The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: General Handgun Forum

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 14, 2013, 08:31 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: September 19, 2007
Location: Lago Vista TX
Posts: 2,425
How to purse-carry

No, not me ... after 10 years in Texas and almost that long gently suggesting she should be carrying, my wife has decided it's time to get her CHL.

And this is not one of those "what should my wife carry for protection?" threads. We'll be going to a large local gun shop where she can try the guns she's interested in for feel, ease of slide manipulation, etc. No revolvers, por favor ...

This is a request for suggestions on how she should carry her gun in her purse. The clothes she wears to work do not lend themselves to onbody carry and she can't be armed inside her office in any case.

She usually carries a fairly large purse with a zipper compartment that can be utilized ONLY for her weapon of choice. We'll be getting a lock box where she can leave the gun in the car while she's working.

So the questions ... do TFL members use a holster of some sort in their purses; perhaps a Nemesis-style pocket holster? Is there some other suggestion that might work? Since I just got her a new purse for her birthday, getting another with a separte compartment at the back of the purse isn't an option now. We'll be spending that money on a gun for her after she gets the license; sadly, none of my current collection will work for her.

We're heading to the range today to work on her shooting skills; she'll be taking the test with my XDm-9, but it's too big and heavy for her purse.

"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants." Albert Camus
bikerbill is offline  
Old September 14, 2013, 08:52 AM   #2
Join Date: October 10, 2006
Location: Puget Sound, WA
Posts: 55
My wife generally carries a Kahr P9 in a cheap Uncle Mike's pocket holster, in the center zipper compartment of her purse.

heck333 is online now  
Old September 14, 2013, 09:02 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: December 29, 2010
Location: Shoshoni Wyoming
Posts: 2,268
A "service size" auto or revolver is far easier to shoot well than a smaller gun. Because there is no problem carrying a larger gun in a purse, I'd recommend a full size gun of a caliber that she's comfortable shooting. 9mm or larger. In the case of my ex-wife, she carried a 4" S&W 44 SPL and was outstandingly good with it.
Wyosmith is offline  
Old September 14, 2013, 03:04 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: May 3, 2013
Location: Western New York
Posts: 453
The issue with off body carry is that purses can be stolen, whether while walking or in a restaurant. My wife's fanny pack with gun compartment was stolen off the back of her chair in a restaurant and we didn't notice until the thief was gone. My wife was sitting in the chair and I was facing her. Fortunately, the gun was not in it.

If you can find a pocket holster that can be afixed to the inside of the purse, it will not come out of the purse when the gun is drawn and it will keep it in the same orientation. Both of these are important.
GJSchulze is offline  
Old September 14, 2013, 07:39 PM   #5
Join Date: November 11, 2008
Posts: 36
You can find special concealed carry purses on Amazon. They can be worn crossbody, and have a wire reinforced strap that can't be quickly cut with a knife. However, a lady would be much better off with concealed carry on her body, instead of in a purse.
pelican is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 01:08 AM   #6
Jammer Six
Senior Member
Join Date: April 3, 2005
Location: Seattle
Posts: 827
Don't do it.
"Huh?" --Jammer Six, 1998
Jammer Six is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 09:17 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: September 1, 2011
Location: LoneStar State
Posts: 145 body carry might not be the best but it is a legitimate choice. Think you and she have a good handle on the method, limitations, special concerns and, most importantly, finding a handgun that fits her hand and is comfortable to shoot.

Good luck to you both! And enjoy the search.

Frankly, I use a Maxpedition Fatboy when I'm on the bike cruising thru central Texas. Using an IWB holster for my Ruger sr9c while riding is just not comfortable at all. The fact that I can also carry some photo gear also makes it a fine camera bag.

And it's ruggedly manly ..... for a purse.
Corona is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 09:27 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: July 30, 2010
Posts: 857
My wife has tried a couple of different methods of carrying in a standard purse and never liked any of the options of carrying the gun in one of the purse's inside compartments.

