I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and came across some pictures of a woman modeling a new concealment option designed just for women. As I looked at the pictures, I scratched my head a bit. I am not going to go into description of the holster; however, my immediate reaction was that it looked uncomfortable, the retention strap could be a problem in a split-second, life-and-death situation, and it appeared to be poorly constructed. Over the years there have been a number of inventors who thought they had the breakthrough solution for women. Some have gone on to be extremely reliable and others have faded away because they were not viable — and some were downright dangerous. Not wanting to pass judgement against this particular carry method too quickly, I decided to take advantage of my current social circle for more information.
I was at the IDPA World Championships in Tulsa, OK, and was sitting close to my friends from Comp-Tac Holsters (Comp-Tac makes a wide variety of competitive and concealment holsters, mag pouches, and belts). I knew they would have honest feedback. The consensus was that the “new holster” was not favorable. I loved my conversation with the Comp-Tac guys because they asked me questions on what I thought about the holster. They challenged me to identify why I was scratching my head at this holster. Then Gordon Carroll, Distinguished Master Shooter, shared four important considerations when choosing a holster for concealed carry:
1. Will it print?
2. How does it deploy?
3. If bending over, will it stay secured?
4. Where is it pointing?
Below is my interpretation of each of these four considerations:
Will it print? First and foremost concern when carrying a firearm concealed is to make sure the gun is not visible on your body. We already know that body types differ and how a holster sits on one person’s frame may sit different on another. The main factor is how does the holster, corset, belly band, bra holster etc. fit YOUR body.
How does it deploy? Simply asking…how are ya gonna get your gun out quickly and safely? Is there a retention strap to deal with? Is the gun canted or sitting high? What clothing do you need to work around?
Will it stay secured? If the holster is not made of Kydex or leather and is instead a belly band, corset, or cloth-type system, is the pocket too shallow for your gun or leaving too much of the gun unsecured? This raises another question, “Will it fall out if I bend over or sit down?” Unless you do a squat to reach things on the ground, and in an even worse case – hold the dang holster in place when moving quickly to prevent the gun from popping out – it is probably an indication this is not a good choice. If the solution is to make your holster secure by using a retention strap to avoid these unfortunate situations, then revisit question #2 – How does it deploy? With this being said, there are many great belly band/corset type holster systems out there for your consideration.
Where is it pointing? It is fair to say that almost all holsters point at the body – some more than others – which is a direct result of placement. There are places that we want to avoid as much as possible, like your femoral artery, or…how shall I say…. your “hoo-ha.” You want to minimize the risk and consequences should you have an unintentional discharge during the draw.
Gregg Garrett, owner and founder of Comp-tac adds another consideration that we all already know…women are just built differently, politely pointing out that we have hips, different posture, different shoulders, and of course, bust lines. His point is to look for a holster that is made by someone that understands the difference in holster construction and function for women. I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of which holsters are best for women or most popular in general. I feel that is a very personal process and encourage people to do their own research and make informed decisions. Gregg also said that people forget that carrying a firearm is a lifestyle and that sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
Caleb Causey, owner of Lone Star Medics, adds his “MUST HAVES” for a concealable holster:
- Properly protects the trigger.
- Designed specifically for a specific pistol.
- Proper retention.
- Stays put once you put it on.
- Maintains shape once firearm is drawn so that re-holstering is done safely with one hand if needed.
- Able to defend against gun grabs.
- Holster doesn’t come loose off the body when pistol is drawn.
- In-fight is accessible to you.
Use these guidelines when evaluating a holster. Be careful not to try a holster because of beautiful marketing or latest trends, but rather quality construction, usability, and — most important — safety.
Photo credit: TheTruthAboutGuns.com review on the Comp-Tac Two O’clock Holster