Concealed Carry Products for Women – The Well Armed Woman

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This bra holster, called the Flashbang, gets a lot of press in the male dominated gun world because of its novelty, but it only fits a few specifica body types well, and even then it tends to pinch and jab the wearer. This article is an overview of several other concealed carry options for women, as well as the bra holsters, using products found at The Well Armed Woman, a company dedicated to the specific needs of women shooters, owned by NRA trainer Carrie Lightfoot.

If you click the picture you will see this pistol concealed using an inside the waistband holster called The Betty. It has an adjustable cant and doesn’t stick up as high as a lot of IWB holsters, made for women who have shorter torsos than men, as well as a different outward shape.

The belly band is probably the most universal holster off the belt for women of several body types. Shown here with a Smith & Wesson Airweight .38 Special, the belly band allows a draw from several different positions.

Jenna Howell, one of our testers who graciously allowed us to take pictures of her in various states of undress (nothing more revealing than an episode of the Kardashians), felt that the belly band could be used with several types of shirt cuts that allow for different loose place to conceal a gun. The nice thing is that with an untucked shirt you don’t have to worry about the gun showing when you bend over. This is the 4″ belly band with the Springfield XD-S 9mm.

The soft foam of the TWAW ankle and thigh holsters was a pleasure for all of our testers. This garter for the ankle holster holds the weight of the firearm so you don’t feel like you are swinging a sand bag around on your foot.

This was the only way we could photograph the thight holster with a sense of modesty. You wouldn’t wear it with a short skirt like this of course. It is meant for a long skirt, but you can see the way the garter for the holster hangs on the hip. For both of these holsters we used the Kahr P380.

The ankle holster can also be worn very low for use with bell bottom jeans or khakis.

Jenna’s favorite of the holsters was the TWAW undershirt tankM, made of a high quality Spandex/Lyrca type material. They also make compression shorts with two holsters.

Thunderwear has been around for a lot of years, and this is a special TWAW version made for the hips of a woman. It holds the gun just under the pants line, so there is nothing to stick out. It is perfect with a mini-skirt where the “package” doesn’t print, and there is room for keys, money, and a spare magazine in the side you aren’t using for a gun.

This is a side picture of the Flashbang bra holster from a TWAW customer. It fits her great and it is concealable.

After wresting with the different straps and trying the holster with different bras in different positions, we concluded that it was not the product for Jenna.

Technically the holster works, but it is very uncomfortable and not very concealed with anything but a loose shirt, which this is not. The biggest downside is that drawing the gun from the holster quickly takes too much force, enough to damage the bra. Note the handmade necklace.

The other bra holster is called The Marilyn. Theoretically it sits on the side of the bra cup with the sharing the cup with the breast. There are some web pics up there of very large breasted women using this successfully, but none of our test models, even D cups, could get it to work as advertised.

Switching to a shorter strap we got it to work for Jenna as something like a shoulder holster rig.

Even in this configuration it would take some adjusting and experimentation to become usable for concealed carry.
Jenna is an experienced shooter living in the wilds of back country central Florida. All of these products would require extensive practice with drawing and firing quickly, just in case you jump a den of Coyotes and mama comes after you. Only the belly band made both the concealment and the draw easy and comfortable. But just a woman’s actual wardrobe, a wardrobe of concealed carry options, some comfortable, some not, is just part of the female equation.

The Well Armed Woman
http://www.thewellarmedwoman.com/

Carrying a gun as a woman is nothing like carrying a gun as a man. Men can get away with wearing the same thing almost every day, and loose and comfortable men’s clothes naturally lend themselves to belt or front pocket carry of a firearm. Even men’s shorts generally have numerous deep pockets and a belt. A woman who wants to carry a gun every day has to navigate pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, and enough different types of tops to make your head spin. Very few of them have the cut and support to hide a firearm. Most women’s clothes are form fitting by design, and unless a woman wears bluejeans every day, there is no guarantee that any garment is going to have any waist support at all. We found an interesting company called “The Well Armed Woman” owned and run by Carrie Lightfoot, an active NRA certified trainer who works with women. Facing frustration with the male holster world, Carrie has found, modified and even created a whole bunch of products made just for the concealed carry needs of a woman. Female wardrobes being what they are, there is no way that a woman can just buy and use one option for concealed carry. CCW for a woman also requires a “wardrobe” of sorts. The holster you use for jogging isn’t going to work at the office, and the holster you use at the office isn’t going to work out on the town. We tried a number of options, including the belly band, a thigh holster, a camisole with holster built in, and even the famed inside the bra holster. Every option has its place, but on a limited budget you’ll have to choose a couple that fit most situations.

This amount of mis-information is staggering when it comes to women’s CCW. One woman on Youtube who did a video on the Flashbang bra holster actually tells you to buy a dummy gun, as if practicing your draw with an unloaded J-Frame revolver is less safe. OMG! That is why, for this article, we started with the videos at the TWAW website, then asked Carrie to get some actual reviews from her customers, and send us some physical products to try. Overall, it was clear that all the women who have used these products developed their own preferences for not only how to wear them, but what to wear them with. That was also our experience with asking some women to try the products that Carrie sent. Body types have everything to do with preference for specific products, as well as how these products are used. What works really well for a 5′ tall 105 lb. woman won’t work for someone 5′ 6″ and 150 lbs. , and that is only the beginning of the female CCW spectrum. If you think about it, Nordstrom, Macys, Bloomies, and even Wal-Mart and K-Mart all have different types of clothes for different types of female figures, and so does the world of concealed carry. This is just a basic overview. If you Google around on all of these products you will find advice from hundreds of women online with hundreds of different body types and physical preferences. This overview is meant as an introduction to the issues, not a sales pitch for any product or products. This stuff isn’t cheap, so do your homework before you buy.

