How To Carry a Concealed Gun in a Dress

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Gracie, who blogs at Packing Pretty, is a 24 year old NRA-Certified Instructor and Range Safety Officer and Assistant Director of the firearms training department at Clatskanie Rifle & Pistol Club, inc. Gracie was kind enough to take the time to make a video for The Firearm Blog explaining how to carry a full sized pistol when wearing a dress.

If you don’t wear a dress, pass the video on to someone who does :)

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • SpudGun

    Yes, extremely practical, well thought out and potentially life saving. But watching a Bond girl or Agent Sarah Walker pulling up a dress to reveal a pair of battered Daisy Dukes just isn’t as sexy as the Hollywood style inside the thigh holster.

    My stupidly sexist comments aside, this is a much better system then purse carry and unlike the gun bra or the thigh holster, it allows women to easily carry a full size handgun in the same holster they are used to drawing from and in the same hip position.

    • Gracie

      SpudGun,
      HAHA! You are right, my daisy dukes are NOWHERE NEAR as sexy as the thigh holster…You crack me up.

      • Kathy Kinsley

        LOL – sexy is nice, but in a life and death fight, I’d take the Daisy Dukes. (I carry the same place you do – give or take a right or left.) Never actually though of wearing shorts under a dress, but that would certainly work. Thanks.

  • http://www.kaliber.hu gvass

    Sweet!

    And her advice seems useful for women.

  • WeaponBuilder

    EMPIRE WAIST DRESSES FOR TEH WIN!!!

    Love it… My wife has a bunch of empire waist dresses – her favorite style. I’m going to forward this on to her ASAP. :-)

    Thanks!

  • Mike

    This is extremely clever, and if the person is willing to appendix-carry IWB, it will make drawing much faster and easier. I can definitely see this as having the most advantages in hot weather.

    This is most definitely a win!

    • Gracie

      Mike,
      Thank you for your kind words, however, I steer clear of appendix carry for two reasons: people often shoot themselves while the gun is in the holster or while they are in the process of drawing or reholstering. The muzzle of my gun would be pointed at my femeral artery all day and I wouldn’t want to risk shooting myself there. I would bleed out in under a minute. The second reason is because I carry a full size gun, it would look like I have male “parts”. I do agree that it would be faster and easier though.

      • AntiCitizenOne

        I’m surprised you say it (appendix carry) would make you look like you have “man parts” because it looks like that outfit can disguise whatever is being hidden at your waist at any angle. You probably could go with a single stack handgun like a PPS or M1911 Officer’s for appendix carry.

      • Gracie

        Yes the dress would hide it, esp. a single stack. However, when the SH** hits the fan I am going to fall back on my training and muscle memory. Because I always carry behind the hip, it is to my tactical advantage to wear the gun there. And acutally I don’t like giving up ANY tactical adavantage, so a single stack is out of the question. My Springfield XDM holds 19 +1…

  • John E Davies

    Excellent video! However, any gal who drives will be really uncomfortable transitioning from walking to sitting in her car. She certainly can’t drive with a gun in her back, and unholstering the gun in the car seat will require a lot of acrobatics and possibly embarrassment if she is seen by a passer-by. The same for reholstering and exiting the car.

    Also, most dresses are made of really flimsy material (yay!), so the gun will print badly if there is the slightest breeze or she leans forward. I guess it’s no worse than a light Hawaiian shirt for a guy, but I don’t think this mode of carry is real practical for windy places. Then again, neither are dresses practical in wind!

    OTH it is a decent option for gals who don’t want to wear jeans and a baggy shirt. I welcome ANY new ideas to encourage females to carry.

    How about an elastic belly band holster under a dress, with a smaller gun carried in front? Would that work as well? The belt would be warm, but she wouldn’t have to wear shorts, so it would be a wash in terms of comfort, IMHO.

    JD

    • Doug

      Keep in mind she’s wearing a full sized pistol. This is also just one option for carrying for women. There are also other girls that have made videos as well with a wide variety of methods.

      Each woman that wants to carry a gun will have to play around with what works best for them, as there are too many styles and body types to cover in just one video.

    • Gracie

      John E Davis,
      Gracie here, actually it is very comfortable to wear while driving and sitting, 5 Shot Leather put that together at the just right angle for me so that it sits right in the curve of my back. As for passer-bys…IF I have to adjust my gun when I get in or out of the car, they can look all they want. I have a legal right to be carrying the gun and those who don’t like it can deal with it.

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

    Gracie, do you only carry full sized pistols?

