It’s no secret that in the past we ladies have had a bit of a challenge in concealed carry department. We could either wear big, baggy, unflattering clothing that eliminates every ounce of our femininity and carry our sidearms on our belt like the blokes do, or we could simply go without our gun and pray we don’t need protection.  Personally, neither of those options sounds particularly appealing to this fashion-conscious firearm owner.  There is, of course, the option of securing the gun in your purse.  Despite advice from law enforcement friends who adamantly oppose it, I’ve tried that method and have found a couple of reasons why it’s a bad idea:

1) I’m not always physically connected to my purse.  I mean, what am I supposed to do when I sit down for dinner, hold my bag in my lap?  And then when I need to use the restroom step or outside to take a call, I’d be an irresponsible permit holder if I didn’t take my purse with me, right? Not only does that look weird, but behaviors like this could potentially call attention to the fact that I am carrying a firearm in my purse.  That, of course, is never a good idea.  And, for the moms out there – what if your kiddo finds his way in to your purse, as they tend to do, and discovers that shiny thing that he’s seen the cowboys use on TV?

2) What if my purse is stolen? A situation like that is more of a royal mess than Princess Eugenie’s wedding day hat. Can I get an amen? Chances are, if someone steals your purse with your gun in it, they are probably not going to use their new found firepower for the forces of good. This is a can of worms you simply do not want to open. In many states if your gun is found at a crime scene or used for some nefarious purpose, regardless of who committed the act, you will be held accountable on some level.  An incident like this can literally change your life forever.  And if you think ammo is expensive, just wait til you get your lawyer bills.

We girlie girls are forced to get creative when it comes to concealed carry.  And while the Princess might be able to hide a gun somewhere in that crazy creation, most of us have to deal with the reality of fashion for commoners. Fortunately, the fine folks over at Looper Law Brand have heard our collective cry and come up with a solution to this firearm fashion emergency.

It’s called the Flashbang. When this product came on the market I was skeptical, but intrigued.  And not just because of the name. Think about it… Flash… Bang…. It’s hysterical. That alone merits a product review, in my book.

This little bundle of awesomeness comes in the form of a hard plastic shell that is custom fit to your concealed gun. They’ve got several models currently available and more coming soon.  I own a Ruger LCP and Looper Law was able to ship it out the day I placed the order.

Here’s how it works:

 

The Flashbang consists of a leather strap bolted in to a hard plastic clam shell case.

 

With a firm push, the clamshell snaps over the slide of the firearm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The clamshell fits securely over the firearm and immobilizes the slide and trigger.

 

The Flashbang comes with three interchangable leather straps for various bra band widths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To change strap sizes, simply unscrew the bolt and replace the leather with the desired size.

 

The gun fits inside the bra band against your chest. The bra band supports the gun and holds it in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The strap snaps in place and the gun is hidden discreetly between the girls.

 

The first concern for me was whether this holster would be comfortable.  If something isn’t comfortable, I’m not wearing it. Except for a stunning pair of 4 inch Jimmy Choo stilettos, of course. In that case I just suck it up and endure like well-disciplined fashionista would. But I digress. Given the right bra, the Flashbang is exceedingly comfortable.

When doing the range test I was impressed by the incredibly quick access I had to the gun. Much to my relief, and to the chagrin of many of your guy friends, you don’t actually flash anyone when you pull the gun out of the holster. The Flashbang website has a great video illustrating the surprisingly modest movement of the draw:

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Here’s Lisa Looper, the creator, showing us how the whole process works:

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I’ve found that when wearing my holster, the bra I pair it with needs to be sturdy. You probably already have plenty of these in your chest of drawers already. (Pun totally intended.)  In my experience, the wider that little “in between” band is, the more secure and comfortable the holster is to wear.

Specifically, one bra in particular that I purchased at the GAP features a thin piece of fabric where the holster would be attached. Sadly, GAP and the Flashbang did not get along. The little middle piece of fabric that connects the girls was too thin and did not hold the holster in place in a comfortable manner. Other bras that I’ve purchased from Vicki (you can call Victoria’s Secret that when you know her as well as I do) work quite nicely. As long as the middle band measures approximately 3/4 of inch or more in height, you’re good to go. I should also note that each of the three leather straps that come with the Flashbang has adjustable holes by which you can shorten or lengthen the leather to fit your bra. Simply remove the screw with a Phillips Head (X shaped) screwdriver and replace the standard (smallest) leather strap with one of the others.

One of our Facebook friends mentioned that she was concerned that the Flashbang would be bad for her back. I thought that was a good point, so I paid particular attention to my posture the first day or two that I wore the holster.  I found that the Flashbang actually improved my posture for two reasons. First, I was no longer carrying a 3-5 lb pistol + ammo in my purse on my shoulder along with the countless items that find their way in to the black hole that is my handbag.  Secondly, if I slouched when seated, the butt of the gun would press in to my abdomen and rib cage which proved a bit bothersome. Once I sat with my shoulders back, the problem was solved. What do you know? Perfect posture by way of a firearm.  My grandmother would be so proud.

