Purses vs other types of bags

| October 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

From the WarriorTalk forum, on a thread about women carrying a firearm in a purse :

Just a little gasoline on the fire; but how is Purse Carry any worse than Sneaky Bag Carry?

In short, a lot worse. Purses are usually carried in the hand or via a strap on the same side, are more likely to interfere with the shooter and/or serve as a target for an attacker, and are not properly designed for easy draw and reholstering.

Here are some similarities and difference between purse carry and other bag-based off body carry.


Off-body carry is slower than almost all forms of on-body carry. Exceptions include ankle or deep concealment carry (groin, thigh, etc).

Off-body carry provides a target for thieves or other types of assailants to grab and possibly use as a handle to manipulate the wearer’s posture and position.

No bag is suitable to shoot through. The bag and bag contents will at the very least deflect a bullet. Bag contents may stop a bullet (eg the Tactical Ham Sandwich in Limatune’s purse test with The She-Shepherd).

Firing from inside a bag is likely to cause malfunctions.


A purse is either carried in the hand or worn on the same side shoulder. This means the defender is either deprived of a hand for use in a situation, or the purse may slide off the shoulder. This will disrupt aim and possibly balance.

Extending the arms to even a compressed ready position with a purse on the wrist provides a muchlarger, easier target for disarms.

Suitable bags for off body carry are equipped with a cross body strap or are otherwise designed to be securely attached to the body. Even a purse with a longer strap worn across the shoulder is better than a hand bag.

A purse is often stored in a shopping cart. The next time you go to the grocery store or a big box count how many purses are a left unattended while the owner is a few feet away.

While off-body carry is not as good as on body carry, at least proper bags are not left unattended in public.

Purses designed for carrying a handgun often have a special pocket for a firearm. According to the testing conducted by The She-Shepherd and Melody Lauer, the pockets made it difficult to achieve a proper master grip, fouled draws, made it impossible to safely reholster with one hand, or a combination of these problems.

Bags like the Vertx Commuter Sling have a large area dedicated to holding a firearm. Products from 5.11, Blackhawk, and others do the same. The small size of the purse makes it difficult to have a large, safe opening while preserving the look of a traditional purse.

Some who carry firearms and/or equipment in a bag also carry a weapon on their person. For example, I still carry a handgun even though my PDW / SBR is in my sling bag.

Women who carry in a purse may not have an on-body weapon at all.

A proper response bag will allow you to access other tools without setting the bag down. You may need to obtain a spare magazine, mobile phone, tourniquet, etc. It is best to do so while the bag is still attached to your body, aiding in retention and preserving your ability to move.

A handbag may need to be set onto something in order for a woman to access the contents. Holding the purse on one arm while trying to find something is also problematic and not preferred.

Purses are not like other types of bags

All purses are bags, not not all bags are purses. The one-handed design of most purses, plus their size and construction, make them much less desirable than other bag types.




About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

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