Wife wants CCW! I'm clueless...


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SnakeEater
August 19, 2004, 12:01 PM
In a bold and shocking move my wife has decided she'd like to start shooting with me:D Not only that but she'd also like to get her CCW. Now, I'm confident I can help her select the proper handgun but the carry method is what's getting me stuck. I need some input from women or from guys whose wives carry on how they do it, i.e. purse, IWB, etc. She is 5'9" and 125lbs. with a "curvy" build.

I haven't been this happy in a long time. With a little luck she'll like HK handguns as much as I do.

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armoredman
August 19, 2004, 12:16 PM
My wife is 5'8", and is a big girl - she carries a CZ 2075 RAMI in an HBE Leatherworks COMIII, and loves it!

Andrew Rothman
August 19, 2004, 12:19 PM
Congratulations! Think you could get her to talk to my wife? :D

Seriously, as for carry method... How does she typically dress? Obviously, tight clothes, while entertaining for the husband, make concealed carry somewhat more difficult.

Also, I'm guessing that at her height and weight, she is more "slim" than "curvy" as I understand the term.

If there is a pronounced hip-to-waist ratio, belt carry gets a bit harder, as the gun's butt tends to push into the waist. There are holsters that have spacers to combat this, but then the sucker sticks out a quite a bit.

I carry with a SmartCarry (http://www.smartcarry.com/) holster. It is amazingly effective. I think most women could pull this off with pleated slacks or comfort-fit jeans, although not with painted-on pants of any kind.

Congrats, and let us know what she decides on!

MLH
August 19, 2004, 01:06 PM
Betty (ROTL) to chime in here. She can hide more guns on her with the least amount of clothes I've ever seen!:cool:

Pebcac
August 19, 2004, 01:13 PM
My wife has what could be described as a "pronounced" hip-to-waist ratio (which will soon even out - she's pregnant), and still wears a Galco "Fletch" holster. She likes it better than the expensive hidden-holster purse I bought her, but the purse option frequently comes in handy.

Purses are not without risk, however. They can be snatched. When armed in this way, my wife puts the (reinforced) strap over her head to the opposite shoulder. Anyone who tries to snatch that purse will have a very angry, very physical person attached to it!

Damon
August 19, 2004, 01:20 PM
She should start a holster collection like everyone else. Eventually, she will find what works for her. She may also try fanny packs as well as hand bags.

SodiumBenzoate
August 19, 2004, 01:25 PM
(which will soon even out - she's pregnant)

Congrats.

birddog
August 19, 2004, 01:48 PM
My wife carries every day. Her Kimber Ultra CDP .45 goes into her Coronado leather purse / holster.

Persnickety
August 19, 2004, 05:44 PM
Coronado leather is the best!

Also see these threads:

Feminine Protection (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=52850) and For Persnickety and the Ladies of THR (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=53952)

Mama06, Pax and others gave some great advice. Finding clothing is still an ongoing struggle, though, especially in hot weather. I'm always on the hunt.

Also see Shooter's Carnival (http://carnival.saysuncle.com/001307.html)

and Deva (http://www.devalifewear.com/www-devalifewear-com/summer.html?AOLHelp=410410cc.119.898.1&ServerName=www.devalifewear.com&MasterShipping=~) makes loose blouses, some of which work very well.

Let's go shopping!

Standing Wolf
August 19, 2004, 06:03 PM
Web developer in Minneapolis. Will code for food!
I got hired, and 30 days later they closed the office. Am I cursed?

I think I've got you beat, Matt: I once worked for a company four and a half days before two thirds of the company, myself included, was laid off. What a screwy world!

Trebor
August 20, 2004, 02:02 AM
I think women have a lot more trouble finding a good carry method then men. The styles and cuts of women's clothing, especially professional business wear, doesn't work as well for concealment as equivilant men's clothes. Casual clothes work better, but the size and shape of a woman's hips and waist can really affect holster and gun selection.

For on-body carry, take a look at her body style and wardrobe and see what wardrobe modifications can be made to hide a gun. Her casual clothes carry method is likely to be different then her dress clothes carry method.

Shoulder holsters work well for many women. Better then they work for the average man, in fact. Shoulder holsters avoid the whole problem women have with their waist and hips and the bust helps hide the holstered gun. Of course, a blazer or similiar garment is required for concealment.

Most "big time" trainers advise against purse carry, but for many women, it is often the most viable option. The trick is to get a purse designed for concealed carry and learn how to access the gun with the purse in different positions. Wear the purse with the strap going from the weak side shoulder to the strong side hip to reduce the risk of purse snatching. Some gun purses come with a steel cable in the strap to keep the strap from being cut.

Your wife is likely going to wind up with more different carry methods for different clothes then you are.

pax
August 20, 2004, 03:55 AM
SnakeEater ~

Wonderful! Tell her congratulations from me. :cool:

I'd steer her away from purse carry if you can. Purses get put down from time to time. This makes purse carry a not-so-safe option for many. They can be good in some circumstances, but not *IMHO* as a primary means to carry. The purse takes away the "throw your purse at the BG and run" option, which might be useful in certain circumstances, and it requires a bit too much attention in circumstances wherein most women aren't accustomed to carrying their purses from point A to point B (inside a friend's home, for example; looks odd to tote it everywhere as you walk around, but if the friend has kids, stashing it behind the couch isn't an option). It is also a very slow draw compared to on-body carry, and can be separated from you in a moment of panic which is the very time you are most likely to need it. So if she can figure out a way to carry on body, that's what I'd recommend.

