Off-body carry is a hotly-debated topic among concealed-carry proponents. Generally used (or at least recommended for) women with purses, it can also be used by men carrying briefcases or messenger bags.
But, as you’ll see, there are many issues surrounding the practice of off-body carry.
Advantages of Off-Body Carry
Concealment is the top advantage for off-body carry. The chances of a gun imprinting (showing the outline) or peeking through a gap is all but impossible when the firearm is hidden in a bag or purse.
This type of carry also gives outstanding comfort, as you don’t have the firearm pressed against your body, which can create comfort issues, especially for waistband carry.
For anyone preferring tight-fitting clothing, off-body carry can create an ideal situation where you can maintain concealment while wearing the fashions you prefer.
Arguments Against Off-Body Carry
Off-body carry, however, has many detractors, and the main argument against it is accessibility. If an attacker comes at you quickly, drawing your weapon from a bag, which may have multiple clips, flaps, and zippers, can be difficult.
Off-body carry also increases the chances that you could be separated from your self-defense weapon. Carelessness (which, admittedly, is an absolute no-no with firearms) could cause you to leave your bag somewhere where you can’t access it, and theft could result in your weapon falling into the hands of a criminal.
Off-Body Carry Properly
If you choose off-body carry, make sure you do it right. First of all, you need a holster inside the bag that will cover and protect the trigger guard. You can’t simply place the weapon in a random purse pouch; it has to be firmly secured in a specifically-designed pocket that holds it firmly so the weapon can’t bounce around yet is still accessible. For this reason, it’s best to only use a bag or purse that is specifically designed for concealed-carry purposes.