“It sure would be nice to have a holster that’ll fit with my workout clothes and not add to my profile.” It’s a thought that many people, women especially, have had. And every year or so, some company or entrepreneur brings their rendition of workout holster to market. Recently I tried one of these that’s being marketed not only by the company itself, but is also being branded by a major American gun company. Gee, I thought to myself, if (gun company that shall remain nameless but is easy enough to find in a web search) is making a holster, they must have finally cracked the code on holsters in yoga pants.” So I had to try.
If you want to make this a short reading experience, I’ll tell you right now they didn’t completely succeed. But if you want the not-so-sexy details, read on.
Brand names are left out of this article as the principles apply to a number of currently available products, none of which are produced by Bravo Concealment.
The tights are high-waisted than most, which does help with concealment under a shirt as well as keeping the gun and extras like magazines, a blade, money, or ID/credit cards hugged nice and tight to the torso. At the waistband are four pockets at the two-. four-, eight-, and ten-o’clock positions. They’re about four inches deep.
If you’re reading this thinking it doesn’t apply because you’re male or you’re a female who only wears gym shorts to work out, be aware this same product line has holster gym shorts for you.
Knowing before I even tried what was in store with the tights as they are off the rack, I unloaded my Glock 42 and put the magazine aside. I chose this gun not because it’s my favorite, but because it’s under the 23 ounces maximum, loaded, that is recommended for this garment. Already I was disappointed in having to downgrade to .380 to make this work, but there are of course other “mouse guns” in larger calibers. An aluminum Bond Arms Stinger also fits the criteria and this garment, though the aluminum-frame guns are currently out of production. I’ve gone on in other articles about small vs. larger guns, so I’ll not go down that rabbit trail here.
If you’ve done any study of responsible concealed carry, you know that most basic requirements of a holster is that it protects the trigger guard from penetration by any external object and keeps the gun from falling out under normal use (whatever “normal use” means for the individual). These pants initially failed, miserably, at both. It’s very easy to stick my finger into the trigger guard and even “shoot” the unloaded gun from inside the garment. And while the gun stayed put while I did some routine crunches and down-dog stretches, about 10 minutes later it unceremoniously landed on the kitchen floor as I was doing dishes, having worked its way loose without having felt it.
How often do you read the hangtag on your new product before trying it? This garment one had one, and it was kind of important. That said, other garments like the long-sleeved tee I also tried had a tag that was identical in appearance. But here’s the rub: the QR code on the tights’ hangtag leads the consumer to a website that states an additional “holster” insert is necessary for gun carry. Seems to me like these products should be sold as a package. It recommends a specific holster and includes a link to that product.
If there’s any advantage to being a gun writer, it’s being able to try out products free of charge. So I added to that list by using writer’s privilege to order that holster. It turned out to be not so much a holster as a semi-rigid sleeve, shaped like a “V” with a flat bottom just wide enough to accommodate the slide of a typical derringer or super-small semiauto. It does accomplish trigger protection and the texture of the holster satisfies the gun retention requirement.
My Glock 42 and Bond Arms Stinger both fit into the improved system. And it’s possible to get a firing grip and therefore a fast draw from these tights. But in my estimation there is still a safety concern. Because the holster sleeve squishes nearly flat when the gun is removed, the need to use the muzzle as a tool to dig the gun into place is almost unavoidable. While I can do it safely, and it’s in the same place as the Bravo Concealment Torsion gun holster I normally wear, I can’t find a way to get comfortable with inserting a loaded gun into it from a safety standpoint. Leaning rearward, which normally clears the entire body from the path of the muzzle upon holster insertion when using front-of-body carry, just pushes this holster shut even more. And using the behind-midline slots for lumbar carry are even worse as I can’t visually supervise the process.
An aspect of wise gun carry is evaluating risks and benefits, with an honest assessment of one’s gun handling skills, especially as they pertain to the ability to keep fingers out of the trigger guard when they don’t belong there. Even though I’m highly skilled at finger discipline, I cannot make myself comfortable using the muzzle as a shovel to holster a loaded gun. Others may feel differently.
My concern with this type of product is twofold. Often, products like these are purchased by new carriers who may not sufficiently comprehend the already-mentioned safety issues. The other is people who do understand the safety rules and choose to carry with an empty chamber. Carrying empty can lend false confidence in one’s ability to defend. Ambush-style crime is made even easier to carry out when the intended victim has an unloaded gun.
Concealed carry tights, sweats, and similar garments offer seductive simplicity that often disappoints in practice. At day’s end, we all have to sort out our priorities and make decisions for ourselves. It’s been my goal here to help buyers make informed decisions.