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The Guide to Concealed Carry in a Purse

One of the most popular suggestions for women who are concerned about concealing and carrying a gun is to “just stick it in a purse.”

It's an attractive idea. No need to adjust clothing choices. No need to change habits. Just dump a gun in a bag and go.

Right?

It’s not quite that easy.
Concealed carry purse

3 Key Considerations for Purse Carry:

  1. a purse that can safely and effectively carry and secure a gun
  2. that also lets you get your gun out of quickly when there’s a need
  3. need to know how to carry the purse properly

Choosing a Method of Carrying Your Gun:

Concealed Carry for women

Women commonly resort to non-traditional methods of carrying a concealed handgun. For example, tights like these have become popular with many women.

Those who have been carrying a concealed handgun for years may have found their preferred way of carrying their gun. But getting to that point involves much trial and error. Ask anyone who has established a pattern of carrying and they will likely tell you that they did not get there overnight. 

Changes in holsters, guns, and perhaps clothing are all part of the process of figuring out the best way to carry your gun concealed.

However often overlooked, is the process of pressure testing your gear. What I mean is using the gear for its intended purpose and seeing if it holds up to real-life use.

This is something that is important and can expose monumental problems.

drawer full of holsters

Finding just the right holster involves much trial and error. Therefore you should stay the course.

Consider these examples:

You carry your handgun in a purse because it is comfortable. But when you try to draw the gun, it takes an exceptionally long time. The problem is obvious.

I have also seen the holster stay on the gun during the draw. Yes, the holster comes off the belt. This keeps the person from being able to use it.  Problem? Definitely. The belt, holster, clip, or perhaps all three need to go.

I say all this to emphasize the importance of practice and not just trying to find “the most comfortable way” of carrying.

shoulder carry

In addition to cross-draw and small of back carry, shoulder carry poses more problems than it's worth.

Each Method of Carrying Has Advantages and Disadvantages:

As already mentioned, determining which method of carrying your firearm suits you best is a process. With this in mind, part of your decision-making process should include considering the advantages and disadvantages of various methods.

In this video, I show you some of the things you should consider before stashing a gun in a purse and calling it a day.

As you watch, some of the things, pay attention to:

  • The steps you need to take to properly secure your gun inside your purse
  • How much effort and time is required to draw a gun from a purse
  • Answers to common advice suggesting that you simply shoot through the purse
Women concealed carry

With the right setup, women can also conceal in the appendix position.

The Purses I Use in The Video

You might notice that I have a number of different purses and other products that I’m using throughout the video. Galco Gunleather graciously donated a number of their concealed carry handbags for me to use. Moreover, they knew I would be shooting some of them up. How awesome is that?

I received the Vertx EDC Satchel as a giveaway several years ago, together with some of their Tactigami gear including their adjustable MPH holster. They’re just some of the purpose-made options available that can make purse carry a little more likely to be successful.

My Opinion On Purse Carry:

Now, this is one woman's opinion on carrying a handgun in a purse. I do happen to have a lot of experience in carrying firearms concealed. However, that isn't to say my life is exactly like yours. To put it another way, my reasoning is not based on hearsay but much trial and error.

I find that the downsides and hassles of purse carry outweigh the benefits.

Now that we got that out of the way here is why:

I believe it’s a flawed solution to carrying more comfortably. However, if it’s literally the only one that you can make work, let's do it the best way we can. With understanding, there are ways to work around some of the issues.

Workarounds for Concealed Carry Purse Carry:

  • Be mindful of where the muzzle of any un-holstered gun is pointed.
  • Protect the gun inside the purse and make sure the trigger guard is fully protected but without making it impossible to draw the gun.
    • With devices like the Galco CarrySafe, you may find it better to find a way to more permanently secure it inside the purse than the provided clip.
  • Consider how you will access the gun, and whether you can keep it in a predictable position.
  • Don’t rely on untested strategies like shooting through a purse.
    • You may not be able to appropriately aim the gun.
    • The contents of your purse may deflect rounds, sending them in unpredictable directions.
    • It may be better to get a grip on your gun and allow the purse to be taken away from you rather than fight to retain the purse with the gun in it.

Describing Purse Carry in This Video:

For more, check out Kathy Jackson (The Cornered Cat) and the work she has done for female concealed carriers. Similarly, Melody Lauer (also known as Limatunes) and my own work (Beauty Behind the Blast).

Here is one product we sell at Concealed Carry that some folks have found success with.

Then come back and tell us what you’ve decided about purse carry – is it worth it for you? If so, how do you make it work?

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15 Responses to The Guide to Concealed Carry in a Purse

  1. Sean D Sorrentino October 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

    Good video. I don’t usually sit through long YouTube videos, but this was worth the time.

  2. Melanie October 13, 2017 at 5:55 am #

    Great video Annette!! Nice to see some women’s issues when conceal carrying. Hope you will do more!!

  3. Sarah October 14, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

    This is great! Probably the most useful and practical video I’ve seen on this topic. Well done.

  4. Mark Johnson October 15, 2017 at 9:27 pm #

    Very interesting. Great to see someone bear the cost to destroy leather purses, for our enlightenment.

    Have to wonder… can you say a reason why the revolver was much less accurate this time?

    • annette October 16, 2017 at 6:18 am #

      Mark – Likely a matter of familiarity with the gun. I spend less time on revo than I do with the 320 (a platform that I have 35,000+ rounds through plus dry fire). One is not inherently less accurate than the other, but practice – a LOT of it – will make some difference.

  5. Cheryl October 16, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

    Awesome video, what was the inside hostel you used

    • annette October 17, 2017 at 5:48 am #

      Cheryl – There were two holsters not built into the purses already that I used – the Vertx MPH / Tactigami, and the Galco CarrySafe. Both are linked in the article above.

  6. Pete October 17, 2017 at 11:29 am #

    Great techniques. Coronado Leather also makes some good bags. I’ve been using their courier bag (occasionally) for many years. Mitch Rosen makes a few great bags that have wrist straps to automatically retain the pistol in case of a purse snatch.

  7. Joe Padilla December 31, 2017 at 10:13 pm #

    Annette, The video was very informative for me. I make leather goods and l was recently asked to make a purse for a friend that will carry her 38 special. Your video gave us quite a bit to think about for making the purse. Thank you very much for your time. Luisa and Joe.

  8. Douglas Gerber November 30, 2018 at 1:37 pm #

    Great video Annette. Very comprehensive and I’m glad you were able to sacrifice the purses for better visuals. Thanks, to the suppliers. I know those purses cost $100+. These tips and considerations should help others who make the decision to or not to carry off body. I’m looking forward to seeing you on Love at First Shot too. Thanks.

    • Joshua Gillem November 30, 2018 at 2:13 pm #

      Douglas,

      Wait, no love for the cameraman? lol

      Thanks for the comment,

      Josh

  9. Douglas Gerber November 30, 2018 at 1:43 pm #

    I hope more men see this information because oftentimes it’s them who suggest it with no knowledge of the practicalities, effectiveness or aftermath of such a carry method.

  10. Beverly February 9, 2019 at 9:54 am #

    Never been a fan of purse-carry, and I’ll never use it or recommend it. This video demonstrates why perfectly! Thanks for doing such a great job showing the realities, Annette. Very thorough!

  11. Ken Curtis June 26, 2020 at 10:38 am #

    Paul Harrell has a good you tube video on purse carry. Check it out.

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