While carrying off the body should not be the first choice, there are some situations where traditional on-body carry is not an option. Many women choose to carry their firearm in a purse instead of a traditional waist, chest or ankle holster when these situations arise. It's a simple and effective means of carrying a concealed firearm that's not going to impede the carrier's movement or mobility. To take full advantage of this carrying technique, however, you'll need to choose the right concealed carry purse and work with your draw technique to ensure you are effective.
Video: Beginner Carry School - Purse Carry
This video features Range Master instructor Ling New and Lori Petoske of Ruger Firearms offering an educational demonstration on concealed carry purses and how to draw from them.
Can't I Use a 'Normal' Purse?
There's no rule stating that you must use a special concealed carry purse to stash your firearm, but doing so will almost certainly prove beneficial. For starters, lugging around your preferred pistol inside a name-brand designer handbag may cause damage to the interior lining. The hammer can catch on the interior fabric, ripping it to shreds. If you do choose to carry inside a purse not designed for carry, make sure you holster your weapon and keep it in a dedicated pocket so it is easy to get to and nothing interferes with the trigger.
Ease of Access
An essential element of a concealed carry purse is ease of access. In other words, how long does it to take you to pull the firearm from your purse? If you are forced to mess with stubborn straps, latches, etc., it may render the purse useless in a life-or-death situation. Ideally, you should be able to pull and ready your gun from a concealed carry purse in just seconds, such as shown in the video presented above.
The style and overall appearance may also impact your choice of a concealed carry purse. Most women prefer purses that match their personal style, as this allows it to be used as a fashion accessory. I won't get into the specifics of “purse fashion” today, but black and brown concealed carry purses are the most popular. Simply put, brown and black go with most outfits, so carrying a purse of this color isn't going to stick out like a sore thumb and also allows the purse to be used in most situations. So if you can't afford a different purse for every occasion, try to find a single purse that fits most occasions!
Concealed carry purses aren't for everyone. If you have a tendency to leave your purse behind at restaurants or retail stores, you may want to stick with a holster. But if you are comfortable having a gun tucked inside your purse, or are in a situation where its your only option to carry, you should follow the tips outlined here to find the perfect concealed carry bag.