I’m not buying it. Floral patterned bags are way too flyover for me. Seriously, purse carry is a bad idea. For one thing, a carrier and her bag will soon be parted. At that point, the unarmed American’s got to worry about theft and the possibility that their firearm won’t be there when they need it. Secondly, as Brandy pointed out (and demonstrated) extraction is a bitch. Sure, there are bespoke concealed carry bags. And yes, “a” gun is better than no gun. But only until someone steals it. Then you’re back to no gun for you and a new gun for the bad guy, who might still be in the vicinity. The solution: on-body carry a smaller gun and/or change the way you dress. Women have so many more clothing options than [most] men. At the risk of alienating a new contributor, decide to carry it the right way. Three million failiaphotography viewers can’t all be men. Or be all men. Or something like that.

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41 Responses to I Challenged Brandy Vega To Defend Off-Body Carry . . .

  1. There may be times to carry off body, but it should be among your last choices for concealment.

    I’ve told this story before about purse carry, but I had a teacher a few years back who was a retired FBI agent. He told us about a female agent he knew who had her purse snatched, containing her gun AND badge. If it can happen to a Fed… It can happen to you or your lady…

    I feel like many women default to purse carry because they’re used to carrying everything in a purse, and don’t like carrying stuff on their body. So they’re unwilling to change their habits.

  2. I don’t like it period.
    Off body carry isn’t a good idea even for women.
    Too easy to take too hard to extract.
    This young lady has the set to conceal it.
    Small gun under bra holster.
    Ive seen it in use it works.

    Yes I was paying attention to the gun……………………….not for long though…….

        • Looks like a ftf to me. Take a look at the ejection port area. I got rid of my 3AT for that reason. Unfortunately it’s quite a common problem after a couple dozen rounds.

      • Any shoulder rig is going to cause a similar sweep of the arm. The breast sweep is similar to carrying a iwb holster a bit forward of your hip and sweeping your thigh or junk. There are very few carry holsters (especially for women of a petite build) that allow them to carry in warmer weather on their body. I’d rather my significant other carry in a flashbang than in a purse. But to each their own.

  3. I won’t murse carry. Ever. It’s very insecure and besides, not matching my belt and shoes would be a fashion faux pas of epic proportions.

    • It’s a SATCHEL!

      Or a tactical messenger bag, in my case. I have carried in a shoulder bag on occasion. A bag that holds snacks and a water bottle is very handy when you have kids who are often thirsty or hungry as you approach a vending machine. So on the weekends when I’m out with them, I have the bag with me anyhow, and I can conceal a full-size gun in the dedicated pocket compared to a subcompact on my hip. I never take the bag off except when I’m driving. And coyote tan goes with everything.

      • I carried a black Maxpedition bag into a federal courthouse today – obviously no gun – and the Court Security Officers agreed that it would work with a variety of suit styles as well as more casual options.

      • A bag that holds snacks and a water bottle is very handy when you have kids

        So it’s for the children, is it? Now where have I heard that before?

  4. I do my best to dissuade my wife from off body carrying. I have bought her a belly band for on body carry and she probably does it 70% of the time. Sometimes though she just insists on purse carrying…… /Sigh

    I tell her every time I see her purse carry it is a bad idea, but that only goes so far. At the very least I was able to convince her to get a purse with a very large heavy strap that she can wear across her body so it cant be snatched. Even so I HATE seeing her off body carry, but I prefer it to her going unarmed.

    • Cross body carry is a MUST. Unless the strap is cut, the bag will not be separated from you before you have a chance to draw. Shoulder carry is a no no.

    • Given the choice between my wife carrying a military caliber in a designed-for-ccw purse 100% of the time vs. a mousegun on body less than 100% of the time – the purse carry wins.

      Girls like to look good – and for some reason they feel they don’t look good with an extra inch or two added to the waistline. Guys can do the “love handle carry” and not care.

      My wife knows not to let strangers near enough to her for that to be a problem. Off body carry is only a problem if you are in mental condition white.

      • Or when strangers disagree vehemently about being “let close enough to her”. Avoidance only works when the other party is willing to be avoided.

        • If they are persistent in coming closer after you’ve told them to stop, they’re no longer a stranger – they’ve just become a potential threat.

  5. Purses are literally loot bags. Something that is either stolen or drops off a body. Also I’m thinking it’s not the fastest place to reach for when trouble arrives. Hold on, let me move all this crap out of the way. Tampons, cellphone, makeup, notepad, wallet, o there we go, gun. I’m sure there are special pockets for firearms in some bags but it still seems like a slow and useless hindrance.

    I’m not a woman, so I guess I don’t see the allure of wanting to show off my curves over keeping body off the pavement all dead like.