IWB (Inside the Waistband)

By far the most popular method of concealed carry for women is inside the waistband, wearing some kind of belted or tight waisted pants, like jeans or khakis. If you can get away with belted pants, concealed carry of a firearm will be a lot easier for you than it is for women who have to wear an office or sporty wardrobe. But even on the belt, you will find that male IWB holsters don’t have the right cant for women, and they ride too high and stick into a women’s ribs. “The Betty” is a special IWB holster made just for women. It has an adjustable can’t that is a favorite of TWAW customers, and it fits a women’s figure much better than male holsters that look the same, but sit higher. And at $49, it is reasonably priced. The adjustable cant makes it so that the holster can be worn in the front, at the side, or in the back, with the right angle for a quick draw. TWAW customer Ginger Gallagher says, ” I use The Betty every day. There are times of the day that I must employ other modes of carry, such as yoga class, bellydance or acupuncture, but the moment I can, I immediately change back to The Betty. Absolutely hands down everything that I had expected. The strength of the clip is fantastic. I love the adjustable cant. I’m happy to pay the price to get something that really works for me. Great value. Certainly a must have holster.”

The Betty can also be used inside the top of a boot with a small gun. It is a simple clamshell Kydex design and is available for nearly all the concealed carry guns on the market, including some of the larger ones like the XD-S, PPS, and Bersa. Our test holster came for the Walther PPS, which we used for a giveaway by mistake oops. Several customer reviews praised The Betty though, and it seems like a very good, sturdy and useful design.

TWAW also sells a magnet holster that we were sent to review but that somehow got misplaced before our pictures. It is meant to be worn with sweat pants, jogging shorts and other garments that don’t have a rigid waist, but which can handle the weight of a small firearm. Our test holster worked great with the Kahr P380 and J-Frame .38, and because it doesn’t have a clip, you can position it where you want. The magnet on these holsters is made from rare earth minerals and they don’t lose their magnetism, but they are a little scary at first to get used to just because the magnets are so strong. At $50.99, they come in three sizes for most guns, and if you have several firearms of relatively the same size that you like to carry, the magnet holsters are the most affordable and versatile multi-gun option.

Belly Band Holsters

Once you have made the decision to carry a gun, it is very difficult to leave the gun at home, because you feel like you are inviting a Murphy’s Law incident where you absolutely need to use your gun. For slim people, and even some chubby people the ultimate “catch all” kind of holster is the elastic belly band. TWAW makes them in two sizes, 4″ and 5″, $41 and $43 respectively, and the size you need depends on your body, your gun, and your preference for comfort. If you don’t want the barrel of the gun jabbing you when you bend over, and you carry anything but a micro-380, you probably will want the 5″. The nice thing about the belly band is that you can wear it with just about any loose shirt or blouse. It won’t expose like a waist holster when you bend, or if a gust of wind blows your shirt up, and it can hold keys and extra magazines as well. The TWAW belly bands come with both left and right hand draw holsters sewn in, so assuming you don’t want to go Demi Moore on someone using two guns, whichever side you aren’t using can be used as storage for other things. We tested the 4″ version with a Kahr P380, a Springfield XD-S 9mm and a S&W J-Frame .38. All of guns fit well, drew easily, and seemed secure. The XD-S and J-Frame stuck out of the bottom a bit on the 4″ but probably would be contained in the 5″. Carrying a gun for a slim woman is kind of a nightmare no matter what holster you use, but this can be worn low with a loose shirt without having to compromise the ability to wear something form fitting. A woman with a few more pounds can carry it above the belly and below the breasts, without having to deal with the bra holsters, which we’ll get to.

TWAW customer Charlotte Niebuhr gives some pretty good tips in her comments: ” The belly band is fairly comfortable. It is important to position it so the edges of the Velcro line up with each other to avoid chafing. The amount of stretch is a good balance between enough firmness to hold a small pistol securely, and yet avoid restricting my breath. There is some movement when I am jogging but it doesn’t feel as though the gun will come out. Since the bottom of the holster pocket is open to allow for different sizes of guns, I do have to adjust the position of the muzzle occasionally to avoid chafing or poking. I may sew the bottom of the opening closed since the 238 is short enough not to protrude beyond the bottom. In short, it is a versatile and affordable option for activities or clothing where waist carry isn’t possible, but it’s not a perfect solution. As most of us know, that is hard to find. I think a belly band is a good addition to any holster collection, regardless of gender, as long as the wearer realizes that some practice drawing is very important.”

Our experience with the TWAW belly band was that it is extremely adaptive to different body types, for both men and women A belly band isn’t going to be the quickest and most versatile draw, but when nothing else works, a belly band is a way to take your gun along when you otherwise couldn’t. The TWAW belly band holsters come in both skintone and black.

Ankle and Thigh Holster

Most options for women that are not IWB are made simply because the majority of women’s garments don’t have the ability to hold the weight of a gun. This is especially true of elastic waisted skirts and dresses, which of course have no waist. If you tend to wear loose skirts and dresses, one of the few modes of carry that will fit your wardrobe are ankle and thigh holsters. Thankfully they are also among the most comfortable of all of options, and the TWAW models of both of these holsters are way ahead of the Al Capone style ankle holsters you think of from the movies. To start with, both of the TWAW holsters have a garter to hold them up. This makes a huge difference, because a regular ankle holster can feel like you are walking around with a sandbag attached to your leg that is gradually working its way down, on the way to off. The garter makes it so the weight of the firearm sits on your calf, or on your waist for the thigh holster. The draw is somewhat compromised, but that is true of nearly every mode of concealed carry for women.

