It’s Saturday night and you have a date. You want to wear that slinky, sexy new dress you just bought, but what do you do about your concealed gun? We are, of course, assuming you have a Colorado Concealed Carry Permit and have attended Concealed Carry Training. There is the bra holster or the thigh carry, but you will have your purse with you…
As we continue our series on the different types of concealed carry methods, we will examine The Gun Purse Carry. Bob donated a purse to be sacrificed for the sake of science and Patty volunteered to conduct a live fire purse shooting. Here are the Gun Purse test results:
We will not address the issue of whether you should carry a concealed weapon in your purse or not. The fact is women do it. If you are one of those that prefer to have a gun in your purse we support your decision and have an analysis and some pro’s and con’s for you to consider.
The handbag we used in our tests was designed for conceal and carry. It had a through and through zippered pocket with a built in holster. The gun we used was an S&W 642 CT. This gun holds 5 rounds and fit nicely into the purse’s holster. It has an internal hammer, so firing a round from inside the purse should be no problem (we thought!)
Here is how The Purse Carry stacked up against our six tactical considerations:
Accessibility – This is potentially the biggest drawback to the conceal and carry purse:
- You could get separated from your purse.
- You may not have time to open a closed purse in time to access the gun. Don’t count on always seeing danger coming!
- You could reach into the purse and not be able to find a loose gun. This brings up another issue. If the purse does not have a built in holster, then it would be prudent to put the gun into a holster in the purse, the problem with this is obvious, if you have to pull the gun you have added the extra step of having to pull the gun from the holster after pulling the gun from the purse.
- If you put the loose gun into a purse you run the additional risk of an accidental discharge. Some purses designed for concealed carry have locks.
For these reasons we tend not to prefer this carry as opposed to carrying the gun somewhere on your person. If you are going to opt for the purse carry, we strongly recommend that you purchase a concealed carry purse with a built in holster.
Printing – Printing is not an issue with the gun in a closed purse. It is possible for someone to see the gun through the open top, depending on the position of the built in holster. If you are using a purse that does not have an integral holster, (again we are against this carry) then keep the gun in a separate pocket reserved exclusively and only for the pistol.
A big advantage of this carry is if you feel that you may be in danger, you can put your hand on the gun in the purse. In this way you are ready without telegraphing or brandishing.
Alignment (of the gun in the purse) – This is not a problem with an integral holster; with a loose gun in your purse – it’s a very big problem.
Trigger Cover – The holster should provide adequate trigger protection. The last thing you want is a gun vs. lipstick accidental discharge.
Cleanliness – As we have suggested, by segregating the gun from the rest of the items in your purse this shouldn’t be a problem. As always adopt a consistent, frequent cleaning schedule and stick to it!
Comfort – Weight is the big issue here. A purse will allow you to carry a much bigger firearm than other concealed carries. This may prompt some to carry bigger and heavier than is comfortable. But if you’re OK hauling around a 73 oz. S&W 500 magnum, we say go for it!
We also recommend using a cross shoulder purse strap carry. This lowers the possibility that a purse-snatcher will make off with your goods and your guns. It should be noted, with this strap position you could more easily end up being choked in a hand-to-hand combat situation.
Concealed Carry Purse Pro’s and Con’s:
- Excellent Concealment
- Always with you if the purse is with you
- No printing
- “Hand on gun in concealment” ready position
- Weight you can carry a heavier gun
- Does not limit your clothing choices
- You must monitor your purse at all times
- You could be separated from your purse
- Shooting through the purse is not practical or advisable (see video)
- Potentially slower draw speed and other accessibility issues
- Expense of specialized purse
- Big guns make for a heavy purse
As you can see from the video, shooting through the handbag is not practical and we only recommend it as a last ditch effort. While we could reasonably estimate the side-to-side direction the gun was pointing, it was impossible to accurately tell the inclination of the barrel.
In our practice session we consistently shot low. The short strap length of this purse definitely played a part in the difficulties we experienced and should be a consideration in your purchase.
Finally, you need to practice. Start out at home and with an unloaded firearm, practice pulling and dry firing over and over again. Make sure your not sweeping your body, particularly the weak hand that is holding the purse. Also practice reaching over and drawing with your weak hand you never know when an assailant will have you in his grip. Next come down to the Range and practice live fire. Be sure to remove the table from the stall (we can help you with this.)
At Whistling Pines Gun Club we stock a variety of concealed carry handbags and our staff will be more than happy to work with you to get the right fit for you and your handgun of choice.
So go ahead, wear that slinky dress…