    • I tend to agree that purse carry is generally a bad idea due to the propensity of bad guys to snatch and grab the bag, gun and all. Women (I can recall trying to explain this to my ex-wife) seem to have an unrealistic image of what a mugging or purse-snatching will be like and it does not involve being roughed up, smashed in the face or pushed to the ground. Muggers and snatchers don’t know you and don’t give a fvck about how you weather the storm.

      That said, the first thing I though of with this video was a belly band hidden under the clothes with a snap link at the 3 o’clock position that attaches to a loop on the side of the bag. Even with a short lanyard to work around clothing issues or just looped around the belt. At least the guy can’t snatch the bag and run away without bringing the lady along. Unfortunately this would only work with shoulder bags as clutches, etc. would look funny with a lanyard to your waist.

      The other thing I thought of was how foolish it is to put the gun in a bag and then add another layer of complexity by putting it in a holster that is not attached somehow in the bag. You will have a fun time digging through all that to extract the pistol while the bad guy is trying to wrestle your purse away from you. The solution to either of these scenarios, it seems to me, is to 1) make the purse the holster and make it possible to fire the weapon without extracting it from the purse (this would obviously require something to protect the trigger that had to be manipulated before firing) and 2) For a clutch bag a color coordinated lanyard around the wrist, and carry the bag in your weak hand. It would still need to be able to secure the pistol and allow firing without drawing the weapon, at least for the first shot.

  6. I appreciate all the different opinions and agree as I said in the video on the body is best. I still agree that having something is better than nothing. It’s about staging, safety and staying alert. 🙂

    • no worries, this is the internet, so not like we have anything better to do than rag on the same subject even when concessions are made. it’s bit like coffee with strangers, it’s awkward but even more so if no one says anything.

        • I welcome all the comments and completely expect them. I think perhaps I should do a video showing draw times from on the body…like a shoulder holster, belly band and ankle. Because I think it would take longer for me to take a firearm from a belly band than a bag. Hmmm. I have produced a dvd called womens handgun and concealment options available at http://www.opsgear.com and a women’s self defense dvd 🙂

  7. I think big city folks are used to reading about purse snatches too often. Smaller towns and rural areas? Almost never. Ive never heard of one here in the 30 years I’ve lived here.
    Carry on Brandy.

    • Thanks Tom. I agree that purse snatchings don’t happen all the time. Additionally, if you stay in color code yellow you will avoid most confrontation and if you know how to stage your weapon that’s an extra bonus.

      • Men are too quick to judge the purse-type carry. I doubt any of them (men) have a woman’s figure or like to dress nicely as many women do, in tight form-fitting clothing.

        Brandy, carry on with your purse. Anything to get the women to carry and get involved in firearms is good in my book. I’d rather have the women carry in a purse, then not carry at all. If on-body carry is possible, even better. But I’m not one to force women to do something, or tell them otherwise.

  8. I hear what you all are saying about off-body carry being a less than optimal choice, and I agree, but you might as well come to grips with the idea that for many women, on body carry is not a viable option. Women’s pants typically don’t have pockets big enough for even an LCP. In hot weather, women’s clothing isn’t very amenable to on body carry. Failiaphotography notwithstanding, not every women is willing to totally change clothing style to dress around the gun. My 20-something daughter carries IWB in cooler weather when she can conceal effectively. In warm weather, a Gun Totin’ Mama’s purse (with steel cable reinforced shoulder strap and built in holster) or Maxpedition type bag with built in holster. If the choice is between off-body or not carrying, and the reality is that such a choice will often be the case, which way would you really rather have a woman you care about choose?

  9. ALWAYS CARRY ON THE BODY NEVER PURSE CARRY rings similarly to ALWAYS 45 ACP FOR SELF DEFENSE NEVER USE ANYTHING LESS.

    Where you carry a gun is situational. Period.

  10. I timed the draw from “staged” to “lock in”: 1.72s. That’s about as much time as it takes me to draw from the hip and perform a Mozambique from a surrender start.

    I am officially a member of the on body carry choir (which is more important: safety, or wearing tight clothes?). But for those who insist on carrying in a bag:
    Secure the holster to the inside of the bag, either by getting a bag with a built in holster, or somehow mounting the holster to the interior of the bag. Doing so helps with the draw muscle memory she referred to, and it dramatically reduces the draw time. Most of her draw time involved getting that holster off the gun. And how much slower would she be when fine motor control is out the window, as a machete wielding, axe murderer is charging her with a knife?
    Also, it helps to have a special compartment for the gun. Some of the carry purses have special compartments on the back that the woman can put her hand in as she’s walking to hold the gun. That way if somebody steals the purse, he draws the holster away from the gun, doing the work for you.

  11. Robert, it’s not failiophotography, it’s faliaphotography. And while 3 million views is pretty respectable, I’m sure I’m not the only man who’s watched a few of her videos more than once. Of course I’ve watched some Nutnfancy videos more than once too…

  12. I was a victim. It did happen to me. I always body carry. I don’t look good in dead. So, I wonder, how many people carry in say Maryland or one of the other crime free get killed quick states?

