Gun World - - Train -

The con­stant de­bate over women car­ry­ing a hand­gun in their purses never seems to end. With just a lit­tle on­line fo­rum re­search (which I usu­ally avoid— ex­cept when work­ing on an ar­ti­cle), I found the fol­low­ing quotes:

“The first thing a thief is go­ing to grab is a woman’s purse.” “Draw­ing from a purse takes longer than draw­ing from a hol­ster on your belt.”

“If she shoots through her purse, she will only get one shot off be­fore her gun jams.”

Of­ten dur­ing a train­ing class, a man will ask me how he can get his sig­nif­i­cant other to carry con­cealed on her body in­stead of in her purse. The woman then comes to me, frus­trated, al­most ask­ing per­mis­sion to purse-carry, be­cause so many peo­ple tell her it’s not safe.

Hon­estly, I don’t see the big deal. If it means she will carry a gun, let her carry it in her purse. Be­fore you read fur­ther, let me fully dis­close that I carry … off-body, in a purse.


Sure, in a given sit­u­a­tion, if there is a purse thief, he is go­ing to grab your purse. So, let him, and report it stolen, along with your hand­gun.

Let’s think about the big pic­ture: Are you car­ry­ing a gun to de­fend your­self from a thief? Prob­a­bly not. It’s im­por­tant to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween a com­mon thief who’s go­ing to snatch a purse and run and some­one who is a true danger. I carry a con­cealed hand­gun to de­fend my­self, my family and oth­ers against a per­son who in­tends to do them or me harm.


I haven’t timed it yet, but com­mon sense tells me draw­ing from a purse and com­ing to a full presentation takes longer than draw­ing from a hol­ster. How much longer de­pends on sev­eral fac­tors: the lo­ca­tion of the gun com­part­ment and types of clo­sure; the size of the com­part­ment; and if the gun is in a hol­ster within the com­part­ment.

Now, let’s com­pare draw­ing from a purse to draw­ing from un­der a full-length coat dur­ing the win­ter. Which one do you think will take more time? If my long coat is but­toned all the way, I now have to get un­der that, as well as my shirt lay­ers, to get to my hand­gun. Car­ry­ing in my purse now be­comes a faster op­tion.

How­ever, just be­cause your gun is in your purse doesn’t mean you have to draw to a full presentation be­fore fir­ing. Yes, you can shoot from within your purse. This might be­come nec­es­sary when your tar­get is in close prox­im­ity and you have no time for sighted fire. You know—when you have a strange feel­ing that some­thing just isn’t “right.” You reach into your purse to ori­ent the gun in your hand in prepa­ra­tion. Fir­ing through the purse might now be nec­es­sary if the sus­pect is close and time is of the essence.

In cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, off-body carry in a purse can be bet­ter and faster than on-body carry. If you’re ever in a sit­u­a­tion and you get an un­com­fort­able feel­ing that some­thing could be about to go down, you can reach into your purse, put your hand on your gun, and keep it there. It’s ready to use in a sec­ond’s no­tice, and no one is the wiser that you have a gun in your hand.

With on-body carry, you can’t do this, be­cause by­standers will know you have a gun and might even think you’re an at­tacker. Plus, if the gun is ex­posed, this is con­sid­ered “bran­dish­ing a firearm,” which is il­le­gal in most ju­ris­dic­tions.

IS­SUE 3: IF SHE SHOOTS THROUGH HER PURSE, SHE WILL ONLY GET ONE SHOT OFF BE­FORE HER GUN JAMS. If you de­cide to at­tempt this tac­tic, the type of gun you carry is very im­por­tant.

Yes, a semi­au­to­matic gun has a very good chance of jam­ming. A lack of space and a va­ri­ety of hang-ups will keep the slide from op­er­at­ing prop­erly. Most likely, you will fire your first shot and then find your­self with a mal­func­tion.

Un­for­tu­nately, your best choice re­quires giv­ing up ca­pac­ity by choos­ing a light­weight, ham­mer­less re­volver.

The Smith & Wes­son Model 442, Body­guard 38 or Ruger LCR are op­tions if you want to be able to fire from within your purse. Un­like semi­au­to­matic hand­guns, these ham­mer­less, snub-nosed re­volvers will cy­cle re­li­ably from a purse or even your pocket. So, you have to de­cide if hav­ing five or six rounds ready at hand is bet­ter than hav­ing a high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zine that might not meet your needs. Re­mem­ber, you can al­ways carry ex­tra rounds for your re­volver in a Bianchi Speed Strip or HKS Speed Loader.


The body won’t go where the mind hasn’t been. If you think you will im­pro­vise a new tac­tic when your life de­pends on it, you are prob­a­bly wrong. You have to open your mind and train. I had the op­por­tu­nity to learn how to shoot through a purse while

par­tic­i­pat­ing in the on­line se­ries, First Per­son De­fender, by Gun Talk Me­dia.

You should al­ways prac­tice new tech­niques on a range so you know what to ex­pect should you need to use it in a re­al­life sit­u­a­tion. Buy a cou­ple of in­ex­pen­sive purses from a garage sale or Good Will, grab your re­volver, and head out to the range.

On the range, place a threat tar­get close to you, sim­u­lat­ing a threat mov­ing to­ward you. Grab the purse’s shoul­der strap with your weak hand, mak­ing it taut. This helps you get a good shoot­ing grip on your gun with your strong hand. Punch out into the purse to­ward the threat. Once you pull the trig­ger, the first round will cre­ate a big hole in the purse. On con­sec­u­tive shots, the muz­zle pokes through. Your whole hand could even­tu­ally come through the purse.

If you de­cide to carry in a purse, never al­low your gun to mix with the items in­side. Keys, pens and other small ob­jects can get into your trig­ger guard and cause an un­in­ten­tional dis­charge or ren­der the gun in­op­er­a­ble. It’s best to use a purse specif­i­cally created for con­cealed carry. This keeps the gun in a sep­a­rate com­part­ment and some­times even of­fers mul­ti­ple ac­cess points to re­trieve your gun.

Shoot­ing through your purse works ex­tremely well. Nev­er­the­less, sighted, aimed fire from full presentation is al­ways your best and safest choice.

If car­ry­ing in a purse means you will carry your gun, I highly rec­om­mend it. Make sure you have the proper gun to meet your needs, and then be­come com­fort­able with it. And re­mem­ber: Prac­tice is es­sen­tial! GW

Draw­ing from a purse should be prac­ticed with an un­loaded hand­gun.

For shoot­ing through a purse, you should carry a ham­mer­less re­volver.

Pull your purse strap tight with your weak hand, and punch out to­ward the threat with

your pis­tol.

A hand­gun should al­ways be kept in a sep­a­rate pocket to keep for­eign ob­jects from en­ter­ing the trig­ger guard.

As you shoot through the purse, your firearm will even­tu­ally poke through. Prac­tice shoot­ing through a purse with live fire so you know what to ex­pect.

Film­ing First Per­son

De­fender and shoot­ing through a purse with Simu­ni­tion non-lethal train­ing am­mu­ni­tion

The Santa Fe and Cu­bic purses from De­signer Con­cealed Carry are both stylish and func­tional.

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