To quote Robert Heinlein: “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life”.
In my lifetime, I have always tried to carry myself well and when CCW permits became available in my state of residence, I also began carrying myself well-armed.
I firmly believe that a community where citizens are armed and legally able to carry a firearm is a safer place to live.
I feel fortunate to live in Arizona, a state that allows open carry and in more recent history, concealed carry; even though my family and I weren’t firearm owners for the first two decades of our life here.
Although I did not grow up around guns, I did not have a fear or dislike of them. I respected the second amendment and those who legally owned guns; law enforcement agents, hunters, everyday citizens, sporting men and women.
Once finally introduced to firearms, though, I was immediately hooked - grip, sights & trigger. I began competing in the action shooting sports in 1986, and had guns for home protection soon after.
I've had my CCW permit for many years now and with few legal exceptions, absolutely exercised my right to carry concealed.
Choosing to carry for self protection is a very personal decision and one which certainly should not to be taken lightly. There are many factors to consider and scenarios to contemplate.
As women, we have other constraints to work within as well.
It’s difficult to always carry on body. Small frames, narrow waistlines and snug-fitting clothing aren’t conducive to the concealment of even the most compact of pistols.
For these reasons, many women opt to carry in a purse, even though it’s not the optimal solution.
Purse carry mandates additional responsibilities
When out and about, my purse never leaves my body, never leaves my grasp.
I always try to buy purses that have a strap long enough to carry across my body. When sitting at a restaurant or other location, my purse is in my lap, wrapped at my feet or strapped across a chair in a secure manner. I cannot ever let my guard down regarding the location of my purse, ever.
The pistol I carry in my purse is not the same pistol as I carry on body (when I can) and is definitely not the same as the firearms that we have in our home for self protection. Nor the same gun I take hiking, and not at all similar to the guns that I compete with.
Different guns for different purposes.
With that said and without going into another blog topic, for my purse gun, I have chosen the Springfield Armory® XD(M)® 3.8 in .45 caliber. It is the best concealed carry gun for my liking in my purse.
Why I choose the XD(M)® 3.8" for purse carry:
- The grip and trigger safeties on the XD(M)® pistols are a must-have for me. I am confident if I use a purse without a built-in holster or separate compartment, the XD(M)® 3.8 can be securely and safely carried.
- The compact frame and overall length of the 3.8 fits easily in all of my day to day purses even when carried in a holster.
- The combination of the largest of the 3 interchangeable back straps and the 13 round X-Tension™ magazine fits my large, un-ladylike hands perfectly! If your hands are more petite than mine, the small or medium back strap and standard magazine will most likely fit your grip to the Goldilocks’ standard; just right.
- .45 ACP is my top-pick caliber for protection.
I shoot my carry XD(M)® 3.8 on a regular basis and love the feel of the .45 since I usually compete with 9 mm.
When I’m done practicing, I stow my 3.8 back in my purse, hoping that I don’t have to grab it again until my next scheduled session at the range.
Better to have and not need than to need and not have.
Author Note: Owning a firearm and deciding how and where to carry and store it is an important and personal decision that should be based on YOUR environment and family situation. Safe storage is NOT one-size-fits-all. My 17-year old daughter has been raised around firearms, understands and practices firearm safety and knows how to accurately and safely shoot. I’m not worried about her “finding” my purse gun [or any gun] at this point in my life. However, that was not always the situation so my carry and storage practices were different. A responsible gun owner has to consider all possibilities and properly store / carry their firearm based on their unique circumstances and family situation.