You’re in the right place if you’re a woman interested in concealed carry for personal protection. We understand the importance of feeling safe and empowered while carrying a firearm.

This guide will share valuable concealed carry tips tailored to women, helping you make informed decisions about self-defense and holsters. 

Let’s dive in and explore how you can confidently exercise your Second Amendment rights.

Understanding Concealed Carry Laws

Before you start carrying a firearm, you must have a solid grasp of the laws and regulations governing concealed carry in your state or jurisdiction. Here are some key points to consider:

State-Specific Laws

Every state has its own set of concealed carry laws and regulations. These laws can vary significantly from one state to another. Research and understand your state’s laws, including:

  • Concealed Carry Permit Requirements: Determine the eligibility criteria for obtaining a concealed carry permit in your state. Some states have strict background check requirements, while others are more permissive.
  • Reciprocity Agreements: Check if your state has reciprocity agreements with other states, allowing you to carry your concealed firearm across state lines. Be aware of the specific states where your permit is valid.
  • Restrictions: Familiarize yourself with any restrictions on where you can carry. Certain locations, such as schools, government buildings, and private property with posted “no firearms” signs, may prohibit concealed carry.
  • Duty to Inform: Some states require individuals carrying concealed firearms to inform law enforcement officers of their concealed weapons during interactions.

Federal Laws

In addition to state laws, there are federal laws that apply to concealed carry:

  • Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA): FOPA provides some protections for individuals traveling with firearms between states. However, it’s essential to comply with the law’s requirements, such as transporting the gun unloaded and in a locked container.
  • Gun-Free School Zones Act: This federal law restricts carrying firearms within 1,000 feet of a school zone, with limited exceptions.

Firearm Types and Capacity

Different states may have specific regulations regarding the types of firearms you can carry concealed and magazine capacity limits. Be aware of these restrictions and choose your gun accordingly.

Training and Certification

Many states require concealed carry applicants to complete a firearm safety course or training program. Even if not mandated by law, seeking proper training is highly recommended for responsible concealed carriers.

Changes in Laws

Concealed carry laws can change over time due to legislative actions or court decisions. Stay updated on any legal developments that may impact your ability to carry concealed.

Non-Resident Permits

If you frequently travel to other states, investigate the possibility of obtaining non-resident concealed carry permits for states with reciprocal agreements, expanding your carry rights.

Understanding and abiding by concealed carry laws is crucial for staying within legal boundaries and ensuring your safety and the safety of others. It’s your responsibility as a concealed carrier to know and respect these laws while exercising your Second Amendment rights. Always seek legal counsel or consult your state’s official resources for the most up-to-date information on concealed carry regulations.

Choosing the Right Firearm

There are several important considerations to keep in mind. Women often have unique preferences and requirements when it comes to handguns, given factors like size, weight, and ease of use. In this section, we’ll explore some popular options catering to female shooters’ specific needs.

Compact and Lightweight

One of the key factors for women to consider when shopping for a handgun is its size and weight. Generally, women may have less upper body strength and smaller hands, so the best guns are often compact and lightweight. These characteristics make them easier to handle and carry for extended periods.

Caliber Matters

The caliber of a handgun significantly impacts the felt recoil, which can be an essential consideration for women. Smaller ammunition typically generates less recoil, making it more comfortable to shoot. Many women prefer handguns chambered for smaller calibers as they balance manageable recoil and effective stopping power.

However, it’s crucial to strike the right balance between caliber and effectiveness, especially if the handgun is intended for self-defense. While smaller calibers might offer less recoil, they must still provide sufficient stopping power to protect the shooter.

Purpose Matters

For concealed carry, a handgun must be slim and lightweight to carry throughout the day without causing fatigue. It should be easy to conceal under clothing while offering adequate stopping power.

The Best Handgun for Women

The best handgun for a woman ultimately depends on her preferences and needs. It’s essential to weigh these factors carefully when choosing the right firearm. To help you kickstart your search, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top handguns for women.

SIG P365

The SIG P365 is a celebrated micro-compact 9mm pistol known for its easy concealability, reliable performance, and extended ammunition capacity. Its 1-inch wide grip is comfortable for smaller hands, and the 3.1-inch barrel improves shooting accuracy. Despite its lightweight 17.8 ounces, it remains well-balanced, offering a clean and crisp trigger pull for enjoyable shooting.

The standout feature of the SIG P365 is its extended capacity, holding 10 rounds while maintaining a compact size. With an overall length of only 5.8 inches, it’s ideal for concealed carry while delivering a potent punch.