For our test holsters, the $57.99 TWAW ankle holster was by far the most popular of all. It can be worn low or high, and the garter, secured on the top part of the calf, holds the rig in place securely even while jogging. Our testers, as well as many of the TWAW customer reviews, felt that the ankle holster could be worn low with flare jeans or loose khakis as well as it could with a skirt or dress, but like a man’s ankle holster, pants are going to significantly increase your draw time. In a gunfight, with a skirt or dress, you can draw and shoot. With pants, the better advice would be to find cover, draw and shoot. Even with practice it is all too probable that the pants could get hung up on the holster, preventing a draw.

Darlene Aspinwall, a TWAW customer who has worn the ankle holster for about 6 months says, “I find the holster very comfortable, except for one time I wore my short boots and the boots came up half way on the gun and the boots pushed a little on the gun and it became uncomfortable while walking around shopping, so I don’t carry on the ankle when wearing those boots, so this had nothing to do with the holster itself just my shoe choice. Love it, Love it, Love it, so comfortable I could wear it all day and you forget you are even carrying, I really like the top strap extension this helps with the holster not falling down. If you wear slim fitting shirts and cannot carry IWB then you can wear this with most pants as long as they are not tight fitting, I can wear this with jeans and Kaki’s. I was concerned that I would need to adjust the holster during the day, but have never had to adjust the holster during my outings. The holster can be adjusted to fit many leg sizes so this is a plus. I am very glad there are products out there made just for women; I did a lot of shopping around when first buying my concealed carry holsters ….thank you TWAW for making these holsters available to women. ”

The Bond Girl’esque thigh holster is meant to be worn just above the knee, and the garter goes around your waist. This is similar to the leg drop holsters that you see in the getup of special forces soldiers, but they don’t have to lift a skirt or dress to get at their guns, while on duty at least. Having to lift a skirt all the way up to the thigh makes the chance of the gun peeking out extremely unlikely, but depending on the garment, it can be a lot of cloth to have to navigate to get to your gun, or conversely, a thin skirt or dress may print the gun noticeably. Nonetheless it is a great option for girls who like to dress really girly, without having to give up the security of carrying a firearm that can be drawn quickly. The thigh holster is made of the same soft foam material as the TWAW ankle holster, so it is comfortable, but we weren’t able to test the durability on either of these holsters long term, and that could be an issue. The garter on the thigh holster is not as well secured as the ankle holster. It relies on a loop instead of a sewn patch, and the garter belt tends to fold over. At $68.99 for the thigh holster with the garter, it could be done a little better, but with the limited options out there for women, good enough is good enough.

Garment Holsters & Thunderwear

The coolest of all these products are two garment holsters made by TWAW. One is a camisole with two holsters sewn under the arms. The other is a pair of compression shorts that resemble Spanx, or biking shorts, and they likewise have two holsters sewn in. Both products are $70 each, and both products are made of a high quality Spandex type of material that is expensive in any women’s garments in which you find it. Jenna Howell, our model for a lot of these pictures, felt that the cami was the one product, besides the ankle holster, that fit her way of dressing casually. We weren’t able to test the compression shorts, but most women are familiar with Spanx, and that is what these most resemble. With holsters for two small firearms, a woman’s best friend is really a woman’s best friend.

Thunderwear is an old product that Carrie has updated with the company for use by women. It hangs on the hips and rides the gun in the crotch. Both sides are sewn into holsters, so you can carry cash, keys, or an extra magazine in the side you are not using. The most practical use of TWAW Thunderwear we found is with a denim miniskirt. The “package” isn’t obvious, and you can wear a bikini or tank top without the need to involve your waistline at all. This is a perfect product for the woman who wants to go to a biker festival or county fair and feel protected, without having to dress around your concealed weapon. This is a comment from Elaina Bonar, who has used the Thunderwear product with a Smith & Wesson Airweight for over 3 months since purchasing it from TWAW.

“This holster is fantastic for wearing with active wear and pants that you can’t wear a belt with. It does not move or bounce at all while running. Don’t make the mistake of wearing the strap too tight or it will ride up to the waist. The holster sits very comfortably on the hips and won’t go anywhere when comfortably secure. I found this to be better than hip holsters because it doesn’t dig into my skin and is easier to conceal my firearm. Despite it’s gimmicky name, this holster works really well for carrying a gun in a preferred position while being active.”

Bra Holsters

We saved these for last because they tend to get the most press in the male dominated gun world, and bra holsters just aren’t for everyone. The premise of a bra holster is that the bra is already a support harness. Adding another pound or two shouldn’t be that much of an issue, but it isn’t that simple. With the most popular bra holster, the $49.99 Flashbang, the gun is secured with a leather strap from the middle of the bra, and the gun actually rides under the breast, or breasts, depending on how you conceal it. Theoretically, you then reach up and violently draw the gun directly down and out of the Kydex clamshell holster. Does the product work as advertised? Generally yes, but really only with large soft breasts. Even a firm C-cup is going to have issues with getting the gun to rest correctly under the breast where is the most securely concealed. Lots of women like the Flashbang, because if you have the right body type it can be very comfortable, and the firearm is well concealed. You don’t actually have to flash someone to get the gun out as the product names suggests, but the gun doesn’t come out as easily as you would like either.

“I purchased one about a year ago, and one about nine months ago.” explains Bo Roberts, after she saw a video on Youtube. “So far, with my J-frame revolver, the Flashbang has worked with every shirt that I have tried. With my Glock, I like to wear a cute little tanktop under a western blouse. I use this method least, but it is great when there is no other way with certain outfits. It is too hot where I live to wear it in the summer. I had to buy all new bras to accommodate the holster/gun combo. It doesn’t just fit in any bra.”

Sonja Starkey, who provided some of the pictures here with the Flashbang, says, “I love the Flashbang, much better than anything in the pocket or pants. I find it less bulky and easier to conceal. I use this every time I carry now. Make sure to get a bra with a smaller width between the cups. Great product, very comfortable. The only thing I find is the butt of the gun digs in a little when sitting, so I’d love a piece of cloth to sit between the gun and my skin. I tend to stretch my back a lot, and it might show just a little when doing so. I have to research this further to be sure. I felt so much safer having a gun on me than in my purse or center console, like I could easily get to it if the need arose.”

