The topic of women-specific and practical, concealment holsters is widely discussed, often attempted, but rarely accomplished.
Why is it so difficult for women to find a way to conceal a handgun? The answer is easy: physiology.
Women's bodies typically feature shorter waists and wider hips than men's, which makes drawing from conventional holsters difficult. Studies suggest that men are also typically 10 percent larger than women. This makes it more challenging for women to carry concealed using traditional methods of outside (OWB) or inside the waist band (IWB).
There are some very good holsters available, but rarely do they meet the needs of a woman's lifestyle. Most females have daily clothing restrictions based on their career or activity. On average, a woman is two times more anxious about fashion choices than male counterparts. This means that a woman is more apt to leave her firearm at home if it means she can't wear her chosen outfit of the day because of the firearm and the means to carry it.
Coming from a law enforcement background with assignments that necessitated deep concealment, I too have felt the frustration of needing to carry for defense, while not losing my femininity. Ultimately, I was left with two options: not carrying or use nonstandard methods of carry that negatively affect access to and drawing a gun under acceptable time restraints. My personal standard is to draw from deep cover in less than 2 seconds, and my holster must have a triggerguard protector and some form of retention.
Meet Dene Adams. After years of trial and error, I came across the Dene Adams Corset concealed carry holster. At first glance, it may appear to be a lingerie item, as many of their options are adorned with lace and offered in bright feminine colors. If this isn't your style (and it's not mine), Dene Adams provides corset-style holsters in plain colors such as black, white or nude. Hook-and-eye attachments or a zipper fastener are the two attachment methods offered.
In testing both models, I quickly learned that I lack the patience for the hook-and-eye fasteners and prefer the zipper. I did find the zipper-fastened corset fits a little tighter of the two styles, causing me to have to order one size up. The website, deneadams.com, offers a quick sizing chart to ensure that you order the correct size for your body type. For women with a shorter torso or smaller frame, they also offer petite versions.
Dene Adams recommends the petite corset if carrying a micro pistol up to 5.8 inches in length. Their standard corsets accept firearms up to 7.4 inches.
The corset is constructed of a four-way stretch compression material that fits like a shape-wear garment. The corset has two concealment pouches that are ambidextrous. The opposite-side pouch can easily be used for accessories such as spare magazines, a flashlight, a knife or even a cell phone. A Velcro retention tab is integral to both pouches and the unit comes with an universal triggerguard insert that can be affixed to the inside of either pouch. A kydex insert specific to your model firearm is also an option.
Wearing the Dene Adams corset is just like wearing a compression garment. The fit is snug against your midsection, but not like a traditional corset, where movement is restricted. I chose to carry SIG Sauer's P320 Compact in 9mm with a small grip frame and a 15-round magazine. It fit nicely in the standard version. Two spare 15-round magazines easily fit in the opposing pouch. I found this package very easy to conceal under a normal polo-style shirt and a light jacket.
Wearing the holster throughout the day caused little-to-no disruption of my daily tasks. Driving, sitting, standing, moving and bending over were done with ease, with no discomfort or altering of my movements. The holster proved to be comfortable and I often found myself forgetting that I was wearing it.
Range Testâ€‚ue to the material of the corset, a conscious draw stroke is initially important. The corset's holster position is similar to a pocket and you may be tempted to put your entire hand in the pouch to draw. If you aren't careful, though, the elasticity of the material can push your trigger finger toward the trigger mechanism. It is imperative to reprogram your brain to maintain trigger discipline to ensure your finger remains outside of the pocket during the draw process. I found that the additional kydex insert made it easier to ensure the integrity of my draw stroke and I recommend using it.
The Velcro retention device created an obstruction to getting a good purchase on the firearm and caused the material of the holster to get stuck in the Velcro backing. The material of the holster retains the placement of the gun, so I found the backing unnecessary. Once adjustments to the draw stroke are made and trained, it is very similar to your traditional waistband draw.
Reholstering the pistol requires some practice as well. Again, due to the elasticity of the material, safely reholstering should be done with two hands. The support hand should be used to separate the pocket of the holster to maintain muzzle integrity.
With a little bit of dry-firing, I found the draw stroke and the reholstering process simple and safe. When testing it against the clock, I could consistently maintain a 2-second draw stroke, or better, with two layers of cover.
Being an active female, my lifestyle revolves around physical activity. For my workouts, I reduced gun size and weight by switching to a SIG Sauer P290 in 9mm with an extended magazine. My workout consisted of push-ups, pull-ups, various plyometric movements and ended with a 5-mile trail run. The holster held the gun snug against my body throughout the entire workout and did not pose any discomfort.
Finding a concealment holster that is both comfortable and reliable that does not alter your lifestyle is a tall order. But with the Dene Adams corset, I was easily able to carry a concealed firearm no matter what I was doing that included wearing a dress, a skirt, jeans and even yoga pants.
Like anything in life, if carrying a firearm becomes difficult, the average person will not do it. I found that I could wear the Dene Adams corset holster with ease with minimal impact to my daily activities. All in all, the Dene Adams corset-style holster has earned my seal of approval.