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ARGYLE, Texas — Women have about a quarter of the concealed carry handgun licenses in Texas, but unlike men, they often face a problem of where to conceal.

A purse is an obvious choice, but a gun isn't always easily accessible in a pocketbook. And traditional holsters are less than ideal.

"Most holsters have been built for men's bodies," firearms instructor Karla Pohl said. "Women are built differently, and we dress differently."

That has led to garter, ankle, waist-cincher and bra holsters.

"It's kind of a natural location depending on the size of the gun and the size of the 'guns,' " Carrie Lightfoot, owner of The Well Armed Woman, said of the bra holsters. "Women just need options because one day a woman is wearing a dress, the next day a suit and the next day exercise clothing."

But having a different holster for each outfit creates its own challenges.

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"Each position will require a different draw because in the heat of the moment you can't say, 'Hold on a second. I don't know how to draw from this thing. I have to learn now.' It just doesn't work that way," Lightfoot said.

So practice is important, not just practice shooting but practice drawing and shooting from each of holster a woman might have so the entire action will be natural when it's needed, she said. That's why dozens of women came to Quail Creek Shooting Range here in Argyle, about 25 miles north of Fort Worth.

In Texas, the number of women issued concealed carry permits almost doubled last year from the year before; 67,000 qualified in 2013, Texas Department of Public Safety officials said. Elsewhere, more women also want to pack heat:

• In Florida, women were 22% of concealed weapon license holders as of May 31, up from 15% in 2004, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

• In Illinois, almost 12% of the 7,500 concealed carry applications filed with the state have been from women, according to WGN-TV, Chicago. State law began to allow the permits July 1.

• In Tennessee, women had been issued more than 30% of almost 193,000 handgun-carry permits in effect at the end of 2013, according to the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security.

• In Washington state, 100,000 of 451,000 concealed-carry permit holders are women, about 22%, according to the Seattle Times.

All states allow concealed-carry permits though requirements for eligibility vary, according to federal Government Accountability Office. Only the District of Columbia prohibits civilians from carrying a firearm.

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