By Ashley Young
Carrying a concealed weapon in a bag or purse is a controversial method. Cons can include longer response time in a self-defense situation as well as if your bag is taken, you are without a weapon. However, one definite pro to carrying your firearm in a bag or purse is the ability to carry a larger firearm than you would be able to easily conceal on your body. In most cases, it may not be possible to adequately conceal a larger weapon on your body, so turning to off-body carry is your only option. With proper safety precautions, such as using a concealed carry purse with a designated firearm pocket or safely holstering inside of a regular handbag using one of the many aftermarket purse holster, off body carry can be a preferred method of concealed carry for many women.
1 – Ruger LCR
Ruger’s 21st century twist on the classic double action revolver has a 5 round cylinder and is available in various calibers (9mm, 22 LR, 357 Magnum, and .38, and .22 LR, and .22 WMR–pictured). The weight varies slightly depending on the model, but is roughly between 13-17oz.
One benefit of using a revolver for purse carry is the lack of an external safety. Disengaging a safety adds extra time which cannot be afforded in a self-defense scenario. The LCR is ready for action as soon as you reach for it. In addition to being ready to go when needed, there is little to no chance for a malfunction. The downside to carrying the LCR, or any other revolver, is its restricted capacity. This becomes even more of an issue when you consider the time it takes to reload–even with a speed loader.
All in all, the LCR makes for a solid purse gun and is capable of delivering quite a punch–depending on the caliber and loading you choose.
Buy one on GunsAmerica: /Search.aspx?T=ruger%20lcr
2 – GLOCK 43 & 42
The GLOCK 43 is a gun which has caused a lot of hype since its long awaited release. Slightly larger than the GLOCK 42, the GLOCK 43 takes 9mm which is favored by most shooters (as 9mm is less expensive and more effective than 380 ACP). The size difference between the 43 and 42 is negligible when considering that concealing either firearm in a bag is much easier than on your body. Given the size, caliber and overall ergonomic package that the GLOCK 43 gives you. It is not only an optimal purse gun but can also be great at the range.
If the recoil of the 9mm is an issue, consider the very manageable 42. Either would be excellent for purse carry. The decision between the two comes down to caliber and what you are most comfortable shooting.
Read a review of the 42: /blog/the-glock-42-one-year-later/
Read a review of the 43: /blog/new-glock-9mm-single-stack-glock-43-hands-on/
Buy a 43 on GunsAmerica: /Search.aspx?T=glock%2043
Buy a 42 on GunsAmerica: /Search.aspx?T=glock%2042
3 – Sig Sauer P320 Subcompact
Sig Sauer is a go-to for law enforcement, but the brand certainly has advantages that will serve the civilian population as well. The trigger system is the only serialized part of the firearm, so the consumer may purchase multiple kits for that trigger system which gives the benefit of having multiple guns in one. The subcompact frame is the one I suggest for concealed carry, but larger frames are available for duty carry or competition shooting.
The subcompact frame weighs 24.9oz and holds 12 rounds of 9mm. While it is larger than the others on this list, the P320 Subcompact could easily be used for on-body carry as well.
If you wanted to switch to the full size kit to make your everyday carry gun a full sized competition or duty gun, the size difference is noticeable but negligible (with 17 round magazine capacity and an added inch of length and height). The kit to switch the full size is approximately $400 and includes the slide, barrel, spring, frame, and grip module. If your looking for two, or even three guns in one, the Sig P320 is with-out-a-doubt your go-to gun.
Read a review: /blog/new-gun-review-sig-sauer-p320/
Buy one on GunsAmerica: /Search.aspx?T=sig%20p320
4 – Heckler & Koch P30SK
The P30SK is another 9mm double stack, polymer framed off body option. It weighs in at 23.99oz and feeds from a 10 round magazine. The gun is also able to use 15 round magazines from its P30 and VP9 predecessors. The distinguishing factors of the P30SK are its ambidextrous controls, and modular grip panels (which make for a personalized fit for the gun). This customization allows the P30SK to be more than a solid concealed carry gun; it is a great range gun, as it is very comfortable to shoot.
When choosing which model of the P30SK, you should consider what it will be used for other than strictly a self-defense weapon. The options include a single action/double action trigger versus an LEM trigger. The single action double action model has the option for an ambidextrous decocker and safety or a streamlined slide mounted decocker. The variety that the P30SK offers allows the consumer to choose the perfect firearm for their specific needs.
Buy one on GunsAmerica: /Search.aspx?T=hk%20p30sk
5 – GLOCK 26
The big sister of the GLOCK 43 is the GLOCK 26, the original subcompact. It is slightly larger than the 43, but has a 10 round capacity with optional 15, 17, or 33 round magazines. The advantages of the 26 are evident in the difference in capacity, but as we go larger, larger purses are required. Personal preference of purse size impacts the size of gun chosen to be concealed in that purse.
Thee 26 is not a gun that would be easily concealed on-body for smaller framed women, so it may be limited to an off-body carry gun. The advantage is the variable capacity. One could carry a standard 10 round magazine in the gun and then the backup magazine can hold 15 or 33 rounds.
Ultimately, the decision of which gun to purchase for off-body or purse carry depends on the gun’s other uses. If you are solely interested in a self-defense weapon, then size, efficacy, and cost are the only real factors. If you are interested in a more recreational range gun or competition gun, then caliber is also a factor. Choosing to carry off-body does allow for more options regarding gun size, so take advantage of the chance to carry a bigger gun. They are easier to control.
Buy one on GunsAmerica: /Search.aspx?T=glock%2026
Want to see what happens when men try to shoot from their man purses? /blog/shooting-from-off-body-carry-the-man-purse-test/