We went to a newly opened gun store, and she found a purse with a special carry compartment and likes that as it keeps the gun out of the inside of the purse and allows her to access it from outside the purse. It has an anti-cut strap, and the gun compartment comes with an interior holster to hold the gun. She likes it because she doesn't have to dig through the interior of the purse to find the gun.
buckhorn_cortez is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 09:34 AM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 10,843
Purse snatching is one of the most common crimes out there. I wont let my wife carry in her purse.

Having said that, I've used the "wife" carry a time or two. Back in my LE days when we went somewhere formal, and it wasn't practical for me to carry my off duty gun, I'd slip it inside her purse, but she was never outside of arms reach of me.

Those were the days where I was on call, and if I got called out, I wanted a heavy pistol/revolver. Other then that, even in formal wear I carried a J frame in my pocket.

But again I wouldn't then and now, let wife carry her gun in her purse. She adjust her clothing so she could carry on her person.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 10:52 AM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: December 15, 2001
Location: Caldwell, Idaho
Posts: 510
For now my wife CCW's in a Cabelas "Gun Totin' Momma" leather purse w/separate pistol compartment and detachable holster. It also has wire embedded in the strap to prevent cutting. While I would rather she carry on her person, better she carries in a purse than not at all.

ETA: Not the same item, but the concept's the same:
"His Universe, His rules." - Tomac

Last edited by Tomac; September 15, 2013 at 01:43 PM.
Tomac is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 12:23 PM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: July 24, 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 900
I concur with kraig. If any attempt is made on a woman her purse will be the very first thing she will be separated from. Cant have someone digging in their handbag for a cell phone, or a gun now can we? I tell my wife not to carry in this fashion for that reason also, but i am only a man hence i have a caveman brain and gorilla genetics so what do i know?
Crankgrinder is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 01:48 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: May 3, 2013
Location: Western New York
Posts: 453
Purse carry (with a proper carry-purse with wire reinforced strap) is better than no carry. She doesn't have to limit herself to one method. Whenever she can, she should carry on the belt. When she can't, she can use the purse. The only problem with this theory is that purse carry will be more comfortable and easier and she might never opt to use the holster. Purse carry just isn't as safe.
GJSchulze is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 04:27 PM   #13
Tom Servo
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 12,161
Before she makes any significant decisions, have her read this article about purse carry.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
Tom Servo is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 06:12 PM   #14
red caddy
Senior Member
Join Date: August 17, 2009
Location: South West Florida
Posts: 132
When she got her CCW, almost 2 years ago, My bride elected to purse carry, I was not consulted on choice of purse, This girl does her homework, knows what she wants, finds it, buy's it, that's that.

She started out with an Ortgies, 32 ACP, (had been her nightstand gun) a few months later I presented her with a fully engraved S&W mod. 60 .357.

I installed a gun vualt in her pick up, behind the seat. She can't carry in her work, she's a teacher, the gun stays in the truck at work. (although that might change soon, here in Florida )

A couple of months ago, after a range day, she "traded" me her revolver for my Keltec PF-9. (she "traded" my pickup for her Nissan too...I guess some girls are like that, LOL)) She claims the Keltec is much lighter, (so she can carry more junk in her purse, I think) and she shoots it better.

The good news is, I've been married to this girl 40 years and she's still full of surprises.


Last edited by Tom Servo; September 15, 2013 at 06:47 PM. Reason: A little over the top
red caddy is offline  
Old September 16, 2013, 12:56 AM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: May 3, 2013
Location: Western New York
Posts: 453
The Cornered Cat is a good resource.
Another one us Limalife on YouTube:
GJSchulze is offline  
Old September 16, 2013, 01:11 AM   #16
Senior Member
Join Date: March 1, 2006
Posts: 147
My wife just started carrying, and the gun she picked out is already a problem. It's a small 9mm, but the weight in her purse is noticeable, and it's too big to carry without a jacket. I now have an order with my dealer for a small pocket 380. She's been sneaking my LCP every chance she gets. Purse carry or not, weight is a big issue.
ChrisTx is offline  
Old September 16, 2013, 10:08 AM   #17
Senior Member
Join Date: May 8, 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 3,201
There are lots of trade-offs in making firearms decisions. Big guns are easier to shoot, small guns easier to conceal; purse carry makes it easier to conceal but slower to draw, along with at least some risk of having the pistol stolen in a purse snatching.

