Sara Tipton: Off-Body Carry is A Non-Starter

I recently read RF’s article on off-body carry. It included a news story about a three-year-old who grabbed his mother’s gun from her purse and shot himself. I scrolled through the comments. Most agreed with RF. Some argued – in no uncertain terms – that many women are “forced” to carry off-body. They don’t have other, viable carry options. As a woman who conceal carries from sunup to sundown (and beyond) I disagree . . .

As a resident of The People’s Republic of California, I have a limited number of carry guns from which to choose. I’ve worked hard to find on-body carry solutions that fit my frame and my gun (an Springfield XD Compact). I carry in jeans, dresses, heels, and boots. I carry in blouses, skirts, t-shirts and yoga pants. I use four different on-body concealed carry holsters depending on my outfit. They’re sexy and comfortable and offer quick, reliable access to my firearm.

As my experience proves, as faliaphotography illustrates, there are a large number of carry methods for a large number of clothing configurations for women. It just takes research, money and practice.

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That said, carrying a gun on-body can be a literal PITA. At times when my gun chafes or rubs-up against something loudly, I remember Clint Smith’s words: “A gun should be comforting, not comfortable.” They should and can be both. But you have to have priorities. My priority: the safety of myself, my children and other people’s kids, too.

Even if wearing a gun on-body was like wearing a hair shirt, I’d do it in preference to carrying off-body. I’m simply not prepared to create a situation where my children could get unsupervised access to my firearm. Or anyone else’s children. Or a purse-snatcher. My gun is my responsibility. It’s either on my body or in a safe. Period.

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Guess what? I own a concealed carry purse. It’s a totally cute purse. I won it in an “Armed Mommy” photo content. It’s got a fake little gun emblazoned on it and I love it. So I use it. But my gun has not been in this purse. Nor will it ever be.

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I understand the advantages of carrying off-body in a car holster. I know that we live in a free country. We should be free to perform our own risk-assessment and carry any gun any way we please – assuming that we take responsibility for our actions. But RF is right: anyone – male or female – who opts for off-body carry as they walk, jog, work and/or exercise through their day is taking an unnecessary risk. Off-body carry should not be an option.

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Stay safe, ladies.

comments

  1. avatar N8thecowboy says:

    Spread the word!

  2. avatar george from fort worth says:

    to respectfully disagree….when this lady puts on about 30 pounds she might be able to relate to mature women who really do have almost no options to on-body carry. oh yes, one can put on really big tent-like clothing, but the extra material is also problematic. i do not see in public where the majority of women are as skinny as sara (and there is no way to know the sizing of all women who carry concealed). if someone wants to carry off-body, they should have lotsa practice accessing the firearm and lotsa control over where the firearm is (especially in familiar settings where situational awareness is somewhat diminished. if you can stuff a pistol in your jeans/shorts and not “print”, that is really great. but if you can’t…..

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      I’m not sure I follow you here.
      Are you saying that there’s more room for a gun in a tiny pair of shorts than in a huge pair?
      Or are you saying that the fatter a woman is, the tighter her clothes must fit?

      1. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

        I think it’s more about shape than size…

      2. That’s my wife’s issue. She isn’t obese by any stretch but she isn’t skinny Minnie like Sara either. My wife purse carries because she would rather have access to a gun 24 hours of the day than not. I try to coax her to carry in her waist band but she says, “let me lose 20 pounds first”. This morning she went to work and left her purse at home so I could repair it. A handle broke from toting around a pistol and spare mag. I thought “great!”, “Carry your Nano in your scrubs”. She is a dental hygienist and there is a thigh pocket that holds her gun perfectly and we have a pocket holster. I put it in there and I said, “it looks like you have a small paperback book in there”. She said “I know. I don’t want anyone to see that”. I said but it doesn’t look like a gun. She went on about it being heavy and it is 98 degrees and bla bla bla. She will come around one day. Give it some time. We are new at this.
        But women are definitely concerned about putting an extra bulge around their mid section. Might explain the popularity of SOB carry.

        1. avatar Donald Trump says:

          Care to tell me where your wife works as a dental hygenist? I don’t want a healthcare provider of any type carrying while they work on or around me. PERIOD. And I guarantee the management of where she works feels the same way.

          I’ve read enough of your BS to know that you are a stone cold hopeless wingnut, Michael in GA. Stop trying to force your delusions and “guns solve every problem” mentality on your poor wife. You could get her fired or worse.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “I don’t want a healthcare provider of any type carrying while they work on or around me. PERIOD. And I guarantee the management of where she works feels the same way.”