Those are along the lines of a half a dozen other reviews from TWAW customers on the Flashbang. The holster has gotten a lot of exposure and they have sold a good deal of them, but almost universally everyone who carries with it offers some kind of inside advice as to how they got the holster to work for them, because it isn’t an out of the box product that just works for everyone. Our model Jenna didn’t like it at all, and it didn’t fit her body type at all. Yet others swear by it. Again, look around the internet for comments on articles like this, and some of the discussion boards have interesting threads as well.

The other bra holster that Carrie sent us is called the Marilyn, We were not able to install it the way it shows in the pictures on the website, though looking around the web, a few people have found bras and body types that work correctly with the product. The idea of the Marilyn is to position it on the side of the bra so that the butt of the gun is sticking out of the top of the bra cup, slightly under the arm. However we found that with several women, from B cups to large D cups, the Marilyn with the gun sticking out of the top of the bra was not what anyone would call concealed carry. We installed the Marilyn instead so that it could be drawn from under the side of the bra strap, resembling a shoulder holster. In this function the Marilyn worked well, and could be concealed as easily as any other shoulder holster type of product you would find in the men’s CCW world.

For both of these products there is rarely any mention of practicing the draw, or wear and tear on the bra. A regular bra from Victoria’s Secret is generally around the same price as one of these holsters, and drawing the gun repeatedly can take some serious wear and tear on the overall structure and support of the bra itself, even to the point of ruining a brand new bra. The Flashbang we used was made for the Kahr P380, and it is not easy to get the gun out at all without tearing the bra. None of our in-house reviewers thought that either of the bra holsters were terribly comfortable, nor did either of them work with tshirts, tank tops, or any tight fitting garment whatsoever. Boob pictures on the internet get a lot of interest and probably sell a lot of bra holsters, but there are far better options for the vast majority of women.

Purses, Bags, Packs Etc.

Outside the scope of this article is the subject of carrying a gun that is not on the person. We took a look at some really nice concealed carry bags back at SHOT Show, and Carrie sells several brands that have been vetted for good usability. A CCW bag is something that has a holster somehow built into the structure of the bag. This can be an actual holster, or just a hidden compartment. Generally, carrying a firearm in a handbag is not going to be your best option. Handbags get left places, and they are the most common target of snatch and grabs while walking on the street, and smash and grabs when left in the car. If someone steals your bag, they also steal a nice new, and loaded, gun. Sometimes handbag carry is your only option, and you just have to be super aware that you can’t let that bag out of your possession at all. Bags are a big deal to many women and if you can’t find a CCW bag you like, take a look at the $60 Recluse Holster, or even the $25 pocket holster from DoubleTap. The Recluse allows you to separate the firearm from the holster without anything securing the holster, yet it provides full trigger protection. The DT holster is just plain old useful, and can be drawn and shucked from a purse just like you would from a pocket. Most “Coach” and “Mark Jacobs” style bags have a side pocket, and either holster could be secure to the bottom of the pocket to fall free on the draw, no special CCW purse required. DoubleTap also makes a neck holster for small guns. This is always an option for women and men.

We are hoping that Carrie Lightfoot will bring some of her expertise for a regular column here at GunsAmerica, because there are all kinds of nuances to shooting and concealed carry for women that can only be discovered and explained by a woman. This is an official introduction to The Well Armed Woman, and you should take some time and watch the videos on the website. The biggest growth in the firearms market in the past several years has been with women shooters. Firearms are the great equalizer among men, and now among the fairer sex. Please comment below and let us know what you’d like to see next!

{ 59 comments }

{ 57 comments… add one }

  • drut June 25, 2013, 8:28 am

    better be a stainless firearm , after being around all those sweaty little items a blued firearm will be a pile of rust and will take mega care , myself I just cannot imagine wearing a belly band on 90 degree plus days

  • Maggie Rivers June 25, 2013, 10:11 am

    I have a Flashbang from The Well Armed Woman and I have found it comfortable to wear and it does not pinch me. I can wear it all day underneath clothing and have no problems with it at all. I love mine. I prefer to carry my weapon on my body and have several types of holsters I use for that purpose.

    • Karen June 25, 2013, 11:29 pm

      Maggie glad you know how to properly use the FlashBang. It is actually made by the FlashBang company, not by TWAW.

  • Polly June 25, 2013, 11:08 am

    I bought a flashbang about a year ago and love it. Your picture above does not show proper wear and doesn’t do it justice. There are some videos on youtube that helped me get it right. It’s great for not printing and also for wrangling kids, public restrooms, etc. I also recommend the sheepskin IWB holster from Kramer Leather.

    • Jessica June 25, 2013, 12:06 pm

      I’m with Polly on this one. The picture in your review isn’t the proper position of wear. I bought my Flashbang several months ago and wear it all the time. I love it. It stays where it should and I have “a firm C-cup” and have no problems whatsoever with “getting the gun to rest correctly under the breast where is the most securely concealed.”

      • Jessica June 25, 2013, 12:08 pm

        Also, I wear mine with a Glock 26 which is really not a small gun as far as profile goes.

      • LC June 25, 2013, 1:30 pm

        Jessica & Polly are correct. The Flashbang is NOT being worn correctly in the photo. I’ve worn the Flashbang daily for about a year and have no trouble concealing it at all. I’ve recommended it to many friends and family members of different bra sizes and body types and they have all been able to wear it.

        Just for reference .. I’m 5′, 200#, and DD cups. A relative is 5’2″, 100#, and A cups. A friend is 5’5″, 115″, and B cups. We ALL successfully wear the Flashbang. (I wear a compact .380 or a compact 9mm.)

