A Woman's Guide to Firearms and Concealed Carry
You may have noticed, but I’ve been busy making a few updates to the page, by adding links to a few products. I am using Amazon Associates’ program to link to the products as a way to try to earn a little extra cash to cover the expenses of the site hosting, etc. Check out the Products page and let me know what you think! I’ll be adding more products as I go along, but it’s a start! :)
Thanks for reading Girls Gun Locker!
Hey, everyone! I wanted to make a quick post to share a video I came across by The Late Boy Scout on how to make a portable target stand. We don’t have a “formal” range where we live, so in the past, we haven’t usually had target stands to use to mount our targets to. When I came across this video, I was pumped. We’ve made two of them, and they work pretty well. We are going to drill the holes in the base to be able to anchor them down (see the 2nd video) and we may trim the ends of the pine posts to make them a little more stable in the PVC, but overall, we are pretty happy with them. They’re portable and easy to put together.
If you’ve been trying to find a good target stand, check it out!
Anchoring the stands:
You’ve decided you want to legally carry a concealed firearm. You’ve taken the required training and are waiting for your permit to arrive.
What equipment will you need?
There are several things you need in order to make carrying a firearm as practical and comfortable as possible.
1. You will need to decide how you want to carry your firearm. My preferred method is inside-the-waistband (IWB), which means the
holster fits inside my jeans and clips on my belt. With this method, I don’t have to worry about losing my purse or whatever else I may be carrying my gun in. I know that when I carry IWB, my gun will be accessible in most situations. If you haven’t seen my previous article on purse carry, I am not a fan of that method. Many people find a way to carry outside-the waistband (OWB). OWB means that the holster fits on your belt outside the waistband of your pants.
2. If you decide to carry IWB or OWB, you will also need a good gun belt. I know, girls. The gun belts aren’t as cute as the blingy, cutesty belts we love, but most of those belts cannot support the weight of a loaded gun. Believe me, a good gun belt makes carrying a larger firearm much more comfortable. I’ve tried one of Galco’s leather gun belts and Comp-tac’s Kydex reinforced leather belt. The Comp-tac is my favorite. It is much more stable than the Galco, and I don’t feel like the weight of the gun is trying to pull my pants down. The better gun belts help keep the firearm close to your body to reduce printing and, in my opinion, are just as important as finding a holster that fits you.
3. Carrying IWB or OWB also means you need to find a good holster. You can walk into some of the sporting goods stores and find a few different brands of holsters there, for not much money. I’m here to tell you, avoid those. I can almost guarantee that you will not be happy with them. Most of them are bulky and difficult to conceal, especially on a woman’s curves. You will want a holster made for your gun that high quality. Getting a better holster makes it much easier to conceal a firearm with a wide variety of clothes. It will also make carrying much more comfortable. Be sure you try several different holster positions before you give up on any holster you may buy. I believe it was Kathy Jackson from Cornered Cat that said something like women with curves usually find it more comfortable to carry in appendix carry while women with less curves find behind the hip more comfortable. I have found this to be true for me. I carry in appendix carry. When you finally find the holster and position combination that works for you, it will be worth the money and frustration. For example, I am able to carry a compact (4 in slide) XD .45 in a Comp-tac holster with most of my clothes. I am experimenting with a Crossbreed holster just to see if it will help with a little bit of pinching I am having with the Comp-tac. In the event that I cannot conceal the compact XD, I carry a subcompact in 9mm with 13 rounds in the magazine. Not too bad for a chick that thought an LCP would be what I carried most of the time, huh?
I am a fan of carrying the biggest gun you can practically carry. However, I know that most women do not want to change up their wardrobe just be able to carry. Find the pistol, holster, and carry position that works for you. It can be a frustrating road, but once you find the setup that works for you, you will be happy that you did. Knowing that I am able to carry something that I trust to defend myself with makes the shopping around worth it.
There are several ways that you can purchase a firearm. You can buy it in person at a retail store, you can buy it in person from another individual, or you can buy it online. Buying a firearm online is actually a fairly easy way to find the gun the gun you want, and in many cases, pay less than what you would in a store. There are 2 places that I primarily use to purchase a gun online. Those are Gunbroker.com and from a Davidson’s Dealer. Davidson’s is a HUGE distributor of firearms. They don’t carry all manufacturers, but they carry a huge selection. Even though I do most of my gun purchases online, I still try to get my hands on the gun I will be ordering before I make to purchase. I want to make sure I like the way the gun fits my hand and all that kind of stuff. I rarely make a purchase online without trying it on first.
So what are these two sites, and what are the differences between the two?