          Hey, Donnie?

          One of my buddies’ wife is a dental hygienist and she concealed carries daily.

          Her boss?

          He’s the dentist who’s name is on the sign and happens to be the one who introduced her to shooting in the first place.

          The doc carries as well. As well as some of the office staff.

          So much for your ‘guarantee’, dumbass.

          I just *love* how you idiots who think you know oh-so-much about everything are the ones getting the education.

          Bug off, moron.

          You’re fired.

          *snicker*

    2. avatar Art out West says:

      I’d like to “respectfully” mention that the average American woman does not “have” to be 30 pounds or more overweight. They can eat less junk, and start exercising a bit more. I’m about 30 pounds overweight myself (man in 40’s) and have decided it is high time to get off my butt and lose that weight. I’m on my lunch break right now, and wanted to swing by McDonalds to get a 32 oz. Coke to supplement my lunch. Instead, I decided to walk a mile and then eat lunch. This morning, I dragged my butt out of bed early and went for a bike ride before breakfast (with J-Frame as pocket companion of course). After work today, I won’t grab a cheeseburger for the drive home, and will exercise tonight instead.

      I’ve been to other countries, and just because women have children, and are over 30, does not mean that they have to be as heavy as the average American.

      1. avatar george from fort worth says:

        congratulations on your success. keep it up !

        but i am not talking future state here, but what is in front of us now. given the song, “no matter what shape your stomach is in…”, different people have different challenges to face. there should be not declarations that one method is superior in all circumstances.

        unless we want to ban fat people from concealed carry. now there is a topic…..

        1. avatar Art out West says:

          Good point. We do have to address where people are right now.

          I think for most people, it is far easier to conceal small thin guns than it is midsized (actually kind of fat and heavy) guns like Sara’s XD .40.

          Pretty much anybody of any body shape could conceal a Kel-Tec P32/P3AT, LCP, TCP, BG .380 etc. That is why they are so popular. Then you move up to the J-Frame/LCR/LC9/LC380/Shield/PF9-P11/Glock 42-43/SR22 size class. Those are pretty dang easy to conceal as well.

          The vast majority of women who carry nothing right now would be far better off carrying even a small “weak” gun than nothing. That said, I applaud those like Sara who carry “real” guns.

          Concerning weight, it seems like skinny people complain that it is hard for them to CCW, and heavy people also complain that it is difficult for them to CCW. I wonder what the deal is.

    3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Maybe “mature women” should consider losing the 30+ lbs. It would be better for their health as well as their mobility in a time when they need to move quickly.

      The increase in the number of morbidly obese women in the US in my lifetime is nothing short of astonishing.

      1. avatar vv ind says:

        A few days ago I read that the average modern american woman weighs as much as the average American male did in the 1960’s

        http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2015/06/15/cdc-average-american-woman-now-weighs-as-much-as-1960s-us-man

        1. avatar Mark says:

          This problem is very complex obviously. Obesity varies along income, race/genetic, and generational lines. The corn lobby has kept high-fructose corn syrup prices artificially low, making it all the easier for food producers to add calories and sweetness to foods that didn’t even use to have sugar in them. *That* is a serious part of the epidemic. Of course consumers should be more informed, but among poor and immigrant populations, this information is not culturally exchanged or even noticed. The cheaper foods are also the sweeter foods.

          The U.S. is shifting demographically, and sadly, the people who are least able to educate and raise children into productive citizens are the ones who are reproducing at the highest rate. Oddly crime rates are still falling though. I’ll take any theories on that one!

    4. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      Any woman could wear a flashbang. There are other solutions, too.

      1. avatar Alex says:

        hahaha, nice.

        1. avatar lasttoknow says:

          Actually, the flashbang is not optimal for heavier people; belly tends to push the holster forward and up, making the gun both difficult to acquire and obvious to the casual observer. Flashbang hides better when the shirt stands away from the body where the holster is actually located.Take a look at the models, they have bumps that position the shirt in a way that drapes, rather than hugs the body.

  3. avatar Rokurota says:

    OK, I give up. Where are you carrying in the full length mirror picture?

  4. avatar Art out West says:

    I sure love pocket carry. It is easy and comfortable. That said, small guns like J-Frames, and pocket autos have their limitations. I just need to get some pants with huge pockets that will comfortably allow me to carry my Glock 19.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      Lucky jeans

      1. avatar Matt says:

        My lucky brand jeans do not have anything close to what I would call a huge pocket. They adequately conceal a j frame with a smaller grip but there isn’t much question to anyone who looks at my pocket that something big and mean is in my pants.