Chambered in 9mm and measuring 6.1 inches overall, the 2022 Smith & Wesson CSX features a 12+1 capacity with an additional 10-round magazine. Its aluminum alloy frame and interchangeable polymer backstraps allow you to tailor the pistol to your ergonomic fit and preferred concealment level. It boasts an external single-action hammer for a clean, consistent trigger press, making it one of the best concealed carry guns for women.

SIG P238

The SIG Sauer P238 is an excellent choice for women who prefer classic handgun styling and a .380 ACP caliber. It’s modeled on an all-metal 1911 frame while remaining lightweight at 15.2 ounces. The smaller caliber produces lighter recoil, making it easy to handle and shoot. With an overall length of only 5.5 inches, the SIG P238 is easy to conceal in a small bag or purse. It’s available in several colors and styles to suit individual preferences.


Produced by one of the most well-known manufacturers of 1911 handguns, the Kimber Micro 9 features the signature short single-action trigger pull of a 1911, improving accuracy and performance. It offers a quick magazine release and easy reloading. Weighing just 15.6 ounces and measuring 6.1 inches overall, the Kimber Micro 9 is designed for concealed carry. Its mild recoil and slim grip width make it comfortable for beginners and experienced shooters.


The Glock 19 is a widely popular choice for self-defense and competitive shooting. Despite being slightly heavier at 21.5 ounces without the magazine, it remains light enough for comfortable handling. With an overall length of 7.28 inches and a barrel length of 4.02 inches, it balances concealability and accuracy. The Glock 19 features a dual recoil spring system, resulting in a lighter felt recoil. Its customizable grip size and ergonomic design cater to individual preferences, making it a versatile option for women.


If you’re looking for a slightly slimmer option, the Glock 43X offers a more compact package while retaining the reliability Glock is known for. With an overall length of 6.50 inches and a single-stack 9mm design, it provides a comfortable grip and ease of concealment. The Glock 43X offers the option of 10 rounds of 9mm, providing more firepower while remaining highly concealable.


Smith & Wesson’s M&P Shield is a lightweight and slim 9mm pistol known for its easy shooting and high concealability. With a grip width of less than an inch, it’s perfect for shooters with smaller hands. The Shield offers a longer grip height, resulting in a tighter grip, better recoil control, and improved shooting accuracy. It features a corrosion-resistant polymer frame and stainless steel chassis for durability. Weighing 20.8 ounces, it’s comfortable for all-day carry.


The Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ is designed for easy use and maintenance. Chambered for .380 ACP, it features an easy-to-load magazine and easy-to-rack slide, making it suitable for beginners. Weighing 18.5 ounces and measuring 6.7 inches overall, it’s ideal for concealed carry or home protection. It offers a crisp trigger with an audible reset for comfortable shooting.

CZ 75 P-01

The 9mm CZ P-01, created for military and law enforcement use, offers a compact design with a de-cocker, 14+1 round capacity, and a Picatinny rail for accessories. It provides a balance of control, combat accuracy, and reliability. While slightly longer at 7.17 inches overall, it’s still a great concealed carry option for women.


Chambered for .380 ACP, the S&W Bodyguard 380 is ultra-lightweight and easily concealable, weighing 12.3 ounces. It offers an extended finger grip for a reliable hold, and a 9.5-pound trigger pull weight for added safety. Despite its shorter barrel, it’s easy to control and aim accurately.


The Springfield Armory Hellcat boasts a microsized grip, a 6-inch overall length, and a patented magazine with impressive capacity. It’s highly concealable and offers high visibility sights and optics-ready configuration, making it ideal for self-defense.


The Ruger MAX-9 is a micro-sized, semi-automatic pistol with a smooth trigger pull and clean break. It offers a capacity of up to 12+1 9mm rounds in a compact package, making it versatile for various carry options.

These handguns have unique features and characteristics catering to different preferences and needs. As you explore your options, consider factors like ergonomics, recoil management, safety features, and overall size to find the best handgun that suits your requirements.

Remember that choosing the right firearm is a personal decision, and what works best for one woman may differ from another. ITry out different handguns at a shooting range to find the one that feels most comfortable and effective for you. Seek guidance from experienced shooters or firearms instructors who can provide valuable insights based on your specific needs and preferences.

Holster Selection

Choosing the right holster is paramount for safe and comfortable concealed carry. Some popular options include:

  • IWB (Inside-the-Waistband) Holsters: These are discreet and easily concealed under clothing, providing comfort and accessibility.
  • Appendix Carry Holsters: Great for women, these holsters are worn in front, allowing for quick access and minimizing printing (visible firearm outlines).

