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The Realities of Concealed Carry in a Purse [Video]

Concealed carry 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.


It’s not quite that easy.

You'll need a purse that can safely and effectively carry and secure a gun, but that also lets you get your gun out of quickly when there’s a need. You’ll also need to know how to use that purse properly.

Just like shooting guns in general, there are skills that are unique to every method of carry. There are also some upsides and downsides you should consider before going with purse carry, just as you should critically evaluate any other way of toting your gun.

In this video, I show you some of the things you need to know before you stash a gun in a bag and expect to be able to use it for self-defense.

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

  • 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 wisdom suggesting that you simply shoot through the purse

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, knowing that I would be shooting some of them up. 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.

For me and my life, I find that the downsides and hassles of purse carry outweigh the benefits. I believe it’s a problematic solution, but that if it’s the only one that you can make work for you, there are ways to work around some of the issues. I cover some of them in the video, but to reiterate and expand on a few:

  • Stay mindful of where the muzzle of any un-holstered gun is pointed.
  • Protect the gun inside the purse, making 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. Aside from the question of whether or not you will be able to control where your rounds go, the contents of your purse may make this a bad idea. 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.

Here's the video:

For more, check out the work of Kathy Jackson (the Cornered Cat) and Melody Lauer (also known as Limatunes), as well as my own work (Beauty Behind the Blast). Then come back and tell us what you’ve decided about purse carry – is it worth it for you? How will you make it better if it is?

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15 Responses to The Realities of Concealed Carry in a Purse [Video]

  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 #


      Wait, no love for the cameraman? lol

      Thanks for the comment,


  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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