She Shoots 2: Michelle Cerino gives reasons how and why you should be prepared to ruin that carry purse.
Should you carry your gun in your purse and quite possibly shoot through your purse? I found the following quotes from quick, online research regarding this topic:
“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 1 shot off before her gun jams.”
Let me begin by saying, I agree a woman’s purse is the first thing a thief is going to grab. That is just a small part of the big picture, though. Are you carrying a gun to defend yourself from a thief? The reason I carry a concealed handgun is to defend myself, family and others against a person who intends to do us harm. Always mindful of how I am carrying my purse, using the shoulder strap when available, I try to make myself an unlikely target for a purse-snatcher.
Purse vs. holster
Although I haven’t timed it, common sense would say that drawing from a purse and coming to a full presentation will take longer than drawing from a holster. How much longer will depend on factors like the location of the gun compartment and closure, how large the compartment is and whether the gun is in a holster within the compartment. Wearing a full-length coat during winter, it’s definitely going to take more time for me to draw from a holster, so carrying in my purse might become a better option.
Shooting through your purse
Just because your gun is in your purse, doesn’t mean you have to draw to a full presentation before firing. You can fire the gun from within your purse. This may become necessary if your target is in close proximity. That being said, sighted fire isn’t going to happen. When you get the feeling that something isn’t right, you can reach into your purse to orient the gun in your hand in preparation. Firing through the purse is the best option if the suspect is close and time is of the essence.
If you decide to attempt this tactic, the type of gun you carry is very important. Yes, a semi-automatic gun has a very good chance of jamming. Lack of space and variety of hang-ups will keep the slide from operating properly. Most likely you will fire 1 shot, and then find you have a malfunction on your hands. 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 good options if you want to be able to, or feel you might fire from within your purse. Unlike semi-automatic handguns, these hammerless snub-nosed revolvers will cycle reliably from within a purse, or even your pocket. So, you have to decide if having 5 or 6 rounds at hand is better than having a higher-capacity magazine that may not meet your daily needs. Remember, you can always carry extra rounds for your revolver in a Bianchi Speed Strip or HKS Speed Loader.
How to shoot through a concealed-carry purse
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’re 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 real life situation. Buy a couple of inexpensive purses from a garage sale or Good Will, grab your revolver and head out to the range.
If you decide to carry in a purse, never allow you gun to mix with the items inside it. Keys, pens and other small objects can get in your trigger guard and can cause an unintentional discharge or render the gun inoperable. It’s best to use a purse specifically created for concealed carry that offers a separate compartment for carrying your firearm. For practice purposes, though, you probably can find a substitute.
Yes, shooting through your purse works extremely well. However, sighted, aimed fire from full presentation is your best and safest choice – if time and circumstances allow. 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 become comfortable with it. Practice is essential and those few seconds it may take to defend yourself might reward you with a lifetime of living afterward.
Michelle Cerino, aka Princess Gunslinger, is the managing and social media editor at The WON. She also is the author of the column "Princess Gunslinger," sponsored by Trijicon. A mother of 2 adult boys, Michelle has been right there beside them hunting youth deer seasons, plinking pop cans with .22s, now it's her turn! Michelle is the president of Cerino Consulting and Training Group, LLC, a firearms training company she built with her husband Chris in 2011. Her path in the firearms and outdoors industries is ever progressing. She is writing, hunting, competing and doing contract work for major manufacturers. When not working, Michelle enjoys shooting sporting clays and competes in prestigious shooting events, such as the Bianchi Cup in Missouri, and major 3-Gun matches nationwide. View all posts by Michelle Cerino