there is quite a range of concealed carry purses and bags. You are sure to find a purse or bag to match your tastes and suit your needs.
What separates these bags from regular purses is that they have a pocket specifically for holding your firearm. Although it may take longer to draw your weapon from a purse, a concealed carry purse does have its merits.
There are a range of options when it comes to holsters such as ankle holsters, belly bands, kydex, thigh holsters, and built-in holsters. Really, your choice depends on where you're comfortable putting your firearm, how close you want it to your body, and your outfit choice. With any holster, it’s essential that it safeguards the trigger, remains secure, is comfortable against your body, and easy to retrieve.
With all these different types of concealed carry clothing available, it’s becoming easier to be protected and maintain your sense of style at the same time. No matter your aesthetic, there’s a concealed carry item to fit your look.
That being said, you should really think about where you feel most comfortable carrying your firearm. Consider what you wear and the routine activities you engage in on the daily. Comfort and the ability to effectively retrieve your weapon are factors you should work through as well.
Whatever concealed carry article you choose, just remember to practice drawing your weapon regularly until you make no mistake. You don’t want to be in a situation where you need to draw your firearm and you fumble it. Moreover, be sure to check the laws in your state and jurisdiction so you know where and how you’re allowed to conceal carry and any rules you are required to follow.
Natalie Strong is the author at Elegant and Armed.