    • Grace

      Steve,
      Yes, I only carry fullsize pistols- they are more intimidating and are more accurate and easy to fire. I only move to a smaller ones for back-up. (I have been known to wear 2 pistols on most occasions).

      • John Woo

        But only when she travels to Hong Kong.

  • guy

    Is she really huge or is that door behind her really, really small?

    • Gracie

      Well I’m 5ft 10in and weigh 125lbs…did that answer your question?

      • Other Steve

        HUGE! :)

      • Billca

        I figured as much, judging by your height in relation to the counter top and the door knob. Figured you were about 5’9″ to 5’10″ because of the relative location of the counter to your waist. But girl, you need to get some tan! :)

      • Gracie

        Billca,
        I DO need to get tanned. I live in the Pacific NW though, just a few min away from Portland OR, so sunshine is kinda scarce around here…

      • JimC

        Gracie, you do not NEED a tan. You have beautiful color and speaking as a man, both father and when I was much younger, you don’t need a tan. Search for “Dear 16 year old me”. My youngest daughter (of 4) is 22, 5′ 10″ and blonde so I have a little perspective from a fathers pov.
        Also, +1 on full size pistols.

      • W

        is that a XD with a pink grip? my eldest daughter was inquiring about that. Dresses have a unique advantage of adequately hiding a full size pistol, though where im at, it would not be socially acceptable for me to wear one ;)

      • http://www.packingpretty.com Gracie

        W,
        Yes, the frame of the gun is pink, but that is just one of the many customizations that gun has undergone.

  • http://www.alfredivy.per.sg/blogger Alfred

    “Re-holstering is when people tend to shoot themselves …. ” so sad and yet oh so funny.

  • W

    Showed this video to my daughter. She didn’t believe me that somebody else besides her wears shorts under a dress LMAO!!!

  • Billca

    I was expecting a thigh holster of some kind, a.k.a. the Lazarus Long method of carrying. I did just that some years ago whilst wearing a kilt. A lightweight J-Frame rode in the pocket of a velcro-closure elastic band around the thigh with a supporting waist strap. Surprisingly comfy and it didn’t wiggle around or slide down. The cut of the kilt hid it well.

  • KBCraig

    Thanks for the link. I’ve subscribed to Gracie’s blog, so I can share with the femaliens in my life.

    Speaking of such… on-body concealed carry for women is a problem because every woman has a unique solution based on her body type and the gun she wants to carry, plus her personal fashion sense and/or dress requirements for her professional and social engagements.

    Gracie’s solution here might work for 1 of the 3 femaliens in my immediate family; it definitely won’t work for two of them, just because they’re much curvier.

    Thanks for bringing the discussion up. I love it whenever anyone promotes something other than purse carry.

  • Doug

    Then again, an attacker would probably get real interested to see you hiking your skirt up. And by the time he realized that the ‘show’ was over, he’d be on the receiving end of whatever you sent his way!

  • Mick

    Best draw ever!!!!

  • http://beldar.org Beldar

    “Now reholstering is going to take a little longer, but that’s okay because by then the thread has been eliminated.”

    Very droll. Love this whole video, but especially that line. (Remember that the weapon barrel might be quite hot, though, depending on what it took to eliminate the threat.)

  • Paul

    How about just use the appendix position with a sub-compact like a Colt Commander or Glock 19 or Kahr or even a good wheelgun like a 2 1/2 inch M66 Combat Magnum.

    Don’t even need shorts. I bet a set of extra-heavy-duty skivvies with belt loops stitched into them would take a good thin belt.

    • Dave

      Paul,

      I have never been a fan of appendix carry since I have come to appreciate my Femoral Artery over the years. That being said, she would still need some sort of garment such as the daisy dukes to support appendix carry. Might just as well carry a full size combat grade pistol without creating the risks that go along with appendix carry.

  • Locomotive Breath

    I think the reholstering part might be a little irrelevant. Once I’ve had to shoot someone (eliminating the threat), I’m probably looking for the nearest place to hurl. But that’s just me.

    • http://www.errortheory.com Alec

      Reholstering is never irrelevant. Literally, MOST gun accidents. And after a shooting is probably about the most distracted a person can be, with all kinds of racing thoughts. After drawing for cause is when police are most likely to reholster with their finger on the trigger. Bang. Proper reholstering needs to be thoroughly drilled. The “slow” part is an excellent reminder.

  • Miriam

    I am not sure how you would handle getting to the gun if you were in need of it while sitting in the car. It seems like it would be hard to hike up your dress and get to the firearm while you are sitting on the dress. Care to elaborate?

