I’ve written a blog post previously about holster options for larger women, and I was recently asked to craft a piece on holster options for petite women, of which I am not (I am 6 feet tall). I don’t know what it’s like to live life at any other height than my own, but I do know what’s it like to be a woman in what is sometimes known as a man’s world. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a host of the holsters out there, even if they did not have women in mind when they were created. But there may be some special considerations when your body is small and when the gun size and/or holster size are the same for you as they are for an average-height-and-weight male or for taller or larger ladies. And since the topic of concealed carry for petite women may sometimes be overlooked, I went straight to the source: my shorter-statured, firearms-carrying friends. Here are some of their solutions and suggestions.
Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) Holster
Overall, the majority of women I spoke with shared that an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster at the appendix position (often directly in front of the hip) tended to be the best option. Topping the list was CrossBreed Holsters, with their MiniTuck and SuperTuck mentioned the most for firearms like the Glock 43, M&P Shield, Springfield XD-M, SIG P938 and Ruger SR9c.
I can relate well with these IWB selections, since I am very short-waisted (and that’s usually my go-to location and holster type). But speaking of those with a short waist, Carrie C. mentioned that she loves her Undertech UnderCover tank top holster (which I also love and use frequently). “I am not super petite,” she stated, “but I am very short-waisted, and I find that this tank works really well to conceal my Kahr CW9.”
Besides working through the challenge of concealing a gun, many females with petite frames and/or shorter torsos often find guns poking in very uncomfortable places. Jan A. claimed that she has yet to find a holster that addresses her short torso without poking her ribs. Luckily Lynda W. expressed that she’s found her solution to that problem with 3i Holsters (in her home state of Ohio). “I carry their kydex IWB, and it is very comfortable. I have long legs and a short torso, and at 5’3”, that doesn’t leave much room. But with this holster, I can sit without the butt of my S&W Shield 9mm in my boob!”
Bellyband Options for Concealed Carry
A large number of ladies also shared the ease and comfort of various bellyband options, with those from The Well Armed Woman and CanCan Concealment mentioned the most. At 5’4”, Rebecca F. explained, “The belly band helps with smoothing the edges and keeping the gun super close to my body. I wear it with skirts and dress pants, but also when I want to wear a more snug-fitting shirt with my jeans. I like the reholster ability that comes with the Kydex on a belly band. It allows me to practice dry-fire or go to the post office without having to undress to reholster.”
If IWB doesn’t work for you, you can be like Donna M. who stated, “I use an OTW holster most of the time and adjust clothing as needed.” Or sometimes, Donna adjusts the firearm, switching from a Glock 19 to a 380 in the summertime, when there’s more heat … and likely less fabric to cover the gun. Of course, not every woman has more than one carry gun or wants to use a firearm in a smaller caliber and/or with fewer rounds. And that’s where decisions — and possibly compromises — have to be carefully made. Jan E. shared, “I’m not a fan of tiny firearms in calibers less than 9mm, so that has made things difficult for this vertically challenged, short-waisted, flat-chested, sway-back 5’2” woman.”
“That said,” she continued, “for OWB/range/training, I like Blade Tech with the modular mounting system and CompTac International, because you can change whether it’s belt, paddle or offset drop in either mounting configuration. I also like custom Kydex holsters configured in fun colors (or basic black). For concealed carry, I struggle. My favorite is an OWB Kydex pancake style that holds the firearm close to me at the 2-4 o’clock position. I have a Stealth Gear hybrid appendix carry holster, but it doesn’t conceal as well as I would like it to. And there are a couple of Safariland IWB Kydex holsters that I like for one gun but not for the other. I have been carrying for 20+ years and still haven’t found the perfect solution!”
Deb C. may be in a similar situation, as she claimed she is “always looking for something better for a 5-foot, 100-pound frame. But, like Jan, she showed that variety can really be a great solution for women of all shapes and sizes. “For my SR9c, I use a Ruger leather OWB (most comfortable), a Sticky Holster (easiest to use) or a TWAW Kydex IWB or Ukoala Bag (most convenient). For my LCP II, I use a Sticky Holster (in my pocket), a TWAW Kydex IWB or purse carry (depending on attire for the day).”
Clearly, the options for concealed carry holsters are numerous, and the choices for petite women, especially, are very personal and very unique to them. And while it may take a bit of trial and error, hopefully these thoughts and ideas help put people on the right path to their own holster success.