Anne Klein, businesswoman and fashion designer once said “Clothes aren't going to change the world, the women who wear them will”. I remember the first time that I heard this quote I thought to myself “...and what she conceals carefully under them will protect the world”.
For the majority of modern women choosing to arm themselves with a self defense weapon is merely the first step in a series of many new terminology, concepts, and decisions.
Holster options, clip set ups, and our considerations for trying to comfortably conceal with a modern woman’s wardrobe can seem challenging at first, but with some clarity and examples we can see just how freeing a life of concealed carry can be-in more ways than one.
I’ve asked my sweet friend, Jackie from @freedomconcealed to share all of her concealed carry knowledge here with y’all. With a keen eye for both on trend and classic wardrobe pieces, she has mastered the art of carrying safely and effectively with any outfit combination you could imagine.
Words you’ll hear a lot in this post include:
Holster- this includes a case in which you secure your gun and then attach to yourself, your bag, saddle, place into your vehicle, etc. Traditionally they were made from leather, but now we see most civilians using holsters made from Kydex-a hard thermoplastic. This rigidity ensures that your trigger is guarded and safe from accidental firing.
IWB or Inside the Waistband: This refers to the manner in which you choose to wear your gun. For the most part, we conceal using inside the waistband holsters and so the placement of clips and direction of the Kydex mold will reflect this depending on your dominant hand.
OWB or Outside the Waistband: This type of configuration is usually reserved for holsters meant to be used at a range or in more technical shooting environments.
Clip: This is the part of the holster that you use to attach it to other things: like your waistband, a belt, your bag, etc. Normally when purchasing a gun holster, you are able to choose your clip option. This guide will help you understand what you’re selecting. You can also purchase these clips separately and swap them out on your favorite holster using a few simple screws.
Some of our favorites include:
Ulticlip: This clip can transition from a belt and jeans to sturdy leggings. It has a bracketed attachment feature that allows greater retention which gives us more flexibility with how we carry and on what we carry.
Fabriclip: This clip is a smooth and wide setup that locks directly onto clothing and other soft materials, and automatically unlocks before breaking or damaging clothing. Great for leggings, compression shorts, thinner waistbands, purse pouches, thinner belts and things of this nature. Not functional for waistbands on thick jeans.
Monoblock Clip: Made by Discreet Carry Concepts, this fits over belts and waistbands up to 1.5″. It is a steel, dual clip setup that has robust retention. This can be used with or without belts, and is a great clip option to transition from one outfit to another. The Fieldcraft Survival IWB Holster uses this Monoblock clip (https://fieldcraftsurvival.com/inside-the-waistband-iwb-kydex-holster)
The traditional way of carrying almost always involves a tactical gun belt, pants with belt loops, and a Kydex holster. This can most definitely be a way that women carry, but some women, including myself, like to wear different outfit styles and therefore need different options for concealed carry.
My guiding principles when choosing a holster and overall concealed carry setup are:
- The need for trigger protection - carrying a round in the chamber means that you need a solid holster that will completely cover the trigger to prevent accidental discharges
- The need for a sturdy base - whether that be a belt or a thick and strong waistband on a pair of leggings, keeping your holster secure on your body is necessary for successful draws from concealment
- The need for good retention - your gun should fit perfectly in your holster and remain secure in the holster no matter your activities for the day
Here are a few examples of how to make concealed carry possible in any outfit
Traditional Belted Carry
When wearing jeans, or pants that have belt loops, I usually go with the traditional form of concealed carry. I use a belt that was made for concealed carry and I have learned that wearing higher waisted jeans has been helpful for making carrying easier and more comfortable. Another feature that has been helpful is using holsters that have a concealment claw or wing. This is a plastic piece that attaches to your holster underneath the trigger guard area. When your belt pushes against it, it helps to bring the grip of your gun closer to your body and helps to improve concealment.
Compression Shorts Carry Trick
Compression shorts have been a great addition to my wardrobe because they offer a sturdy base for attaching a holster. The thick and sturdy waistband of certain compression shorts can easily support the weight of a gun. They can be worn under things ranging from jeans to skirts to dress pants that may not be able to support a gun on their own, and allow you to do things such as tuck in a shirt without the clips of your holster showing. For this to work, you need to use a holster that has a clip that was specifically designed to work without a belt. In the first image, I am using Ulticlips to attach my holster to my compression shorts. This clip has 2 layers of metal material and the top layer clamps down to ensure a secure grip on any fabric. In the second photo, I am using the Monoblock from Discreet Carry Concepts. This clip works with or without a belt, which makes it a great choice for those of us who love to switch between styles depending on the day.
Carrying in Leggings
As a recent college grad, my leggings are an absolute staple in my wardrobe so being able to carry in them was one of my first challenges as a concealed carrier. With traditional leggings, it is extremely important to look for pants that have a strong waistband that can support your gun. With these pants, I have used the two belt-less clips I previously mentioned (the Ulticlips and the Monoblock). One of my favorite clips for carrying with leggings is the Fabriclip which is shown in the first image. The Fabriclip was also designed specifically to function without the need for a belt and works by having the top layer of the clip latch underneath the bottom layer. The larger surface area of this clip also helps with supporting your gun. One thing to note about the Fabriclip is that it works best with the thinner materials that are often found in athletic leggings. Recently, we have seen leggings that are made specifically for carrying become popular, with one major brand being Alexo Athletica. I love my Alexo pants, and their built-in holster pockets. However, since their holster pockets are soft-sided, it is important to use some type of trigger protection. With my Alexo pants, I use a hard Kydex trigger guard holster with a Ulticlip to keep it securely attached to the pants when drawing. My trigger guard holster is from Odin Holsters.
Carrying in a Dress
When carrying in a skirt, having your gun in a place that is easy to access is crucial. Thigh holsters can provide easy access, but most options don’t provide hard trigger protection. With thigh holsters, you can use the same trigger guard style holster that you would use in carry leggings - a low profile Kydex holster with an Ulticlip to secure it. With any carry setup, it is important to practice drawing from concealment, but it becomes even more important when carrying in something like a dress that might not be the everyday setup that you are used to.
Carrying in Business Professional Clothing
As a student in the business school, I would occasionally have to dress professionally for things like presentations or other events. My go-to for business clothing was to attach my Kydex holster directly to my pants using Ulticlips, which are tuckable, meaning that I am able to tuck in my shirt between the clip and the holster itself. I then put my dress belt over the top of the clips to conceal them. The belt will also provide extra support for your carry setup.
I personally love having different options in my concealed carry closet and holster collection, but you don’t need to have so many different products in order to carry. While I have listed many different ways to carry, many of these setups can carry over to different styles and work for more than one type of outfit.
Links to Products Mentioned:
DCC Monoblock Clip
Odin Holsters Kompis Trigger Guard Holster
Garter Holster from CanCan Concealment-Use code FIELDCRAFT for 10% off your purchase
Alexo Athletica Concealed Carry Athleticwear-Use code FIELDCRAFT for 10% off your purchase