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I’m going to be frank. Between all the handgun options, determining the best way to carry, finding the time (and money) to take concealed carry permit courses and the sheer anxiety of becoming a full-time concealed carrier takes, it can easily become overwhelming to the newcomer.

But I’m here to tell you, we’ve come a long way, ladies.

The surge in women’s interest in firearms began increasing in the 1980s, when women began entering previously male-dominated professions like law enforcement and corporate America. As women became more independent, taking control of their careers, finances and living arrangements, home defense and personal protection became an increasing concern.

Now, nearly 40 years later, the market is saturated with products geared toward women — and we’re not just talking about a pink camo Cerakote, either.

The influx in gear, resources, guns, and support has been tremendous. While this is a good thing, it has also left some women paralyzed; unable to effectively deduce exactly what they need to be successful.

Here are a few basic suggestions for the fairer sex looking to become gun owners and concealed carriers:

Your Handgun Needs to Fit Your Hand And Your Method of Carry

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “Which handgun should I buy?” My answer is always the same: whichever one fits you best.

Think of your handgun like a great pair of shoes; you don’t need to fit into a killer pair of pumps, they need to fit you or you’ll end up clomping around like a drunk moose on an ice rink.

With so many great choices out there; Smith & Wesson M&P SHIELD, Walther PPQ SC, SIG SAUER P365, Ruger LC9s, GLOCK 19, your biggest problem is going to be narrowing down which one to choose. Grip is key so I highly recommend actually shooting a gun before you buy it. If you can’t, you at least need to hold it and handle it to make sure it fits your hand and feels good in your grip.

Don’t overthink it; the gun that you hold comfortably and shoot effectively is exactly the right choice for you.

Concealed Carry Made Easy

Head to our website and easily shop all firearms to see every holster option we can handcraft for you. Some of our top sellers with female gun owners are the Designer Series Belly Band Package with Bedside Backup, the MiniTuck IWB Holster, the Purse Defender and the new Reckoning Holster which can be used strong side, appendix and cross draw.

Secure your inside the waistband (IWB) or outside the waistband (OWB) holster with a sturdy gun belt. Our Executive and Ladies’ Reversible belts will ensure your holster will stay snug on your hip, no matter what you find yourself doing.

When relaxing at home, easily store your modular holster in a Tactical Walls end table or shelf unit to ensure you’ll have safe access to your firearm if and when you may need it.

Heading to bed? Simply detach your Pac Mat from your Belly Band and place it on the Bedside Backup to ensure your gun is within reach overnight.

On The Go

You can’t always take your gun with you. If you’re out and about and need to go into a gun-free zone, make sure you’re not making it easy for criminals to get their hands on your firearm.

The Hornady RAPiD Vehicle Safe is a great option for every gun owner and our Pac Mat Holster fits snugly inside. Plus, it’s an affordable option of securing your firearm – MidSouth Shooters has them on sale for $158.99.

Make Sure You’re Ready for Range Time

As Pat Rodgers once warned me, “Shooting is a perishable skill.” The best way to be proficient and gain confidence is to hit the range frequently. A great way to do this is to keep a range bag at the ready.

Having a good range bag is key. I like the Arsenal Handgun Range Backpack from Allen. It equally distributes the weight of its contents across its two beefy straps, provides plenty of room for all my gear and guns, looks great and is a solid option.

For more intense range sessions, I tote my Brownells Range Bag packed with everything I might need like a tourniquet, my UpLULA mag loader, Chapstick, ponytail holders, a Sharpie, lens wipesHoppe’s 9, band aids, Tylenol, extra ammo, hand wipes, eye and ear pro, and a pen and paper. If you can carry it, this range bag can handle it!

Speaking of Eyes and Ears…

Please protect them each and every time you shoot! The industry is filled with everything from blinged-out cans to prescription aviator glasses, so there’s no excuse to not have eye and ear pro.

A great option I recently discovered are Super Leight Women’s Foam Earplugs from Howard Leight. They’re designed for smaller ear canals so they’re super comfortable, reusable and they come with a great little carrying case. At 14 pairs for as low as $3.97 at Rural King, what’s not to love?

If you’re looking for a pair of muffs, definitely look for products with a 28 to 31 NRR. While some shooters like passive muffs (best for indoor shooting), I prefer electric cans but that’s simply a matter of personal preference.

From Radians Women’s Shooting Glasses to my personal favorite, Oakley SI Ballistic M-Frame 2.0 Shooting Glasses, it all depends on what you’re looking for and sometimes more importantly, what you can afford. The bottom line is – as long as they meet the American National Standards Institute standard (more on that here), you’re good to go.

On Target

Range time is fun. How about making it even funner?! Here’s an easy option: Action Targets new game series paper targets. Get competitive with this line of creative targets that let you compete against other shooters or on your own with carnival games, arcade games, baseball, croquet and more!

Heading outdoors? Triumph Systems’ Pop Packs make for great summer fun! They come in a variety of shapes and colors and are great for practicing ‘call-out’ drills.

Self-Defense and Practice Ammunition

Not all bullets are created equal. You’ll need to purchase practice ammo as well as ammunition specifically designed for self-defense.

A great option for practice ammunition is Wolf Ammo. It’s cheap and I’ve never had a problem getting my hands on them or running them through my guns.

As for self-defense bullets, two great options are Hornady Critical Defense and SIG SAUER Elite Performance. It’s important to choose the right ammunition because regardless of the caliber or brand of weapon you carry, the bullet alone is responsible for stopping an attacker.

