This Every Day Carry blog may be a bit different from the last few because it’s from a woman’s perspective and my EDC kit is still a work in progress. I think that Every Day Carry is a lot more challenging for women. Whereas most guys have their regular carry and a second option for when they wear sweatpants or shorts, women have to contend with form fitting shirts, skirts, slacks without belt loops, dresses, and so on. In addition to that, our curves can make it harder to conceal a gun when carrying inside the waistband.
My original plan was to carry my Springfield Armory XDm 3.8” 9mm because I wanted to carry the gun I trained with most often. I bought a Crossbreed Supertuck holster that would allow me to carry it in the 4 or 5 o’clock position inside my waistband. I tried this for a while, but it did not work for a couple of reasons. First, I had to wear shirts that were big and loose in order for the gun not to print. If I wanted to wear a shirt that was form-fitting, I could not carry this gun in this way. I also felt that this gun was too wide and heavy to carry inside my waistband (see picture below). Another reason, which factored into this decision a little more, was that I spend the majority of my day behind a desk. It is uncomfortable to have a gun pressing against my back all day long. I was not carrying everyday because of this reason, so it was time to look for a smaller gun.
After trying several of the .380 pistols in our rental fleet, I opted for the Sig Sauer P238. This was my favorite .380 to shoot by far! Some of the other .380s hurt my hand after just a few rounds. I needed a gun I would want to practice with regularly and I wanted my carry gun to be ultra-reliable. Sigs are more expensive than the other .380s, but it is an extremely reliable gun that is small yet comfortable to shoot. (As a side note, if the Sig P938 or XD-S 9mm were available when I was ready to purchase my carry gun, I probably would have bought one of those. I would have preferred to stick with the same caliber I use for training and competition.) The ammo I use in my P238 is Hornady Critical Defense.
The Sig P238 is a small gun, so I am able to appendix carry or carry at the 4 o’clock position without discomfort. The holster I am currently using is a Blackhawk inside-the-waistband nylon holster. Some people might think that is a flimsy holster, but because I carry it inside the waistband I feel that the retention is perfect, plus the holster is soft and comfortable.
When I first started to carry, I wanted to carry on my person all the time. After a while, I started to think about how I spent my day, my work environment, and what other carry options would work for my situation. My day job is spent at an office in an industrial area, we do not have walk-in traffic, and I work with a handful of co-workers. I am comfortable keeping my carry gun in my laptop bag while I am at this job.
In addition to having my carry gun within arms length at my day job, I carry a Smith & Wesson Black Ops Tanto Assisted Folding knife in my front pocket at all times (unless my clothing option does not allow it, and then it goes in my purse or laptop bag). Yes, I know all the cool people carry Benchmade or Spyderco knives, but as I mentioned, my EDC kit is still a work in progress. I selected this inexpensive knife because I wanted to make sure I would actually carry a knife on a regular basis before investing in a more expensive option. I will upgrade at some point in the future.
When I am not at my day job and not able to carry on my person (or I just don’t want to), I carry in my purse. I bought a Gun Toten Mama’s Raven Shoulder Pouch. The zippered compartment allows quick access to my gun. In hindsight, this purse is a little small for what I want to carry in addition to my gun, so I don’t use it all the time. I have another purse that was not designed specifically for concealed carry. I just place my gun (in the Blackhawk holster) inside one of the compartments in that purse. This is not ideal, but I’m about due for a new purse. 🙂
Another holster option I have that you may not have heard of is the Marilyn holster made by Looper Law Enforcement, the maker of the popular Flashbang holster. The Marilyn is a bra-mounted thermo-plastic holster that is accessed by reaching down the neck of your shirt. The gun is carried under the arm similar to a shoulder holster. I thought it would be the perfect solution, but it did not work out as I had hoped. I felt that it printed too much when I had the gun in a position that I could access quickly. To keep it from printing, I had to tuck it down a lot deeper than I felt was ideal. We all are built differently so it may work great for another woman, but it did not work out well for me. The search for the perfect holster continues. I’ll probably give the Flashbang holster a try.
With all the switching around between my laptop bag, range bag, purses, and on the body carrying, I had to find a way to remember the key items in my EDC kit. To ensure that I don’t forget anything, I do a six item countdown: gun, knife, phone, wallet, keys, lip gloss (yes, that is an essential item to me).
The carabiner on my key chain is there so I can clip my keys to my belt loop if I’m not carrying a purse. I also have a quick release connector so I can separate my car keys from the rest of my keys if I need to drop off my car for service or hand my keys to a valet.
As you can see, women have a more challenging time coming up with a carry option that works in all situations. Most women are going to find that they end up with two or three different ways to carry. Keep in mind, you don’t want to have too many different carry options, because you don’t want to be fumbling and trying to remember where your gun is located when you are trying to defend yourself.
If you are trying to figure out your own EDC kit, take some time to think about your lifestyle and your clothing options. Whatever you decide on, make sure that your self defense tools will be easily accessible when you need them!
One additional note I would like to add is that it is ESSENTIAL to train on a regular basis and to have a “combat mindset.” If you are suddenly put into a position where you need to defend yourself or your loved ones, (a) you need to have already worked through in your mind whether or not you are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect yourself, and (b) ideally you have trained enough to where you can hit your target while under stress. Staying calm in a crisis is powerful. You can have the biggest, baddest .45 caliber gun, but if you can’t hit your target then you’ve got a problem. Train, train, and then train some more.
I would love to hear from some of the other ladies who are carrying concealed. Leave a comment on this blog or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know about your EDC kit and what works for you.