My wife carries a Sig P238 in a Remora holster. It is a small pistol, and the Remora allows her to position and tilt the holster for maximum concealment. When she just can't do otherwise, she slips the holstered pistol into a pocket of her purse with no other contents. Purpose-built carry purses are best, but lots of purses have multiple compartments, one of which can be dedicated to a small pistol. My wife doesn't have a pistol-specific purse yet, but she is considering one.

There is going to be some experimentation involved; such is part of the cost of protecting oneself and one's family. Be patient; women have a different set of issues than men in carrying. Corneredcat is nothing less than great.
TailGator is offline  
Old September 16, 2013, 01:56 PM   #18
Senior Member
Join Date: May 3, 2013
Location: Western New York
Posts: 453
One of the things that you have to be careful about when not using a purpose designed for a gun is that you must make sure that the gun is always in the correct orientation. This is for two reasons:
1) Safety: you don't want to be grabbing the gun and pressing the trigger to cause an accidental discharge. This is how you get mentioned in the newspaper.
2) Speed: you want to be able to grab it with the proper grip and have it ready to shoot. Not fumble around and have the bad guy take it.
GJSchulze is offline  
Old September 16, 2013, 06:42 PM   #19
Junior member
Join Date: December 20, 2012
Location: The "Gunshine State"
Posts: 1,981
There are purses designed for concealed purse carry - they even have a steel wire going through the strap to prevent the razor slice and grab of the purse yet also allow for quick retrieval of the gun

Last edited by BigD_in_FL; September 17, 2013 at 07:50 AM. Reason: damn spelling AGAIN..... :D
BigD_in_FL is offline  
Old September 17, 2013, 03:59 AM   #20
Senior Member
Join Date: May 6, 2005
Location: North Chesterfield, Virginia
Posts: 4,358
With all respect to Pax and all the others who recommend against purse carry, I'm sorry but for some women it's a matter of "I'm going to carry in my purse or not at all." My wife is one of them. She knows the disadvantages and accepts them as a reasonable trade off, with the alternative being not carrying at all.

Having said that, she carries in a dedicated carry purse with a holster in it's own dedicated pocket, and a reinforced (steel cable) carry strap. I think it's a "Pistol Packing Mama" brand but wouldn't swear to it.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
CajunBass is offline  
Old September 17, 2013, 07:53 AM   #21
Junior member
Join Date: December 20, 2012
Location: The "Gunshine State"
Posts: 1,981
And I am the same way with pocket carry - it is either that or I leave it in the car where I can reach it while driving. I wear shorts every day (about 1 week excepted) that just works better for me, so if your wife says purse or not at all, respect her choice and go with it. many women's outfits (especially work related) are more restrictive than men's and carrying on their person in the workplace my not be feasible or allowable, but the gun in the purse locked in the desk drawer may work best
BigD_in_FL is offline  
Old September 17, 2013, 11:38 AM   #22
Senior Member
Join Date: May 15, 2011
Posts: 1,405
Because there is no problem carrying a larger gun in a purse, ...
I picked up my wife's purse the other day and it already feels like it has a fully loaded 5" M1911 inside. If it got much heavier I know she wouldn't carry the gun, she'd wind up leaving it in the lock box.

I figure if she is going to carry, she should carry, and not in a purse unless she must. Purses get left, snatched, etc all the time. It would be the last option short of nothing.
Colt M1911, AR-15 | S&W Model 19, Model 27| SIG P238 | Berreta 85B Cheetah | Ruger Blackhawk .357MAG, Bearcat "Shopkeeper" .22LR| Remington Marine Magnum SP 12GA., Model 700 SPS .223
lcpiper is offline  
Old September 17, 2013, 02:22 PM   #23
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 7,489

You may misunderstand my actual position. I am not against purse carry; I simply believe that off body carry should not be the default choice. Every carry method has its benefits, and every carry method has its drawbacks, and every carry method has tips/tricks/secrets that make it work better. So it is with purse carry.