    • http://www.packingpretty.com Gracie

      Yeah, practice. I do it all the time.

    • http://boomushroom.blogspot.com BooMushroom

      Wow – you ladies are lucky to even be discussing this. Down here in California, we are not allowed to have a firearm accessible to the driver at any time.

      If you wanted to craft some firearms laws intended to increase carjackings and violent crime, you could just copy ours.

  • http://2ndAmendmentright.org 2ndAmendmentright.org

    She covers good information for women and the more women know about guns, are comfortable carrying them, know proper weapons manipulation and regularly shoot the better.
    For women a gun is the best equalizer. I showed this video to my wife who carry’s concealed quite often but not all the time due primarily to clothing restrictions and comfort issues.
    Glad there are women out there like Gracie promoting and educating other women! Thank You!

  • Mike

    What a disaster waiting to happen! Pulling up all that fabric, when lead is in the air, is a fail waiting to happen. Also note the cut in the video between putting her hand on the gun and clearing the holster. If it can’t be done cleanly in practice for film what’s going to happen in an elevated situation?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for concealed carry, and women carrying guns. But drawing like this will only make a bad situation worse if the bad guy has a firearm.

    • KBCraig

      Mike, if “lead is in the air”, the method of carry really doesn’t matter.

      I hope you don’t think defensive gun use is like meeting on the dusty main street at high noon to slap leather. Life isn’t an Old West movie. For that matter, the Old West wasn’t a Western movie, either.

    • http://www.clatskaniegunclub.com Gregg Smith

      Mike, I disagree…as lead instructor for our Firearms Training Unit, I’ve worked with Grace for several years, and she is an intelligent, articulate person. Grace and I train many men and women in basic handgun safety, intermediate and advanced defensive pistol, and action pistol competition. She’s a fully-qualified NRA instructor and Range Safety Officer. We deal with the public a lot, and I trust her with my life.
      One key point of the video is effective concealment…nobody would expect her to be carrying a full-sized defensive pistol dressed in that manner, and her draw is both safe and efficient.
      As to the ‘cut in the video’ comment – her sister was helping her shoot the footage and got Grace laughing…so they had to edit it out.
      One last comment…while an empire-waist dress might be hard to find in your size (lol), the same might be said of a man using a deep concealment holtster like a shirt-tucker model….it all revolves around practice.
      Be safe…

    • Dave

      I think it is important to consider a couple of points when critiquing this or any other method of deep concealment. Remember, this is a deep concealment method.

      Most people that carry concealed regularly soon come to understand that certain forms of attire can severely limit an individual’s carry options. In my opinion, this would be very similar to a man carrying with a tuckable inside the waistband holster (IWB) in the respect that the individual would first have to clear the concealment garment, and then draw the firearm. Once the cover garment is cleared, the drawing and presentation procedure would be no different than using a standard IWB.

      The other thing to consider would be alternatives to the described method. In this case, they may be rather limited. The most popular alternative brought up in the comments seems to be a thigh holster. In order to accomplish this method, Grace would need to switch to a smaller gun such as a Ruger LC9 or mabe a Kahr PM9. Both options would still maintain an acceptable level of muzzle energy; however she would reduce her available sight radius by almost half as well as reduce her ammunition capacity to less than half of that offered by her XDM.

      Personally, I think that her method shows the resourcefulness and the creativity that would be very useful assets in any gunfight. After all, 90% if any gunfight is mental.

  • http://drewwashere.blogspot.com Drew Rinella

    Fantastic video. I’m going to forward this to my girlfriend.

    Just as feedback, I was unable to access this video with my iPhone through your website or firearm blog. I had to search for it in the YouTube app.

    I wanted to respond to your comment below on appendix carry: I find appendix carry to be the most convenient way to carry my full size pistol when doing work or otherwise going about daily business, as carrying on my hip gets in the way of my arm, and carrying behind gets obnoxious and makes it impossible to sit in a chair. I also carry an XD, and I have forced myself to get in the habit of releasing pressure on the grip safety when reholstering. In that way, even if the trigger/trigger safety were to snag on something, I will be much less likely to shoot myself. I do think you make a great point, though, especially for pistols with fewer safety features. I think reholstering is an important part of self defense (prior to the arrival of law enforcement), and my dexterity will decrease during the stress of a self defense situation, increasing the chances of making a mistake. Despite the disadvantages, I feel that the convenience of appendix carry allows me to carry my pistol more often, rather than being left behind in the truck.

    Great blog!

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