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Old July 16, 2010, 11:31 PM   #1
Stargazer65sWife
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Options for carrying

I am a mother of 5 children. I typically wear dresses or skirts, usually no belts often no pockets. I prefer my full size XD for carrying. But, I am really struggling with how. Does anyone have any ideas for carrying it concealed? I am not leaning towards purse carry and I kind of like the shoulder types but often they are made for men and not women; plus the shoulder ones often require being attached to belts which I don't have. Any ideas?
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Old July 17, 2010, 02:17 AM   #2
dnr1128
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I might be way wild in sugegsting this, but are there any decent leg/thigh holsters for your weapon of choice that would work?
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Old July 17, 2010, 04:37 AM   #3
oldandslow
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sg's wife, 7/17/10

Check out www.corneredcat.com, a firearm site for women by a woman trainer. The content seems excellent including a chapter on holsters for women.
Good luck.

best wishes- oldandslow
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Old July 17, 2010, 02:06 PM   #4
Straightshooter629
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I don't have any experience with either of the following but they may be worth considering...the "Bellyband" or the "Concealment-T'. Just a thought. They may be designed for smaller weapons, but they may work.
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Old July 21, 2010, 10:52 AM   #5
slohand45
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I'm sorry I have'nt learned to post web addresses,but Cornered Cat is indeed the cats meow for your needs and be sure to plumb the depths of her links page.

You might also consider a Google of ..Women and Guns Index and Janis Cortese firearms and self defense.
Some of us old dogs try as hard as we can to assist our ladies, but we really CAN"T walk a mile in your shoes..period.
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Old July 21, 2010, 11:00 AM   #6
Evyl Robot
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Unfortunately, the holster offerings on the market don't typically take women's clothing into consideration. Waist band holsters are usually designed to run on wide belts and shoulder holsters are usually bulky. A LOT of women's pants and skirts have no belt loops or such minimal belt loops that a proper gun belt is simply out of the question. I've actually modified the belt loops on a couple of my wife's skirts so she could wear her gun belt with them.

I know that Thunderwear and Smart Carry both recommend wearing their products under skirts and dresses. The Smart Carry products are a little more expensive, but I hear a lot more positive reviews of them. The two are comparable products in concept, but it seems like the Smart Carry is just put together better. A lot of women are uncomfortable with the idea of flashing the bad guy to draw their gun (pulling up the skirt past the hips to clear the holster), but I doubt that it would even come to mind if you feared for your life. My concern is clearing the fabric of the skirt so you could get a clean draw. I'm sure with some practice it could be done effectively, but I'd hate to see someone struggling with her dress in the heat of the moment because she'd never practiced the draw.

My wife dresses professionally for work, and has run into some of the same issues you mention. She refuses to purse carry, as she wants tighter control of her guns. I developed an in the waistband holster with her in mind that works remarkably well with or without a belt! As long as the garment itself has enough tension to stay up, this holster will retain the gun, keep it in place, and offer a smooth, one-hand draw and re-holster. It probably won't work in sweatpants, but it works in all of her skirts and in her workout pants that have a draw-string. You can see examples of it here and here. The first one is the first holster in this format that I put together. There are quite a few details that I wound up revising later on. The brown one is a better example of what they are like now. She's now wearing a newer version of this holster in purple, but I haven't gotten her to model the pics for it yet. It's a seriously beautiful holster! I have stuck to the mid-compact to sub-compact size range on this one, but I imagine that it would work fairly well with a fullsize XD.

My wife has also lamented pretty much giving up dresses. I had said for a long time that I would develop a shoulder holster so that she could wear it with a jacket or vest for concealment. Recently, I got a push to go ahead on the project in the form of several inquiries all at the same time. I haven't posted pics on my website yet, but I'll give you a sneak-peek at what I've put together.



It crosses the back right between the shoulder blades and keeps the payload high under the arms on either side. The pivot point can be adjusted on the strapping up to three inches. This is a modular unit, and I can make modules to fit other guns/mags/speedloaders for the same set of strapping. So, if you decided to carry a Sig instead of your Springfield, it would be as simple as ordering the holster modules for your fitted straps. The strap length is adjustable at all four corners, to draw the modules in tighter if desired. I avoided buckles, as they tend to create bulk and uncomfortable lumps, instead using screw-rivets that can quickly and easily be repositioned with a screwdriver. the extra strap material tucks under the module and lays flat.



I designed it to have the belt-strap as an option, but it seems to operate better without. You can see the 'Don't Tread on Me' stamping in the above picture. There's a coiled snake right underneath the text. I dyed the whole thing yellow to go along with the Gadsden theme. Also, there are Thomas Jefferson quotes covering the straps. I wouldn't necessarily recommend ordering one ornamented like this, but I wanted it to be flashy for the camera.



She's got a speedloader under her right arm where she can grab it with her left hand if she needs more .38 Spl +p. Lord willing, she'll never have to draw the gun in the first place, much less have to reload during a firefight! Even so, too much ammo is preferable to not having enough. Plus, the extra lead helps counter-balance the load. A Springfield magazine pouch would go just as well here. Note on the front of the module I stamped in my "ER" initials with the "E" backwards. At the back of the module, I stamped in the month and year in Roman numerals.



