Bra, Waist, Thigh and Ankle Holsters
By Linda M. Gilbertson
Well, I still haven’t ditched the Concealed Carry Purse. I determined in Part I and Part II that even though there are many different methods for women to conceal firearms on their person, very few of those methods would I recommend. I’ve enjoyed wearing the Concealed Carry Shirt by Silver State Apparel in Reno, Nevada and the Tank Top Shoulder Holster by Gun Goddess of Las Vegas, Nevada. These items are indeed comfortable and don’t require you to disrobe or disassemble the On-Body method when Mother Nature calls. I’ve been in enough bathrooms where there are no toilet tanks, shelves, hooks or clean floor to place your items while you conduct business. Therefore any method on the waistline needs to be seriously researched before purchase.
The Bra Holster (Flashbang) sends shivers up my spine. Only experts, or Hollywood actresses using blanks should utilize this method of carry. The type of bra worn determines comfort, accessibility and manipulation. The Flashbang includes three straps which can be adapted to the holster to fit the specific type of bra. In changing the strap I discovered that you must insert your hand into the holster to keep the back screw in place or it will be lost. The holster made of polymer, is molded to the shape of the pistol in order to hold it securely. It reminds me of a clam-shell in the way it clamps around the pistol.
The larger strap would be for a sports bra, the middle and smaller straps would be for bras with a shorter connecter between the two cups. The straps were comfortable, but the plastic holster sits parallel to the bra and fits just under the bottom of the bra right up against the Sternum. It rubs against the skin as you move. To remove it, you reach from below, grab the grip and pull sharply down and out from under your shirt.
From my experience, I determined that you need to be fuller in the bust line and wear an under wire bra for this system to work smoothly. I’m a sports bra kind of gal and I almost ripped it off my body. The Bra Holster requires the right body shape and size, and lots of practice. In addition, you are limited in the size of pistol you can carry. For those women who have developed the expertise to shoot a small pistol, this may work for them if it fits their body. But, be advised that women have been seriously injured and a few killed during the removing of the pistol or the shifting of the pistol in the bra holster. Is this method worth it? (Google – Accidents with Bra Holsters)
The waist holster is by far a better choice. Manufactured of leather or plastic it sits on the hip area and will require some shuffling around in order to use the restroom. However, it was the first method women were introduced to when they considered concealed carry and a lot of development has produced comfortable and practical rigs which securely hold the pistol. I myself use a waist holster when I compete and sometimes when I carry. I’m selective about the restrooms I use to assure I have a shelf to place my pistol. Sometimes I’ve removed my pistol from my waist and placed it in my purse for safe keeping, or I’ve placed it in the crotch of my pants as it’s sitting at my knees.
In selecting a waist holster, women must specifically request that it be manufactured for a woman. A woman has curves and subsequently when she uses a holster designed for a man, the butt of the grip will push into her waist right below her ribs. In order for her to draw her pistol, she’ll need to lean away from the pistol in order to expose the grip. Pulling it from the holster is directly up and towards the arm pit. Dependent upon the length of her torso she may not be able to clear the holster.
A holster designed for a woman has a wedge between the belt and the holster which pushes the holster away from her body. The angle of her pistol is parallel to her body and a simple and clean draw from the holster.
A close examination of the two holsters show a definite difference in the angle even while lying on a table.
Women generally don’t wear belts and some holsters require it, whereas others slip inside the waistband. If you choose a belt, make sure it is thick enough to prevent holster slippage and if you choose inside the pants, make sure it is secured so that it remains behind when you pull your pistol. You may need to purchase pants a size larger in order for the waist to accommodate the extra expansion. A waist holster may require that you wear a larger jacket or coat to cover it, but that is a small sacrifice for comfort, convenience and accessibility.
The Garter Holster or Thigh Holster is of the same materials as the Hip Hugger or Sport Belt that was mentioned in Part II. Very sturdy material is held with Velcro or rows of eyelets. Two holsters will permit inside or outside the thigh carry options. The Big SheBang Garter Holster permits larger pistols.
The Garter Holster is difficult to keep from slipping down your leg. When women use to wear Garter belts, they held their nylons up with little clasps. These clasps are also available to keep the Garter Holster in place. I didn’t have any Garter Clasps, so I did not get to experience whether they were sufficiently sturdy enough to withstand the weight of a fully loaded pistol and gravity.
I was able to determine that I did not have suitable legs for the Garter Holster. In order to keep it from slipping, I had to fasten the Garter very tight, and it became uncomfortable. I felt like it was a tourniquet on my skin. The grips kept pushing into my crotch when I wore a pistol on the inside. Wearing the pistol on the outside was easier and preferable. If I could have comfortably worn one, it is a viable option. At least I could use the restroom without having to disrobe. I just had to worry about the sound of the “clunk” on the toilet bowl when I sat.
Finally, we come to the ankle holster. Mass produced for the man’s leg, I was only able to find one holster suitable for a woman. I didn’t have access to one, or time to acquire one so my examination of it is limited to reading about it over the internet. If you’re interested in researching this topic, contact thewellarmedwoman.com.
I can rightly say that women rarely wear pants with sufficient room at the ankle to adequately conceal an ankle holster, and successfully retrieve it. Nor can I envision anyone, other than a Hollywood Actress wearing one under a long skirt. Held by Velcro on the calf and also with Velcro around the ankle, right above the ankle bone, you need to be concerned about the slippage with the weight of the pistol and the accessibility. Here’s an example of a man’s ankle holster by Blackhawk.
Dependent upon how well you secure it, slippage may have the gun “clunking” on the floor and you tripping over it, as you run to the restroom to adjust it. And talking about accessibility, you either need to kneel down or do the one legged hop to recover it. Unless you practice a lot, you may find this a very slow method to draw and acquire your target. Just like the Bra Holster, the Ankle Holster is a popular Hollywood misconception. It is totally inappropriate for regular people with regular lives who don’t perfect its usage.
I want to credit both Gun Goddess, Las Vegas, Nevada and Can Can Concealment, Holiday, Florida for supplying me with loaners to research and evaluation for the purposes of writing this article and for the pictures which depict the items on attractive bodies.
So in conclusion, I won’t Ditch my Concealed Carry Purse. But if the purse isn’t appropriate, (Part I) the Concealed Carry Shirt, (Part II) The Concealed Carry Tank Top and (Part III) The Woman’s Waist Holster are viable alternatives and my personal recommendations.