I needed a purse with a surprise in it. No, not a live frog, a dedicated secondary compartment for self-defense items. To my surprise, none of the places I’d expect to find this kind of thing up here had them, and this wasn’t something I wanted to buy on-line without trying it. So I ended up in Fredericksburg window shopping, and lo and behold, they had this sort of handbag, shoulder-bag, and . . . leather “gun tacos”* with the hair still on.
I emerged with a lighter wallet and a GTM-70 “Basic hobo handbag.” I later purchased a longer strap, so I could wear it cross-body. I don’t like having a bag only over one shoulder for an extended period of time. It’s too easy for someone to snatch it. Since the straps have a steel cable running through them, having a local leather worker patch in extra length wasn’t an option. The leather is high quality, and the two main pockets have a pale, satin-like lining so it is easier to find “things that drop to the bottom of the bag.” It also has a radio-shielded pocket for your wallet or car keys. (Remember – it also blocks the signal from your key fob, so your vehicle won’t open or start until you remove your keys from the pocket, if you have a newer car.) There’s a small outside zip pocket for ID, keys, or other little items.
The bag weighs what you’d expect from a good leather and fabric bag. It doesn’t have metal feet on the bottom, alas, or it would be close to perfect. It looks somewhat dressy, so if you need it for office or church/synagogue/concert use, it would be suitable. It doesn’t have a front flap or an outside phone pocket or water-bottle pocket. The style is clean and sleek.
There are two main compartments, plus the little zip pocket. And then the other outside pocket. That is reachable by means of zippers on either end, so you can get into it either left or right handed. The heavy leather keeps the contents of the compartment from screaming “Hi! I’m a phone, wallet, and 20 Kt diamond ring!” It is designed for flatter items, but bulkier ones work as well. I carry the bag with that side against me. The bag feels more comfortable that way anyway. And I wear it cross-body, not over-the-shoulder.
I have no difficulty drawing from the external pocket. As always, discipline and practice are vital, and being aware of which way items in the external pocket are pointing. Trigger discipline is a must, but that’s also true for drawing from any holster at any time.** And if one has to in an emergency, putting a hole through the bag is not the end of the world. Despite what one individual told me, most women (or men) would much rather put a hole or holes in a handbag or satchel then be beat up or worse.
If you need a “+30 Bag of Holding” for large items, laptop, tablet computer, kid-stuff, and so on, this is not your bag. The two main compartments are not as capacious as they might be, because of the external-access pocket and its contents. If you want a good every-day handbag that happens to work to safely carry a Little Friend, this is a good choice. No, it is not cheap. But it doesn’t scream “Hi! I’m packing heat!” like a few I’ve seen.
*The zip-open, soft-sided pistol cases are commonly called “gun blankets.” Except down here, where we call them “gun tacos,” for obvious reasons. These were $60 or so, attractive hair-on leather. I’m not entirely sure why one needs a fancy gun-taco, but someone must like them. I giggled.
**In general, on-body carry is better. However, there may be times and clothing requirements that make off-body carry more practical. Choice of self-defense tool also plays a role in this decision. There is no One Right Way.
FTC Note: I purchased this for my own use and received no compensation or remuneration from the store from the manufacturer for this review.
Hmm, in 1980s California, the Gun Taco was known as a Gun Rug.
I’ve heard that as well. Which brings to mind a piece of tricolor* shag carpet flopped out on the bench to rest guns on when they are not in use at the moment . . .
*The house I lived in in Omaha had white, orange, and brown shag carpet in the dining room. Late 1960s remodel, anyone?
Well, that complements the avocado or harvest gold appliances, right? [Shudders]
Just a thought – a good leather worker might be able to put metal or composite feet on it. Might be worth asking the question.
And the burnt umber furniture!
Need more coffee.
Nice find! 🙂
*grins* I use same company, different model for my purse. Good purse! In fact, it’s the… third model I’ve used over the years, as my needs for EDC have grown*, and the make and model of my surprise has changed.
*Epi pen & antihistamine & inhaler & wallet… nope, I will never carry a clutch purse again. Le sigh.
Alma and Dorothy,
What do you think of the strap clips?
Every single purse I have, I break those first. In fact, neither handle nor strap on current ‘I need to find a replacement for this’ purse is connected at both ends, which is a nuisence.
I realize this is because my normal load includes a mini maglite, a multitool, and being the Keeper of the Keys (two houses, outbuildings, vehicles, and a Masonic Temple). My purse, which really is not big, in spite of my kids insisting it is a Bag of Holding, outweighs my cat.
I like the strap clips. They are large and thick. The spring mechanism is a little stiff, which is a Good Thing. The on-bag rings are also sturdy. Thus far, I have not had any difficulty, except for trying to get the clips open with one hand. That’s more of an Alma coordination problem than a hardware failure.
Haven’t had any issues with them, although, as noted, stiff to manipulate.
Sigh. I am saving up for a custom bag for concealed carry – I don’t want one of the off-the-rack models, because it’s just to obvious to the cognoscenti, and I’d prefer to surprise the bastards. I did see some very nice custom ones at an open air market in Boerne, some years ago – a bit flashy with the exotic furs and leathers, but … eminently doable. I’ll have to go through my collection of business cards, see if I can pull up the name of the local company. They did a very nice product, if a bit … flashy.
Now I’m having vague notions of crackfic about Valdemar and gun culture.
“No, this is Valdemar. People can like that round if they want to.”
Is it heavy enough that you could HWACK someone with it? With…FEELING??
Depending on what you carry in the bag, yes. Although for that, my four-pounds-empty Coach business bag (plus two textbooks et al) would work better.
Go to an Army/ Navy store. They have many shoulder type bags. My first one lasted 5 years, the 2nd I still have. Heavy canvas, a deep well main compartment, 4 outside pockets , 2 are buttoned, and an inside pocket w zipper- 50$ approx
Will it work for church or semi-formal occasions? That’s my difficulty. I have bags that can be adapted for a holster, but that are not for wearing with Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes. Otherwise yes, mil-sup can work very well.