It’s no secret that we women have a hard time trying to find a comfortable way to carry our guns concealed. The majority of holsters are designed by men, for men. Built differently than men, women and the curves of our bodies cause many belt and hip holsters sit too high or too low for them to be comfortable. Not to mention, women’s fashions don’t lend themselves well to conceal carry; dresses, skirts, form-fitting tops, and tight pants create quite the challenge to conceal a gun. In the last few weeks, I have quizzed the guys in the office for advice on which holsters to try. I am envious of their ability to pocket carry, which I didn’t even attempt. In every single pair of my pants either the pockets are too tight, too shallow, or both. I watched a video on different ways for a woman to carry, and I figured I would try ankle carry first.
A No-Go: Ankle Carry
I tried ankle carry with a Kel-Tec P3AT. That day I was wearing Dickies’ boot-cut pants, a form-fitting t-shirt, and Converse tennis shoes. The ankle holster I chose made my gun sit too low. I guess my ankle-to-knee ratio is shorter than a man’s because the knee strap did not sit properly to conceal the muzzle of the gun. No matter what adjustments I made, the gun poked out of the bottom of my pants. Even with my boot-cut pants, the gun and holster made a bulge. And I’m not even sure how I would have been able to draw quickly, especially if I was standing up. It would have required bending down, lifting up my pants leg with one hand, and trying to draw with the other. Besides the ill fit, and awkwardness of drawing, Capri pants, rolled-up jeans, and flip-flops or sandals, are out. Since Capris and shorts are a staple in my wardrobe, I am not willing to sacrifice my fashion just for a completely inconvenient way to carry. The ankle holster was a short-lived attempt.
Inside-the-Pants: A Happy Medium
Next, I tried a leather inside-the-pants holster made by Triple K, on CTD Ben’s recommendation. This holster is versatile in where you place it around your waist. Hip carry gave me a very self-conscious bulge. Really? What woman wants more bulge on her hips? However, this position was the most comfortable while sitting down at my desk. I switched the holster to the 4 o’clock position, which was most comfortable while standing, but not sitting. It also made me less self-conscious about any weird bulging. Drawing from this position will take practice. The first time I tried, I pulled the whole holster out! I am not ruling out carrying like this; most of my outfits work well with an inside-the-pants holster in any position; 4 o’clock, hip, and small of back.
Inside the Bra: A Winner
When I came across Lisa Looper’s Flashbang bra holster, I was so excited about a product made exclusively for women that I immediately wanted to try one! Lisa says, “We need some options for concealed carry that WORK!” I couldn’t agree more. I ordered my Flashbang for my newest self-defense gun, a S&W Bodyguard revolver .
The Flashbang bra holster is a black, molded plastic holder that includes three different size straps that button over the middle of your bra strap, technically called the “gore” which connects the two cups. The holster straps are made of soft leather and each strap has different holes, much like on a belt, so you can adjust the length of each strap. The straps connect to the holster by a screw, but once you get the correct size strap on, you should not have to change it out. The majority of my “gores” are the same size, so once you have it fit—which only takes a few minutes—you should be good to go with a variety of bras.
You put the leather strap over the gore and then snap the leather strap into place. Since I am right-handed, the holster sits just under the left side. (Girls, envision the pencil test, but with just the tip of the long part of the pencil.) The gun’s barrel points directly to the left side of your body. The grip lays flat against your chest, the flat bit, not the humps bit.
At first it was extremely uncomfortable, not the holster or the strap, but the psychological part of having a gun under my boob. Besides that, I was so aware of my ta-tas, that I was very self-conscious, especially since I work in a room full of men… “Oh my god, is everyone staring at my chest?”
I ventured out to the warehouse and into the break room to see if anyone would notice I was wearing a bra holster. Low and behold, no one could tell and no one was staring. I wore the holster all day and after about an hour of first putting it on, I was completely comfortable with it being there. It doesn’t poke, or scratch, or weigh down my bra–surprisingly!
I practiced drawing while the gun was unloaded that first day wearing it. In the promotional videos, they show the woman wearing the Flashbang bra holster holding down her shirt with one hand and drawing with the other, but I wanted to simulate a high-stress situation, so I did not bother with holding down one end of my t-shirt. Pulling the gun out of the Flashbang is easier and quicker than I imagined. Just grab the grip, firmly pull down, and it slides right out. I think my tummy showed a bit and maybe even some of my bra, but at that point are you really going to care?
So, what about concealability? I tried the Flashbang with a fitted t-shirt, a lose fitting t-shirt, a fitted button-down shirt, a tank top, a sweater, and a tight-fitted halter-top. For me the halter-top and tank top was a no-go. You could clearly see the grip poking out in both tops. If I wear either of those types of tops, I’m generally at a place where it is illegal to carry anyway, so no big deal. As for the other tops, I usually had no problems, except for when I became too relaxed and slouched, the grip would work its way up away from my body and poke out against my shirt. So proper posture is the best stance if you don’t want an “oops-a-daisy,” because repositioning requires a trip to the restroom, or somewhere else private. This issue might not occur with other, flatter semi-autos.
I am … eh hem… blessed in this area, so the Flashbang bra holster fit and stayed in place all day just fine, so I recruited three other women in the office to give it a try. After a much giggly, human resources nightmare in the bathroom, we concluded that if you are super tiny framed with A cups, you will not be able to wear this holster. C cup worked just fine. B cup fit just fine and stayed in place well, even when drawing, but with a loose-fitted t-shirt and hoodie, you could see the grip. It just wouldn’t stay flat against the body.
Another issue I had was how sweaty the holster got. I didn’t notice I was sweating until after I removed the holster. And uh. Gross. The holster was wet, not just glistening, after an entire day’s wear. Fortunately, the holster’s design completely covers the gun, except for the grip, so no moisture came in to contact with my S&W.
Overall, I conclude that the Flashbang bra holster is not a novelty, but a functioning, made-just-for-women holster. In many instances, the Flashbang solves the fashion versus carry problem. As far as the grip poking out, it’s my theory that it is the design of the grip and not the holster. For the price, the Flashbang is comparable to most high-quality holsters and even cheaper than some name brands. Since it solves the majority of carry issues for me, fit and ease of draw, and price for value I give the Flashbang bra holster a 4.5 stars. I’m leaving the last half star out because if ya don’t got the ta-tas to hold it up, the Flashbang might not be the holster for you.
The Flashbang bra holster is available for sale through Cheaperthandirt.com.