Although The Well-Armed Woman’s (TWAW) Carrie Lightfoot’s biographical notes insist she is “not a genius,” we must note that our search of Albert Einstein’s work didn’t turn up anything useful about how to safely and discreetly carry a defensive gun in hot weather. It’s possible that this is due to the fact that Einstein never had to figure out how to carry a concealed handgun under a sundress, but whatever the reason, Lightfoot has some terrific advice about how to keep your concealed-carry pistol concealed, as well as a wide selection of products that solve some carry issues. So don’t let the rising mercury (and those rising hemlines) keep you from safeguarding yourself this summer—even when it’s so hot that “cover garments” are out of the question.
TWAW Tip #1: Go Looser and Longer
As any woman who has ever tried to conceal on-body can tell you, crop tops are the fruit of the devil. No matter how diminutive the pistol, as Lightfoot points out, long, loose clothing makes it easier to conceal your gun. If you’re not rocking a dress today, one of the best ways to carry your defensive handgun is a belly band.
We love this modular belly band package from CrossBreed Holsters: It’s infinitely customizable and available in a dizzying array of models to fit hundreds of gun-and-laser combinations. Clothing that’s just a little less fitted than your average crop top (seriously, can someone explain this trend to us?) will conceal a belly band like magic…and it’ll keep you cool, too.
TWAW Tip #2: Go Deeper
Lightfoot’s second tip, to “go deeper,” doesn’t refer to the most refreshing end of the pool. Instead, she recommends that you not try to rely on the lighter, less sturdy waistbands of summer to try to keep a hip-mounted holster safely in place. “Going deeper” in this case means deeper concealment—away from the waist. Although Lightfoot cautions that you’ll definitely need to do some practice with drawing from this deeper concealment, it’s still a valid way to tote your pistol. One way to deep conceal under a nice, flowy sundress is the garter holster.
We’re fans of this one, from Can Can Concealment, and not just because it makes us feel like Old West dance-hall girls. The draw, although it does require practice, is easier than it sounds. Take a moment and let your hands rest naturally at your sides … your fingertips are probably about 3 inches shy of where the butt of that pistol would be in a garter holster. Garter carry is remarkably comfortable, and you can adjust the holster to fit on whatever part of your leg makes the most sense for you.
TWAW Tip #3: Go Smaller
No, thank goodness, this isn’t about to turn into an article about our “beach bodies.” When Lightfoot says “go smaller,” all she means is that it’s worth your while to consider downsizing your gun if you are having trouble concealing it under filmy summer clothing. Going to a micropistol or J-frame revolver will reduce your available firepower somewhat, but let us refer to one of the great aphorisms of being an armed woman: The tiny gun you have is better than the big gun you left at home.
If the handgun you have in mind is as teeny-weeny as that famous yellow polka-dot bikini, you can go even smaller still with a holster short! We love this little ambidextrous compression short from Dene Adams, which allows you to carry discreetly on your outer thigh—an option that, like a garter holster, allows for simple on-body carry under a dress with its sturdy yet comfortable no-roll seams. If you prefer to carry on your torso, you’ll want to know about this Undertech on-body holster short from Gun Goddess. Marketed as “Spanx for Guns,” these shorts tuck your CCW gun into your kidney area … and, just like the Dene Adams holster shorts above, they’re slimming to the wearer, no “beach body” diet required. As a bonus, the bike-shorts-and-oversized-tee-shirt combo is making a big fashion comeback, so you’ll be securing your safety en vogue.