If you have been following along on the blog recently, then you will already know that The Wife has recently entered the world of concealed carry. She has been exploring several different methods of concealed carry, but the one carry method that she keeps coming back to time and again is purse carry.
Not to long ago we had a package show up here at the Gunmart Blog Test Kitchen from the good people over at Galco… inside of said package was one of their very fine offerings in their line of concealed carry purses. The Galco Soltaire.
I of course have had a great deal of experience with Galco products in the past. They have an extensive line of carry holsters (they make top notch holsters BTW), but with the fact that The Wife is still very new to this whole concealed carry thing neither of us had ever had any hands on experience with their concealed carry purses before now.
My first impression upon opening the box that they sent us was that the Soltaire looked like a really, really nice product all the way around. As you can see from the photos the quality of the leather used to construct the purse is really top notch. Honestly its not really a surprise. Galco has been making high quality leather holsters for years. Holsters that have gained a reputation for holding up very well over time. From the looks of the quality of the leather of this particular purse, the same should ring true for their concealed carry purse offerings. Additionally, all of the hardware and stitching that go into the construction of the Soltaire purse are certainly well above standard. This is also going to go a very long way towards this being a product that will last through years of hard use.
The Wife also felt like the Soltaire purse was a high quality piece. She said that she really liked the style of this particular purse, and she thought that its great construction should have no trouble holding up to the everyday use and abuse that she would be putting it through. She also said that she equates the styling and quality of the construction to be right on par with many of the other name brand purse manufacturers out there on the market. I have mentioned in the past how important the style factor is to The Wife – and I assume most every woman out there – and the Galco Soltaire purse that they sent us lives up to this requirement nicely.
The other major area that The Wife pointed to that she thinks this particular purse does very well is… being a purse. (EDC, people!) She thinks that the Soltaire has more than enough room for a woman to use this purse day in and day out. Its basically a medium sized purse, but the large zippered main compartment is big enough to carry her Hobo style wallet and then some. The additional outside zippered compartment also provides needed added storage, and both compartments are lined with a tough leather that is going to hold up very nicely over time.
I have talked about this in the past, but I want to touch on it again here in this post… The Wife and I are both relatively new to this whole purse carry thing, but I really want to reiterate that its honestly not as bad of a carry method as all the internet commandos out there make it out to be. Yes, off body carry is not the most ideal form of carry and it certainly brings with it a new set of problems with regard to keeping and securing the firearm – i.e. never setting your purse down and never turning your back to it… Ever. However, I do believe that with the right mindset in place and the right level of awareness it can certainly be a formidable way to provide for one’s safety.
With purse carry you are essentially taking the same approach as you would with a shoulder holster. If you are right handed then the purse is carried on the left shoulder (or across body) with the zipper of the carry compartment facing forward. Unzip, grab the handle of the pistol, and draw. Its that quick and that easy. Its a cross-body draw, so considerations have to be made for that, but its actually a lot quicker and a lot more practical than you would think.
The Shoulder Strap
The shoulder strap on the Galco Soltaire is specifically designed to be an “on the shoulder” style of carry. As opposed to “across the body” style of carry that you see with some purses, “on the shoulder” carry does technically give up something when it comes to purse retention. Yes, technically you are going to be more vulnerable to a purse snatching (and consequently becoming separated from your firearm) however if you are alert and aware of your surroundings then I do think that its more academic than anything.
The Wife feels that the “on the shoulder” style of carry is a more natural and comfortable way for her to carry when she is out-and-about so its really her preferred style of carry anyway. She has also come to the conclusion that its also a faster draw from this position since the purse sits higher on the body and more closely replicates the positioning you would have with a traditional shoulder holster. I would add that I completely agree with her about that one.
The holster on the Galco Soltaire is a universal elastic style. It is non-removable, so consideration must be given to that, but it carries a wide variety of firearms rather nicely. The holster utilizes a Velcro retention strap that wraps around the rear of the firearm to hold it into place. To draw the firearm simply grasp the gun tightly and pull… the Velcro strap gives way and the firearm can be drawn with ease.
While being carried in the purse the firearm remains very secure. We both turned the purse upside down and shook it hard to see if we could make the gun come loose inside the carry compartment, but it didn’t budge. The holster accomplished the task of keeping the pistol secure and correctly oriented quite well.
Keyed locking compartment
The Galco Soltaire purse like just about every other concealed carry purse out there on the market does come with the option of a keyed and locking carry compartment. I’ve said this before and I will say it again… Its a nice idea in theory, but I honestly would not rely on this as a locked and secure location to store an unattended firearm. Yes, its slightly more secure than it would be without it, but I just can’t personally wrap my mind around this being a 100% safe firearm to leave unattended where a child could possibly get their hands on it. Its just my opinion on the matter, but I do recommend against relying on this as a “safe” for your pistol.
So there you have it… The Galco Soltaire is a wonderful option if you are in the market for a concealed carry purse. Its stylish and it does a very good job of being both a good concealed carry option as well as a very functional purse. So, if you are looking into purse carry as a concealed carry option you should definitely give Galco a look and check out all the various models that they have available.