The Flashbang caught my attention from the moment I learned of it. I wasn't sure it was something that would be compatible with me, a proud member of the IBTC (itty bitty titty committee). I also had some concerns and questions about how wearing the Flashbang would wear on my clothing. Julie and Lisa at Flashbang were kind enough to send me one to review, and I am so glad they did.
The Flashbang is a holster that attaches to the bra. These are kydex holsters that have a strap to affix to the center of the bra. The gun sits, and hides, in the natural dip between breasts. The bottom of the holster is open, and is held shut by the bra and breasts.
After spending some time looking around Flashbang's store, I wasn't entirely sure which holster I wanted to try. It appears that there are some differences between each of the bra holsters. I was able to speak with Julie and she recommended The Teddy. It is covered in suede which makes it softer on the skin below the breasts. It comes with three different straps to accommodate different band widths. For an additional $5 you can purchase a fourth strap that is long enough to go on a sports bra.
The Teddy Flashbang holds up pretty well, which is to be expected with a kydex holster. I have worn The Flashbang during the different desert seasons. One edge of the suede was starting to peel up, but I was able to stick it back down. That is something to be aware of, and I would say is the only potential concern with The Teddy. After 10 months of fairly regular wear, I can't complain too much.
I specifically wanted to test if there was additional wear and tear to my bra when using The Flashbang. I wondered if drawing would put additional wear on the bra straps, but that does not seem to be the case. Before starting the review I bought a new bra to test if this wore the material out quicker than normal wear. If anything, this bra is not wearing as fast as previous bras have.
Using the Flashbang
I am a pretty small chested woman, and at times really struggled to comfortably seat the Flashbang below my breasts. I noticed that the closer to ovulation I was, the more comfortable it felt. While the closer to my period that I was, it felt harder and less secure. This could have been entirely in my head, but my husband has noted changes in my breast size during my cycle, so I think that is still something to consider.
Boob sweat is something to consider as well. I'm not sure if it was the suede of The Teddy, or if it is just having something sit along my bra strap, but the boob sweat was considerably worse when wearing a Flashbang. This wasn't much of an issue in the winter, but the summer can be brutal.
The Flashbang has been incredibly convenient for me to conceal carry with. It's easy to throw on before I run to the grocery store, and I'm able to wear it with outfits I couldn't ordinarily conceal carry with.
It is crucial to make sure the gun is pointed in a safe direction. Holstering the Flashbang is very different from holstering AIWB. I can't stress enough, you have to know which direction the muzzle is as you are holstering with this holster. You could easily be pointing the gun at someone's child.
At times I found holstering the revolver to be tricky. Lots of wiggling the gun around to try to get it holstered (finger high and off the trigger of course). It was easier for me to holster with the Flashbang off of my body, which is what I do at home. However, practice is required to do it quickly and safely if you are ever in a defensive encounter in public. Over time holstering has become easier, though it remains a bit more challenging than standard IWB.
Before I started carrying (around the house and public) I watched Annette Evan's video and followed her tips. As mentioned in the section above, there is a greater chance of muzzling others with the Flashbang than carrying AIWB. That being noted, Annette suggested that during your draw to turn your body so the muzzle is always facing the intended target.
I had the intention to use The Flashbang at NPE: Counter Robbery taught by Darryl Bolke, Chuck Haggard, and Cecil Burch. Unfortunately March in Salt Lake City is still incredibly cold and the mountains surrounding the range were still heavily covered in snow. I decided it was too cold, and I had too many layers on to want to attempt using The Flashbang.
In colder climates you need to be aware of how quickly you can clear concealment before accessing your firearm, especially because you have to clear much more space to safely draw from the Flashbang.
There are severe limitations if you are carrying children and using the Flashbang. My husband nor I could work out a way to safely draw without muzzling a child in your arms. Additionally, the Flashbang does not lend itself to easily draw from your support hand should you hold a child in your dominant arm. If I was with children, I would put the child down before drawing.
If you are a baby wearer (or a dog wearer), you can't carry in the Flashbang. Most wraps, slings, and carriers will be in the way regardless of where you are wearing the baby.
One handed drawing is more difficult, but not impossible. It took some extra practice to clear concealment high enough, and get my hand on the gun, which I would encourage everyone to practice. However, you are limited to dominant hand when you are drawing single handed.
How the Flashbang Compares to AIWB
There isn't a huge difference in drawing from the Flashbang versus drawing from appendix. I clear concealment the same way, I have a habit of pulling my shirts up very high. Next, forcefully rip the gun downward to separate it from the holster. After this I raise the gun back up, and essentially perform my standard presentation.
My draw is only about a second slower drawing from the Flashbang than from appendix after I've been warming up and practicing. Even drawing cold, I don't notice a huge difference between drawing from appendix, and drawing from the Flashbang.
Final Thoughts on the Flashbang Bra Holster
I really enjoy the Flashbang. It was exactly what I didn't know that I needed in my life. My two biggest requirements in my conceal carry gear is comfort and convenience and the Flashbang fits both of those requirements. The Flashbang is often the difference between carrying and not carrying for me.
Since writing the initial draft for this, I have ordered a second Flashbang. I purchased one that is entirely kydex, and I think this will be preferable leading into summer after a few weeks of wear.
MSRP on the Flashbang is $59.99, and the Flashbang Teddy starts at $89.99. You can check out the lineup >>HERE<<
Editor's Note: Flashbang sent this holster out, free of charge, for purposes of review. No expectations of positive commentary were provided by either Flashbang, nor Primer Peak.