Purse Carry – My Preferred Way to Carry Concealed

Purse Carry
Purse Carry
Springfield Armory USA
Springfield Armory USA

Geneseo, IL –– (AmmoLand.com) Before I get to the topic of Purse Carry a few quote from 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.


Purse Carry
Purse Carry

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.

Springfield Armory XD(M) 3.8 in .45 caliber
Springfield Armory XD(M) 3.8 in .45 caliber

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.

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She is better with a gun in her purse than not having it at all.


Tie that carry purse to a shopping cart with a kid in it and you risk repeating the northern Idaho event where the kid killed the mom. Plus, there are plenty of pick-pockets who can easily pick a purse. Is there a retention holster that fits a carry purse ?


I’m conflicted over this type of carry. As an instructor I always advocate people being armed but I want them to have access to that firearm as quickly as possible and have it carried as safely as possible. Carrying in a purse seems to defeat both of those. If someone runs from behind, grabs the purse and knocks you to the ground and is gone they now have your purse and your gun. I understand the arguement for situational awarement but there are circumstances where a “smash and grab” could occur and the best of us could become victims.


Besides being a good shot herself, I am sure, her “little bitty itsy bitty tiny” husband Rob who has been a leading winner of every type of combat and near combat type shooting competition, a national and world champion many times in the last 30 years would not be the right person to agitate if his wife is bothered by some idiot.