On the day that I got my concealed carry permit, I sat down in front of my computer and looked at different holsters for my Walther P22. I browsed around for a few minutes, ordered a sleek black hip holster, rushed delivery, and could hardly wait to start using it. When it arrived, I slipped the holster on under my jeans, and stuck in my P22. I pulled my shirt down over the holster. Although the shirt was comfortable, it was a bit fitted and I found that it clung to my Walther—making a clear and distinguishable imprint of my .22.
I tried a looser tank-top on instead, which looked great…as long as I didn’t move. The moment I moved my body, the loose fabric clung to the huge lump on my back. I tried moving my Walther to the front and side to no avail… This holster and handgun combo was just a failure on my frame. That was when I realized what many of you have also probably realized: Finding the right concealed carry for your body, comfort level and standard attire is more of an art than just shopping online for a couple of minutes.
If you’re a woman looking to carry your handgun inside of your waistband (IWB), there are a few things you’ll want to take into consideration:
Clothing will likely need to be modified. Women’s clothes generally fit tighter, revealing bulges around the waist or back area, so even with compact pistols, you’ll still need to pick clothing accordingly and make sure your gun isn’t visible under your clothing in different positions. Try sitting, standing and bending over to verify that you have properly concealed your firearm.
Large and standard sized handguns typically don’t work as well as smaller firearms for IWB carry. I thought my P22 would be easy to conceal, and I had visions of carrying my Glock 19 IWB too, but quickly realized that neither of these would be possible to conceal on my frame. I found that a purse carry is great for my standard sized handguns, but to conceal anything IWB, I must go with smaller, more compact models.
Lighter and smaller handguns increase IWB comfort but also increase recoil. e sure to know your gun well enough to be accurate in any defensive situation, but stick with your standard pistols for target and skills practice. The most important thing to practice once you find a holster and gun combo that works for you is gaining access and drawing over and over, until it becomes second nature.
Now, let’s look at some optimal firearm options for women’s IWB carry:
Taurus Curve Pistol | .380 Auto I love this handgun for concealed carry. It has an integral magazine and is curved to fit your body inside the waistband. It’s compact and lightweight, and it comes with a built-in light and laser. It virtually disappears within a waistband and doesn’t require the purchase of a separate holster. This option works best for me at the 4 o’clock or appendix positions.
Taurus PT738 ACP This ultra-compact handgun is a fantastic IWB option. It’s extremely lightweight (10.2 ounces), and the sleek polymer frame fits easily inside any waistband. Due to the light frame, the recoil does pack quite the punch, so be sure to put a few rounds through it before relying on it as your daily carry. This is also one of the more affordable micro pistol options, making it a great option for any first-time concealed carrier. I carry my Taurus PT738 IWB at the 4 o’clock position using the “Hip Hugger” holster.
Kimber Micro .380 ACP This is one of the highest quality micro-pistols available, offering top-notch functionality and reliability. The Kimber Micro .380 is basically a teeny version of the Kimber 1911. The trigger pull is short and smooth, the grip is ideal for smaller hands, and the pistol has enough weight to minimize recoil—but isn’t too heavy for comfortable daily carry. It’s more expensive than some of the other compact pistols listed here, but you definitely get what you pay for. This firearm gives me complete peace of mind, knowing that it will function properly if I ever need to use it in a life-or-death situation. The Kimber Micro .380 fits me best when I carry it at the appendix location with the Guardian Holster from Badger Concealment.
Kimber K6s Revolver If you like the comfortable grip and ease of use of revolvers like I do, you’ll love the Kimber K6s. With a 2-inch barrel and 1.39-inch diameter cylinder, this .357 Magnum revolver is small enough to use as your daily carry, but heavy enough to minimize recoil. It’s also made with high quality craftmanship, ensuring that it delivers reliable performance and peace of mind. I carry my K6s with my Hip Hugger Holster, at the 4 o’clock position. (See photo above.)
I’ve found that all the above firearms work great for ladies’ IWB concealed carry using one of the following two holsters:
Hip Hugger Holster by Can Can Concealment: This is a fantastic option for appendix or kidney carry. I found that it works best with a micro handgun, like any of the options listed above. Anything larger left lumps under my clothing and wouldn’t fit inside of standard pants. The Hip Hugger is designed with a capacity to carry up to four firearms and three magazines.
Guardian IWB Holster by Badger Concealment: If you’re planning to carry using an IWB clip, you’ll want to purchase a high-quality Kydex holster. I use the Guardian holster from Badger Concealment, and I’ve been more than happy with how lightweight, flexible and durable this holster is. It’s made to fit the firearm you’re looking to carry and easily conceals compact handguns.
No matter what handgun and holster combo you end up using, the most important thing you must do is practice drawing until it becomes second nature.
We’d love to hear from you: What’s your favorite holster/handgun combo?