If you're carrying a concealed weapon, your purse should be durable and efficient. While style concerns typically take second place for this type of bag, designers are also becoming more attuned to creating attractive, professional designs for concealment handbags.
Styles of Concealment Purses
Quality is essential when it comes to these handbags. Low-quality fabric and imitation leather are poor options when it comes to this type of bag. Instead, choose those with durable hardware and materials. You can expect to pay between $80 and $300 for a good quality concealment bag. Since size, shape, and features vary, consider the pros and cons of each before buying.
Small Concealed Carry Purses
Small bags are less bulky and easy to grab and go. It is also easy to keep the purse on your body because you are not carrying a lot of extra items. Some styles have compartments for small every day essentials but overall, these bags remain lightweight.
- GTM Tooled Cowhide Gun Holster Purse - A slash-resistant shoulder strap with cross body length easily snaps on and off if you want to use the bag as a clutch. Made from soft leather embossed with a rose pattern design, it includes multiple compartments for a cell phone, credit/debit cards, sunglasses and features a gun compartment on the back that zips open on three sides. This bag was on NRA Family's list of top concealed carry bags for women. It retails for about $100.
- Cool Blue Leather Compact Carrie - The double-sided design of this compact bag acts as a wallet on one side with a zippered compartment containing dividers for a phone and cards, while the other side contains an adjustable removable holster to keep your firearm safely tucked away. It comes in a light blue and a bright red shade and sells for just under $160.
- Marlie Carry Cross Body Mini Purse - This cute small bag can be used on its own as a cross body purse or inserted into a larger purse, making any purse you own an instant concealed carry purse. It's 9" wide by 6.5" tall and has pockets on the outside for your ID, credit cards, etc. It comes in black, tan, light blue, navy, magenta and purple and sells for about $55.
Mid-Size Concealed Carry Purses
This size is a practical one when it comes to carrying a concealed weapon. You'll have plenty of room for your everyday essentials, but the bag won't be bulky. This is a great size to keep with you all the time.
- GTM-32 Pleated Slouch Black - The concealed weapon compartment is located in the center of the bag and is big enough to hold a Glock 19; the other two compartments feature magnetic closures with divided pockets for cell phone, makeup and keys. This bag also includes an outside zippered pocket. You can pick it up for about $170.
- Distressed Buffalo Concealed Carry Clutch - A shoulder bag that can function as a clutch if you remove the straps. It features a slash-resistant shoulder strap, an inside open and inside zippered pocket and special padding to prevent the gun from imprinting the bag. The gun compartment is 9.75" wide by 6.5" tall and 0.75" deep and is designed to be used for left or right hands. The bag has a lovely vintage distressed leather look. You can get this striking purse for under $140.
- Montana West Western Concealed Carry Hobo Shoulder Bag - This medium-sized hobo bag has a lot of appeal and its five star rating on Amazon shows it. It comes in several cute options including nine different designs such as floral, concho and embossed. The bag measures 9.5" x 11" x 4.75" with a 12" shoulder strap. It's large enough to fit your smartphone, iPad, wallet and other accessories. There are six pockets total with the concealed carry pocket on the back of the bag. It's also made with environmentally friendly vegan leather. It's also relatively inexpensive at around $55.
Large Concealed Carry Handbags
Larger handbags and tote-style purses allow more room to carry extra items and may have extra compartments. They can also provide a professional appearance, especially in more structured designs. Slouchy oversize styles can provide a high-fashion look. However, since they are heavier and more bulky, there is more of a temptation to set the bag down rather than to keep it on you.
- Bucket Tote Concealed Carry Purse - Black leopard microfiber print on full grain, drum-dyed leather gives this oversized bag a stylish look. Two large compartments give you plenty of room for everyday essentials while your firearm stays tucked away in a left or right-hand vertical, zippered, outside compartment on the back. Also available in plain black, this purse sells for around $105.
- Browning Women's Ashley Concealed Carry Handbag with Holster - This roomy leather purse has one zipper pocket and two drop-in pockets with a 100% polyester lining. The concealed carry compartment is 7" x 9.5" wide and the purse's overall dimensions are 16" x 23.25" x 5". The holster is removable and there are locking carry pocket zippers for keeping your weapon safe. It's available in brown for about $80.
- Bulldog Cases Carry Tote - This cute bag gets a 4.5 out of 5 star rating by happy users on Amazon. It's also one of GunZone's picks for the best concealed carry purses of 2020. It's stylish with a navy and white striped pattern and leather accents and definitely does not look like a concealed carry purse to the unsuspecting eye. There's an internal zipper pocket for your accessories and the purse measures 17" x 12" x 5". It sells for a little under $100.
Concealed Carry Messenger Bags
A messenger style is also appropriate for this type of carrying. Pockets can help with the functionality of this style. The messenger bag is especially common in a variety of settings, so its presence is particularly inconspicuous. The downside of a standard messenger is its typically larger size. However, smaller versions, sometimes called shoulder pouches or slings, are a practical option that is less bulky.
- Vintage Concealed-Carry Messenger Bag - For the woman who loves a rustic, vintage look, this distressed buffalo leather bag is a must-have accessory. Perfect for the office, it's roomy enough to hold a tablet, document sleeves, and binders up to three inches deep. The gun compartment is accessed through vertical zippers on either the left or right side near the back and is 10 inches wide by 7.25 inches tall. Grab this bag for about $200.