The whole thing hides under a jacket quite nicely. I tried to get her to put on a lighter jacket, but that's the one she wanted to wear. The gun tucks under the arm so nicely that I really don't think it would show if you had anything over it, especially if it was in a color less flashy than taxi-cab yellow.



Of course, this one is for her 5-shot snubby, but the same design should work for pretty much anything that can be rationally concealed. Here's a pic of the gun under the jacket:



I know that I'm not the only one making holster with women in mind, so you might do some Googling around. Also, I agree with oldandslow on visiting Cornered Cat. That's a wonderful website with lots of insight on all aspects of women with guns!

The nice thing about being a man and carrying a gun is that the clothing is pretty well uniform. We can put a 1.5-inch reinforced belt on pretty much any pants in the closet from yard work jeans to Armani suit pants. I'm of the opinion that a well-dressed lady may need two or three carry options, as your clothing capabilities could change so radically from one outfit to another. Anyway, I hope this helps, and I hope you find what you are looking for!
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Old July 21, 2010, 11:24 AM   #7
pax
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Hi Stargazer's Wife!

With dresses and skirts, you have a few options. It's not quite as bleak as some of the posts above suggest: the beautiful thing about carrying in women's clothing is that our clothing can be so much more flexible than men's clothing. But it's true that there aren't a lot of resources for figuring it out.

You don't mention whether you're slender, athletic, sturdy, or curvy -- and that does make a difference in which carry methods will work. My experience has been that curvy women tend to do best with carry methods that place the firearm in front of the hip (such as appendix carry, crossdraw, and related methods), while slender women tend to do best with the gun behind the hip or on the thigh or ankle. For athletic women, the sweet spot tends to vary a bit more, but they often do well with shoulder-holster based methods (including compression shirt holsters). There are exceptions to every rule, of course! ... but that's where I'd start.

SmartCarry works quite well with skirts, provided you wear loose skirts rather than figure-skimming ones. If you're a fan of snug skirts, the method becomes a bit more difficult. If you go that route, the firearm should be as slender as a Kahr rather than thick like a Glock. Incidentally, you needn't "flash the bad guy" to draw from a SmartCarry while wearing a skirt! The draw remains exactly the same as if you were wearing pants--you reach down into the waistband and draw from there, just like the guys in dress slacks do. However, you can also wear it with a dress and in that case you'll need to flip the skirt in order to draw. (But you're only drawing to defend your life by shooting the guy, and if you shoot well enough he'll never tell anyone you flashed him anyway...)

I love my belly band, which allows me to position the firearm nearly anywhere on my torso. It really opens up possibilities for dress carry, too... but there are two caveats. First, belly bands sometimes "roll" around the top and bottom edges, particularly if you have curves. They tend to work best for people with excellent postures, who can wear them higher on the torso. For those with curves, they often work well worn low on the hips, to mimic a belt holster without a belt. Second, it is disturbingly easy to position the belly band somewhere where the firearm is well-concealed but impossible to draw. Be sure to check your ability to draw with each outfit you use.

A thigh band holster, such as the one sold by Galco, works well if your upper legs don't touch (or barely touch) when you stand with your feet together, and if you wear loose skirts. Again, a figure-skimming skirt will be a problem. And if you don't have that extra room available in that area, thigh carry isn't for you.

Depending on your preferred skirt style, you might even be able to go with a standard IWB or OWB belt holster. A lot of good jeans skirts have standard belt loops.

Evyl Robot did a nice job presenting the shoulder holster option. Let me add one more source for shoulder holsters: Ken Null at http://klnullholsters.com makes some very nice minimalist designs which work well for smaller firearms and small-framed people.

A carry method similar to shoulder holsters, but somewhat more flexible, places the holster on an undershirt and positions it directly underneath the arm just like a shoulder holster. See http://abetterholster.com for one example. The caveat here is that if you are very buxom, you might not enjoy the uniboob look that compression shirts tend to give. If you instead go with a mesh undershirt, such as those from Kramer at www.kramerleather.com , you'll find that even a lightweight firearm tends to sag the shirt and conceal poorly. However, they are a comfortable way to carry and with a very loose cover garment (and a light firearm) they're great.

Hope it helps!

pax
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Old July 29, 2010, 04:37 PM   #8
pax
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By the way, I forgot to ask--when you do find your carry method, will you please come back and post here? It's always interesting to know what works & what doesn't.

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Old August 2, 2010, 09:16 PM   #9
Stargazer65sWife
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Ok; I apologize; I am a facebook user and still struggle with this setting; also, I don't usually get on as much as some. Anyways, I really appreciate everyones suggestions. Evyl Robot, I really like the shoulder holster you described above. (except the color) Thank you. PAX, I definately appreciate a women's point-of-view. You and your web page have been very helpful. Thank you. I would like to try Evyl Robot's holster; but,I am still looking at different types. Lately, I have actually adopted my husband's leather (I think its a Crossbreed) belt and holster(also a Crossbreed snapslide). I find it actually fits with more things than I thought. I put it on my left side; I usually wear a camisol or tee-shirt(so it is not directly against by body) and then a blouse or camp shirt or jacket or sweater over it. My Nephew had a belly band that I want to try(I have mixed feelings about it)
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