  5. avatar MarkPA says:

    Not being an expert on the topic . . . but it seems to me a significant difficulty is the multiple carry configurations a woman would have to practice with to on-body carry. My guess is that a woman who regularly wore diverse outfits would need at least 2 and likely 3 possibly 4 different carry arrangements (places, holsters, draws).

    If I’m on the right track here then this is an extra burden society puts on women – extra kit and extra training. Along with the risk of confusion and delay when reaching to one carry position – discovering the gun isn’t there, and then reaching to where the gun is now.

    I’m not advocating off-body carry here; that’s still more dangerous.

    I wonder if OC isn’t practically the best option for woman; society’s reaction set aside. If OC is the right answer, then we can address society’s reaction. Why shouldn’t we tell society that OC is the preferred option for women because of variations in outfits constitute a safety issue for women.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      “My guess is that a woman who regularly wore diverse outfits would need at least 2 and likely 3 possibly 4 different carry arrangements (places, holsters, draws)…”

      You say this as if this is only for women. I’m pretty sure I’m an XY and I don’t just have one carry method- winter vs. summer, for example. Most men I know do the same.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        I have been satisfied with one carry method; in my front pocket. Works for me whenever I’m waring trousers. Even with a winter jacket. Granted, it wouldn’t work with a long overcoat.

        I’ll take the point with respect to men who do have wardrobe changes that would require different CC kit and technique. I don’t sense that it’s important enough for men whereas I think it is for women.

  6. avatar Smoke Jensen says:

    I really hope this is totally beneficial for women. But for me. I don’t know how to define gun porn but I know it when I see it.
    Christ on a bike! Am I the only guy that watched this whole video?

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      There are multiple reasons that video has several million views. One reason is that it offers some great info about carry options for women. Another reason is the fact that it starts with an attractive young woman with her pants unbuttoned. The same gal has another video about thigh holsters for women that has even more views.

    2. avatar Smoke Jensen says:

      Sarah, you’re going to have to post Chippendale gun vids to keep it balanced. And fair. Ugh.

    3. avatar juliesa says:

      Lol.

      I’ve watched the videos many times. Her videos were extremely helpful in getting me started in on-body carry. Her willingness to be revealing lets women see all the ins and outs of the carry method she’s discussing. It’s a great public service, although some people have other takeaways from the vids. 😉

  7. avatar Kendahl says:

    A pocket pistol in a front pocket (with a pocket holster) is feasible for anyone. it requires compromises in both weapon and clothing style, but it’s not impossible.

    1. avatar lasttoknow says:

      It is if you are like me and can’t even see your front pocket !

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        The real question is whether you can REACH your front pocket. 🙂

        1. avatar lasttoknow says:

          Now that you mention it…….

        2. avatar Gunr says:

          Front pockets are OK for standing and walking, but terrible for sitting, such as driving.

    2. avatar Gatha58 says:

      Pocket pistol in front pocket: Seems to depend on the size of the pistol and the type of pants, doesn’t it ? Takes me a while to get my cell phone out of my front pocket so guessing that pulling a pistol from my front pocket would be even more awkward.

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        Try a camera bag with belt loops to hang on your side, for the cell phone. Works fine for me.
        They come in many sizes.

    3. avatar juliesa says:

      It used to be, but now women have to wear hip huggers that reduce the front jeans pocket to the size of a watch pocket. Hiking and cargo pants usually have bigger pockets, though. I guess new pants could be an option.

      I wear IWB in my jeans at 4-5:00, or sometimes under my left arm.

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        I knew a gal once, that had armpit hair so long, she could hide her gun there.

  8. avatar Observer says:

    The one use case I can think of (and have mentioned before) for off-body carry for women is pregnancy.

    When my wife was pregnant the first time, we looked at every carry option we could find for her. Over and over, there were pregnancy-related issues with each one, particularly in the second and third trimesters. Ankle carry doesn’t work when you have a huge belly. Shoulder carry also has issues courtesy of an enlarged belly or breasts, and is difficult to conceal during the summer. Waist holsters (inside or outside) fail for lack of a belt to support them. The belly band holsters also are problematic in later pregnancy. The FlashBang has some potential, but isn’t necessarily the safest option either.

    As with almost everything else related to carrying, the key is to understand the risks involved, understand the limitations, and then make the best decision that you can for your circumstances. Sometimes, that decision is less optimal than we would like, but you do the best you can.

  9. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    The issue is situational awareness. Forgetting the firearm or failing to exercise a routine plan of action for storing it when not using it can lead to trouble, whether on body or off body.

