Can’t Can’t, Regretably

I never wear dresses. Okay, fine, yes, that’s an exaggeration. I rarely wear dresses. I grew up playing kickball with two brothers and their gaggle of harmonized-belching homies. But I realize that for some women, feeling female is important. And every thirteen eons or so, I do actually have to wear a dress, or I might need a super-deep concealment option for whatever reason. So I finally decided to check out some thigh holsters.

Before I say anything else, let me emphasize that I do not, not, not advocate thigh rigs for everyday carry. They are by no means ideal. But if you don’t work in a gun store and can’t wear cargo pants and fishing vests everywhere you go, sometimes creativity is the only saving grace. For those blue moons that simply won’t abide waistline carry, oftentimes the options are (a) stay home or (b) go unarmed or (c) go in cargo pants and a fishing vest or (d) carry off-body (nooooooooooooooo [insert cavernous reverberation here]). Those options are all steeped in varying degrees of suck, so I’m always looking for others. After many hours combing the interwebs, I stumbled upon Can Can Concealment.

can-can-websiteThe first thing I saw on Can Can’s website was a woman muzzling herself with a Walther PK380 in single action mode. While that was a wee tad cringe-worthy, I confess it didn’t bother me as much as it probably should have. I typically carry in a belly band, which requires daily flirtation with the boundary lines of Safety Rule #2. And although one’s own hand usually qualifies as something one wishes not to destroy, the website model did at least give mad respect to Rule #3. The image also nicely touts one of my favorite features of their compression holsters: a nifty grab-tab for easy access, which helps to minimize self-muzzling.

Can Can’s thigh holsters (they call them “garters”) come in different sizes: the “Micro” (for super teeny-tiny baby guns), the “Classic” (for compacts), and the “SheBang®,” which is billed as “the answer for concealing larger handguns over 6.5″ in overall length and over 28 oz.” It comes with a matching belt that connects to the garter with straps for extra support, kind of like suspenders. I was skeptical that any thigh holster could lug two pounds of thus-and-so without shimmying down to my ankle, so I called the toll-free number to inquire. To my surprise, one of the company’s owners answered the phone. She was patient, professional, personable, and extremely helpful. Can Can’s website is top notch, and yet I was still glad I called instead of just ordering online.

Since I always want to carry as much gun as possible, and since the Can Can lady assured me that the SheBang® really could support the weight of my G17, I ordered one. It arrived three or four days later, rivaling any shipping speed that other providers might promise. That leads me to a quick side note: if you order gear from Can Can — or from any small, independent outfit — please order directly from the entrepreneur and not from Amazon or some other third party corporate mega-vendor that will siphon 90% of the profits from the little guys.

I know next to nothing about needlework (kickball yes, sewing no). But from what these lay eyes could tell, Can Can does impressive work. The material was sturdy (they advertise it as “military-grade,” though I think that term gets tossed around a little too loosely nowadays); the stitching seemed secure; and the holster and belt were both, I dunno, what’s the word… cute? pretty? sexy?

As a shameless, no-make-up-wearing, barely-hair-fixing, sweat-pants-sporting plebian, I find it slightly ick-tastic to yap on about the aesthetics of the thing. Looks are the least of my worries, since the whole point is concealment, after all. But I know, I know. It’s important to some folks. So here goes.

The supporting belt has a very delicate, lacy-looking overlay; and the garter (thigh holster) has a chic little crisscrossed corset-style lace-up deal that looks particularly come-hither. It’s quite scandalous. Very lingerie-y. Can Can’s claim to fame is giving women a way to carry without feeling like bearded goat herders, and they hit that one out of the park. If coyness is your thing, this holster will definitely inspire a smoky-eyed selfie or two.

can-can-lace-belt2  laces

As for functionality, I ran into a roadblock out of the gate, albeit one that is unique to my particular body type. Unlike “normal” women, I am blessed/cursed with what my mother lovingly calls “thunder thighs” — disproportionately chunkier than those of your average apparel model, and more drastically tapered at the knees. While Can Can’s thigh holsters do account for standard curves on standard chicks, anyone who’s anything but standard might be wise to expect a few fitting issues.

legsBut they do offer custom fittings! So I called the company back and asked if there was any way to accommodate my, um, anatomical endowments. They were eager to please and happily took up the challenge of fashioning a custom garter per my specifications. I was anxious to see if the tweaks would work any better.

Aaaaand they didn’t. On the standard garter, the strip of fasteners runs almost perpendicular to the garter itself. Can Can’s customization tilted the fasteners to fall at a more slanted angle. While that did help with the tapering issue, it also kept the hook and eye closures from aligning properly. So in my picky tinkering, I replaced one problem with another. Kudos to Can Can for working with me, but I’ve all but concluded that unless you have a classic pin-up body, you’re probably just not an ideal candidate for concealing on the thigh.

custom-tilt2   can-can-holster-mod-alignment2

On the off-chance that I might ever temporarily tolerate the garter being either too small at the top or too big at the bottom, I went ahead and test drove the thing around the house for a while with an empty gun. The garter belt was perfectly comfortable. Once I got it situated, I didn’t really notice it much (probably because I’m used to wearing a belly band). However, after about ten minutes of walking around, the SheBang® unfortunately did what most thigh holsters do: it started slipping down towards my knee.

Much to their credit, the ladies at Can Can have gone to great lengths to guard against slippage. Their garters feature “Silicon Non-Slip Tacti-Grip” strips along the top and bottom, which are supposed to keep the holster in place despite the weight of the firearm. And as I mentioned earlier, the holster attaches to the garter belt with two adjustable hook-on straps that look a lot like bra straps. But just like bra straps, (1) they stretch a lot with added weight, and (2) their plastic adjusters slide down with added weight. The laws of physics are always conspiring to elongate the straps, no matter what you do. That kind of defeats the purpose of using them to keep the garter from inching downward. So there’s that.

Bottom line: Can Can gets top marks for customer service; top marks for a well-designed, informative, user-friendly website; and top marks for price, craftsmanship, and delivery speed — all of which makes for an A+ product… as long as your legs aren’t shaped like mine. Oh well. I was probably kidding myself by going the full-size route anyway. If I can work out the fitting issue, I think I’ll give this company another try with its Classic holster for my G43. Then perhaps the blue moon will rise yet again. Stay tuned.

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