21 Highly Practical Tips Women Can Use to Begin Successful Concealed Carry

21 Tips Women Can Use to Begin Successful Concealed Carry

Successful Concealed Carry for Women Happens Through Well Defined Steps

Women who succeed at concealed carry do two things very well: First they identify the correct steps to make them successful with carrying a concealed weapon. Second, they strictly follow those steps to learn and be able to protect themselves and others from an attacker. But you are probably wondering "How do I find the steps that I need to take to be successful with a concealed firearm?" I want to answer that question in this article.

Tip #1 - Seek out professional instruction from an NRA certified trainer

  1. You have decided to carry a concealed pistol - Before doing anything like buying a pistol or learning some incorrect methods, you must seek out an NRA certified trainer. Get professional pistol training. This person will guide you so you can learn what you need in order to be successful. Carrying a concealed pistol for protection requires you to have professional training.
  2. NRA Certified - The National Rifle Association certifies instructors who teach people who have little or no experience with handguns. They can help you get your cc permit. The NRA is a national association that advocates safe firearm practices and proper firearms training. 
  3. Find an NRA instructor - Search for a certified trainer at This is important to do first. They can keep you from making some mistakes, like buying a gun that won't work for you or doing some self training that is incorrect. 
  4. Female instructors -There are some female certified instructors, if you desire to be taught by a woman. But there may not be a female trainer close to your location. In that case you may try to get in a class with a group of women to be trained by a male instructor. Ask your instructor about having this type of class.
  5. Tell the trainer what you expect - Be honest with the trainer and tell them what you expect from pistol concealment. They will be able to give you expert advice, they will be able to tell you what kinds of pistols will work best for your expectations. Since they are certified you can depend on their direction to learn the best gun carry.
  6. Let the trainer help you - Your trainer will be able to help you select and buy the proper gun for your specific needs. They can go to the gun store with you to help you buy the correct pistol or they will tell you the exact make and model pistol that fits your needs so you can buy it yourself. Don't depend on a store clerk to help you select a pistol. They just want to sell you a gun and may have very little experience.

In Short - Starting off your concealed carry training with an NRA certified trainer will take you down the right path and teach you the right techniques to protect yourself. Advice and training from someone who is an expert in women's carry is the best way to start. Carrying a pistol can be life or death so it is necessary to know how to do it all correctly and efficiently.

Tip #2 - Take the pistol shooting preparation courses from the NRA

  1. Start your training off the right way - Your NRA trainer will recommend that you take the online pistol shooting preparation course called "Basics of Pistol Shooting - Phase 1" on the National Rifle Association website. You do not have to have a pistol to complete this class, it will get you started with basics. It is all done online. 
  2. Enroll in a class - When you enroll in this class you will get an online PIN number. When you successfully complete the class you will print a certificate and your PIN will be activated. You will learn the beginning steps in order to get your concealed carry permit which includes the following:
  • Essentials of Gun Safety
  • Types of Pistols
  • Basics of Ammunition
  • Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting
  • Different Shooting Positions
  • Common Shooting Errors
  • Gun Cleaning and Maintenance
  • How to Maintain Your Skills

In Short - Even though you may have had some experience with a handgun in the past it is a good idea for you to get world class instruction in the basics of hand gun use and safety. You will be able to build on this learning experience as you move forward to get your concealed carry permit.

Tip #3 - Learn and abide by the laws of your state concerning concealed carry

  1. Get the state law information - Your NRA instructor will be able to help you get this information or you can get it from your local sheriff's office.
  2. Read and understand the laws - You should read and understand the laws pertaining to concealed carry for your state.
  3. Abide by the laws - You should abide by the law of your state to the letter to avoid problems.

In Short - Learn all the state's laws about concealed carry before you get your carry permit and abide by them religiously.