  13. I once new an older, somewhat eccentric gentleman who habitually carried what looked to be a doubled up brown paper bag. It had a receipt stapled to its top in such a way as to secure the bag closed and had several grease stains. I suppose to any casual observer it was take out or his lunch. I’d seen this fellow walking along the road a few times and once or twice offered him a ride, which he always declined.

    One day he turned up at the LGS, opened the bag and revealed that it contained a pristine example of a .38 colt Agent with the external hammer shroud. He was there to sell the now collector’s item revolver and buy something cheaper, in order to pocket the margin. All this time he’d been carrying, in his hand, a loaded revolver with frankly no one the wiser.

    After he left we attempted to dry fire the revolver through the bag. Once a firing grip was taken by crushing the bag it was simple to access the trigger right through the paper and cycle it five times. That’s pretty fast deployment from a surprising location, and something that wasn’t likely to be the target of a robbery (like a purse). So for that fellow off body carry was working. He had a gun, he had a plan, and unless he had to face the same person in two different encounters I’m reckoning he’d have had complete surprise when the first shot blew the bag off his gun. Certainly not for everyone, but for him it was a viable carry method.

    More broadly OBC isn’t recommended, but it still heavily beats not carrying at all.

    My mother is a good case in point. She generally finds on body carry uncomfortable (and perhaps a bit paranoid). If it were the only option she would carry only vary rarely. However she frequently carries in her purse. At my repeated insistence she has the pistol (currently an S&W Shield 9mm) in a pocket holster that is secured within a dedicated interior pouch of her purse that we stiffened with layers of cardboard laminated with duct tape (don’t worry ladies, none of that is visible). Her technique requires good situational awareness, since the purse could well be the initial target of a robbery attempt, however we live and work in a very safe area where purse snatchings are vanishingly rare. The idea is that when crossing transitional zones, such as parking lots, or when she has detected a potential threat, she places her hand in her purse and on the gun. Because she doesn’t need the holster to break up the outline of the pistol we chose a very minimal pocket holster that allows a full firing grip. From this natural looking ready position even if the purse is snatched it’s very likely to simple complete the draw from her, leaving the perp with a purse and her with a now exposed pistol. Without the perps assistance her draw from the purse in this position is faster than my years-practiced draw from the hip. I simply can’t compete with someone who essentially already has the gun in their hand.

    The downside here isn’t draw speed, with the modified purse/holster and a little situational awareness she’s nearly western movie gunfighter fast. The problem is that she doesn’t keep the purse on her shoulder at all times. She never leaves her car without it, and never sets it down while out, but at home, work, etc the purse is sometimes rooms away and thus she’s essentially disarmed.

    The thing is that I’m not much bothered by her arrangements. One, she now has a gun essentially at hand most of the time, which is better than most people are doing. Second, she has it very nearly ready when she’s most at risk. You’d better believe if someone is making her nervous she’s hurrying back to her purse.

    I’m willing and very frequently do concealed carry a full size govt model 1911, a pair of spare mags, and a bodyguard on my ankle. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it’s inconvenient. It’s certainly not for everyone. Even if I have to leave the 1911, or 626, or whatever the ‘big gun’ is behind, I still have a .380 with a spare mag. This is probably more than the vast majority of concealed carriers are willing to go through, prep for, dress for etc, but when I hit the range I practice drawing my ankle gun and firing from the knee I’ve taken to get to it or else getting off the ‘X’ while firing it and standing to run.

    If you set up your purse gun so that it’s always in the same place, always accessible, and you hearken to it when in transitional places or have perceived a potential threat I’d say you’re just about as well off as I am with my hip gun and ankle gun, most of the time. Don’t let best be the enemy of good, but do make the best out of whatever method you use to carry.

  14. Like most, I believe that off-body carry is a bad day waiting to happen, but I also believe that it’s their choice to make and not mine.

  15. “Women have so many more clothing options than [most] men.”

    While this may be true in an abstract sense, when it comes to clothing for carrying and concealing a firearm women are at a major disadvantage. It’s socially acceptable for men to wear baggier clothing than women, women have fewer options of clothing that looks normal while allowing the concealment of a firearm.

    Plus most women’s hips present a conundrum for traditional carry methods. Female police officers often use drop-offset rigs to deal with the issue, but that makes the gun stick out even more prominently. Not a problem if you’re a female cop carrying in a retention holster, it’s not like they’re trying to hide it anyways, but completely counter-productive for civilian concealed carry.

    I’m not a fan of off-body carry myself, but fall back to the adage of “any gun is better than no gun”. Likewise if a woman has decided that on-body carry is not an option for her for whatever reasons, off-body carry is better than nothing.

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