By Ellen Fishbein

I decided that for me, handbag carry is simply not an option. Annnd…cue the wardrobe crisis. After spending months checking out different carry systems online and in stores, I stumbled across Can Can Concealment: a burlesque-inspired holster company with a fun, feminine name and frills and ribbons to top it all off. Naturally, “skeptical” is a big understatement for how I felt about using one of their holsters.

Still, I decided to give it a shot (ha, ha)—and I was pleasantly surprised! This holster melted away the anxiety of safely concealing a handgun as a lady.

The system is built on a hip-hugging compression band with a long row of hook-and eye closures on the side and elasticized pockets that can accommodate four different IWB positions: ten, two, four and eight o’clock, a.k.a. the left and right appendix and kidney positions (kidney position shown in the cover photo). My preferred position is right-hand appendix, and using the size Large Classic Hip Hugger holster, I was able to effortlessly pack my Sig Sauer P938 BRG, a 5.9-inch-long 9mm subcompact with a fairly bulky molded grip.

But don’t take my word for it—a picture’s worth a thousand. Below, I’ve included some high-def photos from a few angles alongside “exposed” shots for comparison.

Photography by Sam Nightengale
Photography by Sam Nightengale
Photography by Sam Nightengale
Photography by Sam Nightengale
Photography by Sam Nightengale
Photography by Sam Nightengale

As you can see, the holster doesn’t work miracles, but it comes very close. These pants are those lightweight, summertime-in-Texas stretchy kind that’ll “print” with a few credit cards in my back pocket, and I’m wearing them with a form-fitting size small American Apparel t-shirt.

Even still, this holster actually makes them work with a gun. Although you might see a lump from some angles, it doesn’t print in the shape of a firearm, and someone who isn’t looking for one would never notice anything. Additionally, it’s easy to stick extra mags, a slim flashlight, a knife, and other goodies into a pocket you’re not using for your weapon.

An important note: unlike some elastic belly bands and ladies’ concealment systems I’ve looked into, the Can Can Concealment holster is a true holster in the sense that the gun is in the same position every time you wear it. This is a really important safety point for me. Fumbling around at my waist after the gun has wiggled or shifted is not good in a self-defense situation.

Finally, before I get to the final scoring drilldown, I want to mention that I also tried on Can Can Concealment’s full-size hip hugger holster, which is called the Big Shebang, with my GLOCK 19. Under a loose sweater, it was securely and comfortably concealed in the kidney position at about a 12-degree angle. However, I would need to loosen up my wardrobe quite a bit if I wanted to carry the GLOCK day to day. For me, the Classic Hip Hugger with a 9mm subcompact strikes a perfect balance.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Comfort: * * * * *
Probably the holster’s strongest suit. This thing makes it more comfortable to carry a gun than to wear your average bra. It’s obviously designed with a woman’s hips and waist in mind, which is worth a lot to me. You really can wear this all day and forget about it. It’s also not a hassle in the bathroom. The company’s slogan “Every Woman, Every Gun, Every Wardrobe” really rang true for me.

Retention: * * * * *
I gave the holster a vigorous test by jumping, running, sitting down, standing up, etc. I found the retention more than adequate.

Draw: * * * * 1/2
I found it very easy to draw quickly without any help from my left hand.

Price: * * *
This holster costs $85. That might be a pretty penny compared to some other IWB options, but it’s a specialized product made in the States, so I think the price is reasonable.

Style: * * * * *
A holster that actually looks and feels sexy. What more could you ask?

Durability: * * * *
Although I haven’t had the holster for a long time, it seems sturdy and I’m confident that it will last. If not, though, Can Can Concealment offers a nice six-month replacement policy on all their products in case of any manufacturing defects.

Overall: * * * * 1/2
This is a truly thoughtful option that makes it much easier to carry on your person as a woman. It stays put during everyday and athletic activities, and it accommodates my firearms and other gear smoothly. Customer service is very responsive to sizing questions and other inquiries. Despite my initial doubts, I’m now a big fan, and I absolutely recommend giving this holster a try.

This review originally appeared at wideopenspaces.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

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19 Responses to Gear Review: Can Can Concealment Classic Hip Hugger Holster

  1. Maybe a stupid question (I’m a guy) :>) but why not simply use a Crossbreed or Comp-Tac MTAC like a guy? Is it because many women don’t wear belts?

    • It is exactly because many women refuse to wear proper belts.

      To be fair, my GF has one of these things and they are in fact very good.

      • Same story from my wife and mom. They wear a micro tuck when they can, but on most occasions this can can holster conceals far easier. It also distributes weight exceedingly well.

      • Most women’s pants don’t even have belt loops, and those that do often won’t allow a thick gun belt to fit.

        Let’s flip the question around ask, “why do some insist on conventional holsters when men’s and women’s under wraps allow great clothing freedom and deeper concealment options?”

  2. Not to get too nosy about this, but something I’ve noted with IWB for men’s clothes in the requirement to buy a pair of pants slightly larger than you would wear without a holster.

    Does that apply to this? I would imagine it does but I don’t know much about women’s clothes. [Insert crossdressing joke here.]

    • Hello! I think it depends on what you’re carrying. The p938 is narrow enough that with this holster in particular, my clothes worked just fine in my regular size. Also, women’s clothing comes in so many shapes and cuts that it’s not possible to answer this question for everyone – however, the folks who make these are knowledgeable and happy to give personalized advice!

      • My wife wears it higher on the hips than right at the belt line. The lower half of the holster is under her belt line, the upper half is covered by her shirt. This allows her to wear the same size pants she normally would, as just the first 1″ or so of the muzzle is actually inside the waistband.

  3. My wife carries in her purse which has a special compartment just for her gun. I have been trying to get her to carry on her body. I had considered this for her but the price at the time was $99. I may get this for her now.

  4. My wife just got her hip hugger in today. She actually had to send the first one back because it didn’t fit. She tried the corset holster first, but it just didn’t fit her body type, so I’m hoping this one does the trick so when she gets her carry permit in a month or so she is ready to go.

  5. They also have a gift option. I have taken some lady friends through the process of evaluating,purchasing, training and obtaining CHL here in Texas. I paid for a gift certificate with Can Can. Recommended to me by an experienced female shooter. To date, I have purchased 5. They all love the product.

    • Trigger guard test: place unloaded gun in holster, place finger on trigger thru the material and pull. Does it go click? I don’t think this automatically disqaulifies the holster, but the amount of effort needed to fire it is important. My wife bought a cheap belly band for non-gun stuff (sigh), and of course I tested it. It was fairly easy to fire a striker fired gun at ~5 lbs, but next to impossible to drop the 10 lb hammer on my SW J frame. YMMV.

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