Gunbroker is an auction site for firearms and accessories, similar to ebay. You can bid or use the “buy it now” feature to purchase new or used firearms. Once you have won or used the “buy it now” option, you can contact the seller and arrange for payment. Many of the sellers on Gunbroker take credit card, money order and Paypal. However, if you are a Paypal user, make sure the seller accepts Paypal before you bid or agree to “buy it now”. There are a number of sellers that do not accept Paypal because Paypal is owned by ebay, who has earned the reputation of not being very 2A friendly.
Once you decide on the firearm and bid or “buy it now”, and make the payment, you will have to have someone with their Federal Firearms License (FFL) send their FFL paperwork to them (fax, etc). The seller cannot ship the gun directly to you. They have to ship it to an FFL (the common name for people who have their Federal Firearms License). Once the FFL receives it, they will notify you and will will have to fill out the applicable paperwork with them before you can take your gun. Around here, the FFLs I have dealt with charge about $25 for the transfer fee.
Davidson’s makes it a little easier. Instead of being an auction site, Davidson’s has distributors or dealers. You can search for the distributor nearest you from their website. Davidson’s sells new firearms and accessories, but your dealer may have used ones for sale as well. In my experience, the prices through a Davidson’s dealer are usually cheaper than what I can find in a store. Each distributor sets their own price markup, so the prices may vary a little between dealers. However, Davidson’s also runs specials that can sometimes save you a big chunk of change. Once you make a decision to order from a Davidson’s dealer, you have to put a down-payment down on the gun before it will ship. You do not have to deal with having an FFL send their paperwork to a seller, etc. The Davidson’s dealer will be an FFL so there is nothing else for you to do, but wait for the gun to be shipped to the dealer. They will contact you when it comes in and you will be required to fill out the applicable paperwork and pay the balance due on the gun.
If you can wait a few days to get your hands on your new gun, both Gunbroker and Davidson’s can save you money compared to a brick and mortar store. At times, you can find the same firearm cheaper on either site. When I’m ready to make a purchase, I usually check both places to see which one has the best deal at the time. The downside is that you can’t see the gun in person first, unless you make an effort to go find it in a store. Most of my gun purchases are online. I like being able to save a couple hundred dollars, so the wait doesn’t really bother me.
I hope I’ve helped take some of the mystery out of buying a gun online. In my opinion, it really is a simple process, and usually worth the extra steps compared to your possible savings.
So, you’ve been thinking about getting a gun, or giving the shooting sports a try. But where do you even start? In this article, I hope to help you figure out how to figure out what firearm you should get and make it a little less intimidating.
Where do I even start??
Let me start by saying that if you are brand new to guns, I’m going to assume that you do not own a gun yet.
The first place you should start is by getting your hands on and shooting as many different guns as you can. If you have friends or family that enjoy shooting, they would probably be more than happy to take you out shooting. If you don’t have friends or family that have guns you can try or that don’t have a big selection, many ranges have rental guns that you can try out. Why do I recommend trying them out? Well, finding the perfect gun for you is alot like finding the perfect pair of shoes. You want the gun to fit your hand. If the grip is too big or too small, you won’t be able to control the recoil as well, and it won’t be as enjoyable to shoot…and if you’re going to own a gun, you must practice with it, so you want something that you can enjoy shooting.
As an example, I have shot a Smith & Wesson M&P340 that, in 1 cylinder of ammo, left me with a blister on the thumb of my strong hand. Now, I don’t consider myself a recoil sensitive girl, or a girl with a weak grip, but that gun was NO fun to shoot. Chances are, if that was my gun, I wouldn’t practice with it enough that I should carry it. The gun fit my hand great and felt comfortable to hold prior to shooting it. It wasn’t until I shot it that I realized I hated it.
Shoot as many different guns as you can. This will help you decide what you like and what you don’t like and that will start to narrow down the selection.
Educate yourself about gun safety
You MUST educate yourself about gun safety. You should start BEFORE you even get your hands on a firearm. You are responsible for your safety and for every round you fire. The basic safety rules are simple and can prevent a devastating accident from occuring. They are:
1. Every gun is loaded. When someone hands you a firearm, ALWAYS assume it is loaded. Check it. Just because you took the magazine out, doesn’t mean there isn’t a round still in the chamber. Check it again. It doesn’t matter if I just saw my Husband unload a pistol, when he hands it to me, I check it again. It’s not that I don’t trust him. It’s that I want to be 110% sure that the gun is unloaded.
2. Never put your finger on the trigger until you a ready to fire. If your finger is not on the trigger, the gun will not go off. Plain and simple. For example, if you put your finger on the trigger while you are pulling a pistol from your holster, you could very easily shoot yourself. Talk about a bad day. In fact, in the following video, this DEA agent didn’t follow rules 1 or 2. Remember, he’s a professional. Check out what happened.
