“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.” Thomas Jefferson, 1785, in a letter to his nephew concerning what Jefferson considered the best form of exercise
I have several passions; one of the most important is firearms. I love shooting, I love buying guns, I love talking about them, and I love exercising my right to carry. I started carrying a pistol in my purse when I was roughly nineteen years old. I was opening and closing my family’s business and taking large sums of cash to the bank by myself. My Grandpa Gene insisted I start carrying.
My first carry firearm was a Colt 1911; big, bulky, but oh so sweet to shoot. I carried my Colt in a Coronado Leather purse that was made specifically for carrying a firearm. I kept my purse hidden in a desk drawer in my office so no one could get to it.
Around 2008, while working in my families sporting goods store, I noticed more and more ladies coming in wanting to purchase firearms for self-protection. I also noticed that, while I was not an expert, some of these ladies had absolutely no idea what they were doing! That was a little scary to me, so I decided I would see what I could do to improve that for some. My husband and I are now NRA and CLEET certified instructor and have had the pleasure of instructing tons of ladies in the art of firearm.
I also noticed, starting around the same time, that more and more companies were making firearms and firearm related products targeted at women. Women competition shooters started to get more and more attention, and shooting classes, taught by and for women, became the norm.
Now, back to how and what I carry. As you recall, I mentioned I started carrying in a purse. If you know me, I know what you are thinking: “Wow, Missy, you are a huge advocate of on body carry but you really started carrying in a purse?” Short story, there was a customer, who was on some kind of drugs, who was pretty adamant about taking me to lunch in my shiny red convertible. Thankfully nothing bad happened, my uncle was standing there and had my back, but that incident made me realize that I had to get my firearm on my body and carry it everywhere every day, it was doing me no good tucked away in a drawer where I couldn’t immediately get to it!
When you decide you want to start carrying a firearm on your body it takes some work figuring it out, and it is possible you will have to change the way you dress to accommodate said firearm. You will possibly have to buy a different firearm, and many holsters, until you find what “fits” you. For me there wasn’t a lot of changing. I wore jeans and t-shirts most of the time and I do not tuck in my shirts. My first on body carry was a revolver carried in a pocket holster in my pocket. That worked well for the most part but was not always the best. Ladies jeans are not known for having very large pockets. I later found an inside the waist leather holster that I carried right over my appendix and for the most part that is still my go to carry location every day carry.
I often get asked what my every day carry, or EDC, is, and how I carry it. My normal answer is, “depends.” It depends because I have at least 4 pistols that I can choose from to carry. A small S&W Bodyguard in a .38 special revolver, a small Ruger LCP .380, a S&W M&P9C, which is a compact 9 mm, and a full size S&W M&P 9mm. The decision on what I carry on a particular day is, what am I doing, what am I wearing, and where am I going? If I’m working outside on the farm, odds are I will carry my full size 9mm in an outside the waist holster, that makes it easier to get to if I were to need it. I don’t always want someone to know that I’m carrying, so when that is the case I will carry my Ruger LCP in an inside the waist holster. It is super compact and very easy to conceal. I mostly carry my M&P9C during the winter when I’m wearing more layers. It disappears easily and I don’t have to worry about it showing.
On the note of what holster do I use, well, again, “it depends”. My favorite for my smaller guns is a soft leather inside the waist holster. It is not bulky, it has a heavy clip for attaching to waist bands, and conceals nicely. If I am not worried about the outline of my firearm showing I have a great CrossBreed holster that I use for my M&P9C and for open carry I have a dependable Fobus paddle holster which isn’t pretty, but is functional.
Now since this is the Health and Wellness Issue of The Corridor let’s talk about exercising and carrying. You can exercise your right to carry while you are exercising. I normally carry my Ruger LCP in a Bulldog Belly Band when I walk or jog or if I’m at the gym. Just for kicks I decided to see if I could carry a larger gun while running a 5K. I positioned my M&P9C just behind my right hip in my belly band, about the four o’clock position, put on my skin tight workout pants, doned a t-shirt, and ran. It was comfortable, it did not slip, and I felt safe running around the park with no buddy.
Are you working out at the gym or doing something other than walking/jogging/running? Again, the belly band works great because it can be moved around your waist. You can position it so that your firearm is on your hip at the three o’clock position and do situps, move it to the one o’clock position and you can do what needs done on your side.
A couple pet peeves of ladies and firearm. First, DO NOT let your husband, boyfriend, dad, uncle, brother, or anyone else pick out your firearm for you. You can let them pay for it but not pick it out. Your hands are different, your fingers sometimes shorter, and what feels good to them may not feel good to you. Most ladies love shopping, so go shopping for your own firearm. Find a store that will let you handle the firearm and if possible rent a few different ones and shoot them. Second, try-try-try to find a firearm that you will carry on your body and not leave at home, in your car, or in a purse. The reason I do not like purse carry is there is too many things that can happen to your purse. Have you ever accidently left your purse in a booth at a restaurant? Have you ever left it sitting in the shopping cart while you turned your back to look at a product on the shelf? Has anyone ever tried stealing your purse off your shoulder? Those are just a few reasons not to carry your firearm in your purse. If purse carry is the absolutely only way you can find to carry your firearm, well, that is better than leaving it at home.
Here are a few pointers on carrying in your purse. 1) Find a purse that has a pocket just for your pistol. There are many companies making “conceal carry purses” that have special pockets, or find a purse you like that just has a pocket you can slip your firearm in. 2) Always put your firearm in a holster in your purse. Things like lipstick and ink pens can get in the trigger guard and be wedged around and pull the trigger. 3) If your firearm is in your purse do not let go of it. Do not put it in the shopping cart, do not set it in the booth next to you, do not set it on the floor while you try on that cute pair of shoes. It is best if you can find a purse that can be carried across your body because is easier to keep up with and harder for someone to walk past and rip off your arm. Also, do not ever leave your purse accessible to young ones, there are too many scenarios that could and have gone very badly.
In closing, go find that great gun shop along the Corridor, purchase a firearm and holster you like, find a gun class and get up to speed on your firearm and start exercising your right to carry. You are responsible for your personal protection and the protection of your family, don’t depend on anyone else.
If you want more questions or are interested in classes, you can connect with me on facebook at www.Facebook.com/SassyShooters.Gungoddess for great goodies for the ladies and a few things for the guys......