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Preview – Purse Concealed Carry

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Photos by Straight 8

Perhaps Your Husband Won’t Mind Holding Your Purse Anymore

From the outside looking in, concealed carry for men seems pretty easy. My husband’s process goes something like this: get gun, get holster, attach holster to waistband, put gun in holster, cover gun with shirt. The end.

Perhaps it’s that easy for some women, too. But I’m not one of them. For most women, factors like body type, wardrobe, and social protocol deeply influence how we go about trying to conceal a weapon. We can’t always “dress around the gun” like men do, and all those lovely curves everyone likes so much make things like holster cant, ride-height, and belt position more of a riddle than a question.

Whether based on physical or lifestyle factors, many women choose to carry their weapons in their purses. The choice to purse-carry must be given some unique considerations — we’ll address that later. But first consider the Purse Defender panel by CrossBreed Holsters, which is designed to adapt any existing purse for concealed carry. We think it may be one of the best options out there for women who purse carry.

Tear and Wear
The Purse Defender itself is smack-your-forehead simple. It’s a Kydex square, bent into an L-shape, with one side covered in loop Velcro. It’s available in two sizes, and the basic assembly is very reasonably priced for its given potential — $17 and $20 respectively for the different-sized panels lined with Velcro. Keep in mind that’s just for the panel itself. Holsters and pouches are sold separately or as a bundle; alternately, you can use a holster from another manufacturer.

To employ it, purchase the panel, install it in your purse, and attach holsters or pouches for whatever you want to carry. If you need to change load out for some reason, just tear the pouches off the Defender Panel and stick new ones on.

purseholster2 purseholster

Why would you need to change your load out? Here’s a typical example: you go out in the morning to shop for groceries with your pistol, spare mag, and flashlight secured to your Purse Defender. You come home and offload the groceries. Now you have to get to class, but you can’t carry a gun on school grounds. So you tear out the holster and mag pouch, but leave the flashlight since it doubles as an impact weapon (and it’s always good to have a light on hand). Then you attach stick-on pouches for OC spray and/or an ASP baton. Now you’re gun-free-zone-friendly without being completely defenseless. (Remember, always check your local laws to confirm what you can carry.)

CrossBreed has a line of hook-backed pouches for a wide array of pistols, with additional pouches for spare mags, handcuffs, and OC spray. You can also use any pouch or holster that’s hook-backed, or even make your own. We used two sets of pouches for testing — a handful of the CrossBreed factory pouches and a few custom-made by CB Custom Kydex. Frankly, I found the CrossBreed holsters suffered from retention issues during my testing. They didn’t hold securely items in the purses, and I kept having to readjust things. Not so good if you go to grab your OC spray, and it’s … not there. The other downside is that the backing on the CrossBreed holsters is extremely broad, which takes up a lot of room on the little Purse Defender panel — I could only fit two holsters side to side. With the CB Custom Kydex holsters, I can run my ASP baton, Dan Wesson 1911, an extra mag, and my flashlight. What can I say? I like to be prepared.

Also, there’s some additional work and cost involved in setting up your handbag of choice. Nevertheless, we found the whole endeavor to be cheap and easy, with a pretty high payoff in usability.

Overhead Considerations
While you can simply drop the Purse Defender in your purse and go, this didn’t work well at all once you start using it, and it’s worth the extra time and effort to install it more securely. The panel is 9×6 inches, which fits nicely in a medium to large size purse. However, it’s not attached to anything. The Velcro used on the panel is very strong, as it should be, and holds everything attached to it very firmly. Which is great — except when you go to draw your firearm from your purse in a situation where seconds matter, and you pull the entire panel, gun attached, out of your handbag. Ruh roh.

So, what did I do?
So first, obviously, I went and picked out two functional purses that were totes adorbs! Alright, seriously, that’s not my style. My point is there’s a 99-percent chance the Purse Defender will fit perfectly in whatever cutest-purse-in-the-whole-wide-world your lady friend sets her eyes on. Ideally you want a purse with a long strap (so you can carry it diagonally across your body) and two short straps (for hand carrying and holster-draw support).

Then I took the purses to a tailor, who tacked down the purse liner — very important unless you want a repeat of the above “can’t get my weapon out of its holster” issue. He also sewed in loop-side Velcro to the purse liner. This cost $20 with a one-week turnaround.


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