You have taken the class, you have purchased the firearm, you have the purse. For women, often
carrying in a purse is your first step to conceal carry.
Now, how do I actually conceal carry in my purse for the first time? What are the
logistics? What are the considerations? I have spoken to many women who choose to carry in a purse.
There is a step-by-step process to ensure you can carry safely and securely. The most important step is
to look at your routines. We are creatures of habit and you will need to be mindful of those choices.
When you attend a meeting or dinner, keep your purse with you always. You are responsible for your
firearm and you must retain possession of it always. Recently, I had a friend confess to me that I had
offended her early in our friendship. When we were together, I would always take my purse if I was
excusing myself from the table for any reason. She wondered if I thought she was untrustworthy. She
knows I have a gun in my purse. In a casual conversation, I mentioned that I always take my purse with
me whether I am going to the ladies’ room, refilling my glass, etc. Relief washed over her face and she
said to me, “I thought you didn’t trust me”. Step #1-Always maintain control of your handgun.
Step #2-Your purse should have locking zippers on the carry pocket. One side will always be locked.
That would be the side that the muzzle faces. You never want to access your firearm by grabbing the
muzzle. There may be times when you decide to lock both sides. This will ensure that no one will have
access to your firearm. However, that includes you. If I am attending a child’s birthday party, I will lock
both sides of the carry pocket before I leave my vehicle. Once the party is over and I am back in my car,
I will unlock the access side. Remember the objective is to err on the side of safety. I still have the key
to the carry pocket on my vehicle key ring in my pocket should I need to access to my gun.
Step #3 – Evaluate where you go. Are firearms allowed? Is it a public or private establishment? Business
owners (at least in AZ) can post a sign denying firearms in the building. That is their choice, it is your
choice whether to patron the business or not. Know that guns are never allowed in any federal building.
Step #4 – Establish a routine once you return home. Never lay your purse on the table or counter top.
Once you walk in your home, you should have a designated space. When I enter my home, I come
through the garage door. It opens into the kitchen. I have a hutch in my kitchen and I place my purse
on top of the hutch. Out of sight, out of reach of little fingers. I do not have small children in my home,
but my friends do. I don’t want to worry when they arrive at my home, and ask myself “Where is my purse?
Where is my gun?” I already know, it is on the top of the hutch. Under different circumstances, if I
needed to defend myself, I would know where it is. Every time.
Step #5- This may seem counter intuitive but hear me out. For the first two weeks, carry only the frame
of your firearm. That means no cartridges or magazine. Why? First, it will help you adjust to the
additional weight in your purse. Second, you will learn to maneuver within your purse accessing your
wallet, etc. The first time you go to the grocery store and you reach for your wallet. You will think “I have a
gun in my purse.” It is okay, it is only the frame. Your confidence will increase each time you access the
interior of your purse. Third and most important, your habits. Are you doing anything that could put
you at risk? Are you carrying safely and securely? There is a chance that you may need to change a
habit or two. Recognizing this, with only the frame in your purse will create awareness on your part. I
guarantee you won’t make that mistake twice.
Step #6 – After two weeks, you will have established your new routine carrying a firearm in a purse. You
will move with confidence knowing that you have checked your habits and you are truly carrying safely