Women & the .45-Part 3

By Catherine Lindsay
So, now you know, after my first two articles, that, yes, women can shoot the .45! But, can they CARRY the .45?
Weight:
My fully-loaded Ruger SR1911 weighs 2lbs., 9.5oz., as opposed to my S & W M & P Shield in 9mm, which weighs 1lb., 8.5oz. So, a sturdy, thick belt is neccessary. There are plenty of “tactical” belts out there(fugly!), but I have found my 1 3/8″ wide X 3/16″ thick Nacona western-style belt does the trick just fine. Plus, I can change out the belt buckles (we can still be fashionable while carrying!). I was also lucky to find a Coach belt at the thrift shop for a good price. It is 1 1/2″ wide & made with 2 pieces of leather, sewn together, with something(plastic?) sandwiched between, making it both sturdy & stylish. I also check the thickness of belts buy squeezing the 2 width sides together. If it bends, it’s not a good gun belt.
Along with a good belt, you need a good holster. I prefer Comp-Tac Speed Paddle Holsters. The width of the paddle, which is inserted into the pants behind the belt, makes the weight ride more evenly on the body, rather than a holster with just a single clip. It also is easy to take off & on, it you have to lock it in your car safe. Two of my Warrior Women friends have purple & red, but I prefer basic black (it’s so slimming!). Along with the holster, get a single magazine holder, too (more about this further down).
Clothes:
I always carry concealed, even though I live in an open-carry state(future article), so cover garments are just as important as the gun, belt & holster.
Carrying on the belt has not caused me to have to change my pants, other than it does make a difference with where the waist sits. At the natural waistline(the skinniest part), the gun will ride higher, causing some short-waisted ladies to “clear” the gun when drawing, rolling the shoulder forward, and thus having to readjust the stance before firing. Mid-rise pants, just below the natural waist line, seem to be a better choice, as “clearing” the gun is not neccessary for a good draw and the gun sits closer to the body. Low-rise pants(riding at the hip bone), makes the gun stick out further from and lower on the body, thus neccesitating an ever larger cover garment. Make sure the belt loops are wide enough to accommodate your gun belt. I will say that I prefer cargo pants, as I can carry everything I need without having to carry a purse.
Ladies tend to wear more form-fitting & thinner clothes than guys, but here is what I have found works for me:
*Cover garments must be, at least, one size bigger than you would normally wear.
You have to accomodate the extra width the gun adds. As mentioned briefly before, adding a mag carrier on the left hip balances out the look, so the gun is not as noticable. I know this is hard for alot of ladies, but carrying is more important, to me, than appearing smaller.
*Vest are a CCW girl’s best friend!
While I do have a few “tactical” vests, like the guys, they are actually “traveling” vests (Travelsmith, Columbia) or “gardening” vests (Duluth Trading Company). They come in girlier colors, have more detailing & paired with jeans, don’t look as “tactical”. I have quite a few “pretty” vests in colors, patterns, & different weights from Coldwater Creek, Laura Scott, Talbots (again, from thrift shops & one size bigger than normal) that do an excellent job of covering, but look “normal”. When I wear this style, no one knows I have on my 1911 until I show them. Another neat thing about vests is they don’t bind in the shoulders when fully extended. Along with the size around of the vest, make sure it is long enough to cover the bottom of the holster. Stay away from “western-style” vests, as they tend to be shorter than flat-bottom vests.
*Spandex is a girl’s second-best friend!
No, I am not talking biking clothes, LOL. I’m talking button-front shirts in 97% cotton/3% spandex. Whether short-sleeve for spring or long-sleeve for fall, the tiny bit of spandex allows the shoulders to “give” during the draw stroke, not binding when fully extended. The spandex also tends to make the fabric a little stiffer, thus allowing the fabric to not cling. Again, one size larger(two sizes larger if it has “princess” seaming along the front/back). Also, pattern helps to hide any slight bulges, as well as darker colors. This 93%/3% also works in blazers & light jackets. I do not wear heavy coats. I prefer to layer in cold weather: long-sleeve T-shirt, long-sleeve cover shirt, vest. That way, indoors, I can remove/add layers as necessary.
So, yes, you can carry a .45 with proper belt, holster, cover garments & attitude!
Cat Lindsay

 CompTac Colors HolsterBelt1911