Belly band holsters are one of the best solutions for women who want to carry a concealed pistol on-body. They’re adjustable to your anatomy, work with a wide variety of subcompact and micropistols, and they can offer a fast, safe draw. However, like all on-body CCW methods, the belly band holster does require you to do some thinking about how to dress around it. Here are some terrific tips courtesy of our friends at Tactica Fashion, together with hints we’ve picked up over the years.
The first thing to know is that even if you’re waif-thin, you will need a cover garment that isn’t clingy or floaty. The belly band secures your pistol, but that pistol will “print”—e.g., be visible to others—if you have the wrong top over it. Tactica recommends that your cover garment be roomy about the belly area. Something like a hoodie with a kangaroo pocket in front is perfect.
Another question to answer about your belly band holster is where on your body you intend to wear it—and yes, we know that sounds dumb, but bear with us. Women with long torsos will have the choice to wear the band just up under the ribs by the diaphragm, or further down by the belly button/waistband area. If you wear the band down low, you may be able to get away with wearing a “regular” cover garment.
If, however, you’re going to wear the band up high, you will need a cover garment that will let you get to that area easily. What that means is that you will probably want a specialized cover garment that has an access panel to let you get to your gun, without having to fumble with your shirt. Earlier we mentioned hoodies as a great solution (and yes, Tactica has them), but what about when something more formal is in order?
The easy answer is “wear a jacket,” but not all of us want to resort to suit jackets to conceal our belly band holsters. Another option is a two-piece top, or one that has plenty of draping or ruffles to conceal your waist area. Recent fashions feature flowy peasant tops that may work well for you as long as the fabric is thick enough—and don’t forget just how well a busy pattern can fool the eye.
You will probably need to do some experimenting with your belly band and your wardrobe to get it right, but don’t be discouraged. Not all belly bands are the same; many major holster manufacturers such as CrossBreed, Galco and dozens of others offer belly bands of different styles, sizes and construction. As always, the key to effective self-defense is to find what works best for you, get the best firearms instruction you can find, and to practice your draw from concealment.