Four Letters Re: Pistol Holster Recommendations for Women

Bill from Ohio has a number of great observations about carry issues for females. Among the issues he mentions about hip holsters built for men:
1) Because of a woman’s hips they tend to cause the butt of the weapon to dig-in to a woman’s waist
2) Because women have hips, upon which they wear their belt they have less room to lift the weapon before it impinges into their armpit.
3) Because of factors 1 and 2 the FBI cant further complicates a natural draw for women.
I’d like to mention a holster made by Blade-Tech that addresses all three of these issues.

The offset allows for a normal vertical weapon carry by offsetting the distance from waist to hip. The drop isn’t a dramatic drop like a thigh rig — it just gives the woman a holster to armpit distance more comparable to what a man experiences. Finally the cant is fully adjustable to include straight drop, FBI, and even muzzle forward.
I have no financial relationship (other than being a customer) with Blade Tech. Just wanted to point out this groundbreaking product. – Keith in the Inland Northwest


As a follow-on to Pistol Holsters for Women, my wife had good luck with a Galco Lady Gunsite for a full-size 1911. This holster has an angled belt attachment, holding the gun vertical with the grip away from the body. This is not an effective concealment rig, as the gun sticks out from the body. It can get in the way until you get used to it. And of course, they don’t make ’em anymore. – Simple Country Doctor.


In the recent letter regarding Holster Recommendations for Women, I found that I could understand that there is a problem, but was having a hard time visualizing it. A quick Google turned up an article on the subject. It does not offer the exact same solutions to the problem, but it does have diagrams.

As a guy, I found this very useful to understanding the problem. It is probably a lot safer than harassing the next female police officer I see with endless questions about her firearm. Somehow I doubt the officer–or my wife–would appreciate me pointing/shifting/tugging on the officer’s gear and person just to satisfy my curiosity about this problem. – Jeff


Bill in Ohio brings up nearly everything I was going to write about yesterday (but killing blackberries and renovating the spring got in the way). His descriptions of the various holsters and how they fit on women is spot on and I doubt I could have described them as well. Everyone needs to read them very carefully, and learn!

Unfortunately, I learned all that the hard way. For over 30 years, I have carried a pistol when horseback riding, and I can assure you that as a 5’3″ woman, with hips and breasts, it is no easy thing. And over the years I have come to the conclusion that the traditional thigh-tiedown type holster works best. The cowboys had that one right!

There are a couple of reasons why I use this set up. First off, it’s easy and comfortable, even if you carry a good-sized pistol (in this case, a Dan Wesson .357 with a 6.5-inch barrel.) The only problem I ever had with it was that the Pachmayr grip rubbed a hole through the lining of my long riding coat. So I covered that place with Cordura.

The second reason is that while I was trying out various ways of packing that pistol, I had that big pistol at the small of my back. That worked okay, once I worked out how to get rid of the “bounce” when going faster than a walk. (I had to wear the belt so tight it was uncomfortable) But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was taking a bad fall one day, and landing on the damn thing! Ouch!

So, I nixed the belt/small of the back idea, and went back to the thigh holster.

I do sometimes carry a smaller pistol (9mm Ruger with a 2-inch barrel) at the small of my back. I rigged a fanny pack with a synthetic holster, and that works well.

I have often wondered if anyone has tried to modify (or if someone already makes) a holster integrated with one of those neoprene back support belts. It would seem to me that this would work very well. Something like a pancake holster sewn onto the belt at the small of the back. It would be comfy, wouldn’t bounce, and if done right shouldn’t be too difficult to draw. So, unless someone comes up with a better idea, I’m sticking with my thigh tie-down.

Oh, something else in regards to packing a weapon when riding. You should always keep your weapon on your person! If you get dumped (or your horse takes off while you are taking a leak.) you do not want to be without your defense. I also carry water, a couple power bars, a small first aid kit, and a Leatherman in my fanny pack as well.

Many of my riding friends have made fun of me over the years because of all the stuff I carry with me. I have big saddlebags, stuffed with everything I might need. But all that teasing sure stops in a big hurry when someone needs something that I happen to have! ( Like toilet paper, a tampon, a shovel, or even my gold pan!) I also take a lot of flak for usually riding the smallest horse with the most gear.

Take care, and my thoughts are with your family. I hope Memsahib is on the mend! – Mrs. JD

JWR Replies: Like you, I am not an advocate of “small of back” (SOB) holsters. They are particularly risky when riding a bicycle, motorcycle, ATV, or horse! You are fortunate that you didn’t take a harder fall, or you might have suffered a spinal injury. I have read accounts of a few law enforcement officers that had severe injuries because of SOB holsters. I’m not willing to take that risk.