  10. avatar Robert Kling says:

    “Off-body carry should not be an option.”

    In case anyone had doubts you aren’t a true-blue, nanny-state Californian.

  11. avatar twency says:

    The issue here really seems to be off-body NON-carry. A woman with a gun in her purse that’s hanging from her body is not doing something wrong, any more than is a woman with a gun in a holster that’s hanging from her body. It’s when the purse (or faux day planner, or whatever) is put down by the woman (or man) and no longer attached to the body and under direct control that there’s a problem.

  12. avatar Dustin says:

    Or you could just not conceal…

    An ounce of prevention is worth 9 rounds of cure…

  13. avatar Gunr says:

    To be considered for deep carry, is the NAA mini Magnum. Of course it is not as powerful as a 357 magnum, but sometimes you just have to make compromises.
    Then are are plenty of 380’s to consider, if deep concealment is the objective.

    Sara, as an added note, I must say you really look nice in the black dress with the white trim. Very feminine!

    1. avatar Smoke Jensen says:

      Check the vid again. One wears a ring, the other doesn’t. 🙂

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        The photos are Sara, and the video is somebody else, although both are thin and attractive ladies.

  14. avatar Jim Nadenbush says:

    First, I read your post the other day – Jeeps, guns, and Metallica- I loved it, I roll the same way myself.

    Second, I am a dude, but plenty of ladies I know ask me for advice about how to carry. Being a dude, it is tough for me to recommend anything other than what I know works for me – which is an IWB at the 3:30 position. Would you mind going into a bit more detail about your “options”? I think it would be helpful for other ladies AND for dudes who might be trying to point some of the ladies in their circle in a good direction.

    Thanks and stay safe.

  15. avatar DRF says:

    “Off-body carry should not be an option”

    Life can be confusing…so many different opinions on things, so much information out there. That’s why I’m glad I can just come here to TTAG and get authoritative doctrine, created by people that know exactly what is what in every situation. Somehow these amazing people have managed to soar above the need for data or the balancing act between competing interests, and made it all simple for us all. No need to wrestle with difficult thinking or any of that…it’s all been done for you. Just do what they say and you’ll be fine!

    We live in a blessed age.

  16. avatar JWM says:

    In regards to that lead photo. “Pardon me, while I whip this out.” 🙂

  17. avatar Jim N says:

    Sorry, nevermind – plenty of detail in the video. It just wouldn’t play for me at first. Very useful post to pass along to the ladies I know who might need this info.

  18. avatar arsh says:

    can’t agree at all with this libturd article. “Off body carry is not an option” Why because you’re incapable of monitoring your own devices? Should I have to have a pistol in the back of my jeans when i’m driving my car instead of my center console. How about you learn to be responsible for your own devices. sometimes on body carry works best sometimes off body works best. A cowboy never complained that he had a rifle mounted on his horse and not on his back and that’d be off body carry. This website is getting Libturd stupid as of late! I think the lack of water in CA is affecting your judgment

  19. avatar Stinkeye says:

    “I know that we live in a free country. We should be free to perform our own risk-assessment and carry any gun any way we please – assuming that we take responsibility for our actions. […] Off-body carry should not be an option.”

    Make up your mind. I almost got whiplash reading that paragraph.

  20. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    That’s fine Sara. If CC is legal I would just have a fanny pack(I see they’re coming back). Hide in plain site-pun intended. Oh yeah all this “mature woman” crap. My 55year old wife is stunning. Yes she is genetically gorgeous but she’s also VAIN. She won’t LET herself get fat-a former actress…

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I would just have a fanny pack

      I’m begging you, FWW — never go fannypacking. A fanny pack brings shame on all of us “mature” guys. It’s the old timer equivalent to Depends.

      1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

        But I don’t give a rat’s azz Ralph-still got the pretty wife the young kids try to flirt with. And the middle-aged guys…and the old guys LOL. I used to walk around in a tank-top into my 50’s-now I look like crap(cancer and pre-diabetic)…AND one of the old black bodybuilders always has a fanny pack at the gym-he looks (and lifts) incredible.

      2. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Ralph, if you’re old enough, people will assume it’s a colostomy bag, and that shame will turn to pity.

  21. avatar Pistolero says:

    I just want to be the pistol.

  22. avatar thx855 says:

    Sara Tipton…the only gun owning woman who can also write apparently, and also needs to include pictures of herself at every turn. I’d like to see more pictures of Farago’s legs please, for parity’s sake.