- Mottled Cocoa Canvas Messenger Bag - If you're looking for a bag with lots of interior room, this stylish messenger bag has plenty to offer with a 12" wide by 10" tall interior space with a flat bottom panel. There's an interior zipper pocket and two drop-in pockets on the front. The roomy interior holster is 7" tall by 9" wide and can fit .380s through larger semi-automatics and revolvers. The bag has a southwestern tapestry-style exterior flap and leather trim. It sells for just under $110.
Concealed Carry Fanny Packs
A waist or hip pack, also known as a fanny pack, is another option. Spacious enough to fit most medium and large-frame revolvers and automatics, the fanny pack allows the pistol to be drawn from either the left or right side. The main advantage of this type of bag is it allows you to have your hands free, making it a good option to use while jogging or riding a bike. The downside is that it doesn't offer the style of other types of purses for concealed weapons.
- 5.11 Select Carry Pistol Pouch - This durable little nylon bag looks and fits like an ordinary fanny pack. The difference is that rapid access to a firearm is achieved via a pull strap that quickly unzips the gun storage compartment, which also features integrated slots for extra magazines. It's an inexpensive option and comes in charcoal at around $35.
- Blackhawk Urban Carry Fanny Pack Gun Holster - The manufacturer states this is the "fastest drawing weapon fanny pack on the market." You can also choose left or right handed draw styles. It's designed to accommodate other types of weapons such as a baton or for a flashlight. There are small, medium and large options for the waist belt to accommodate any size user. Get this waist pack for about $63.
Concealed Carry Inserts
Another option to consider if you can't find a bag that fits your needs is an insert or handgun case. These are small holders for your weapon that you can place inside a larger bag. These generally are made for utility and not style but can work well if you need a specific style of bag that doesn't have a concealed carry option or you want to use an existing non-carry bag for your weapon. The downside to this option is they may not be designed for quick drawing action and rather are made for securely carrying a weapon so you'll be sacrificing speed and access.
- Smith & Wesson Defender Handgun Case - This case comes in small, medium and large sizes. It's made of heavy duty fabric with padded inside walls to protect your weapon. The smallest measures 9" x 6" x 1.5" on the outside through 13" x 7" x 1.5" at the largest. It sells for about $20.
- Concealed Carrier LLC Purse Holster - Gun Mann picks this insert as the best of 2020 and it gets an average review of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon with over 800 reviews. It can be used in handbags from 10" inches to 16" inches long and fits just about any size or caliber concealed carry weapon. It has an adjustable design that you can use to accommodate your purse size and lock in place. It sells for just under $20.
Features to Consider
To ensure that your purse is as safe to carry as it is fashionable, keep the following features in mind as you shop.
- Locking zippers - Some purses feature locking zippers for the gun access area. This is an extra security feature that some women may prefer.
- Internal holsters - A built-in holster in the handbag can offer extra stability and easy access to your weapon.
- Slash-resistant straps - Cable-lined or other slash-resistant straps can offer extra protection, but may make a bag slightly heavier.
- Left or right handed access - Most bags are designed for right handed access. Make sure the purse states it has left handed access if you are left handed. If it claims to have ambidextrous access, it's wise to test it out if possible to make sure it is comfortable and efficient.
Where to Purchase
Browse the various offerings at the following retailers to find the perfect handbag style for your needs.
- Gun Gear: A range of sleek, no-frills styles are available from Gun Gear. Choose from leather or nylon flap purses, hobos, or shoulder pouches. This store also offers several handbag styles with slash-resistant straps, and some designs with exterior pockets.
- Concealed Carrie: High fashion meets function in these designer style handbags created specifically for women's self-defense. Styles include large satchels, medium-sized hobos and small cross body compacts.
- Gun Tote'N Mamas: This shop specializes specifically in various bags for carrying concealed weapons. Choices include leather and ballistic polyester, and bags come in flat, cross-body, and shoulder styles.
- Woolstenhume Designer Concealed Carry Bags: For women who want more than a basic bag, Woolstenhume offers a range of high-fashion purses for carrying concealed weapons. In addition to many color and design choices, each purse also features quick access to your weapon, sensible organizing features, and a smartly structured internal holster.
- Coronado Leather: Made from premium grade leather, the handbags from Coronado are available in flap, hobo, satchel, and cross-body styles.
- Galco Gun Leather: This shop offers several handbag styles, along with holsters, gloves and bands for carrying on-body.
- Camille Conceals: This shop makes stylish concealed carry bags at affordable prices using materials like canvas, as well as leather and vegan styles. Their purses also come in a range of colors and patterns and are a great alternative if a high-end leather purse isn't your style.
Which Concealed Carry Purse Is Best?
It's a good idea when shopping for a concealed carry purse to research the options thoroughly and read consumer reviews. Ultimately, the "best" purse is the one that fits with your lifestyle and the type of weapon you have, as well as whether you're right or left handed. A purse made of high-end leather and fancy styles may not work for you if you're more of a casual, "jeans and t-shirt" woman, and you don't want the purse to stand out from your normal way of dressing. Other considerations for finding your personal best include:
- Look at the materials, colors, styles and other options before making a decision on which purse fits you best.
- Since many styles can be expensive, you may also want to consider an insert or holster instead and use an existing purse.
- If you're unsure if an existing purse will work well for drawing your weapon, consult your local gun store staff for their opinions. Many even have concealed carry classes where you can bring your holster or purse of choice to test it out and learn the best way to draw quickly to protect yourself.
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Although many women debate whether to carry a weapon in a purse, there are situations where it can be beneficial, even if you typically prefer carrying your weapon on-body. Evaluate the features, styles, and designs that work best for you and invest in a high quality bag for those times when carrying a concealed weapon is necessary.