        What I teach women is to place the gun in the bra band (no holster). Find a position that is comfortable and stable. Install the Flashbang so that the gun fits in that position. If Jenna followed this advice she would have the correct fit/position of the Flashbang and would be able to conceal even under a tight shirt.

    • Administrator June 25, 2013, 7:18 pm

      To answer this and the replys, *There is no other way to wear it with the body type involved*. That was the point. All of the girls you see touting this product have at least a little extra padding. The point is that a very small women isn’t the right fit for the product. The main picture for the article is clearly worn properly and it works for her, but for Jenna it doesn’t, and for everyone else with her body type it doesn’t either.

      • Jessica June 25, 2013, 9:24 pm

        “To answer this and the replys, *There is no other way to wear it with the body type involved*. That was the point. All of the girls you see touting this product have at least a little extra padding. The point is that a very small women isn’t the right fit for the product.” But, in the article you said “Does the product work as advertised? Generally yes, but really only with large soft breasts. Even a firm C-cup is going to have issues with getting the gun to rest correctly under the breast where is the most securely concealed” which is NOT saying a very small woman isn’t the right fit. You’re making it sound as if you should have very large, saggy breasts to make this work. That’s just ill-informed and/or mistaken. if she’d had the gun tucked under the bra wire, it would have concealed much better, but as the gun was hanging below the bra, it wasn’t easily concealable. Again, wear it correctly and the concealment is fantastic.

        • Administrator June 25, 2013, 10:52 pm

          We couldn’t get it to conceal under the bra wire with the strap provided. You have to have something for the gun to rest under, which is not the case for a lot of small women, and especially small women with implants. The concealment is fantastic if you have the right body type. Why is it so hard to accept that not everyone is shaped like you?

      • Jessica June 25, 2013, 10:05 pm

        Don’t like being challenged? Just saw my last comment was deleted (or not “approved”.)

        • Jessica June 25, 2013, 10:06 pm

          I’m sorry, it’s there now. I apologize profusely. Please delete my last post.

          • Administrator June 25, 2013, 10:52 pm

            That’s ok we sometimes prefer to let the rage show through so people can take the comments in context.

  • Neal June 25, 2013, 11:19 am

    Great review. I teach concealed carry classes in my State and I have had a lot more new women shooters over the last two years, so these are questions I get a lot of. I have a lot of new shooters who just assume they will carry in their purse. I discourage this and try to point them towards a lot of the methods you reviewed here.

    Bottom line: Try a lot of variations and see what works well for you and then TRAIN with that method. If you carry in a different holster every day then you should consider the idea of taking the time EACH DAY to (dry fire safety rules apply) draw and present that weapon from the holster at least 10 times prior to going out into the world. If you really need your weapon, under stress, don’t let that be the first time you have tried to retrieve if from the holster you are wearing today.

  • Jenn June 25, 2013, 11:45 am

    I’m a think figured woman and the flashbang has been my favorite holster so far. If it bulges or pinches, it’s because it is not being worn properly. Your picture above doesn’t show proper wear. There are some videos on you tube that can help you get it right.

  • Jenn June 25, 2013, 11:46 am

    I’m a full figured woman and the flashbang has been my favorite holster so far. If it bulges or pinches, it’s because it is not being worn properly. Your picture above doesn’t show proper wear. There are some videos on you tube that can help you get it right.

  • Kelly Z June 25, 2013, 11:50 am

    You have drastically underestimated the flashbang and sister product line as a male appreciated novelty line. Like many shooters I have a massive and expensive collection of old holsters that I wasn’t happy with. Now that I found Lisa Loopers products I don’t use anything else.

    While your model clearly struggled with the products that doesn’t mean all women have these issues. For starters, the rigs are not installed correctly and secondly you require at least a little “overhead storage” area. I am happy to provide proof of concept photos for you.

    If you judge a fish only by his ability to climb a tree you’ll always think he’s a failure.

  • Nuky June 25, 2013, 11:52 am

    You are not wearing the Flashbang holster correctly. As stated above, go on youtube and look at the way it is supposed to be worn. There are 2 different ways. High and low, depending on the gun and your shape. I wear mine daily with a LCR .357 and have absolutely no issues with it pinching, or even showing. I actually wore a white top yesterday which was form fitting and you could not see my gun at all. I also have no issues with removing my gun and my VS bra has absolutely no wear and tear due to my flashbang holster.

  • Robin June 25, 2013, 12:46 pm

    I guess my comment isn’t necessary as others have already brought up the issue. You can’t accurately and fairly put poor reviews on a product if you’re not even using it correctly. That’s like me using a pot to hammer a nail in a wall and then say its terrible. :/

    I still plan on ordering my Flashbang holster. I’ve tried many other holsters including the belly band and various IWB holsters and none of them are nearly as good as a Flashbang.

  • Britney June 25, 2013, 12:55 pm

    I own the Marilyn, and first off want to say these girls look silly and aren’t using the product properly. Aren’t there directions lol! Or maybe buy a smaller gun. I have a Ruger LCP and I wear it with tight tank tops and honey you can’t tell! At first wearing a concealed weapon always takes some getting used to, but if you want to carry you will get used to it, I forget its even there! I’m so thankful for this well made product to finally carry without all those ugly belly bands and tank tops! Try it out is all I can tell people because I’m overly satisfied! Thanks!

  • Sheila Evans June 25, 2013, 1:13 pm

    A formatting issue — would it be possible to better group the photos of a particular holster and the commentary about that holster?

  • Steph June 25, 2013, 1:41 pm

    I have the flash bang and if you wear it properly it is extremely concealable and comfortable….the women demonstrating are wearing the completely wrong. Don’t judge if you can’t even follow the directions on how to properly wear them

    • RICK July 24, 2013, 8:51 am

      unfortunately the flash bang does not come with instructions as shipped. We had to look online to see how to wear it properly.

