- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2001

It is one item that does not appear in the fancy lingerie catalog … yet.
But in the perplexing world of ladies unmentionables, the SuperBra is the foundation undergarment that may win a coveted spot in history. It is the worlds only combined brassiere and firearm holster, designed by a female security specialist for female gun owners who had been resigned to carry their personal weapon in a purse or waist pack.
"If a woman is attacked, the purse is the first thing taken from her. A good place to conceal a weapon is in the chest area," said Paxton Quigley, a high-profile Beverly Hills security specialist with some show biz in her veins.
A former talk-radio host, Miss Quigley recently tutored three former female contestants of CBS "Survivor" in self-defense, a process taped for the syndicated show "XTra."
"They said their training was harder than anything they did on 'Survivor," she said.
The "new bra holster is equal parts Victorias Secret and Guns & Ammo magazine," according to one media account.
It is priced at $30, available in black or white and features a soft plastic holster that can accommodate a .38 caliber snub-nose revolver. There is no preoccupation with frills or underwiring here; the most important concern is whether the woman in question shoots with her left or right hand. The garment is configured to match, and can conceal a pepper spray cannister, besides.
"Which is what interested 'Ripleys Believe It or Not. The producers didnt want to feature anything about women and guns, but the pepper spray met their approval," said Miss Quigley, who wryly noted that the syndicated TV show completely retaped the segment to eliminate any mention of firearms. Television apparently wants to keep the guns and gore for movies and cop shows.
The infamous bra holster, though, is the stuff of waggish press dreams. Over the years, the media has offered gleeful accounts of undergarments as crime clues and even murder weapons, like the "best clue in Ohio drug bust concealed in womans bra" story that the Associated Press covered last year.
While Miss Quigley seriously advocates responsible gun ownership, the jokes are beginning to multiply.
"A new bra made for holdups, not push-ups," noted an April 10 account on "Court TV," which added that the bra could "boost the confidence and more of wearers."
One online humor site features a fictitious "Personal Security Bra," woven of bullet-resistant Kevlar fiber with "integrated holsters for mace, knife and .22 pistol."
Miss Quigley, who has written two books on gun safety and self-defense for women, is philosophical about it and continues to offer the SuperBra as practical equipment rather than boudoir flimsy, right along with a product line that includes foaming pepper spray, gun-storage vaults and door locks.
Female gun owners dont have all that many options, either.
"Weve been told by many women that finding a comfortable holster is very similar to the search for a comfortable bra," a notice for equipment supplier Concealed Carrier explains.
Still, the company only offers pants, waist, thigh and belt holsters for women, asking the prospective customer: "Will it be a basic holster to protect your gun, a holster for the gun range or strictly a concealment holster?"
Meanwhile, Miss Quigley, who has given self-defense training to about 7,000 women since 1990 and taught actress Geena Davis to shoot for the movie "Thelma and Louise," vouches for her product.
"Women like the idea of comfort and its ease of access," she said.
Though Miss Quigley has trademarked the name "SuperBra" with a capital B, this isnt the only "super bra" out there.
Both name and concept are oddly popular. Already, lingerie manufacturers like Gossard, Bendon and Panache offer sports bras called "Superbras." The "Holster Bra" from DAquino Intimo, has nothing to do with guns. It is instead a "feminine, sporty new bra for active life styles," and even has its own Web site.
Theres also a Superbra recording label that features primarily high-energy "techno" dance music. Needless to say, some gun holsters are actually called gun "bras" in the trade.
Australian scientists, in the meantime, are at work on the worlds first "Smart Bra," which uses futuristic, "self-adjusting fibers" and sensors to expand, stiffen or contract the garment in certain areas as a woman moves.
"It will be the first time intelligent polymer systems have been completely integrated into fabric structure," said one researcher, who estimated that the first Smart Bra prototypes would be available in about two years.

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