Tip #4 - Decide how you will carry your conceal pistol

  1. What is your preference - Everyone has a preference about the way they want to carry their pistol. If you decide to carry your pistol in a purse it is better if you carry a revolver. If you have to shoot through your purse you will be able to fire as many shots as your pistol holds.
  2. No Jamming - It will not jam. If you decide to carry a semi-automatic in your purse it will tend to jam after the first shot if you have to shoot through your bag. There are no such restraints if you carry in a holster.
  3. Drawing speed from purse - Drawing speed from a concealment purse is slower than from an on-body holster. Shooting through the purse can reduce the drawing time and make your pistol access very quick and effective.
  4. Drawing speed from holster - Drawing speed from some configurations of a hidden gun holster has been documented to be as fast as 1.5 seconds or less.
  5. Be self-protected without a purse - Go places without your purse and have complete protection from a concealed holster.
  6. On-body holster stable when active - Even runners and those who are very active find the on-body holster to be very secure during activities.
  7. Conceal Holster or Purse - Review all the tips below if you are unsure about the way you would like to carry your concealed pistol. They will give you an idea of what you have to do to make each method successful. You will see how these carry methods differ and how they are the same.
  8. Build your confidence with concealed carry - Receive immediate confidence from having a pistol in an on-body holster or a conceal and carry purse.

In Short - Take into consideration your comfort and the effectiveness of the method to decide how you will carry concealed.

Tip #5 - Buy your pistol and get your concealed carry permit

  1. Purchase your pistol - Your NRA instructor will help you decide what pistol is best for you and help you buy it.
  2. Continue your pistol training in the classroom and at the range - Use the online PIN from your Phase 1 pistol training to register for the second part of training, "Basics of Pistol Shooting - Phase 2". This class is taught by your NRA instructor and includes classroom work and instruction about shooting on the range. The instructor will verify your knowledge of material covered in Phase 1 and help you to apply that knowledge in the use of your pistol and in live fire at the range.
  3. Get your concealed carry permit - Your NRA instructor can help you to get your permit.

In Short - Depend on your NRA instructor to help you get the right pistol for you, and get your cc permit. Start your continuous practice.


Tip #6 - Seek the support of like-minded women

  1. Join a gun club - Become a member of a gun club that has women's groups. Be involved with the group and learn from their experience.
  2. Set up a practice schedule - Start a practice schedule at the club to improve and keep your shooting skills sharp.

In Short - Join a group of women who practice together. You will be able to learn from their experience. You will have a stronger motivation to practice your shooting skills.

Tip #7 - Modify your wardrobe to prepare for concealed carry

  1. Get advice from experienced people - Seek advice from other women who already carry pistols about their experiences. It is always good to have someone with experience give you their perspective. You can take advice from your instructor about wardrobe impacts of concealed carry as well.
  2. Consider your own wardrobe - Contemplate your needs and desires for gun carry and match those with your wardrobe. Develop as many different variations of your wardrobe as you can to support your selected method of carrying concealed. There are totes, clutches, over-the-shoulder bags, various cases, satchels, compacts, hobos, and others that you can select from. They range from high style leather bags to everyday casual types.
  3. On-body holster goes anywhere - On-body holster allows you and your pistol to go everywhere you do with total secrecy with very little wardrobe variation. A holster's concealment depends totally on your wardrobe.

In Short - One of your objectives in concealed carry is to not only protect yourself and others, but also keep your style. You need to make every effort to keep the fact that you are carrying a pistol a secret. To keep guns concealed your wardrobe has to be right.

Tip #8 - Identify handbags that fit the size of your pistol

  1. Find out how big your pistol is - Obtain the overall measurements of your pistol, height, length, and width. Make sure there is adequate space in your handbag compartment to hold your pistol and its holster securely. Larger ccw handbags can usually securely hold either a large or small pistol. Make sure that the pistol will not move unless you draw it.
  2. Holster sizing - If you carry a smaller pistol you may need a smaller holster in the compartment to hold it securely.
  3. Trigger guard securely covered - Make sure that the holster securely covers the trigger guard while your pistol is in the holster.
  4. Will your hand and pistol fit - Make sure the opening of the concealed compartment has enough space for your hand and your pistol to go in and out easily. It defeats the purpose if can't draw quickly.
  5. No pistol exposure - Make sure that your handbag does not allow imprinting or exposure of your pistol. You don't want others to know that you are carrying a pistol.
  6. Match up the size - Small handbags can't carry large pistols. But large bags can usually carry large or small pistols. Verify that a large holster can keep your small pistol secure.

