An estimated 10 million Americans — and counting — have concealed weapon permits, but recent reports suggest that the number of women applying for permits is dramatically spiking. With so many women starting to carry a weapon, the gun industry has rushed to accommodate their unique carrying needs.
The obvious answer is easy– a purse! Companies like Gun Tote’n Mamas offer affordable purses with built in gun holsters for easy access to the firearm, but some women have issues with this method.
When carrying concealed, the weapon must be attached to the body at all times. Some women worry about leaving their purse somewhere, and others don’t like the feeling of restraint — it’s a viable option, but not ideal. Like men, women want the luxury of carrying hands-free and worry-free.
“Most holsters have been built for men’s bodies,” firearms instructor Karla Pohl told WFFA. “Women are built differently, and we dress differently.”
Companies are getting creative, inventing realistic options to assist women in the concealed carry dilemma.
Common options for women include ankle straps, women-friendly waist straps, garters and even bra holsters.
Owner of the Well Armed Women, Carrie Lightfoot, said options like the bra-holster are a very feasible choice for women who want to carry.
“It kind of a natural location depending on the size of the gun and the size of the guns,” Lightfoot said. “Women just need options because one day a woman is wearing a dress, the next day a suit and the next day exercise clothing.”
Articles of clothing– from concealed carry aprons to spandex running shorts– are finding their way to women across the United States searching for viable options.
The spike in concealed carry holders is widespread. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that concealed carry permits have grown from 11,000 holders to 60,000 in the last 9 years.
The Seattle Times reported that the number of concealed carry permit holders has tripled from 2005 to 2012, and that influx is largely associated with women.
Women have been responsible for 30 percent of permits in Tennessee issued in 2013. Twelve percent of the recent gun permit applicants in Illinois are women, and women hold 22 percent of concealed carry permits in both Florida and Washington State.
Here are some viable options for ladies looking to pack some heat.