On their Facebook page Girl’s Guide to Guns asks the following: “Is it us or are women’s fashion and concealment generally not compatible?! Ladies what are your thoughts? What can be done to improve it?”
First I pointed them to Kathy Jackson’s website Cornered Cat. Now I will add some thoughts of my own.
This is a question I see far less than I think I should from ladies. Obviously their first concern is a gun they can handle and shoot well (a challenge in and of itself). But not many give a thought to how they will carry the darn thing when they get it.
Unfortunately for the ladies they have one major problem, us guys. Men generally seem to have two unspoken rules when it comes to ladies and shooting, let alone carrying a firearm for serious social purposes (with apologies to Fight Club).
1. You do not talk about girls who like to shoot or carry guns
2. You DO NOT talk about girls who like to shoot or carry guns
This causes a lot of problems for women. Fortunately for me I was lucky enough to have a firearms mentor who did not follow these rules. In fact one of my greatest memories of him was when a guy came into the shop who wanted to get his wife a gun for protection.
Now my girlfriend at the time was 5’1” and maybe 125 pounds. While she didn’t carry (we lived in California) she shot in IDPA style matches at least twice a month. Another ‘gun store groupie” and deputy sheriff was married to a woman who was only 4’11” and 95 pounds soaking wet with her pockets full of rocks. Both of these ladies chose to shoot the same weapon. A full-size 1911 and they would regularly beat at least half if not all of the guys. (The deputy’s wife eventually made Master Class of which we had 6 people counting her in).
Back to my story; so my mentor and the shop owner asks the question: “What kind of gun do you think she’d like?” The answer was the beginning of a downhill slide for the hapless individual as he responded “Well I want to get her something she can handle so I’m thinking nothing bigger than a .25” At which point the owner pointed to my girlfriend and asked “is your wife larger than this young lady?” When the guy responded that yes, his wife was the owner asked my girlfriend to retrieve her competition rig from the car. When she returned with a well-worn 1911 in an equally well-worn holster the man was incredulous and insisted that we were putting him on. At this time a few more of the “gun store groupies” began to show up as we were all heading to the range after the store closed. They too assured the man that yes, this girl can shoot this .45 and shoot it well. We even offered to take him to the range for a demonstration. At this point he turned to the owner and said “I’m telling you, no lady can handle anything bigger than a .25 and that’s what I want for my wife!” At which point the owner had just one more question for the chauvinist: “how good is your divorce lawyer?” When asked why he replied, “because when your wife finds out how little you value her life, let alone her ability to handle a gun, I fully expect she’ll divorce your [backside].” Needless to say I think our laughter chased him out of the store. Still feel sorry for his wife though.
So, how does a lady carry a gun and still be fashionable? My girlfriend at the time used a Bianchi Crossdraw rig with a contoured belt and a Bianchi off-side magazine pouch. She didn’t carry concealed, but if need be she could have with that rig and a long western style jacket or coat. Let’s take a look at Girl’s Guide to Guns suggestions for Looks for the Indoor Range and think of some suggestions to how these outfits can be adapted to concealed carry.
In the first row of pictures they suggest skinny jeans or leggings with sweaters of varying lengths and tucked in boots. The image on the left I would advise a belly band as is or with skinny jeans and a good belt an IWB holster possibly in the appendix carry position. The next two could use the aforementioned methods and also accommodate a shoulder rig like the Galco Jackass rig. Going further down we come to a blond lady wearing what appears to be a scarf, and untucked Safari style shirt, shorts and nylons/leggings. This outfit would do well for any kind of waistband carry as the shirt is loose fitting enough and long enough to hide quite a few pistols and holsters. The rest with varying degrees of experimentation could be made to work. With the possible exception of the outfit at the bottom middle. It just appears too flimsy and too form fitting to work. But that’s just my opinion.