In Short - Do your homework for matching your pistol to the concealed compartment size. If you have a larger purse and a small pistol that is not securely held by the holster, you may need to get another holster that will hold the small pistol securely. You can do this rather than not being able to use a handbag you like.

Tip #9 - Handbag must have separate concealed carry and main compartments

  1. No Pistol - Never put your pistol into the main compartment of your purse. Dangerous!
  2. Pistol problems in main - Pistol in the main compartment can be very difficult to draw if you need to use it, can be misfired when objects get caught in the trigger guard, and is not securely stable at any time.
  3. Don't overfill your main compartment - Sometimes the main compartment can end up full of a lot of extra stuff that you really don't need to carry. Limit the stuff to only those items that you really need to carry. Having an overloaded main compartment can limit your ability to get your pistol out of your concealed compartment when you need it.

In Short - If you find a handbag that says it is for carrying a pistol and it has no separate concealed compartment for your pistol, avoid using it. Having a pistol in a bag with lots of other stuff is dangerous even if the pistol is in a holster.

Tip #10 - Get a handbag strap that is reinforced with a steel cable

  1. Prevent snatching - Your handbag should have a strap that is reinforced with steel cable to eliminate someone snatching it. Always hold your bag so that it is not easily snatched.
  2. Cross body best - Cross body position of carry can be best to eliminate someone snatching your handbag and it makes it easier to draw.
  3. Purse against your body - When carrying the purse in the over the shoulder position keep your handbag close to your body for safety. An under the arm carry should also be close to your body.

In Short - A long steel reinforced strap on your handbag allows you to wear your bag at whatever length you like. The reinforcement will not allow someone to yank it out of your grasp, especially if you carry it next to your body.

Tip #11 - Make your bag or holster fit into your style and the way that you desire to carry it

  1. Concealed carry lifestyle - Wardrobe modifications may be necessary for you to incorporate conceal and carry into your lifestyle. You need to maintain your comfort level while you are carrying.
  2. More than one purse - It may be necessary for you to have more than one pistol handbag as part of your wardrobe to keep your comfort level and style with concealed carry.
  3. Variation with long straps - Handbags with longer, adjustable straps give you the greatest number of variations in your wardrobe.
  4. Be efficient with all purses - With more than one cc bag you will need to become efficient in drawing your pistol from any of these bags to be safe all the time.
  5. Holsters require little adjustment - Very little adjustment of an on-body holster is required for effective use.
  6. Wear your bag as comfortably as possible - If over the shoulder is your most comfortable, wear that, if it is cross body, wear that, if under the arm, wear that. Just get in the habit of wearing your handbag, do not put it down, keep it in a comfortable position. You don't want to make your pistol available to someone else and you want to have it on you if you need to use it.
  7. Concealed carry holster a daily accessory - You can carry an on-body holster without compromising your style as long as your wardrobe will allow you to have immediate access to it's position in the bra, hip or back location. It's easy to vary wardrobe from season to season and still be able to carry everyday.
  8. On-body holster high comfort - Comfort level is very high with concealed carry holster designed to maintain comfort in any position it is worn.

In Short - Having more than one conceal and carry handbag will help you to keep your current style. Be sure to have your practice proficiency up for all the handbags that use for carrying your gun.

Tip #12 - Setup up each purse in your wardrobe for the correct drawing angle

  1. Longer straps - An over the shoulder handbag position will require a unique strap length and holster angle as will the cross body and under arm handbag positions.
  2. Trial and error settings - Settings for each of these will have to be determined by “trial and error” until they are just right.
  3. Settings for each position - Don't expect the setting for one way that you carry your purse to work for any other way that you carry it. You can mark the strap for each way that you carry it to make changing from one way of carrying position to the other easier. Do the same for your holster settings, mark the position so you can move it easily to a new position.

