How To Safely Purse Carry

How To Safely Purse Carry

Purse carry is convenient.  When I first began carrying a S&W M&P Bodyguard revolver, the easiest place to keep it was in my purse.  My purse carries a bit of everything in it.  And I knew instantly that fishing around in my purse for a revolver wasn’t a good idea – so I got a pocket holster to put it in.  As it turns out – that’s a good move.  

According to a few recent studies, a record number of women are getting their concealed carry permits.  I was brought up in a relatively liberal household where my mom thought guns should only be carried by police.  She’d constantly throw out stuff like, “well, in Britain, they don’t have guns and look at their gun crime.”

I love my mom.  But I also know that I might not always have time for police or security to arrive.  And having had a few sketchy encounters, keeping a legally concealed firearm on me just made sense.

But I also knew that I needed to do some research.  There’s been cases where women get their purses snatched, pickpocketed, or even had negligent discharges.  And for a few moms out there, there’s always the risk that a child gains access to the gun.

So, in my research, I came up with the following best practices for safely carrying a gun in my purse.  This is by no means a complete list of everything a woman should do – but it’s a general guide that I’ve found helpful.

Carrying Cross-Body

When I’m carrying my purse, I get in the habit of carrying it draped across my body.  It’s convenient to just sling a purse over the shoulder before running out the door.  But this also means that it’s a lot easier to remove.  Carrying it across the body means it’s more tightly held.

Holster In The Purse

There’s two things a holster has to do – protect the trigger guard and have good retention.  If the concealed carry gun slides right on out – that’s no good.  If the trigger isn’t completely protected – that’s also no good.  If both of these things are covered, it means I have better control over when and how that firearm comes out.

Keep The Firearm Accessible

This is a big one.  While I tend to stash all sorts of stuff in my purse because of my hectic lifestyle, my gun has to remain accessible at all times.  I need to know when I reach into my purse that I can safely grab the pistol grip and withdraw it.  That’s why I keep my concealed carry pistol in a separate accessible pocket.  It’s concealed, it’s separated from the rest of my stuff.

There are custom purses that women can get which have all sorts of things like steel reinforced straps and special compartments, etc.  I don’t have one of those purses but I have gotten the opportunity to try them out.  They’re not for me.  I figure if you can understand what you need to make a purse into a good place to store a concealed carry pistol, you should be good-to-go.

And as always, if you’re going to carry in a purse – take that purse to the range with you.  Get used to drawing from it and firing.  This definitely built up my confidence.  

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Hannah Dustin enjoys long walks on the beach with her Beretta Nano and puggle, Michael. She is currently pursuing her masters in American Literature and would rather be at the range than writing her dissertation.
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helen sabin

A purse is a very slow way of drawing a pistol – why not wear an in the waistband (IWB) holster and gun?
Have you ever timed yourself drawing the gun? I bet you are at around 5 seconds, yes?? It takes a perp 1.5 seconds to cross 21 feet and by then he or she is on you.

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Luckily, Vera Bradley makes a purse that perfectly holds my XDS in a zipped Outer pocket. If I am in a parking lot alone, I open the pocket and put my hand in. Discreet, yet ready.

Nathan Ledoux

How to safely purse carry: Don’t.

Henry Winter

Interesting article. I always wondered how women can get gun out of the bag. Usually, they can’t find anything there.