Another concern I had was whether the Flashbang would work with tight shirts.  Before using the holster I thought the expectation that I could hide a gun between the bazooms was completely unrealistic. There would have to be some give away, right? So I tested it. Boldly. After receiving a total of zero awkward comments from friends about that thing hiding in my rack, I concluded that I was in the clear. Boyfriend later confirmed that fact when I asked him specifically if he had noticed anything odd in the aforementioned location.

Now that I had the visibility question answered, it was time for the trickiest of the concealed tests. I wanted to know if the gun would reveal it’s placement when I hugged someone. After eating lunch one day with my friend, Scott, I decided it was time to find out. As we said goodbye I intentionally gave him a big old full-frontal hug. “Did you feel it?” I asked. “Feel what?” he responded. Question answered. Thanks, Scott. Bless his heart, he’s probably still scratching his head about that one.

Some of our readers have inquired as to how these things work for my sidearm sisters who are a bit smaller chested than myself.  I wanted to be sure that my A and B cup friends don’t feel left out so I asked a B cup friend of mine to try it on and see what she thought. She had on a pretty fitted top and we were both impressed by the fact that the Flashbang was just as discreet on her as it is on me. Incidentally, who ever thought a firearms product test would include staring at eachother’s boobs? I can’t help but think that somewhere out there Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are finding this hilarious.

One question about the bra holster that I’ve heard from the by-the-book gun safety crowd – one that I find to be valid – is, “How do you keep from muzzling (pointing the barrel of the gun at) yourself or others?” I asked Lisa Looper, creator of the FlashBang, that very question. This is her response:

 

“I think the most useful point in the muzzling debate is that the trigger guard is completely covered and in addition the slide is immobilized.  People don’t worry about a gun that may/may not be loaded that’s just sitting on a table somewhere.  Guns aren’t known for randomly firing off a round.  Its when the human element comes into play that the accidental discharge is a concern.  Since there isn’t a way for the gun to be accessed until it’s intentionally drawn the risk of an AD [accidental discharge] is extremely miniscule.  Just so I would be able to answer that question in the past, I’ve tried to fire my gun (dry-fire) while it was in the holster and as quickly as possible once it was drawn.  To fire it in the holster would have been incredibly intentional.  Like to the point of making my finger bleed!  The draw part is a bit harder to explain but the elastic of the bra makes it give as you try to draw your weapon.  By the time the elastic reaches full extension the gun is pointing down and forward and only at that point does the holster jerk back toward the body and allow access to the gun.  The most likely instance of an accidental discharge with the Flashbang Holster is while reholstering.  I DO NOT recommend reholstering on-body because of the direction the muzzle points.  It’s also a really good way to pinch the girls! Ouch!”

Should you choose to purchase the Flashbang, I absolutely recommend consistent practice with it.  Practice at home by dry firing it in a safe space and definitely take it to the range to build muscle memory in case you do have to use it for self defense.  Be sure and clear your practice with the Range Safety Officer (RSO) first.  In all likelihood, they haven’t seen the Flashbang yet, and using it without clearance could result in some tense moments in the bay.

Good firearm safety habits are a must at all times, but they are particularly important when drawing from this holster. Specifically, the rule, “Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire,” is critical. When range testing the Flashbang, I had no problems with pulling the gun out (though you have to pull hard), and felt safe the entire time because of the safety habits drilled in to my head by the good folks at Legion Firearms and Spartan Training Resources.

Overall, the Flashbang has met or exceeded my expectations on all counts.  If you’re as interested in dressing like a chick as you are in self defense, I highly recommend the Flashbang for your next firearm accessory purchase. When it comes down to it, we’ll probably need more than one option to cover all of our concealed carry bases, but the Flashbang is definitely the perfect go-to holster for the firearms fashionista.

The issues covered in this post were those that I found most pertinent. If there is a question or concern you have about this product that was not answered in this post, please leave your feedback in the comments section below and I will be happy to address it.

 

Addendum by request:

The sweat issue: I’ll be the first to admit- that plastic against your skin in hot weather does tend to cause a little glistening. It wasn’t much of a problem here in the dry heat but if you live in a more humid area, I could see how it might become bothersome. My suggestion is this: cut a little piece of Dr. Scholl’s  Moleskin and stick it on the body side of the holster. It will absorb the sweat and add a tiny little space for air to breeze in. The moleskin is removable so you can keep it fresh and sweat free every time you wear it.  Please note, this is just a theory. I have not put this in to practice yet. If you have a chance to do it first, I’d love your feedback.