An exponential number of women have decided to exercise their Second Amendment rights and have started arming themselves. Indiana, for example, has seen the number of women applying for concealed carry licenses nearly double since 2012. Women are the fastest growing demographic in the gun industry and have created a whole new set of demands that need to be addressed before these pistol-packing women can exercise their rights to the fullest. One of the biggest challenges women face is finding holsters that can effectively conceal their weapons without hindering their ability to draw their weapon in an emergency or forcing them to wear baggy and oversized clothes.
Marilyn Smolenski has answered these calls by creating a line of holsters that allows women to carry a firearm without sacrificing their femininity or fashion sense. Smolenski created Nickel and Lace in 2012, shortly after a change in Chicago city laws made it possible for her to carry a weapon. The company focuses on creating holsters that are designed specifically for women, making them as stylish as they are deadly. Smolenski was elated to find that she was finally able to defend herself against violent thugs she but was disappointed at the lack of holster options available to women. She told reporters that she was tired of basing her daily wardrobe around her desire to feel secure in public:
“I don’t want to dress in tactical gear and camo all the time. I love tactical clothing for the range. It’s comfortable. I don’t want to ruin my everyday clothing,”
The main issue Smolenski found was that most male holsters are made to fit around a man’s waist, making the weapons appear bulky and obvious even to the untrained eye when fitted to a smaller, slimmer woman’s figure. Rather than following in other holster manufacturers footsteps and simply down-sizing existing models and painting them pink she started from the ground up. She created a “shapewear” based garment that would hold the weapon snugly and securely against a woman’s body, making it nearly invisible.
See some of the Nickel and Lace holsters in action below!
Women aren’t the only ones who have taken notice of the revolutionary new holsters. Smolenski states that several of her customers are air marshals that value her designs for their unparalleled discreteness.