Holster Positioning

Selecting the perfect concealed carry holster is only part of the equation. Equally important is understanding the various carry positions and how they impact your comfort, accessibility, and ability to conceal your firearm effectively. In this chapter, we’ll explore the most common carry positions, highlighting their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Inside-the-Waistband (IWB)


  • Excellent Concealment: IWB holsters are known for their superior concealment capabilities. By positioning the firearm inside your pants, they keep it well-hidden, reducing the risk of printing.
  • Secure and Stable: These holsters typically provide a snug fit, preventing the firearm from shifting or falling out during daily activities.
  • Quick Access: With the right IWB holster, you can achieve a fast and easy draw, making it an excellent choice for self-defense.


  • Comfort Depends on Holster and Clothing: IWB holsters can be comfortable or uncomfortable depending on the holster design and your choice of clothing. Some people find them less comfortable for extended wear.
  • May Require Upsizing Clothing: To accommodate an IWB holster, you might need to wear pants one size larger than your usual size.

Outside-the-Waistband (OWB)


  • Comfortable: OWB holsters are often more comfortable for extended periods of wear since they don’t press against your body like IWB holsters.
  • Easy Access: Accessing your firearm is typically quick and uncomplicated with OWB holsters.


  • Reduced Concealment: While OWB holsters offer comfort and accessibility, they are less concealable than IWB options. You may need to wear a longer shirt or jacket to hide the firearm effectively.
  • Potential Printing: Without proper clothing choices and cover garments, OWB holsters can print easily, revealing the presence of your firearm.

Appendix Carry


  • Rapid Draw: Appendix carry, where you position the holster in the front of your body, provides one of the fastest draw strokes. This makes it an excellent choice for self-defense situations.
  • Minimized Printing: When done correctly, appendix carry can effectively hide your firearm without significant printing.


  • Requires Training: Drawing safely from the appendix position requires training.
  • Comfort Depends on Body Type: Appendix carry may be less comfortable for some body types, as the holster is positioned in a sensitive area.
  • Potentially Risky Reholstering: Care must be taken when reholstering, as the muzzle may be directed towards your body.

Small of Back (SOB) Carry


  • Concealment: SOB can offer excellent concealment, as it positions the firearm along the small of your back, typically hidden by a jacket or untucked shirt.
  • Comfort for Some: Some individuals find SOB carry comfortable, especially when sitting for extended periods.


  • Draw Can Be Slower: Accessing your firearm from the small of your back can be slower than other carry positions.
  • Risk of Injury: Falling backward with a gun in the SOB position can lead to injury, especially if you land on your back.

Cross-Draw Carry


  • Accessibility: Cross-draw provides quick access to your firearm, particularly if you have limited mobility in your dominant hand.
  • Comfortable While Seated: This carry position is often more comfortable while sitting in a vehicle or at a desk.


  • Limited Concealment: Cross-draw holsters can be more challenging to conceal.
  • Draw Can Be Slower: Drawing from a cross-draw position can be slower compared to some other methods.

The choice of carry position should align with your comfort, accessibility, and concealment preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as what works best for one person may not work for another. 

Try different positions, holsters, and clothing combinations to determine which suits you best. Additionally, ongoing training and practice are crucial for safe and effective concealed carry, regardless of your chosen position.

Clothing and Concealment

Your choice of clothing plays a significant role in successful concealed carry. Opt for loose-fitting, layered clothing to help cover your firearm. Invest in concealment garments designed to hide your gun effectively. 

Never choose your holster around your clothing. Choose your clothing around your holster. Your firearm is there to protect you and shouldn’t be an accessory.

Training and Practice

Regular training is essential to becoming a responsible concealed carrier. Enroll in firearm safety and self-defense classes to learn proper shooting techniques and situational awareness. Practice drawing, aiming, and firing to build confidence and muscle memory.

Situational Awareness

Being aware of your surroundings is a critical self-defense skill. Stay vigilant in public spaces, avoid distractions, and trust your instincts. Always have an exit strategy in mind and be prepared to react if a threat arises.

Safe Storage

When you’re not carrying your firearm, store it securely. Invest in a quality gun safe or lockbox to prevent unauthorized access. Safety should always be a priority, especially with children at home.

Stay Informed

Keep yourself informed about changes in concealed carry laws, self-defense techniques, and firearm technology. Join local or online communities of female concealed carriers to share experiences and knowledge.

Trust Your Instincts

If a situation doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Your safety should always come first. When in doubt, retreat and call for help.

Women’s Concealed Carry Tips Conclusion

Empowering yourself with knowledge, training, and the right equipment is key to responsible concealed carry for women. At Havok Holsters, we’re here to support you on your self-defense journey. Remember, your safety is paramount, and we’re dedicated to providing the tools and information you need to protect yourself and your loved ones. Stay safe and stay vigilant!