What They Never Taught Me About Concealed Carry Handguns in Home Ec. (Female Gun Owner Series, Part 1)

    Photo courtesy of Oleg Volk

    Home Economics classes in middle and high school painted pictures of young women like myself blossoming into gentile Southern belles, sipping Mint Juleps on the front porch and planning the next bridge club soiree. However, my fiercely independent nature makes personal protection of vital importance to me as well.
     As a Southern-bred woman living in Tennessee, the idea that I would obtain my Handgun Carry Permit (HCP) at some point in my life was a no-brainer. Most folks down here are practically born wielding a couple of 1911s. Getting my own concealed carry handgun was merely a matter of time.
    In the days following the arrival of my HCP, I was shocked to discover that there were multiple considerations I hadn’t taken into account when packing heat to run errands or meet friends for brunch.
    Concealed Carry in the Ladies’ Room

    Even a simple trip to the ladies’ room at my favorite restaurant turned into a major ordeal when wearing my firearm!
    • Where do I put the gun when I have to remove my pants?
    • What if I’m wearing a dress?
    • What if there’s no hook on the back of the door to put my purse that holds my gun – should I place it on the floor?
    • What if I leave my purse at the restaurant table with my husband? Where do I put the gun when I take it off inside the ladies’ room stall?

    Photo courtesy of ConcealedCarry.com

    Do you have ANY idea how many times each day the average woman uses the ladies’ room??? That’s taking the gun off and putting it back on EACH TRIP – increasing the possibility of an accidental discharge, forgetting it on the pedestal above the toilet paper holder, dropping it on a tile floor, and more.

    I can’t imagine being a mother with an infant, attempting to change a diaper at the same time!
    But my issues with EDC weren’t confined to the ladies’ room. Turns out, I couldn’t even get dressed in the morning without taking my handgun into consideration!
    EDC Means You Have to Dress Like a Man
    Many of the EDC articles I’d read “for women” involved:
    • Thigh holsters that didn’t hold up once you holstered anything heavier than a Ruger LCP.
    • Bra holsters that potentially pointed a loaded firearm at an area that I didn’t want to risk shooting (isn’t that one of the 4 basic rules of handling a firearm???)
    • Zippered purse holders (“Hang on, Mr. Bad Guy. I know my gun is in here somewhere.”)
    • Or worse…were written assuming I’d always wear pants and a bulky jacket to conceal my firearm.

    Photo courtesy of Oleg Volk

    I’m a girly-girl. I’m also a business owner. I prefer wearing a full dress and heels to jeans and a t-shirt. Now I’m hearing that I’ll be forced to choose between either personal protection or expressing my femininity!

    It wasn’t just about getting dressed in the morning, though. I couldn’t even go shopping without worrying about my firearm!
    Why It Takes Women So Long to Try on Clothes
    Just to go clothes shopping while wearing a concealed carry weapon takes a concerted effort!
    The introduction of the fitting room into the EDC equation means dramatically increasing the number of times I physically touch my firearm (and potentially take off, place on a chair in the fitting room, and possibly forget it).

    *I have never forgotten to put my gun back on – I’m far too conscious of it. The point here is that it increases the possibility.

    In addition to the fitting room, I also discovered:
    • Form-fitting clothing is impossible with a thigh holster worn on the outside of the thigh. The average passerby can practically read the words “Glock 42” through my dress.
    • Any woman with feminine curves can tell you that an inside-the-thigh holster is laughable. To attempt a cross-draw shoulder holster with an ample bosom is more difficult than fitting into the little black dress I’d had my eye on.
    • Certain stores with posted “No Firearms Allowed” signs no longer generate revenue from my patronage. I won’t even shop there anymore.
    So What’s a Girl to Do?
    Carrying a firearm as a woman takes serious consideration beyond the responsibility of “only” concealing a gun on my body (that alone is a heavy weight to shoulder).

    The same I way I took so much consideration in…
    • Selecting which firearm I’d carry every day,
    • Training with the firearm,
    • Passing the state-required courses, and
    • Obtaining my handgun carry permit
    …these all require that I NOW must take the same (if not more) consideration in selecting attire, how to maximize trips outside the home or office, minimize the number of times I handle the gun outside of training, and more.
    You can be a girly-girl and wear a concealed firearm. But you need to know how much impact it will have on your daily life and make an informed decision on whether or not it’s an additional responsibility you’re willing to accept.
    At the end of the day, just remember: it’s a FIREARM, not a fashion accessory.
    Rachel Y

    Rachel Young is a 4x Best Selling Author. She and her husband John co-own an FFL/SOT showroom and machine shop in Tennessee, specializing in ARs, AR parts, and AR accessories.