If you are planning to carry a gun, you have, I hope, asked yourself the hard questions. Can I use this to defend myself? Can I shoot another person? Am I prepared to accept that there may be consequences of my actions, and it could impact my life for a long time? If you can not answer all of these question with a firm and determined YES, you aren’t ready and need to think about it some more.
Would you use lethal force to defend your own life? Ask yourself what is important to you? Then ask what would I be willing to risk my life to defend? It may be easy to say you would risk your life to defend your children or your spouse. What would be the impact to them if you were gone? Isn’t your life important to them? The option to use lethal force is limited to a situation where you are at risk of immediate and serious bodily harm or death. Simply stated, if you do not defend yourself with all means available to you at that moment, you risk serious injury or death.
Once you have made the decision, and done your holster shopping, and testing, how to hide it? For me, I prefer In the Waistband (IWB), that means the gun (and holster) are inside my slacks of skirt and there is a clip or hook that extends over the waistband to hold it in place. Now, this means, I cannot carry that way in super tight anything. But I can carry in moderately snug jeans, slacks, a pencil skirt…Ladies, if you find the jeans a problem, leaving enough room in the waist makes them baggy in the hips, consider men’s jeans, they are cut for a different shape and allow a little extra room in the waist while still fitting snug over the hip.
According to my tape measure, I’m a classic hourglass shape. But I’m also plus sized. It may be counter-intuitive, but my curves actually make carrying on my strong side (the hand I generally use for writing, picking up my gun, etc.) easier. I carry on the hip, almost in line with the natural drop of my arm. The barrel aligns to my arms, and the grip is felt under my elbow when I bend my arm at a 90-degree angle. I carry a mid- sized 9mm semi-automatic. It tucks in nicely to my curves and all but disappears under most clothing. Some authors recommend appendix carry for women. This is slightly forward of the hip, aligned between the arm and the breast (vertically speaking). I tried that. It may work for some, but I found it uncomfortable, digging into my ribs. I also found that an ample chest got in the way of drawing from that position. You need to experiment with what works for you. For personal defense carry, you need fast, smooth access. That requires not only a good position, but lots of practice.
There are many other options such as on the belt, shoulder, cross-draw (worn opposite the strong side), middle of the back, ankle, thigh, off body…All of these might work for your back up gun, if you carry a second gun, but I wouldn’t encourage you to rely on any of these for your primary. When fractions of a second can make the difference between being a victim and being a survivor, you need to be able to get to your gun, draw and acquire your target safely and quickly.
Guys, while you don’t have the curves to worry about, strong side carry is the recommended position for you as well, and for the same reasons. You need to be able to draw your gun quickly and safely. You can pull away whatever garment you are using to conceal your gun with your weak hand while drawing and come into your defensive shooting stance.
Practice, practice, practice (always with an unloaded gun) and be safe!
Note: This is not intended to provide legal advice, if you have any questions, please contact an attorney in your area.