Off Body Purse Carry … It’s OK

Sometimes while teaching a firearm training class, I’m asked by a male how he can get his significant other to carry concealed on her body instead of in her purse. Likewise, women come to me frustrated, almost asking permission to purse carry because so many people tell them it’s not safe. Honestly, I don’t see the big deal. If using a purse is the only way a woman wants to carry her gun, let her carry in her purse. It’s better than not carrying at all. 

With a little online research I found a few reasons people say women should not carry off body. Following are the quotes along with my responses:

“The first thing a thief is going to grab is a woman’s purse.”

I asked a local police officer in my hometown how many purse thieves have been reported. He said in all his years, never. However, I realize in a given situation, someone may want to just steal a purse. So, let him and report it along with your handgun stolen. Think about it, are you carrying a gun to defend yourself from a thief? Probably not. I know I carry a concealed handgun to defend myself, family and others against a person who intends to do me or them harm.

Although I haven’t timed it, common sense tells me drawing from a purse and coming to a full presentation takes longer than drawing from a holster. How much longer depends on some factors: the location of the gun compartment and type of closure, the size of  the compartment, and if the gun is in a holster within the compartment. Now, compare drawing from a purse to drawing from under a full length coat during the winter. Which one do you think takes more time? With my long coat buttoned all the way, I have to get under that and under my shirt layers to get to my handgun. Carrying in my purse now becomes a faster option. 

Now, just because your gun is in your purse doesn’t mean you have to draw to a full presentation before firing. Yes, you can shoot from within your purse. This may become necessary when your target is in close proximity and you have no time for sighted fire, when time is of the essence. 

Blue gun in concealed carry purse

If you decide to attempt this tactic, you have to carry the correct type of gun. Yes, a semi-automatic gun has a very good chance of jamming. A lack of space and variety of hang ups will keep the slide from operating properly. Most likely a first shot goes off, followed by a malfunction. Unfortunately the best choice requires giving up capacity by choosing a lightweight hammerless revolver. Unlike semi-automatic handguns, hammerless snub-nosed revolvers cycle reliably from a purse or even in your pocket. So, you have to decide if having 5 or 6 rounds ready at hand is better than having a high capacity magazine that may not meet your needs. Remember, you can always carry extra rounds for your revolver in a Bianchi Speed Strip or HKS Speed Loader. 


Purse Carry Tips

If you decide to carry in a purse, never allow you gun to mix with the items inside. Keys, pens and other small objects can get in a trigger guard and cause an unintentional discharge or render the gun inoperable. It’s best to use a purse specifically created for concealed carry. This keeps the gun in a separate compartment and sometimes even offers multiple access points to retrieve your gun.

Yes, shooting through your purse works extremely well. However, sighted aimed fire from full presentation is always the best and safest choice. If carrying in a purse means you will carry your gun, I highly recommend it. Make sure you have the proper gun to meet your needs and become comfortable with it. Practice is essential.

This article, Off Body Purse Carry … It’s OK, first appeared at Women’s Outdoor News on April 18, 2018.