After posting my initial thoughts on the Flashbang holster based on photos & a video, Looper Brand contacted me about reviewing one in person. I figured I would give it a try.
The First Trial – Solids & Retention
The night I found it on our doorstep, I didn’t have the energy or time for a full trial, but I wanted to try it out. We quickly found out that I needed to move up to the longest suede strap for the bras I normally buy. It’s not the end of the world, but it suddenly made me feel like the restrictions on carrying this piece would mean sacrificing the kind of bras a woman prefers to wear. (It is worth noting that Looper announced in the accompanying press release that they will make & sell you custom lengths for your bras should you need them.) The strap is reasonably easy to change, so that’s a plus for any woman who does choose this method and owns more than one style of bra.
I was wearing a ladies t-shirt in a solid color, and Sebastian said he could tell from some angles that something was there, but he could not tell that it was a gun. We also experimented with drawing it, and it was easier than I thought it would be. They describe the holster portion as “thermo-plastic molded clamshell designed to snap in place over the barrel/slide and trigger guard of many small .380 pistols and j-frame revolvers.” Snap indeed. It’s different than anything else I’ve drawn from, so I would suggest that any woman who buys it practices some dry runs.
On the note of the holster, we did have a bit of concern when our first several attempts to put the gun in the clamshell actually moved the slide. That’s just not a sound you really want to hear when you’re talking about a holster under your breasts. However, as I was told by the company, it’s not advised that you holster the gun while you’re wearing it on your bra. Put the gun in first, then attach the strap to your bra. So it’s not really a concern after all, but just something that initially caught our attention.
The Second Trial – Patterns & Moving
I don’t actually carry the Kel-Tec, so I only tried it in the house. After we returned from our date night, I tried it on under a black lace top that fits loosely from the body, but not too far. I really couldn’t see anything. They are correct in their press release that patterns – whether color or texture, in my case – do help break up anything you might notice.
However, I then switched to a summer-type dress. It’s a light weight fabric, a very busy damask pattern that hangs away from my body. It seemed like the perfect concealment. Surprisingly, I was wrong. It not only showed the most, but it also finally illustrated the “one breast larger than the other” effect to Sebastian. Now, women’s breasts often aren’t perfectly even, so that’s not inherently a no-go. But, it is something that some women may be sensitive to depending on their body type.
On my main trial bra, moving around in ways that could shift the bra (raising arms, leaning over, etc.), the gun can and will shift with it. At one point, it kind of popped out horizontally. I could tell once it reached the point of needing adjustment even before it fully popped out of position. With a discreet adjustment, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Moving in ways that don’t cause a bra to move – sitting, leaning back, bending down – is surprisingly comfortable. I thought there would be a few uncomfortable jabs considering the barrel rests inside the cup of the bra. It didn’t pinch or poke at all. Even in the outfit that showed the most while I was standing, it didn’t give away any hints to what was hidden beneath once I was sitting.
The Bra Test
I pulled out every bra I wear regularly, two strapless bras, a couple of bras that were already headed for the garbage, and some bras I forgot I owned. It’s relevant to say that I’m part of the 2/3 of women who wear underwires. Based on my observations about how it fits under the cup, this probably makes a big difference for how some women would find the fit to their bodies.
No Go – There is no way that the Flashbang holster will fit either of my strapless bras. To be fair to the makers, I don’t think wearing the holster with a strapless bra is terribly feasible anyway. A woman is kind of relying on the bra conforming to her in order for it to stay in position. This holster will disrupt that. Not to mention, most women typically wear the strapless bras with dresses or special occasion tops, not likely the type of clothing you’d choose to wear with the Flashbang. Sports bras would also be out of the question.
Definitely Fits – My style of choice for nearly all everyday wear is the Body by Victoria. It fit one well, two okay, and the third falls somewhere between sorta and okay. The ones that it didn’t quite fit well were pinched in the middle. The strap displaced the wires a bit too much on the last one. The stap fits the Angels IPEX well, but I can’t tell you much about it since I never wear it. It’s a bra designed to not show under clothes, so any displacement of the wires could really ruin the fit. The same goes for the Very Sexy bra. I can’t test it on body since the underwires broke, but the strap definitely fits.
Surprise Fit – Against the suggestions made to me, I went ahead and tried it on a front-closure bra. Now, one big risk of this method is that with a front closure, you’re likely to give a much bigger “Flash” than intended in the Flashbang draw. I drew a few times, and the bra held, but I wouldn’t bet my bra on it if I was drawing with more force. The holster also moves a lot more while wearing a front-closure since the suede strap can’t grab onto the material in the same way. This was the only bra I own that fit the holster using the smallest strap.
Do I Recommend It?
Surprisingly, I do suggest that well-endowed ladies give the Flashbang holster some serious thought. Like any other holster on the market, whether it works is going to depend on body type and what you wear. I will say that it does give more accommodation to modern women’s clothing than most of what’s out there today, but it isn’t a miracle solution. A woman who chooses this holster will need to test it at home with various bras and shirts to see what fits her best. I have always favored carrying in a purse, but I could see this as a viable option next time I go somewhere and I’d rather leave the purse at home.
I’m specifying well-endowed ladies because I couldn’t find any female friends with smaller breasts to try it. My experience would indicate you probably need to be a C-cup or larger to carefully conceal it. But again, I would say that it probably depends on your particular body.
For the men out there, don’t rush out and say this is the best way for a woman to carry. It’s got pros and cons, just like any other holster and method of carry. However, don’t be afraid to present it as an option. A woman will have a general idea if it fits her bras or clothing. At only $40, it’s certainly a price worth a trial run.
According to their website, Looper has been making leather belts & holsters for 70 years. I think their experience in this area shines through in the Flashbang materials. The suede straps are sturdy. The snap is tough in a good way. It takes a few tries to get it to stick correctly sometimes, but the holster remains attached the bra on draw. Looper points out the benefit to the thermo-plastic as a smooth & easy-to-clean material. Amen to that. It isn’t going to absorb anything and it is smooth enough to be comfortable even when tucked into the cup alongside the breast.
According to their recent release, the Flashbang is currently available for “the S&W Bodyguard .380 as well as the Bodyguard Revolver, the snub nose j-frame revolver, the Kel-tec, the LCR and LCP by Ruger, and Sigʼs P238.” They also report that more models will be available in the future.
Initially, I was pretty much a complete skeptic. Shoving a gun in my bra cup isn’t exactly an idea that excited me. But, I will admit that it’s more comfortable than I thought and does a reasonable job at concealment. Kudos to Looper for finding a gap in the, uh, market.
All images courtesy of Looper Brand, Victoria’s Secret, eBay bra seller, and a Google search for damask. Because, let’s face it, how many of you knew what a damask pattern looked like?
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