  • Cat June 25, 2013, 1:47 pm

    The flashbang works great if you have boobs and wear a real bra(it works particularly well with all my Victoria secret bras) unlike the flimsy thing Jenna is wearing. If y have at least a b-cup u can wear tighter shirts like that and be fine but its not meant for girls wearing tight trashy clothes… The main issue with Jenna here is she isn’t wearing the flashbang or the Marilyn correctly or even close to the way the instructions show so duh they will look stupid and not fit right if u don’t put them on correctly. I’m 5″2, 110 lbs and i wear a 34c-cup, they work great. My best friend is 6″0 112lbs and a b-cup and she wears them fine too.
    I’m pretty offended at how poorly this article was done. Sad when you talk a product down that u are not even trying to use correctly. Makes you look pretty stupid in my opinion.

    • Jenna July 3, 2013, 9:03 pm

      I am a 34c and that is a Victoria secret bra. Not flimsy…not all things fit all people the same :). Thanks for reading

      • Administrator July 4, 2013, 11:54 pm

        This is Jenna from the article btw. I don’t know how many times it has to be repeated that we tried to install the holster as shown on the videos from the manufacturer but it doesn’t work unless you are of a specific range of body type.

  • Debbie Smith June 25, 2013, 2:15 pm

    I have a Kahr P380 (fabulous little gun), like you used in your tests, and I love my Marilyn holster and the Flashbang. Realistically, these bra holsters are probably not going to be completely hidden in light-colored, thin, skin-tight knit tops (like in your photos), so there are alternatives for those occasions. I notice that you didn’t demonstrate belly-band or ankle holsters with white yoga pants. Just like trying to find the perfect bra style, it takes some practice, repositioning, and strap adjustment to find the right fit for these holsters – depending on your chest size, bra shape and band thickness, and what you are planning to wear. Once you find what works (and you will, if you make a legitimate attempt), I think you’ll love them. So, please don’t give up on these two bra holsters because you didn’t find the perfect fit for it. FYI, if really you don’t like/want the Kahr P380 Flashbang and Marilyn holsters that you used in your review, please send them to me! I’ll be happy to use them!

  • Johnny June 25, 2013, 2:39 pm

    As a firearm instructor and the new big demographic of new shooters being women, this is a subject I have struggled with. I’ve had female friends give me feedback on a few of the Flashbang products, as well as explaining the difficulty in finding a good holster. Yes, purse carry is one of the big ones and with companies like Gun Totin Mamas purses this has made purse carry better, and easier. With that said, a lot of women are not going to always stick with that one holster purse. My example in class for purse carry: How long does it take you to find your keys in a purse? Not good when seconds count. If using a purse without a built in holster for carry, I highly suggest to take the purse(s) in to a leather worker and have them stitch some sort of sleeve holster in to those purses. With this the trigger guard is protected preventing any negligent discharges, and that firearm will be in the same place at all times.

    I will say that the one IWB holster that has been a winner for both men and women, now available by many other companies, is the CrossBreed SuperTuck holster. The extra leather backing forms to a woman’s curves making carry on your person (which I always consider, the best carry method) much more comfortable and also concealable.

    As more women get in to shooting sports, I assume we’ll see more options. Keep it concealed and always be ready. Keep shootin’ ladies!!!

  • Jim Wakefield June 25, 2013, 4:50 pm

    Thanks for a great article. I do note that no “metal clip” devices were listed as an option. Kel-tec makes one for there guns and there are others including ours the “Covert Carrier.”

    The use of a stainless steel gun in hot humid climates is important. Guns made by Seecamp, NAA and Kahr can be purchase to minimize rust and other malfunctions which may occur due to humid climates and moisture. Each of the foregoing handguns, to name just a few, are made with a high level of quality and workmanship.

    Our product offers a simple, secure and comfortable concealment option; I would encourage serious concealed carry practitioners to explore total concealment, stainless steel handgun and appendix carry, such as can be found on http://www.covertcarrier.com as a part of an Individualized survival plan.

    Most importantly, practice, stay alert. Understand that your tactics and your tools must be heavily leavened with training to survive a violent encounter, which maybe thrust upon you, your family or your loved ones when public safety or, help from another person is not available or an option.

    Best regards and stay safe out there,

    Jim Wakefield

  • David June 25, 2013, 5:52 pm

    Really when you read the article its just an attack add. Totally biased toward a certain product. At least attempt to show some consideration for other products than the ones you personally promote. Get It! I thought this was about helping women protect themselves and dismissing personal opinions. But I see you attack what is not in your social circle. Grow up. I know the real reason you are bashing this product.

  • lynne F June 25, 2013, 6:04 pm

    Another acolyte to Carrie? Her marketing skills are top notch. I have some issues with everything else. Why would you partner with her when there are so very many talented, knowledgeable, published and accomplished women out there? If you are looking for 100% original content, check Kathy Jackson (the Cornered Cat) or Juliana Crowder (A Girl and a Gun Shooting League). Great product options, look at http://www.GunGoddess.com or http://www.LooperLawenforcement.com. Try throwing some publicity at those who are promoting the sport and not themselves.

    • Bella June 25, 2013, 7:59 pm

      Oh Lynne, I’d have to strongly disagree on that statement. Never have I known a business OR a woman care more about her customers AND the product that she sells/promotes. You’ve just come off sounding VERY catty, where we as woman, should at least be somewhat supportive of each other. We’re in this together!

      • lynne F June 26, 2013, 5:05 am

        Bella

        WADR, we may be “in this together” but we are not all here for the same reason. Look at the credentials on the three women mentioned in my comment. I’m sorry if you were offended, but I wrote what I believe. There are many highly intelligent, caring women in the industry who are working hard to make information and products available without making it about themselves.