I don't have a specific holster recommendation, but I do have a few general hints of things I've discovered. I have a classic hourglass figure (read that as "curvy"), so that tends to be the problem I work around in looking at holsters.

The main message I have for your wife is simply this: it can be done. It is possible to comfortably wear a gun, IWB, every single day, under regular women's clothing. I know because I've done it for four years now.

Show this next part to your wife (hi Mrs SnakeEater!) ~

First, whichever holster you end up with, you may want to consider carrying in 'appendix carry' position. Envisioning your waist as a clock, with your belly button at 12 o'clock, appendix carry means placing the holster at approximately 1 to 2 o'clock. This spot isn't as affected by curves as are other spots along the beltline for some reason. Works very well for short-barrelled guns, not so well for longer ones. Doesn't take a particular holster type, so that's a plus (it means you can borrow one of SnakeEater's to see if the idea will work for you).

If you want, I can tell you a little bit about clothes that work and don't work for me with appendix carry -- but that's a pretty personal thing, even more so than fitting a holster. Suffice to say it is doable (and I felt tremendously flattered when visiting a friend yesterday. I walked in, she commented that I looked nice, then did a double-take because she knows I always carry: "You're not concealing under that!?" :D I was.)

If appendix carry isn't right for you for one reason or another, then look for holsters offered specifically for women. These are often designed with an extra drop so that the grip of the gun is less likely to dig into your ribs when carrying at 3 or 4 o'clock. Some of them come with a fairly radical cant, which can be a way to drop the grip without getting the end of the barrel below your cover garment. Which brings up the biggest drawback: many drop holsters are OWB and sometimes drop the barrel below what would be a reasonable length for a cover garment. (The best web article I've ever seen about selecting a holster for a woman's body is at http://www.womensholsters.com/ , written by a female holster maker named Chris Cunningham.)

If at all possible, try not to order a holster (or at least holster type) that you haven't tried on, unless you want to collect a drawerful of holsters which don't really work for you. Fitting a holster is for most women something like buying a pair of jeans: you might know the size you want and think a particular style suits your fancy, but until you try that style on your own personal body ... well, you know how much fun it is to take a couple pairs of jeans to the fitting room and discover that "X" brand just isn't for you, in any size. And on the rack it looks about the same as "Y" brand -- which fits you perfectly. Holsters are about the same. You can't tell how it will fit by looking at it!

That's about all I know about holsters. I will tell you that I had occasion, last year, to try on a fairly large collection of IWB and OWB holsters -- most of them allegedly "made for women." I tried on perhaps a dozen of them. Of those, one fit perfectly, wonderfully, amazingly. Several worked pretty well but were nothing to write home about. Two or three were uncomfortable but doable. And one I would not have been caught dead in. I won't tell you the brands, partly because I don't really remember which was which but mostly because the friend who let me try them on had a near mirror image to my experience -- the one I loved, she could hardly bear to have on her body, and the one I simply couldn't stand was really good for her. Point is, women's bodies are all different and what works for me might be awful for you.

Again, it is possible to carry a gun discreetly under ordinary women's clothing. It will take work as you figure out how to do it, but it is possible and it is well worth doing. I cannot believe how much freer I am. I'm no longer tied to my own fears. Having the means to defend myself means to me that I am able to go about normal activities without being overly fearful or churlish toward strangers because I know I can take care of myself if things go bad. It's the most freeing feeling in the world.

pax

SnakeEater
August 20, 2004, 04:38 AM
I can't thank ya'll enough. I really do appreciate it.

twoblink
August 20, 2004, 05:59 AM
congrats..

Did you go buy a lotto ticket that night? You know, lightning has been known to strike twice!! :evil:

SRYnidan
August 20, 2004, 10:29 AM
SRYNidan's wife here - I like my bianchi 13h or galco horizontal shoulder rigs. Both are comfortable. I can easily carry my glock 19/23 or his browning hi-power under a vest or jacket. (Actually, its my browning, he just thinks all this stuff is his). I can also manage a seecamp 32 in a leather pocket holster in my jeans hip pocket.

Henry Bowman
August 20, 2004, 10:46 AM
SnakeEater - If you/she finds a CCW training course in SW Ohio that is particularly "female friendly," I'd like to know to recommend to my wife.

P.S. - Take Pax's words on this subject as gospel.

SnakeEater
August 20, 2004, 02:29 PM
Henry Bowman,

I'm gonna send her to the same course that I attended. The Isaac Walton League in Oxford has a once a month class, Sunday 8am-8pm. The instructors are the Cincinnati Police Firearms Training Officers with close to 30 years of experience. If you or anybody else wants details shoot me an email.

sturmruger
August 20, 2004, 02:55 PM
Sounds like you have a good wife. I hope she can find a good way to carry.

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