The data is in! Here are the top concealed carry holsters for women – 2018. Once again, you deserve a standing ovation! The Well Armed Woman 2018 annual survey and 2018 holster sales gave us a lot of interesting data, and it shows that the majority of women are carrying their guns in the best performing and safest locations.
The Sweet Spot
Women are carrying in what I call the “Sweet Spot,” the area around the waistband and mid-section. Carrying here in the “Sweet Spot” area keeps the gun close and attached to the body or clothing and within easy reach. I believe these are strong indicators of responsible concealed carry. Having the gun on the body and within easy reach not only provides the carrier with quick access during a threat, but it also keeps the gun out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have access, such as attackers or children.
Interestingly, the data combined shows a total of 78.69% women carrying in holsters in this “Sweet Spot”! If that doesn’t ring your bell, I don’t know what will.
By The Numbers
Let’s break it down by holster types. The largest segment carries in “In The Waistband Holsters” at 40.96%. By wearing these holsters inside of the pants and attached to the waistband, it leaves the grip of the gun within easy reach for quick access.
The holster shown is The Well Armed Woman IWB holster ($35 and up). These holsters are available as-is in certain colors and models, or can be completely customized to fit your gun model and your style!
12.76% are carrying “On The Waistband.” These holsters are worn on the outside of the waistband which provides excellent access to the firearm. However, if concealing the gun is preferred or necessary, a cover vest, jacket or shirt is needed to hide the On The Waistband holster from sight.
The holster shown is the Designer Series by Carrie Lightfoot OWB Holster ($67.95 and up). I created this holster to represent being Empowered with its beautiful Turquoise blue paisley design.
Belly Bands and Wraps
The third-most popular on-body holster is a Belly Band or Wrap. 11.365% wear a band or wrap around the mid-section for concealed carry. Many belly bands like The Well Armed Woman belly band are elastic and wrap low around the hips or high up under the bust or arms. This makes it a very versatile holster. Corsets also fit in this category.
The holster Shown is our 5″ TWAW Belly Band ($45 and up). There are also 4″ TWAW Belly Bands ($43), belly bands in lace ($49), and a corset holster ($99). Read more in this article The Corset Holster – Is it Really That Comfortable?
Under the arm carry (underneath clothing) is quite comfortable and preferred by 6.11% of women. A number of different forms of underarm holsters are available. There is a tank top that has holster pockets under each arm. There’s also a holster with bands that wrap around the body and over the shoulder to hold and support the holster pocket next to the breast.
The holster shown here is the Concealment Undershirt Tank ($57.99). Wear this versatile holster with most outfits for use in many situations with your choice of our four great colors; black (most popular), white, nude, and ice blue (as shown).
Interestingly, the popularity of the waistpack is rising. Carrying a firearm in a waistpack is the “in-between” of off-body and on-body carry. The waistpack attaches the gun to the body without the discomfort some users experience with a holstered gun worn in the clothing. This offers the comfort of off-body carry with the security of on-body carry. However, this security only lasts as long as the concealed carry waistpack is secured. Take extreme caution, as once removed, you create the risk of someone gaining access to your gun.
Waistpacks or fanny packs have a reputation for being big, ugly, and even “manly.” Thankfully, there are now more attractive and feminine options available.
The holster shown is The Well Armed Woman Waist-Pak ($79.99 and up). It comes in a variety of colors and adjustable for different sizes. There is also an extension strap to increase the size if needed.
Other Holster Locations
The locations further from the “Sweet Spot” are clearly less preferred as a primary carry location by most women. This includes thigh holsters and ankle holsters. Women want and need the benefit of quick and easy access to their gun, but for women that wear dresses with no waistband, the thigh holster is a natural choice. It’s important to know that the further the gun is from where our hands are, the longer it takes to draw it and get it on-target. We all know that time is critical, and every second lost in the act of accessing our guns impacts our ability to survive. However, if your lifestyle or physical disability has you sitting all or much of the time, thigh and ankle holsters are ideal holster locations.
The Holster shown here the AIKATE Ankle Holster for Concealed Carry, Concealed Ankle Gun Holster with Magazine Pocket for Glock 42, 43, 36, 26, Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380.38, Ruger LCP, LC9, Sig Sauer, and Similar Guns (under $15). This is a great option for those who primarily sit most of the day or if you carry a backup gun.
The holster shown here the Concealed Carry Thigh Holster Compression Shorts ($69.99). These are a great concealment holster for women who wear dresses and skirts.
The Concealed Carry Purse
Not surprisingly, the use of a concealed carry purse is very popular. It comes in at 18.81%. Many women rely on and prefer the use of a concealed carry purse for carrying their gun. From my experience, many women who carry on the body as their primary mode of carrying also own a concealed carry purse. This is for those times when clothing selection will not allow ease of concealment.
Carrying in a purse is considered the “most comfortable” mode of carrying. For some, carrying a holster on-body is uncomfortable. There are, however, some real shortcomings and risks with this comfort. These include the possibility of access to the firearm by others and the loss of significant time in accessing and drawing the gun from the purse. This requires considerable training. Read more on concealed carry purse advantages and disadvantages here.
I believe that your holster is part of a system. It is one of a number of elements necessary for optimal comfort and safety. These all must work together seamlessly for truly safe and effective concealed carry. Read my article “Build Your Personal Concealed Carry System” to learn more. In addition, I also believe that to master any system, you must train and practice. All holsters require a commitment to learning how to draw from your carry position and holster safely. Remember: even if you have the best gun made, are the best shot in town, and have the finest holster available, as long as you can’t draw your gun safely from that holster and get it on target fast, it all means nothing.