3. Never point your gun at something you are not willing to kill or destroy. Don’t point your gun at your friend, your friend’s car, etc. Not only is this grounds for a butt-kicking, but if you happen to have your finger on the trigger (because if you’re being this disrectful of a firearm, chances are you’re not following ANY of the safety rules), you could hurt or kill someone, or destroy property. True story – I know of an instance where a young man “jokingly” pointed a gun at his girlfriend’s head, and pulled the trigger because he was told the gun was unloaded. He “accidentally” shot her. This young woman lost her life because of his horrible decision, and I’m sure he will never forgive himself.
4. Know your target and what it beyond it. You must always be aware that any round you fire may go through your target. If you’re shooting paper targets, make sure there is nothing behind the target. If you’re hunting, you probably don’t want to shoot something that is in front of a vehicle. If you are in a self defense situation, you must know if there is an innocent person standing behind the bad guy. You are responsible for every round you fire.
Ok, so I’ve decide on the gun and I know the safety rules. Now what?
GO BUY IT! Well, ok, maybe not yet. I recommend doing some research on the firearm that you have decided on. If you google it, you will find reviews from other people who own the gun that could be very helpful. If you find out that the firearm you have chosen has trouble feeding a particular brand of ammunition, that could save you frustration at the range. Or, you could find enough negative reviews that you decide not to spend your hard earned money on that particular gun. Research is your friend.
If you like what you’ve read in the reviews, then it’s time to go buy it. There are several ways you can buy a firearm. You can just walk into you local gun store and purchase it, you can buy one used from another individual in person, or you can buy it online (through a dealer or a site like gunbroker.com). I plan to write an article at a later date about buying a gun online to explain the process. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and can often save you money.
So you’ve got your gun. My next suggestion is that you find a firearms instructor. That could be a certified firearms instructor, a class, or even someone you know that is a safe, experienced, responsible shooter. The first few times you shoot your new gun, you are going to be a little nervous. It’s a good idea to have someone with you that has experience in case you have questions, or malfunctions with the firearm. Plus, it can be a ton of fun to go shoot with other people.
As you get more experience, you will get more comfortable shooting. ALWAYS remember the safety rules and that your safety is your responsibility.
Do you have any other tips that I missed? Did you find this article helpful? Leave me a comment below!
This post is a guest post by Gracie at Packing Pretty. As you may already know, I used to carry smaller guns just because they were easier to dress around. After coming across Packing Pretty, and seeing that Gracie was able to conceal a full size XDM daily, I was inspired to start carrying a larger gun. I thought her experience with carrying a big gun could be useful to other people. So, without further ado….Ms. Gracie, take it away!
Mastering the Art of Deep Concealment
Concealed carry doesn’t need to be a frustrating fashion fiasco. Concealment is an art, and just like any art, it takes some mastering.
Step 1: A Sturdy Foundation
Assuming you have already chosen your primary carry gun, the next step is to find some sturdy, comfortable holsters.
I like to carry inside the waistband, this keeps the gun underneath my base layers of clothing (not including my underwear), and I don’t have to worry about my shirt riding up past my booty. 5 Shot Leather makes my primary EDC (every day carry) holster.
Tuckable holsters, such as the Old Faithful, are great for concealment when you need to tuck your shirt in. I find these to be one of the
most comfortable holsters I own, and wear it even when I’m not planning on tucking in my shirt it.
One of my favorite deep concealment holsters for wearing under dresses and skirts are the UnderTech Compression Shorts. Not only do they provide a holster, but they keep your other private matters, well…private.
There are several types of holsters and configurations out there, but I’m going to focus primarily on behind the hip carry, because that’s what I’m an expert at.
Step 2: Simplifying Your Closet
For women like me, who concealed carry every day, I recommend going through your closet and giving away what doesn’t conceal your gun. When you have clothing that isn’t friendly for concealed carry in your closet, it tempts you to leave your gun at home.
My rule of thumb: if it doesn’t hide my gun, I don’t want it.
The same goes for shopping for new clothing.
Step 3: Shopping!
Once you’ve made up your mind to conceal on a day to day basis, it’s time to change your shopping habits. You should be wearing your gun when you’re shopping anyways, right? So why not try on the clothing first (with your EDC gear on) to see how well it conceals.
Here are some things to look for in a good concealed carry garment:
Have fun with it. I use these steps and tips everyday to conceal a full sized, double stack handgun. It’s a lot easier then it seems; it just takes some practice.
For more ideas on concealed carry outfits and building your concealed carry wardrobe, visit my Pinterest board on Gun Friendly Fashion.
Thank you for taking the time to write this article, Gracie! Hopefully, it will inspire more women to experiment with carrying a larger gun. Be sure to check out her page at Packing Pretty!
One of the things I hear people complain about with the smaller pistols is how hard they are to hold on to. I made a quick video to demonstrate how I hold on to my LCP vs the XD Compact.