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Concealed Carry Journey: Off-Body Carry Tips

Throughout Elizabeth’s concealed carry journey she’s been practicing drawing from the holster, on-body carry. The discussion came up about off-body carry while we were chatting about her lifestyle, and the outfits she wears. This presented the perfect opportunity to show her my collection of concealed carry purses and give her a few dry-fire lessons along the way. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat, the worlds hiest capacity micro compact pistol.

Sponsored by Springfield Armory

What to Look for in a Concealed Carry Purse

Not just any purse is suitable for carrying a concealed firearm. Following are a few items to consider when choosing a purse for off-body carry in a safe manner. 

Springfield XD-S Mod.2 and concealed carry purse
Springfield XD-S Mod.2
  • Does the purse have a separate pocket for your firearm? If not, pens, keys and other items may get caught in the trigger guard.
  • Are there nylon coil zippers for the gun compartment? Metal ones may not open if just 1 tooth is missing.
  • Does the gun compartment offer extra padding? This helps keep your gun from printing, also referred to as showing.
  • Is there a crossbody shoulder strap available? A long strap worn crossbody is an added protection against a purse thief and also frees up your hands for other things.
  • Are you able to wear your purse the way you usually carry it and draw from it? Having to carry your purse on a different shoulder, in a different position allows room for mistakes. Look for styles made for left- and right-handed draw. 
Measure length of pistol 
Concealed Carry Journey: Off-Body Carry Tips
Measure length of pistol

Setting Up Your Concealed Carry Purse

Elizabeth perused my stash of Gun Tote’n Mamas’ concealed carry purses and picked one she wanted to use to learn how to carry off-body safely. First, we measured her unloaded Springfield XD-S Mod.2 to make sure it fit in the GTM/CZY-01

Elizabeth with GTM/CZY-01
How Elizabeth normally wears her purse

Next, Elizabeth demonstrated how she normally carries a purse cross-body. She wore the shoulder strap over her left shoulder, with the body of the purse at her right hip. We adjusted the length of the shoulder strap so the body of the purse sets in the best place for an easy draw.

Springfield XDS with GTM/CZY-01
Springfield XD-S Mod.2 with a GTM/CZY-01 concealed carry purse

Then, Elizabeth oriented the detachable holster on the Velcro to a position she wanted to try. It only took 2 practice draws to realize she needed to angle the holster more. With that change, it came time to discuss drawing from the purse. 

Correct size gun in GTM purse Springfield XD-S Mod.2
Springfields’s XD-S Mod.2 fits great in this gun compartment

Drawing from a Concealed Carry Purse 

As mentioned above, Elizabeth used her UNLOADED Springfield XD-S to learn drawing techniques and safety tips of off-body concealed carry. Here are a few more steps that will help you to adjust your purse or bag for successful on-body carry.

1. Set the zippers. Position the zippers on the gun compartment for ease of opening. Make sure you’re able to open the gun compartment and obtain a firm grip on the handgun.

2. Determine how to use your support hand to aid in the draw. This usually means grabbing firmly onto the shoulder strap where it attaches to the purse. Pull with that hand across your body while you’re drawing from the holster. Make sure to move your hand and purse out of the way to avoid sweeping the gun across your hand.  

3. Then, bring up your support hand and present the gun (push it forward) with a 2-handed grip. 

4. When the time comes to return the gun to your purse, it should be done with purpose. Watch as you return your gun into its holster and reset the zippers. 

5. If, after numerous draws, something doesn’t seem smooth, try making adjustments to the shoulder strap length or to the position of the holster. Note, if you adjust the holster, you may need to reposition the zippers. 

Concealed Carry Journey: Off-Body Carry Tips Springfield XD-S Mod.2
Elizabeth dry fire practicing drawing from the purse and aiming

Benefits of Off-Body Carry

Carrying a firearm in a purse means you don’t have to adjust your clothing style to meet your concealed-carry needs. Just grab your purse and go. Also, in the winter, when wearing multiple layers and longer coats, your purse is still accessible in the same position. And, in situations where something doesn’t feel quite right, you can have your hand on your firearm without drawing any attention it. 

Concealed Carry Journey: Off-Body Carry Tips
When carrying in a purse you have access to your firearm without drawing attention

Continued Training

Elizabeth plans on practicing drawing and dry-firing from her concealed carry purse until she feels comfortable and smooth with it. Eventually, we will add it into her live-fire training routine. 

Elizabeth’s Concealed Carry Journey Posts

From Bullseye and International Pistol to Concealed Carry

Grip, Trigger Press and Sight Picture

Getting the Gear and Drawing from a Holster

A First Trip to the Range

Diagnosing Pistol Targets

  • About Michelle Cerino

    Michelle Cerino, aka Princess Gunslinger, is the managing and social media editor at The WON. 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.