In Short - Be sure and take the appropriate amount of time to setup the correct strap length for each handbag and position that you carry. The time you spend in adjustment to get the strap length correct may save your life.

Tip #13 - Set the angle of draw for the holster in your concealed compartment

  1. Unload your pistol
  2. Pull the holster out of the concealed compartment
  3. Slide your unloaded pistol securely into the holster
  4. Place the holster back into the concealed compartment
  5. Adjust the angle to what you believe will your best draw angle
  6. Make sure the holster is properly seated against the Velcro inside of the compartment
  7. Wear the purse in the position you will normally wear it
  8. Test the draw angle to see if it is right
  9. If not then start at step #2 again and repeat the steps until the angle is right
  10. You need to set this for the perfect draw which means the fastest draw.
  11. Do this in conjunction with your practice sessions.
  12. This is strictly a “trial and error” process you do it until you get the angle just right for your quickest draw

In Short - Just the slightest variation in angle of your holster can make the difference in being able to protect yourself or not protect yourself. The time it takes to do this correctly is time well spent. Do this in conjunction with Tip #8.

Tip #14 - Put only your pistol in your concealed carry compartment

  1. Concealed for your pistol only - Only your pistol and its holster should be put into the concealed compartment for safety.
  2. No other items - Other items in the compartment could cause a misfire. Other items in the compartment will make it difficult to draw the pistol when you need to.

In Short - Putting anything else but your pistol in the concealed compartment is like asking for trouble. What if you had to draw your pistol and brought out the handle of a brush. It could be a big problem.

Tip #15 - Secure your carry gun in the concealment holster

  1. Handbag holster the right size - The handbag holster must be the correct size to hold your pistol securely. Pistol must not move unless you draw it. Holster must cover the trigger guard at all time to prevent misfire.
  2. Securely attach the handbag holster – Your holster must be pressed against the Velcro inside the compartment of your handbag so it will remain in drawing position.
  3. Concealed carry holster keeps pistol stable - Holster is designed to fit only one make and model of pistol, so it is clamped tightly to prevent movement. Holster holds pistol in very stable position so that it will not move, fits like a glove.
  4. On-body holster carrying is done in more than one location - Some on-body holsters allow you to wear them in various locations on your body, which gives you much more utility.

In Short - Everything must be right for concealed carry to work -- your pistol is securely in your holster, your holster is firmly attached to the side of the concealed compartment, Your holster is set to the correct draw angle.

Tip #16 - Practice drawing your pistol from your concealed handbag

  1. Start out with an empty pistol - When you begin to practice use only an empty pistol to get used to the motions required to draw correctly. Move to a loaded pistol only after you have built up some confidence in your movements.
  2. Live practice important - Live fire practice is the best way to learn how to use your pistol to protect yourself. This will increase your ability to stay safe and repel an attack.
  3. Build muscle memory - Practicing your pistol draw from your handbag is the best way to build the muscle memory that is required to be successful with concealed carry.
  4. Many repetitions - To build muscle memory you will need to perform many, many repetitions of drawing your pistol, preferably with live fire. This will keep you from fumbling your pistol when you have to draw it for real.
  5. Apply techniques you learned - Your instructor will help you apply the techniques correctly.
  6. Unloaded practice - If you practice at home be sure to unload your pistol before you start. Important!

In Short - Do your best to work out an arrangement with the range and your trainer to do live fire at the range with your purse and pistol. Practicing live fire with your purse and pistol is the best way to get all the action into muscle memory.