    1. avatar Donald Trump says:

      You should know better! “Equality” also includes the right to use female sexual attraction to bamboozle and influence the male brain in the desired manner. And complain about it at the same time!

  23. avatar philthegardner says:

    Here we go again… GET THIS THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULLS PEOPLE:
    “A” way to carry is not synonymous with “THE” way to carry. I have physical reasons for carrying off-body. I carry a gun for protection. THAT is enough.
    Quit trying to skew the conversation towards making “a” way to carry “the only” way to carry.
    i view this “debate” as tiring as the conversation of whether my being non-white precludes me from enjoying the right to bear arms. In the same way, not every person who supports the 2A will WANT to carry. For whatever reason they may have, please leave them alone.
    This is getting as ridiculous as those mall ninjas insisting that THE way to hold an AR is a high grip with left arm straight…

    1. avatar Calbert says:

      I have to agree with Phil, and strongly disagree with Sara. My wife of ten years could never on-body carry – she’s a big girl (used to play Football), but she’s got Viral CHF now, plus a hernia in her stomach area (from her days as a Nurse), so losing weight would be a very long, very difficult process for her (never mind that she can’t get surgery for her hernia until her heart improves – in perhaps a year or two – with a recovery period of 6mo to a year). Because of her body shape and the clothes she needs to wear to keep from aggravating her hernia, any On-Body Carry would either print ridiculously, be exceedingly uncomfortable or painful, or simply not allow her to access her firearm if she needed it.

      Do her medical issues – which do nothing to alter her ability to make rational decisions – mean she should be barred from exercising her 2A rights, just because YOU think off-body is a bad idea? Or would you rather take the misogynistic view that I be out with her at all times as her protector and body guard? And for anyone else out there – does being a “large” person mean that person should be barred their right to keep and bear, too? Should we force weight limits on CCW holders? Do you see where the arguments are going, here? Forget, for a moment, why people might be over weight, or what they can do about it – does being over weight mean they should be disarmed or denied the right to carry? Where does THAT mentality end – where do you, then, draw the line at who should and should not be able to exercise their rights (and thus, what kind of a “Gun Rights Supporter” does that make YOU)?

      Aren’t we supposed to be a community that encourages the exercise of those rights? Fighting for those rights? Encouraging safety, AND inclusiveness? Do we gain anything from being a community that shames others and tries to exclude ourselves to our own echo chamber, while those that work against us try to work the fence-riders?

      Sorry, Sara, you’re wrong. Robert, too.

    2. avatar MarkPA says:

      ‘ “A” way to carry is not synonymous with “THE” way to carry.’ She doth protest too much.

      No one is saying that a particular way to carry is “THE” way to carry. This discussion is about the problems associated with off-body carry. While there certainly are plenty of people on this site who will outright condemn the immorality of anyone who doesn’t carry his preferred make/model/calibre, that isn’t what I see in this discussion.

      Everyone has to make her/his own decisions based upon self-knowledge and situation. You must make your own and not be unduly influenced by opinions of others. Nevertheless, it behooves you to be aware of the rationale for criticizing a particular technique (product, etc.) so that you make an informed decision and do the best you can to adapt. (E.g., be acutely conciencious about letting your purse/etc. out of your immediate control.)

  24. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    “That said, carrying a gun on-body can be a literal PITA.”

    If carrying a gun on-body has become a literal PITA, then you’ve taken deep concealment way, way too far.

  25. avatar Jason says:

    I’m so lucky to have an adulterous relationship with Sara!

  26. avatar Jason says:

    Please don’t let her husband find out we are together. We had sex 5 times in Sacramento at a hotel and once in a cab.

  27. avatar Ray says:

    Is off-body carry of rifles irresponsible? For example: AR-15 with two point sling.

    1. avatar thx855 says:

      Is the two-point sling in question IWB or OWB? Try for an open carry sheath worn on the back, like a knights sword, but only when traveling in Texas.

      1. avatar Ray says:

        No, I don’t mean rifle carry in a holster. I’m specifically asking about off-body carry with a sling.

        For example http://truthaboutguns-zippykid.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/P1320728-900×601.jpg

        1. avatar 2Asux says:

          Not a long gun holder myself, but I have seen plenty of pictures. Excepting vehicle transportation, how does one off-body carry a rifle? If slung, it is slung somewhere on the body. If hand-held, it is on the body. Or does “off-body carry” mean non-holstered?

  28. avatar Dennis says:

    Check out these holsters for women. They are pretty cool and will fit a large range of sizes. http://www.deneadams.com/

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