How do you dress for concealed carry if you’re female? As a woman, it’s harder to conceal a firearm. But before you panic and begrudgingly replace your wardrobe with large shirts and sweatpants, take a deep breath. Your favorite clothes aren’t going anywhere. So, here are some concealed carry clothing tips for women…from a woman.
Dressing for Concealed Carry: You Can Do It
It might take a little creativity on your part, but you don’t have to sacrifice style for safety.
Effective concealment isn’t just about finding the “right outfits” or wearing a paper bag for the rest of your life.
It’s also about owning a firearm that’s concealable in the first place, and a holster that’s not too bulky.
It doesn’t make sense to spend hours in the dressing room hunting for concealed carry outfits when your firearm is so large you’d basically need a coat to conceal it.
Dressing for Concealed Carry: The Firearm Factor
Chances are, your firearm is already compact. However, if it’s not, it might be what’s preventing effective concealment.
Many excellent compact, subcompact, and even micro-sized pistols are available. Yes, smaller guns produce more felt recoil, but you want a gun that you’ll feel comfortable conceal carrying daily. Managing recoil is better than trying to manage without a gun.
CCW Clothing Tips: The Right Holster
And of course, let’s not forget about your concealed carry method.
There’s a wide range of holster types available, and many of them are now being designed specifically for women.
Holsters can significantly affect the efficacy of your concealed carry. However, you need to strike a delicate balance. On the one hand, you want a slim holster that’ll aid in concealment. However, you also want the trigger guard of your firearm to be properly protected. Holsters made of lace or nylon, while they’re great for concealment, don’t offer proper trigger guard protection.
Also, these holsters collapse when you draw, so reholstering is tricky. If you use one hand to open the holster pocket, and the other hand to reholster, your gun is pointed at your hand. So, you have to take the holster off in order to reholster safely.
So, what’s the best option?
Ultimately, there will never be one holster that’s best for everyone. However, you generally want to look for a holster with a polymer retention shell, total polymer construction, or a quality leather holster. To reduce bulk, many holsters feature a slim backing.
Also, remember that concealment isn’t your only goal; you also need to be able to access your firearm quickly.
Concealed Carry Clothing Tips: Embrace Your Options
So now, let’s talk about wardrobe.
How do you dress for concealed carry?
A common tip that women get is to “wear lots of print” to distract from your firearm. But if you don’t like to wear distracting print, don’t worry, you have plenty of other options.
So, what’s your jam?
Want to dress for concealed carry in jeans? A great option is the OWB or IWB holster. Inside the waistband holsters are known for having deep concealment powers, and many OWB holsters are also concealable. Simply throw on a cardigan or a tunic top, and you’re good to go.
If you don’t want to wear a gun belt, you also have the option of using a belly band or corset holster.
Dresses & Skirts
If you’re trying to dress for concealed carry, and you love skirts and dresses, the thigh holster is a good option.
Well-designed thigh holsters keep your firearm securely in place all day. They’re also surprisingly comfortable. Depending on the thigh holster, you can choose to carry on the inside or outside of the thigh.
With this option, you can wear a tight top with a skirt, no worries!
Depending on the dress, you also might be able to rock a bra holster, but keep in mind: you need quick access. So a dress that goes up to your neckline and doesn’t unbutton or unzip won’t pair well with a bra holster.
If you’re wearing an IWB or OWB holster, you’d be surprised at how much form-fitting-ness you can get away with. You won’t be able to wear a belly shirt, but you could still conceal your firearm in a tank top or T-shirt.
However, if you’re wearing a corset or belly band holster, your top will need to be slightly loose; flowy blouses or pintuck tops are good shirts for concealed carry.
How to Dress for Concealed Carry in the Summer
Obviously, concealment is difficult when all you want to wear are tank tops and short shorts.
However, you can still use the same concealed carry techniques in the summer. In a pair of shorts, a good gun belt and an IWB will do the trick. Lightweight, tunic type tops are always fresh in the summer, and thigh holsters can work even in a mini skirt.
As for the winter, concealment is much easier. Belly band and corset holsters allow you to rock those yoga pants, and sweaters and jackets make it possible to conceal a larger gun. However, access can become more of a problem in the wintertime. Make sure your firearm isn’t buried so deep in your sweaters you can’t access it.
Dressing for Concealed Carry: The Best CCW Clothes for You
So, as you can see, you don’t need a complete wardrobe overhaul to conceal your firearm. The best clothes for concealed carry are the clothes you love to wear paired with the right firearm and holster.
After a while, you’ll get into a rhythm, and concealing your firearm will feel like second nature. Yes, you may need to make some minor adjustments here and there. Yes, you might want to shop for looser shirts or go a size up in jeans so you can comfortably wear your IWB. But ultimately, you can still be fashionable and conceal your firearm at the same time.
You might have one method of concealed carry that you stick to, or you might have two or three positions that you transition through. However, once you choose a method of carrying, practice drawing from that holster until your draw is swift. You don’t want to be fumbling for your firearm in an emergency.