Tip #17 - Build the right muscle memory

  1. Not as simple as that - You may think that getting a pistol, a cc permit and handbag or holster will make you fully prepared for carrying a gun.
  2. Need more training - Not by a long shot! You probably know enough to just be dangerous!
  3. No self training - Don't think that you can learn effective concealed carry on your own with “self training”
  4. No bad habits - Training on your own can cause you to develop some bad habits that will be very hard to correct.
  5. Learn all the correct techniques - Your certified trainer will teach you the correct techniques of carrying a pistol, such as firing position, grip of your pistol, aim of your pistol, how to make your pistol safe, how to load you pistol, and what kind of ammunition to use. You will learn to shoot correctly.
  6. Do them over and over - Perform the techniques you learn over and over to get them into your muscle memory.
  7. Muscle memory = performing a task without thinking about it before hand, make it a habit. Your draw should come from muscle memory, as well as your grip of the pistol, aim of your pistol, and stance for shooting.
  8. Supervised training only - Proper training can only occur under the supervision of a certified concealed carry instructor.

In Short - Training under the supervision of a certified instructor and doing all the repetitions that are required to get your abilities to draw your pistol into muscle memory is the only way to do concealed carry correctly. Any other way of training could be dangerous.

Tip #18 - Practice situational awareness

  1. Develop sharp awareness - You should develop keen situational awareness. Being aware of your environment should be a a very high priority. You should employ your peripheral vision and be aware of where an attacker might lurk.
  2. Stay vigilant - Detour around areas that appear unsafe. Keep you head up and be constantly vigilant. Be aware of people and activities that are around you.
  3. Avoid confrontation - Do everything you can to avoid being in a situation where you would have to use your pistol.
  4. Pistol as last resort - Your pistol should always be your last resort, but always be prepared to use it.

In Short - You must develop a keen sense of awareness about your surroundings. Very sharp peripheral vision is a great skill to develop. You should be aware enough of what is going on around you to be able to avoid any kind of confrontation most of the time. Using your pistol should be a last resort.

Tip #19 - Carry additional items to use as extra deterrents

  1. Always carry LED - Always have an LED flashlight in the main compartment of your purse. This can temporarily blind someone if shined in their eyes.
  2. Small tactical flashlight - Fits very well in your handbag and gives off piercing light.
  3. Always carry pepper spray - Keep the pepper spray in a specific pocket in the main compartment of your purse so you always know where it is.
  4. Disabling - An attacker would be immediately disabled with an LED light or pepper spray in his eyes.
  5. Better than pistol - Using these other deterrents can be much better than having to use your pistol.
  6. Give you a chance to escape - Disabling light or spray that blinds will give you the few seconds needed to escape an attack.

In Short - Carry pepper spray and a high intensity LED flashlight as additional deterrents. Have these available to use if the situation warrants.

Tip #20 - Take a Rape Aggression Defense class

  1. Learn how to fight - Be able to defend yourself with your hands feet, and other body parts.
  2. Build your personal confidence - Knowing how to fight will build your confidence when you are out.
  3. Keep from using your pistol - If you know how to fight it will improve your chances of not having to use your pistol.

In Short - Use every method at hand to try to keep from using your pistol. You will be much better off if you don't have to use it. That being said, use your pistol if you need to.

Tip #21 - When you can't avoid a confrontation

  1. Scream your head off! - Make enough noise so that anyone within hearing range can hear you!.
  2. Recognize a situation of confrontation - Press your purse against your body.
  3. Get access to your pistol - Open the concealed compartment with your drawing hand.
  4. Steady your handbag - With your non-drawing hand hold your handbag steady.
  5. Grip your pistol - With you hand inside the compartment grip your pistol.
  6. Draw your pistol - Only draw the pistol if the confrontation continues and you cannot avoid it.

In Short - You should have these actions burned into your muscle memory and be able to do them without thinking. Do not use your pistol unless there is no way that you can avoid it!

Being accomplished as a concealed carry citizen takes an investment of time, effort and money, more than just buying a pistol and getting a concealed carry permit. You should not try to do this without being trained to by a certified instructor. Your skill level should be such that you can draw and fire your pistol in protection without having to think about it.

Perform these steps and you can become successful with concealed carry. In fact, your success with concealed carry may well be determined by how well you accomplish the tasks listed here. These are practical steps that you should be aware of and accomplish to have successful self-protection.