Many women carry a pistol in their purse for protection. While I understand that having a gun on or upon your person is better than not having one and needing it. I would suggest that this carry method is not the best option. I realize that women tend to dress more fashionably as opposed to dressing around a gun.
Here are some of the problems I see. First off, GUN SAFETY!!!! A purse is not designed to carry a firearm period. Most women do not treat their purse with the level of integrity that is involved with safe firearms handling. Second, hopefully a would be attacker only wants your purse. With that said, if they take your purse they take your gun, your wallet, your car keys etc. In that case your weapon is now in the hands of the attacker and is of no use to you. Just another handgun on the streets to commit another crime, on another day. Have you ever noticed that Police carry their weapons in a retention system? A purse on your shoulder is NOT a retention system. Whenever I am in a mall, or food store I take notice when a woman is fumbling through her purse for a wallet to pay the cashier, or searching for keys while walking to her vehicle. Items usually work their way to the bottom of the purse with a ton of stuff obstructing on top. The items sought after are never in the same place AND you have to look into the purse to help locate items. In a fight, if you take your eyes off your adversary, you usually loose.
Someone who is well trained in the use and deployment of a pistol will tell you that your weapon should always be drawn from the same position and in the same fashion every single time. You shouldn’t have to look for a pistol at the bottom of a purse. You know exactly where your gun is. Practice is everything. Through repetition of a correct grip and draw stroke your conscious mind has now become subconscious muscle memory or instinct. You don’t think about it, it just happens naturally. If you have to search around the bottom of your purse to find the weapon you have lost the fight. Now, imagine doing this under stress. Keep in mind, even the most skilled and polished are still subject to reaction time. Normally an attacker would have the element of surprise working in his or her favor. Additionally, an unsecured firearm in the purse could easily be accidentally discharged if the trigger guard is unprotected while reaching for you firearm under stress. Is the muzzle pointed up, down, sideways? How about another object in the purse finds its way onto the trigger causing it to accidentally discharge? These are crucial things to keep in mind.
I DECIDED TO CONDUCT AN EXPERIMENT!
All the women I have spoken with regarding this topic told me with absolute certainty that they could get to the gun if they needed to. Then, of course I asked; How often do you work on your draw stroke from the purse. The answer was the same for all of my test subjects. THEY DON’T. So, I decided to set up a range day for some ladies to come and run drills from their purses. Sorry to report that none of them did so well. I would take a purse and put a plastic orange handled training aid in the purse and arrange it in such a fashion that the women didn’t know exactly where the trainer gun came to rest within the purse. Then, I would act like an attacker in various scenarios. They all failed miserably. As a matter of fact the only time they could get their guns out was when they knew they would be pulling it. I noticed each would have a firm grip on the handgun inside the purse as if they were prepared and anticipated a threat. That’s great if you see it coming. But, the moral of the story here is things happen quickly. You’re more likely to be a target if and when you are not paying attention which for most people, is most of the time. My final conclusion is getting to the weapon in a purse is not likely under typical conditions when you are caught off guard, surprised, and not anticipating trouble.
After this practice all 5 women suggested to me, that maybe they were wrong about the purse concept, BUT they would not be willing to carry a pistol in a holster on a belt etc… So my suggestion was to meet them in the middle.
Here are a few two tips:
1. Learn how to become a HARD TARGET.
2. I suggest if you must use a purse get one that also functions as a holster. actually designed with a separate compartment for a pistol. Some of which are fairly stylish. Of course, I wouldn’t know style if it hit me square between the eyes. So take that one with a grain of salt. You can do a quick search to find some of these designs. Try searching for Gun Gear, My Gun Purse, or Creative Concealment.
As far as quality, I am not sure about most of these companies listed above since I have no experience with them and I’m not endorsing any of them. The only one I can say for sure that’s made very well is GALCO USA. Premium leather goods made here in the states. I own several Galco leather items which are almost 20 years old. Pricey, but well made and well worth it. So, please do your own research.
You want to get something secure, BUT the holster needs to be quickly accessible.
Whatever you decide as a Concealed Carry Weapon or Firearm option, remember to train like you fight and fight like you train. Really test your weapon and carry system. Make sure it functions like it should and you can work from it safely and proficiently. Make practice a habit that becomes muscle memory. This way in a pinch you will react confidently and hopefully survive the fight. You can’t anticipate or prepare for everything, but you can train for many scenarios which is better than relying on faith!
“You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to the level of your training.”
Lt. Col Dave Grossman
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Stephen Cohen, Tactical U