Buying a good quality handgun to carry for self-defense is only part of the equation. You simply have to buy and practice with a suitable holster that will comfortably and securely carry your handgun so you can get at it easily and quickly.

Too many people think generic holsters designed to carry several designs are sufficient — and they are — if all you are going to do is carry the gun. But accessing the gun, and being able to comfortably conceal it is going to require a bit more quality than a cordura holster with a strap.

Tessa Renaud is a nurse-practioner, and was introduced to shooting handguns by her husband while he worked as a sheriff’s deputy. They have a large family, and he wanted her to be able to defend herself and their kids when he was on the road. She found she loved shooting, took a class, and was certified to carry concealed.

Working odd hours, and getting off shift in the middle of the night led her to search for suitable holsters designed for women. Hers was a particularly frustrating search since her normal attire is scrubs — with no pockets and no belts. “…I wasn’t about to start dressing like a man to carry my gun. I was very frustrated.”

After a couple of car burglaries in her work parking lot, she decided to carry, and realized she was going to have to design a carry system herself to meet her specific needs. 

“I needed one kind for work, and another type for the gym.” She discovered the lack of products designed for women, particularly concealed holsters, so she decided to design her own holster — something pretty, that women would want to wear, but also could be carried in various configurations, under many different styles of clothing.

The result was Lethal Lace — a name coined by her husband — and it is innovative. Like all holster systems, it doesn’t meet every need. But it does conceal amazingly well under even snug fitting clothing, and in various configurations on the body.

It consists of a length of expandable lace material, just like the material in slinky undergarments, with a holster and clip sewn into one end. Another clip, actually strong suspender clips, is sewn into the other end.

To dress with the system, place the gun in the holster and place the holster where you want to carry it on your body. Then, just like a filmy, lacy Ace bandage, you wrap the holster to your torso, ankle, calf, or thigh. Tessa most often carries in the small of her back, and the holster carrying her .380 Glock is invisible to the eye. On her website (www.lethallace.com) she demonstrates five different carries that completely conceal the gun and hold it securely, even in revealing clothing and workout outfits.

I had her wrap me around my chest for a left armpit carry with my Ruger SR9c, and I wrapped my calf with the same gun. In both cases I bounced, jogged, and ran a short distance. The gun was held completely securely, and was completely hidden.

Like all systems, it has its limitations. Drawing the gun is easy and quick from the secured, hidden position. But replacing it into the holster requires stretching the material again. It is not conducive to quick replacement — but then, you are only going to pull it out when you need it.

Suggested retail on the system is $54.99. Go to the website — or better yet, have your lady go to the website, and see a versatile, “pretty” holster system that works — one she will feel comfortable wearing.

I favor waist carry, either in the small of the back, on the backside of my hip, or on my right side. I have discovered a Kydex holster designed as an inside-the-waistband (IWB) carry that is the best I have yet found of this type.

Again, like all holster systems, it has its limitations — but within those limits, I find it more comfortable and more easily presented (drawn) than any other of its type. 

Called the “Low Rider,” it is molded out of the space-age material, Kydex 100 — an amazingly durable and incredibly rugged plastic that is practically indestructible with normal use. 

The holster slides inside the waistband with the clip sliding down over your waistband and belt, securing the system to your pants. Each system is gun specific, and has tension screws to adjust how tight the holster grips the gun. I have adjusted my holsters (I have three) to retain my handguns even holding the holster upside down and shaking it. The gun will not fall out. Yet, I can easily (and very quickly) draw the gun from the holster because of the firm grip held on the belt and waistband. It covers the trigger guard completely so there is no danger of an accidental discharge. You cannot touch the trigger until the gun is pulled from the holster.

Like all systems, it has its limitations. For all practical purposes, it is an open carry holster. Even though the gun is slipped into the waistband, the butt is exposed, laying flat against the side of the body. This allows for a quick grab, but the butt of the gun is openly displayed necessitating a cover garment to effect concealed carry. And, for ladies, they will need to wear a belt — but for a secure, easily presented carry, these are hard to beat.

Louisiana is an open-carry state, but doing so still makes many people nervous, and carrying openly can get you an invitation to exit a private business by the management. I have carried this “Low Rider” many times without a cover garment, and if I hang my arm just so, it covers most of the gun behind the crook of my elbow. Rarely do people notice it. It is actually one of the most “concealable” open carry holsters I have found.

Reasonably priced (MSRP is only $60.00), they carry a lifetime, no-nonsense warranty. If the holster fails in any manner, simply mail it back to the company — they will send you a new holster in return.

The company manufactures magazine carriers and other designs of Kydex holsters — but the Low Rider is their most popular, and lead design. As well it should be. See the entire line at www.rmholsters.com