There are more and more companies these days offering ladies’ conceal carry options in forms such as belly bands, shorts with an inner thigh pocket, holsters that hook into a bra front, and so forth. Most of these options try to offer some versatility for a lady in terms of being easy to wear during activities like running alone. Pockets are placed in appendix carry, behind the back carry and thigh carry positions on shorts and leggings.
Sometimes you’ll see short demos of the clothing where a woman wearing them runs around for a few seconds or does some mild calisthenics.
However, there’s only one way to figure out if a piece of conceal carry gear really does the trick for a full-length run: You put a fully loaded gun in it, and then you go for a run.
I’ve tried a few different types of leggings that have carry pockets on the inner thigh, outer thigh, appendix, and back carry positions. Although the gun rode well enough in all of the furnished pockets, I ultimately decided against any form of carry on the waist, hip, or thigh, for a few different reasons.
One was that after only a short distance, having a loaded firearm on one hip or leg pulled off my gait and started to make my back hurt. Another was that the appendix carry position would jab the grip of my pistol — a SIG P238 — into my ribs with every step.
The most important factor, though, was that in just about every scenario I’ve read or heard about where a woman was attacked while running, the attacker tackled her and took her to the ground. This means that a firearm holstered anywhere around the waist or hips could easily be landed on or end up in a position that might be very difficult to draw from when you’re on the ground. Or that the impact of a landing could eject the firearm from the conceal pocket and put it out of reach – since none of them had any kind of retention option – making it useless for self defense.
After trying a few other options, I finally settled on a Lotus holster from Deep Conceal. I like this system because of how it carries the firearm – under the armpit with the barrel angled down and somewhat back. It has a retention strap and can be worn over or under clothing depending on the color that you choose (the black option over a black tank top is hardly noticeable even in the daytime if you have a light jacket over it).
The system is fitted to the size of your rib cage and holds the firearm snugly to your body, meaning that it doesn’t move or jostle around even when you’re on a vigorous run. It’s made of stretchy cloth and Velcro and you can order the pocket size that suits your compact firearm. There’s a magazine pocket built in as well, though it isn’t in the most accessible position. Deep Conceal makes holster systems for men as well, so this idea isn’t just for the ladies. Some of their systems are customizable with extra mag pouches and so forth.
Caveats: You must be comfortable with cross drawing your weapon and should practice doing so while wearing the holster (unloaded please!) so you get used to the motion. A holster like this is for basic daily carry only and not built to stand up to training courses where you draw over and over or to be exposed to a lot of grime, as this can make the Velcro on the system much less effective. However, you can throw the Lotus in the washing machine. For ongoing everyday carry I use a leather modified M7 style carry, but when I run, I switch to this.
Of all the options I tried that I challenged with real, vigorous movement, this has worked the best for me. It’s light, keeps the gun close to the body and in a position where I’m not likely to fall onto it if I go to the ground. It has a retention strap, and is pretty much invisible if you dress it right, so to speak.
YMMV, but perhaps this will give folks an option they haven’t thought of for how to carry a gun while running without it being an onerous burden on your lower spine or needing to worry about not being able to reach it or getting away from you if you encounter a creep on the trail. Stay safe out there.