Carrying a gun in a purse is a popular option for women because of its flexibility over other methods, but there are some critical things you need to know before you add a purse to your carry repertoire.
When done correctly, purse carry can be a good option - you just need to follow some basic rules and make sure you never stray from these guidelines.
First off, the regular purse you carry every day is not going to be the purse you use for concealed carry (don't even think about just tossing your gun in your everyday purse!).
You have to have a purse that can safely hold and secure your gun while allowing you to get your gun out of quickly if the need arises. Purses designed for carry have several special features like velcro strips and dedicated locking compartments that minimize safety concerns while allowing you to access your gun relatively quickly.
Once you're set up with a good concealed carry purse, it's time to start practicing with it. Drawing from a purse is more difficult than drawing from a holster, so it takes extra effort to ensure you can safely and quickly draw and shoot from it.
There are two main methods of drawing when using a purse:
Drawing from your strong side - carrying your purse on the same shoulder of your main shooting hand and drawing the gun from the back side of the purse. With this method, the gun will be pointing toward your target while at rest.
Cross-body draw - carrying your purse on the opposite side and reaching across your body to get the gun out of the purse. With this method, the gun will be pointing away from your target while at rest.
We recommend going to an experienced trainer to learn the safe way to draw from a purse, then practice both methods to see which one works best for you. If you're not able to put in the extra practice time, we suggest you use another carry method.
"Just shoot through your purse" is a bad idea. Several tests have been done to show that there are many problems with this idea and in one test performed by concealed carry expert, Melody Lauer, the hit rate from shooting through a purse was around 69% with a malfunction rate of about 34%.
While purse carry is a more convenient option, remember that any type of off-body concealed carry will limit your access to your firearm when it’s actually needed. If you are in a situation where you are more at risk of having to use your gun in self-defense (having a stalker or restraining order, for example),
If you're not used to carrying a purse around all the time, this may not be the best option for you. Above all else, you absolutely, positively have to keep the purse on you at ALL TIMES - no exceptions!
If you're not a purse person but you'd like to start concealed carrying in a purse, we recommend you spend at least a month carrying a "regular" purse to get used to having it on your body at all times. If you find that you're leaving your purse unattended or taking it off your body from time to time, another method of carry would be better for you.
Many concealed carry purses come with universal holsters, but those aren't always the right size or fit for every gun. To make purse carry easier and safer, choose a more specialized holster like this Kydex Purse/BackPack Holster which is molded for a more precise fit.
If you absolutely need to take your purse off your body (we know they can get heavy after a while), carry a purse hanger with you. A well-made purse hanger will slip easily onto a restaurant table or bar counter, forming a stable hook on which to hang your purse. If you're going to use a purse hanger, make sure your purse is hanging directly in front of you and do not walk away from it!