It’s not surprising that inside-the-waistband (IWB) and outside-the-waistband (OWB) holsters are some of the most popular concealment holsters among women. IWB and OWB rigs are available to fit a wide variety of firearms and in many finishes. But while these holsters are very popular, there are some drawbacks worthy of mentioning.</br></br> <strong>PROS</strong></br> * Variety of levels and types of retentions.</br> * Position allows for a natural draw.</br> * IWB holsters offer a little more latitude in apparel choices than OWB options.</br></br> <strong>CONS</strong></br> * OWB holsters covered by a jacket can lead to unintentional exposure.</br> * Clothing options require a waistband and loose clothing.</br> * The carry position is well known, increasing the potential for identification by others.
Bellyband holsters are also popular choices because they share many of the same advantages and disadvantages of IWB holsters. But the bellyband holster is more versatile as it can be included with a wide range of activities and in a variety of positions.</br></br> <strong>PROS</strong></br> * Allows user to engage in physical activities like running or cycling.</br> * Versatile carry positions include strong side, support side, appendix, lower back, or cross-draw.</br> * Can be worn high on the abdomen or low on the waist.</br> * May have additional accessory pouches.</br> * Bands adjust to body size.</br> * Some are ambidextrous.</br> * Holsters are based on firearm size and can accommodate multiple, similarly-sized firearms.</br></br> <strong>CONS</strong></br> * Must be worn tight and can be uncomfortable.</br> * Hook-and-loop system can snag clothing or skin</br> * Requires cleaning after use to avoid skin rashes.
Concealed-carry purses and bags are another popular holster option for women. The features for these holsters vary greatly by manufacturer, so be sure you test out your selection to make sure it addresses your CCW needs. There can be some drawbacks with carrying a gun in a purse/bag holster because your gun is off-body. Women should complete an honest assessment of personal habits prior to carrying a firearm off-body.</br></br> <strong>PROS</strong></br> * Concealment is not contingent on apparel.</br> * Many options available.</br></br> <strong>CONS</strong></br> * Potential loss of control over holster due to unintentional loss, robbery or unintentional access by children.</br> * Difficulty obtaining a solid firing grip (purse orientation).</br> * Potential for objects to lodge in the barrel (malfunctions).
Shoulder holster rigs, concealed-carry shirts and upper arm holsters offer benefits that other holsters do not. They allow their user easy access to their firearm while seated but often require a covering garment for everyday carry.</br></br> <strong>PROS</strong></br> *Improved access to your firearm while seated.</br> * Shoulder rigs disperse the weight of the firearm across the back.</br> * Not a typical carry location, making detection less likely.</br></br> <strong>CONS</strong></br> *Requires a cross-draw configuration.</br> * Shoulder rigs worn under a jacket can be exposed.</br> * Potential to muzzle oneself or others with an improper draw.</br> * Large firearms, coupled with certain clothing choices, can create an obvious bulge.</br> * T-shirt holsters are difficult to access under clothing and can be unreachable if their pocket is too deep.</br> * Women’s sleeve lengths are usually too short and too slender to conceal firearms in upper arm holster bands.
Thigh holsters solve a concealment issue for women who want to wear a dress and conceal their firearm on their body and still have access. That said, your clothing options that work with these rigs are somewhat limited.</br></br> <strong>PROS</strong></br> * Holster position is lower, allowing a more natural draw since women tend to have shorter torsos.</br> * Comfortable carry position with easy access to firearm.</br></br> <strong>CONS</strong></br> * Requires specific dress/skirt styles and length to achieve concealment both standing and seated.</br> * The holster could rotate if not tightly secured.</br> * Holster may be uncomfortable when secured tightly.
Ankle holsters may be best used as a backup option for everyday carry. Concealed beneath a pant leg, these rigs often won’t draw attention to themselves, however anyone choosing this style must pay extra attention to the effectiveness of the holster’s retention system.</br></br> <strong>PROS</strong></br> * Carry position is atypical and less likely to profile.</br> * Offers a good secondary firearm carry position.</br></br> <strong>CONS</strong></br> * Access to ankle might not be possible.</br> * Pant leg style and gun size must be balanced.</br> * If poorly retained, gun can fall out.</br> * Pant leg can catch above the gun, rise up when seated or when legs are crossed, exposing it.</br> * Holster can slide down low on the ankle and expose it if no strap or boots are worn.
One of the more unique and controversial concealed-carry holsters is the bra holster. These holsters have created heated debate amongst males and females alike. This holster requires users to strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions, exercise caution and adhere to firearm safety rules. Of all the holsters mentioned, a bra holster, for the right woman, could offer superb concealment without compromising apparel choices.</br></br> <strong>PROS</strong></br> * Placement of the firearm is atypical, offering undetectable concealment.</br> * Access and draw of the firearm is easy.</br> * Secure method of holstering a firearm.</br> * Comfortable to wear with smaller firearms.</br></br> <strong>CONS</strong></br> * Firearm can shift if not secured properly.</br> * Potential to muzzle self and others.</br> * Practicing the draw requires proper body orientation downrange.</br> * Reholstering the firearm is difficult unless the holster is unattached.</br> * The holster is open at the bottom, offering less retention.
The sheer volume of concealed carry holsters made specifically for women indicates a growing demographic in the firearms industry. Additionally, there are several gender-neutral holster options available for self-defense. This many options can create confusion for the average consumer. Holster options have benefits and drawbacks that may or may not be obvious. Before selecting a concealed-carry holster, it’s important to evaluate your needs and the potential obstacles they might present.
RELATED STORY: For The Ladies – How To Carry Concealed In Any Situation
Before selecting a concealed carry holster, women should heed the following advice. Always follow safe gun handling rules. Only those who can consistently handle a firearm safely should carry concealed. Treat all guns as if they’re loaded, keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, do not point the firearm’s muzzle at anything you are unwilling to destroy, and know the intended target and what is in front of and behind it. Shooters should also always follow manufacturers’ instructions.
Always ensure your holster selection is designed for the intended firearm. Gun versions change and even holsters made for a specific firearm may not be suitable for newer versions. Fit is important to avoid potential malfunctions or unexpected discharges. You should also always draw from the holster before carrying it to develop muscle memory and to break it in.
RELATED STORY: 20 New Self-Defense Products For Women
The secret to holster ownership is to own as few holsters as possible that accomplish the greatest amount of versatility when it comes to clothing and apparel options. This is important so the firearm can be safely and consistently drawn from the concealed position subconsciously. One who consistently changes their carry position is likely to fumble the draw under stress. It’s important to note that any concealed-carry position will potentially present problems with firearm access, firearm entanglement and malfunctions. The list above discusses each type of concealed carry holster, its benefits and its drawbacks.
There are now two holster fits for the FNH FNS-9/40 Compact: the Thumb Break Scabbard...
by Personal Defense World / Jul 22, 2015