By Lynne Finch, Personal Defense World
If you carry a pistol, odds are good that you need a holster. The purpose of a holster is to securely hold and provide access to your firearm. Simple, right? Not so much. Holsters are a lot like shoes: one size does not fit all.
If you’ve been carrying for a while, you probably have a holster bag, the place where old holsters go to die. Don’t feel bad — we all have them. Holsters are very individual, and what works great for me may not be what is best for you.
The good news is there are tons of options for women out there whether your manner of dress is casual or dressy. If you alternate the way you dress, you want to have a holster that works for you at least 70 percent of the time. Once you have determined your most frequent style of dress, and the holster location(s) that will work with that style, it’s time to shop.
Below are the three best options for women looking to comfortably conceal their firearm without any worry.
If you consistently wear two-piece clothing with a cover garment, consider strong-side hip (right hip for right-handers) IWB carry. For many, this is the default carry position — easy to access and very secure — and you can usually accommodate a mid- to large-frame pistol there. Remember, the smaller the pistol, the more difficult they usually are to shoot.
My personal favorite style of IWB is a hybrid — a leather backing with a molded Kydex shell attached and clips to attach to my waistband. This affords me the best retention of my firearm while minimizing the print, or outline, of my gun.
My personal favorite is from Looper Law Enforcement and it’s called the “Ava.” It is high-quality leather with a lovely purple suede backing and the clips adjust to raise of lower the holster. OK, only I see the purple suede, but it is a nice touch. However, what makes this holster my favorite is the cut of the leather — it is cut lower than most hybrids, which tend to have a high arch in the middle. If, like me, you are slightly short-waisted, this will dig into your ribs. The Ava, being cut lower, doesn’t dig in.
If you wear dresses and skirts a lot, consider a thigh band. Thigh bands are generally worn on the weak-side leg, high on the thigh with the gun on the inside. Yes, you do get used to it and it becomes comfortable. There is something a little sexy, in a Bond Girl kind of way, about wearing a thigh holster. There are a couple companies that make them now.
First there is Remora, which makes a thigh/ankle combination option. Remora holsters are pocket holsters that have an outer “skin” that clings to you, or your garment, surprisingly well. The band Velcros onto the holster and accommodates a fairly significantly sized thigh. The trick with Remora holsters, and they come in lots of configurations, is to fit them to your gun. The manufacturer can give you specific information, but basically it involves gently warming the holster (I use my blow dryer), then inserting your gun (I use a blue gun) into the holster and letting it rest for 24 hours. When you come back, it is custom-molded to your gun!
Another company who recently introduced thigh bands is Femme Fatale. They also make an ankle sleeve holster and a corset-style holster. These are a fabric covered in lace. For a girly girl, it was love at first sight and I wanted one in every color! The thigh band is a slip-on with a pocket for a small- to mid-size pistol. There are a couple other manufacturers that make a thigh band that also have garters or a waist strap to make it feel more secure. I have never found a need for these, but if that is what makes you comfortable, wear what feels right to you.
Wear longer slacks most of the time with full-cut legs? Can you drop to one knee easily and then get back up quickly? An ankle holster might be for you. Remora, Femme Fatale and many others make ankle holsters ranging from minimal profile to significant padding against the skin. A lot of people love them, especially for a backup gun, but you need to be able to get to it. If you cannot drop to one knee and get back up quickly, it isn’t for you.
A popular option for women is the Flashbang from Looper Law Enforcement. It is essentially a Kydex clamshell that your compact pistol snaps into and it has a strap that hooks over the center of the bra. The clamshell then tucks up under the front edge. To access your gun, you reach up under your top and pull it straight down. Femme Fatale has an alternative to the Flashbang — it’s a corset, worn around the midsection, just below the bra line, that has a center pocket in the top. Instead of coming up from below, like the Flashbang, you come down from the top to reach your gun.