By Britney Starr, Women’s Outdoor News
Here is a look inside the creative mind of Rebecca Hauptman, from the blog RebeccaGuns, whose Twitter description reads, “Guns mostly, with a side of DIY and a sprinkling of awesomeness.” We think she has awesomeness by the bucket-load.
Brit: Is your name really Rebecca Guns, because that would be the coolest last name ever.
RG: Ha! Sadly no, my last name is not Guns. It’s way more pedestrian than that. I chose the name “RebeccaGuns” when my husband and I were first getting into shooting. We kept meeting really cool people at the range that we wanted to hang out with. We would exchange numbers with them, and as a way to remember who they were later, we’d put the word “guns” after their first names. So our address books filled up with names like Phil Guns and Jamie Guns. One day I said to my husband, “I hope I’m in someone else’s phone as ‘Rebecca Guns.’ I’d really like to be ‘Rebecca Guns.’” And he said, “Baby, you can!” That’s how the blog RebeccaGuns was born.
Brit: I love reading your blog. You always have such interesting and informative content. Tell me a little about your background with guns and the driving force/mission of your blog.
RG: I grew up in a really gun friendly environment. Most of the kids I knew started hunting with their dads when we were 9 or 10 years old. We had off of school for the first day of deer season every year. Deer spotting was a popular pass time. But I was always the kid with my nose in a book or a sketchpad, so I never really got into guns or hunting as a young person. Fast forward to college — I’m living in a major East Coast city, so my perception of guns was mostly centered around gun violence. The Second Amendment was purely academic to me. I really had no idea that there were upstanding, conscientious, law abiding folks who were carrying firearms in Philadelphia. Then one of our friends started inviting me and my husband to the range. I fired a few guns, but wasn’t instantly hooked.
When my husband bought his first gun and brought it home, I thought, “Wow! This thing lives in the same house with me. I better learn how to use it safely.” So, then I got my mind right and started going to the range with a purpose. Suddenly, I became aware of this whole world of really amazing people and very cool firearms that I couldn’t even have imagined existed. I started a blog as a way to document and kind of make sense of this whole shift in attitude I was experiencing. I noticed, basically right away, that the “voice” of the firearms industry and community always seemed to be male. That motivated me to step up and make the kind of blog I wanted to see. And having entered the gun world as a generally left-leaning, artistic, urban-dweller, I feel like that transition brings a unique perspective as well. I would say that’s the driving force behind my blog — to build diversity in the gun community and help others realize the confidence and empowerment that comes with learning to protect yourself.
Brit: So, you and the guns are living together in peace and harmony now! I love how women gun bloggers are making it easier for other women to get information and become more involved. Speaking of involved, you and your husband have a company called PHLster — what is that?
RG: PHLster is the custom Kydex holster business that my husband Jon accidentally started in our spare room last year. He wanted a Kydex holster, but being the kind of do-it-yourselfer he is, decided that he would make one. He turned to YouTube for some instruction and found a kind of void. So he started making videos about his holster projects as a way to connect with other DIYers. Then viewers started asking him if he would make them gear, and PHLster was born. It’s a good thing we don’t have kids, because it’s a demanding baby!
Brit: I saw on Twitter that you guys are moving PHLster into a new space. That’s exciting!
RG: Thanks! It feels like we have been eating, sleeping and breathing Kydex holsters for about a year now, so it’s really encouraging to see it starting to pay off. We’ve been lucky enough to have the support of a really encouraging community and some of the best customers I’ve ever met. I mean, who else has customers that send them gifts? It’s just incredible and it makes us really want to strive and grow and make the best products we can. So, hopefully, with this new space we can increase production, decrease wait times and expand the product line. I am really trying hard to get some more viable concealed carry options out there for the ladies and I think we are getting really close…
Brit: That’s awesome! Tell me about the women’s cc holsters that you are making. Explain the design, concept, etc.
RG: Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a deal of a time finding a secure, comfortable, concealable method to carry my pistol. I have tried all kinds of IWB and OWB holsters and they either print like crazy, drag my pants down, or dig into my hip and side. So, I thought, “Why not make a holster that you can conceal in plain sight?” To that end, I’ve started working on these belt bags that are basically just large pockets that fit over a Kydex holster. The idea is to have two components — the holster and the bag, that fit together but can be used separately also. I have prototyped about 5 now, and there are so many considerations that it’s becoming a real challenge to come up with a workable design. But, I am determined to keep at it. I know there has to be a way for me, and a lot of other women out there, to successfully and stylishly carry our guns in a safe manner.
Here is a link to a blog post that I did about the bags with some pictures. I have also been working with Jon to develop a Kydex holster that rides lower than most rigs. For me, carrying on my hip is the most comfortable and concealable spot, but many holsters put the gun up at my waistline. PHLster is currently working on a design that drops the gun down to a level that conforms to the female body better. Ideally this is the holster that the final belt bag design will be based around.
I have been doing some experimenting with different fabrics. Recently, I got my hands on some waxed canvas which has a lot of potential for this application since it is durable and water-proof, but still has a fabric-like feel and appearance. I suspect there will be some documentation of my progress on the RebeccaGuns blog soon.
Brit: If you don’t mind telling us, what gun are you planning on concealing in your holster bag?
RG: I’ve tried out a lot of different guns for concealed carry since I got my license about 6 months ago and none of them felt right for various reasons. Despite the best intentions of the fellows at the gun store, I just don’t like most compact revolvers or double action pocket pistols. Then I got a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in April and instantly fell in love with it. For me, it’s the perfect size for concealment and it shoots great. I can easily appendix carry it when I am wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, but summer clothes are a little bit more difficult. Hence, the need for an OWB carry solution. Getting the Shield has been a great motivator for me in terms of nailing down this holster bag design. Once you finally find a gun you feel comfortable and competent with, you just don’t want to leave home without it.