See It, Touch It, Try It: Provide A CC Experience For Women


Offering a variety of carry methods — holsters, purses or jackets — will bring in
a lot of women to your store. (Image: Just Holster It)

When more women started carrying handguns for self-defense, we faced a bit of an issue. Most holsters were made for men — or at least people who wear belts. (Yes, some women wear belts, but many don’t.) Then the “pink it and shrink it” idea came out and yet the holsters still didn’t really catch up. Then they did. Now, there are so many options it can be overwhelming — whether it’s belt holsters, bra holsters, belly bands, CC purses/backpacks or shirts/vests/jackets.

Set Up A “Concealed Carry Corner”

While we were working at our state jobs, my friend and I used to talk about opening a “concealed carry boutique” where women could look at, touch and try on various holsters. We even talked about renting them for a week or two to see if it really worked for them like they hoped.

One thing we noticed was a lot of models wearing holsters show the women standing. Those holsters may work great for women who have jobs where they stand all day — and that’s great for them — but that same holster can start to dig into your stomach, leg or back if you are sitting at a desk all day.

Buying holster after holster to find one both safe and comfortable for how we carry is frustrating. I personally have a box full of holsters I tried and only worked for me in one or two situations; not all the time. I keep them all, though, because I loan them to other women to see if they will work for them.

Knowing they like to touch, feel and try things on, retail stores would find a niche with women if they were to create a version of the “concealed carry boutique” idea by setting up a “concealed carry corner.”

Providing a large variety of concealed carry methods, from holsters to purses to jackets, would bring in a lot of women. Adding a small dressing room to put on some of these items would be a great addition, as well. 

Having staff members who are very knowledgeable about holsters as well as the various issues women face (think pregnancy, dressing in a variety of business clothing, etc.) would really up the game. As they help the customer select a holster, they can discuss any safety or fit issues. You could offer a holster-selection workshop or open house, inviting women to look over the options and sit down to learn about the safety requirements of a really good holster.

A fun thing to add to this workshop could be a “concealed carry fashion show.” Women could really see how different holsters look under various kinds of clothing and on different body types. You could hold a vendor show where product representatives come and demonstrate their carry methods, which could expand your selection if there isn’t room to carry all that you would like to.

Meeting A Need In The Market

Jeffrey Benty of Just Holster It created his business focused on this very topic. He discussed why and how it is focused on holsters and why it is important to offer the ability for customers to try various holsters.

“I was a sales and marketing manager for a company out of Atlanta. I worked out of my home office, but I was always going out to do presentations and sometimes going to visit job sites and they weren’t in the best of neighborhoods. I tried a lot of holsters, but as happens with many people, I ended up with a box full of holsters that didn’t really work for me,” he shared.

Benty was frustrated he could only find waist holsters.

“Nobody was really making a holster for inside the suit pocket which is what I wanted,” he explained. 

He started playing around in his basement and producing standard IWB-type holsters and putting them on eBay. They sold so well it ultimately turned into a regular business.

“We were originally only going to target online sales and gun shops, but we started getting phone calls from people saying the same thing; they had a box full of holsters and they’d rather come in and be able to try something on,” he recalled.

Now Benty has two businesses, Just Holster It, which manufactures holsters, and a brick-and-mortar location in Alden, N.Y. He also just launched Just Holster It Firearms & Training Center in Elma, N.Y., which offers the full range of products from firearms, ammunition, accessories, training and specifically the largest selection of holsters in New York.

“We have a lot of women coming into our store, as more and more are starting to carry. And women have the same problem as men — they buy online and end up with a bunch of holsters in a box. So being able to come in and try them on is very important to them,” he said.

“Around 80% of women don’t wear a belt so it helps us steer them toward the right options to try. Women are such a growing demographic and we want to make sure we serve them.”

Jeffery Benty, Owner
Just Holster It

Making Connections With Customers

Benty shared his store’s approach to making suggestions for customers.

“We have figured out a series of questions so we can narrow down what they’re after, and usually we’re pretty good at hitting it consistently,” he relayed. “We’ll start with some basic questions such as how do they dress? Do they typically wear a belt? Around 80% of women don’t wear a belt, so it helps us steer them toward the right options to try.

“Women are such a growing demographic and we want to make sure we serve them.”

Through local partnerships, Just Holster It Firearms is able to further extend its reach.

“We’re now partnering with other businesses in the community. One woman teaches Pilates classes and she wants to do a joint event where she’ll teach Pilates in the morning and in the afternoon we’ll do a class on introduction to firearms or something along those lines,” he said. “We also brought in a lot of the Well Armed Woman groups and offer them the latest and greatest products and get feedback from them as to what works and what doesn’t.”

At Benty’s store, customers can bring in their firearm (store employees will clear it), and then they can try various holsters to see what works, what’s comfortable and what’s not. 

“We also have the four sizes of blue guns because maybe they come in with a GLOCK 43 and we don’t have a holster in stock or we have to order it or make it,” he informed. “So, we look to what is similar to it and have them try it on with a blue gun. This way they can still try something and see how that feels.”

Benty continued, “Every year when I go to SHOT Show, I’m on the mission of looking for what’s next for women’s holsters. There are always those novelty holsters and there are so many of them out there that just aren’t right. I’ll typically try to get one and then follow up with the holster maker. I’ve had other companies contact us as they are starting out and we worked with them on beta testing.”

Benty has a clear understanding as to why he sells so many holsters compared to some other stores. 

“There are so many places where you see the holsters collecting dust and a lot of it is they don’t demo the product,” he noted. “We outsell a lot of stores because we actually pull the product out and demo it. It’s all about the personal touch, giving the customer the experience and letting them try before they buy.”

Click To Read More Shooting Industry June 2023 Issue Now!