Firearms trainer: Good bag a good option

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Adam Winch trains women to defend themselves — with guns, if necessary. So Winch knows how women should carry concealed weapons.

The best way is carry a handgun in a holster on their bodies. But the next best option is to carry a gun in a bag, says Winch, owner of Defenders USA in Grand Junction.

It’s important, though, that a concealed carry handbag offer sturdy construction and, more critical still, easy and quick access to a gun. Fashion Firearm Handbags offers some of the best products on the market, Winch says. What’s more, the handbags don’t look like they conceal guns.

Winch served more than 10 years with the Grand Junction Police Department and a total of eight years in the Army, Army Reserve and Colorado National Guard before that. He launched Defenders USA about a year ago to offer his self-defense and firearm training courses on a full-time basis.

His Defender Series course offers 20 hours of instruction spread over three days in the classroom and shooting range in teaching students the safe and responsible use of handguns.

Winch estimates that more than 400 women have taken his training courses over the past 18 months as part of the requirements to obtain concealed carry permits. The majority of students in his other self-defense courses are women, he says.

Women realize they’re usually smaller physically than men and need to learn how to defend themselves, Winch says. Other women have been victims of assault before and refuse to do so again, he adds.

Winch says his students have included JaCee Apple, founder and chief executive officer of Fashion Firearms Handbags. She learned a lot from the instruction, he says. “She’s a rock star.”

Apple in turn consulted with Winch about her handbags and incorporated his suggestions into her designs.

Winch says he likes a number of the features, including three access points to the handgun, locking zippers and steel cables in the straps that prevent theft.

Even with a good concealed carry handbag, women must practice regularly to to be able to draw a gun in seconds in what are usually highly stressful situations, Winch says. Moreover, women who carry concealed handguns in their handbags must remain cognizant of where their bags are at all times and maintain control over those bags.