Ongoing Training

Many women start out eager to buy a gun and intend to begin carrying immediately. Unfortunately, that’s rarely how it works in real life. It’s okay to take your time, especially if it means being comfortable and proficient with your every day carry (EDC).

Keeping up with training will help boost your concealed carry confidence level and make you a more effective concealed carrier.  Fortunately, between the expanding number of female gun owners and women in executive positions in the firearm industry, national groups like the Well Armed Woman, A Girl and A Gun, the Pink Pistols and Operation Blazing Sword are able to help connect and empower women and other emerging groups of new gun owners. These organizations continue to provide guidance and training to ensure women become efficient, effective concealed carriers.

Take a Deep Breath

This is a lot of information to digest but if you take it step by step, you’ll get there. Just remember: this is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve taken the first steps into the fray so don’t stop now, you’re well on your way!

We will continue to do our part by continuing to post reliable information you can count on!


This article was originally published at the Crossbreed Holsters blog and is reprinted here with permission.

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  1. I’ve repeated that Shoe Analogy so many times a week I should just have it written on a plaque and posted over my display counter.

    • Love the shoe analogy! It is so true. If you are not comfortable with a gun, forget it.

      I’m a man ok with having 50 pairs of shoes, but only really wearing 3. Like my guns. Almost. I need more guns to have 50.

      There are so many good guns to choose.

    • I’ve used the shoe analogy, also: “you can never have too many shoes”. I was not able to rent the Walther CCP or SCCY, both of which fit very well in my palm at the store. Try those out if you can, no sharp/square edges to bruise you hand.

  2. If you’re going to be Frank, what do you care about women carrying 😉 Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Thanks for the article!

  3. My wife & I used some of those game targets, but she liked the zombies more. She kept aiming for his junk, which has me concerned.

  4. This blog seems aimed at single women nebies. My suggestion is find a guy who you trust and has experience and lean on him to get started. It is also a good way to get some experince shooting without even having to buy a gun.

    • Doesn’t work. Girlfriends just want to please you into marrying them and wives don’t listen to anything their husbands say. I’ve 30+ years experience shooting, training, teaching, competing and carrying. I’ll spend a couple hours running my wife through some scenarios and drills and she retains nothing. I send her off to Sig Academy or some other place to run the same drills and she comes home all excited to show me all the stuff she learned. Stuff I’ve been teaching to a brick wall apparently. At least she learns and she shoots.

      • I disagree. It depends on the student’s desire to learn and the temperament of the instructor. I’ve introduced dozens of people to shooting, most of them with a handgun. By the time my wife and I were married and went shooting, she had generally grown up with guns but wasn’t much of a pistol shot. She wanted to get better and carry, so we practiced together. She entertained my hobby and received instruction very well; I then sat and absorbed her guidance on how to properly ride a horse, her true hobby.

      • See, you were too nice in the beginning. These things have to be negotiated upfront. Even though my guy is an expert shot, I was the one who insisted that our first date include a range trip since he’d not practiced for a while.

        On the downside. The tables have now turned as he’s gotten back into shooting regularly and I’ve now been informed that I have to pass Jeff Gonzales’ Pistol 2 by the end of 2019 or our relationship will be re-evaluated. I should have played dumb.

      • Shireman,
        It is important to marry a woman who genuinely looks up to you, and not a woman who settled for you. We should all strive to be men that our wives genuinely admire.

        Speaking of the Shire makes me think of Samwise Gamgee. Before he went to Mordor, he was too shy to speak to Rosie. After returning from saving the world, Rosie had no doubt that he was a badass and was thrilled to marry him. She would have gladly taken firearm instruction from her husband. Confidence, confidence, confidence

  5. Just in case any potential buyers read this article: do not buy a Sig P365 until Sig figures out how to mitigate 2x pending catastrophic mechanical failures inherent in the design and/or QC.

    I love my P365, everything about the concept is superb…but in execution it’s already showing signs of those two hard failures and I won’t trust it for carry purposes until Sig publishes a fix.

      • Maybe I got lucky. I have a 365 with 600 rounds thru it and no failures or signs of distress. However, I’m going to take what appears to be some good advice and continue to shoot the 365 but carry a G43 or PPS.

        • I’m doing the same, carrying a PPS while I thoroughly wring out the 365. It’s at 800rds right now. The striker is starting to wear and the mags are getting scratched up more than when I bought it new. It’s a race to see which is going to fail first, the striker or trigger return spring. Then it’ll take a trip to Sig for repairs and hopefully upgrades with all the little tweaks they’ve made over the last year.

      • It’s hard to get to the synopsis of the issues because he doesn’t stop rambling.

        Looks like it breaks strikers and a few other things.

        • That’s part 3. Try parts 1 and 2 for more details on the issues he experienced. Or read on any forum discussing 365 issues. It may take a few minutes, but it’s time well spent when deciding to carry that handgun.

  6. Good article. Good choice in crossbreed holsters in the photos. To appendix carry. A good quality holster and training, also , to those who aren’t sure or are too old to remember, girls don’t have the same “junk” to worry about.

  7. Just to add, be careful of Wolf ammo. Not because its cheap, or its steel case, but many indoor ranges will not allow do to the bi-metal (aka steel) bullets they use. Ask your range, and know there are plenty of inexpensive rounds out there

    • There definitely are a number of inexpensive choices in target ammo. Lately, I’ve gotten the best prices on Remington UMC in the green box.

    • My indoor range does not allow steel cased ammunition. They don’t want to sort it from brass cases.

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