Beyond that, I believe every woman who carries a gun on-body should also own a purse designed for concealed carry. The purse functions as a backup carry method whenever circumstances or clothing won't allow the on-body choice to work. It also functions as insurance against holster related wardrobe malfunctions and can be used (for example) at the doctor's office or in the dressing room.


Here is some important information about how to choose a purse for concealed carry: Please pass that info along to your wife.

Not too long ago, I wrote an article for SWAT Magazine about purse carry. More specifically, it was about tactics that work for getting the gun out and ready to use when you need it. It is amazing to me, how many (male) people tell women how to use a purse -- when they themselves have never used one or drawn from one.

One specific piece of really bad advice that's very common: "just shoot through the purse..." We took a bunch of purses out to the range with good, experienced shooters and tried that out. At arms' length distances, we found it was very very tough to hit the target reliably when shooting through the purse. In real life conditions, where there will be lots of other things in the purse that could deflect the bullet, that's going to be even more true. Keep in mind, too, that unless you have a revolver, you can only count on one shot under those conditions. So don't plan to shoot through the purse. It's actually faster to complete your draw.

When you choose a purse, always choose one that's designed specifically for concealed carry. The non-holster options just don't work that well. If you're carrying the gun in case you might need it, you will likely need it in a hurry -- and the only way to be sure you're prepared to access it in a hurry is if it comes out of a true carry purse.

The drawstroke from a purse is usually similar to a crossdraw drawstroke. Watch to be sure you don't point the gun at your own brachial artery or wrist during the draw.

Fastest purse draw that I'm aware of is a vertical draw from a Gun Tote'n Mamas "Raven."

Hope this helps.

Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
pax is offline  
Old September 17, 2013, 02:47 PM   #24
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 7,489
Incidentally, I'm not a big fan of the reinforced strap on a concealed carry purse. (Or on any purse.)

Here's why:

Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
pax is offline  
Old September 17, 2013, 03:08 PM   #25
Senior Member
Join Date: May 3, 2009
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 3,569
My wife does not like the idea of purse carry. Then again she hates carrying a purse at all. She will forgo the purse for a fanny pack every time. Since her job now takes her to places that are not nice neighborhoods, and she works alone most times, she carries at all times. We are going to go shopping for a pocket gun for her. It was her idea, as IWB carry is not working for her with the demands of constant bending, and moving around, as well as lots of driving. I am supportive of anything she decides.

Oh and her first reaction to somone talking of purse carry. (Note she was raised in New York.) "The first thing a scum bag will do to you is get your purse away, or make it so you can not grab anything inside of it."

Most times when a woman is attacked the attacker goes for the purse first. Why you may ask? Well if they have mace it will most likely be in her purse, a cell phone again in the purse, car keys, ect. Scum bags know if they get the purse they usualy have made most women defenseless.

One of my co workers bought a nice one, that looks fasionable, that fits her well. She carries with that purse. She keeps it on her at all times if she is carrying a gun in it. Though I admit that there are a lot of times when she leaves the purse in the trunk of her car, as carrying a purse, and keeping control of it while trying to eat in a reseraunt is more of a hastle for her, than she cares to go through.

I will also say if your wife has decided to purse carry, then support her in that. If she later decides to change to a different method of carry then support that as well. If she is anything like my wife then there are a few facts of life.

1. If it is not totaly her idea. (Forget about it, not going to happen.)
2. If you try to talk her into it you would have an easier time moving a stalwart mule.
3. If she decides to she will let you know. If so do what she ask you to, and do not delay things. Be supportive of her ideas, and opinions, even if you do think it is not a good idea. (As long as it is not something totaly unsafe that is.)
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.

Last edited by m&p45acp10+1; September 17, 2013 at 03:16 PM.
m&p45acp10+1 is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.21699 seconds with 9 queries