        There is nothing “catty” in having an opinion and the courage to let it stand. I’ve done the research…have you?

        • Administrator June 26, 2013, 9:42 am

          There is nobody who isn’t doing it for some reason, even if it so that people like you repeat their name over and over again as some righteous anti-capitalist hero. Being brainwashed by an anti-capitalist educational system isn’t something to advertise.

          • lynne F June 26, 2013, 5:41 pm

            Nice…first I’m catty, now I’m brainwashed and anti-capitalist? I’m a published author and an instructor, and no, I did not drop my own name or website, because this isn’t about me, it is about biased representation, or in this case, mis-representation of facts.

            Clearly, educated, empowered and thinking women are not welcome on this site…Thank you for not moderating my comment into the ether. Perhaps someone who is interested in options will find the opinions of value.

          • Administrator June 28, 2013, 11:24 am

            Welcome yes, shill no. The article is very clear that we are featuring a range of products from one specific retailer, whose name is mentioned in the title of the article, and in our email that was sent to over 800,000 gun enthusiasts. Carrie spent a great deal of her valuable time collecting responses for us and sending them in so that they could be used for the article. We of course don’t have to allow any of these comments, but we do because it is important for our readers to see how specific companies have crafted their spin to sell a poorly made and immature product for twice what it is worth. The only reason the Flashbang is even still a product is because the big holster companies are dominated by males who are clueless of how the needs of CCW for women differ so strongly. If Galco made a bra holster it would have padding and it would come in several configurations for different body types. The Flashbangs are most likely being made in someone’s home oven who found a source for Kydex in an industrial supply catalog.

    • The Truth July 10, 2013, 10:37 pm

      Lynne you want to act holy and all knowing yet you don’t recommend one of the best instructors (and female as if that matters) in the biz Gila Hayes. I would think a new instructor (2 yrs maybe) such as yourself would be more worried about expanding your knowledge than picking interwebz fights. Don’t get me started on your book, it’s a step below the NRA Basic Pistol course manual. Someone with you’re lack of experience has ZERO business writing a book. So before you go throwing stones make sure you don’t live in a glass house. Your envy of Carrie is showing through in your snarky comment as well as your attempt to jump in the “female and armed” market.

  • Bill June 25, 2013, 6:10 pm

    Good information but maybe next time, get a model that does not look like a cranker!

    • Blair Lowe July 3, 2013, 8:56 pm

      It’s called ACTIVE you judge mental asshole! She CAN NOT and has tried numerous times to keep weight on. Before you go judging someone know there history…dick.

  • Mary June 25, 2013, 7:42 pm

    The least you could do is give proper credit to the person who invented these products. Carrie did NOT invent any of them! Next time, talk to someone who really knows something

  • Tiffany Vernon June 25, 2013, 8:11 pm

    @Bill you made my day…

  • Dana June 25, 2013, 9:41 pm

    While I appreciate you trying to review these holsters, it bothers me that you did not give credit where credit is due or to let readers know the different places-other websites- you could purchase these products (many alternative sites also provide their customers with great information). The article seems like a huge ad for The Well Armed Woman site.

    Just because The Well Armed Woman site SELLS these holsters does not mean that Carrie created the holsters. Huge difference.

    • Administrator June 25, 2013, 10:58 pm

      The reason we did it like that is because TWAW has a lot of exceptional help videos to explain the use of the products far beyond what is in this article, and they are fairly neutral one to another. If the article was on one product then we would feature that manufacturer and their website. The reason we ended up doing this article like we did is because while doing the initial research, TWAW was the most informative product neutral website with a purely female perspective. Carrie then actually brought a bucketload of stuff to SHOT Show and we brought it home from Vegas in January. It is now June, just to give you an idea of how long it took to actually do this research and write the material. The few quotes you see here are a fraction of the actual customer reviews we went through trying to figure out what people actually used and liked.

      • Karen June 25, 2013, 11:37 pm

        You should have gotten the product from the manufacture at the SHOT show not someone that sells it. The inventor of the FlashBang, Marilyn and Betty holster are 1 person. Lisa Looper and she was there. You didn’t look hard if you think TWAW has the most informative site. A majority the stuff she posts is taken from other sites (with no credit).

      • Dana June 26, 2013, 8:52 pm

        Thank you for your explanation. So you intentionally decided to not give credit to those who created these holsters because it wasn’t a “feature” but thought it was a good idea to give all the credit where it didn’t necessarily belong because she provided you with a “bucket load of stuff”? Got it.

        Then to further remain “neutral” you decided to give the links directly back to TWAW website for readers to purchase only directly from her instead of providing a list of retailers where these items could be purchased sometimes even at a lower price than TWAW (again why I felt this article looks to me like an ad for TWAW). Also not sure how you determined her site is “neutral” if she sells these products.

        Someone said in comments above “we’re all in this together” and she is right. So why not take a moment to support a woman like Lisa from Flashbang (even with a simple link to her site which shows where her products are sold) who was creative enough to come up with the great idea in the first place; it won’t take much time to make it right and to edit the article and give some credit where credit is due and give your readers options of where to buy these products.

        • Administrator June 28, 2013, 11:15 am

          When a retail establishment helps us with concept articles such as this we generally link only to them out of appreciation for the help. The Flashbang people didn’t return an email when this was initially started back in October of last year. Carrie has never spent a dime in advertising with us (and she does use paid advertising online), and all but the stuff we lost (somehow) and that got lipstick on it will be going back to her. There is nothing wrong with helping someone who spent a great deal of their valuable time collecting customer reviews for you. Again, you have been brainwashed by an anti-capitalist education system. Either that or you are just a friend/shill for the Flashbang people, or possibly both.

