Illustrating the issue with off-body carry.

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Off-body carry, such as in a purse or handbag, brings with it a peculiar risk. Sometimes all we need to do is look at the news to understand it!

As I’ve mentioned previously, Off-body carry (OBC) is a convenient way to tote a defensive firearm. It doesn’t require any changes to one’s wardrobe, and the gun is ostensibly “always” there.

Except when it’s not.

A news report out of Austin, Texas chronicles a series of violent purse snatchings that have made the news over the last several weeks. Victims are attacked when alone and (apparently) away from crowds; their purses are taken and they are thrown (or knocked) to the ground in the process.

The issue, of course, is if you’re carrying your gun in that purse (for a man, it could be a shoulder bag or briefcase) not only have you lost your belongings, you’ve also lost the defensive tool that you carried to protect yourself from the kind of violent criminals who would do such a thing!

Now that defensive firearm, in the hands of the thug, is an offensive weapon with which he/she can more efficiently rob others. It might even end up at a shooting where an innocent is injured or killed. If you carry a gun in a purse or bag, you must consider this possibility.

This isn’t to condemn OBC entirely. There are some good applications for it, such as when one is in a fixed environment (like an office) and need the gun close by but can’t dress around it. For some dress requirements, OBC may be the only reasonable way to have a gun at all. However, it requires that one prepare not only to deploy the firearm efficiently (which is more difficult than with most on-body carry methods) but perhaps also to defend the gun itself.

Carrying a gun in bag or purse requires more attention to detail, careful selection of a carrying device that can’t easily be ripped apart to facilitate theft, and an understanding that the gun which is taken might then be used against you. You’ll need to decide, well ahead of time, how and under what circumstances you’ll fight to maintain possession of that gun — and when you’ll let it go to prevent injury to yourself.

OBC is, sadly, often chosen by the new and inexperienced gun carrier because it’s easy and convenient. Requiring little in the way of wardrobe or habit changes, it’s easy (too easy) to work into one’s lifestyle without considering the very real risks and compromises. In reality, it is perhaps the most demanding of carry methods and requires that the gun owner really think about and prepare for the downside. It really should be considered a specialized carry method for the well trained!

-=[ Grant ]=-


About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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