  • Jamie June 25, 2013, 11:50 pm

    Wow!! This baffles me!! There are soooo many very positive reviews on the Flashbang and Marilyn Holsters, this really took me off guard!! I personally have both holsters—among most of everything else in the Looper line! For one….which seems to be the very most obvious….hello….the holsters were not even on properly….how in the world can a holster do its job correctly as it was designed if its not put on correctly? That’s like putting gasoline in a diesel truck…..duhhh its not going to work correctly!! Geez!! I will try and make this short! I have the Marilyn and love it—yes it took me a little bit to figure out how to put it in properly–thanks YouTube for the assistance–pretty simple–nothing difficult-the instructions that it came with explained it very well..but I’m a visual person ;)
    Now regarding the Flashbang—wow—I carry a Sig P238–never once has it printed my shirts–tight or loose!! Pretty funny actually when I’m wearing it around and people have no clue it’s on…just like all my holsters!! It’s comfortable, and I have not had to alter it in any way! I have the strap for the high wear, works great! I’ve worn it with sports bras as well as regular bra. Of course you can feel the holster and gun–you will no matter what your using!! This is so embarrassing to see a review this concerning when I’m actually a REAL customer! I cannot believe you posted pictures showing how you “reviewed” the holsters!! Wow that in itself is embarrassing! It’s sooo obvious that this site doesn’t have a clue how they work! Kudos to everyone who noticed the holsters were on wrong and standing up for Flashbang Holsters!!! They have great products an I will continue to support them and their products…….however as for this site…..not in a million years!! Shame on you!!!

  • Liz June 26, 2013, 3:59 am

    Thanks for posting all the options and your insight! I have an IWB and the Flashbang, but still haven’t found my favorite holster yet. I’m interested in the thigh option since I wear a lot if dresses- do you know if its adjustable up and down based on the length of dress or especially if you are shorter? Thanks!

    • lynne F June 26, 2013, 5:44 pm

      Liz

      Remora has a thigh band option, that does not have a garter, but I love mine. I can’t wear thigh high stockings without them falling down, but the Remora stays where I put it, and is fully adjustable for larger or smaller thighs. Takes a little getting used to, you are wearing the gun on your inner thigh, but I love mine.

  • Cathy June 26, 2013, 4:30 am

    what kind of holster would you recommend for a plus-sized woman, say about 5’5″ at 325 lbs?

    • Administrator June 26, 2013, 9:43 am

      Probably the flashbang or the ankle holster.

    • lynne F June 26, 2013, 5:49 pm

      Cathy,

      Your holster should be based not only on your body type but your style of dress. If you are apple shaped, the Flashbang may not be your best choice, and you may not be flexible enough (no offense intended, just know I am plus sized and that as I’m losing weight my flexibility is increasing), you may have difficulty gaining quick access to an ankle holster. If you regularly wear two piece clothing, consider IWB, strong side hip, quickest access. The Ava from Looper Lawenforcement is a leather kydex that has a lovely suede backing, and a lower cut to the back so it doesn’t dig in like some made for the guys. Also, Remora might be a good option is you like an elastic waist skirt or slacks, as you can tuck in, it will stay in place and be accessible.

      Good luck finding your best fit.

  • Benjamin M. June 27, 2013, 9:05 pm

    Paul,

    After reading this article then all the comments about how the holsters weren’t worn properly, how several women of differing body sizes & types have worn these very holsters successfully, I think you need to redo your research an rewright this article.

    Doing so would add greatly to GunsAmerica and YOUR credibility. Maybe next time contact the manufacturers of the respective holsters an allow them to show your racers how to properly install & wear their respective holsters.

    • Administrator June 28, 2013, 11:09 am

      Please spare the credibility comments. If you have a 4th grade reading level, please review the other answers here. We went through not only testing the products in house on several women, but also solicited specific product reviews from actual TWAW customers. The Flashbang only works well with certain bra types on certain body types, period. What should have come through in the comments we did use from customers was that women tend to be extremely resourceful with making their wardrobes work in general, and in making their CCW product work for them specifically. The Flashbang could be done much better, and there are better products for the majority of women out there.

      We allow these comments through to demonstrate to people how they are being played by a few very vocal advocates on the discussion boards, and generally these people have some sort of connection to the makers of the products themselves. This “credibility” argument is one of the knee jerk comments we always get from people who think they are somehow in control of what we post here. We don’t need to allow your comment. Almost 20,000 people at this juncture have read and enjoyed the article, and most of them had the ability to see the depth of the research. Shills like you, vomiting credibility arguments, don’t help women decide what product is best for them, which was our intention.

  • Benjamin M. June 27, 2013, 9:08 pm

    In the last paragraph “racers” should be “readers”. Sorry for not catching the typo before posting.

  • Alison July 1, 2013, 5:54 pm

    This is a fantastic article! You have covered virtually every type of Holster designed for women and, having tried every article you listed except for the FlashBang, I agree with your findings. The only thing that most of these options lack is beauty…and they could be a tad more comfy!

    Just like the women who invented these wonderful products out of their own need, I have partnered with a like minded lady and together we have created a line of holsters for women that work like a charm but..are also pretty! I wish we could have been reviewed in your article because I am sure you would have really liked our Hip Hugger Holster (a prettier version of the Belly Band that doesn’t chafe or pick your clothing), our Garter Holster (also comfortable and lets your draw the way you like and carry a magazine) and our Corset Holster (much more feminine than the compression tanks) that you wear with your own bra!

  • Tonya April 14, 2014, 8:22 pm

    The ankle holster should be worn on the inside of the off leg. (Right handed? Wear inside left ankle.) This way, when you drop down to draw your weapon, your off hand pulls your pants leg out of the way so your strong hand can get a shooting grip and draw the weapon. Plus, it is less noticeable on the inside. *Note: I have carried and trained this way for 7 yrs–my husband has for nearly 30 yrs.

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