Woman Draw from ConcealmentColder weather offers a completely new level of concealed carry options that do not exist in the warmer months. Unless you live in Florida or parts of the Southwest, your wardrobe likely changes as the temperature drops, allowing the addition of layers that would not be appropriate in the summer heat.

QuoteWhile layering up for concealed carry in the winter does allow for some advantages, it also introduces some challenges.

First, the good news. In the summer, smaller is the name of the CCW game. With only a tee or other light shirt covering your gun, you are probably carrying a smaller weapon that is easier to conceal since there isn’t as much material to reduce printing. All of that changes when you throw on a jacket or coat. Not only you can more easily conceal your summer gun, the added layers let you up the ante a bit and carry a full-size. You might even carry it OWB, so long as your outerwear is long enough to cover the bottom of the holster.

The bad news is extra layers means you may have to learn new habits or relearn habits from last winter. Your draw is going to change slightly from the summer because you are clearing a heavier garment now. The mechanics should be the same, but you will need to adjust to pushing aside more material. This will take practice.

If you’re carrying a bigger gun now, it’s time to acclimate yourself to new gear at your disposal.

QuoteEven if you shoot your full-size in other environments, such as at the range or in competitions, carrying it every day is very different.

Tips for Cold Weather Carry

  1. Work out the best way to clear your cover garment with extra layers. This is especially important if you switch to an OWB holster because the gun will be in a different spot on your belt.
  2. Practice your draw with the added layers. You can do this at home, but be sure your gun is verified empty and safe. For live-fire practice, find a range that allows drawing from a holster. Many indoor ranges do not, while most outdoor ranges do.
  3. Train with gloves on. Remember, it’s colder outside now and you might have to draw while bundled up, including wearing thick winter gloves. Can you fire your EDC with the added thickness? Will your finger still fit inside the trigger guard? Most full-size guns have larger trigger guards, but be sure. Try some mag changes, too, to verify you can grip the spare mag and reload the gun without any hitches.
  4. When carrying, try to keep your jacket unzipped/unbuttoned when possible. Two reasons:
    • It’s easier to access your gun with an open jacket
    • The gun will print less if the jacket hangs loosely
  5. If it’s ultra-cold and you need to close the jacket, find outerwear that will tear away or give you access to your firearm from the side.

Just like with all your training, practice may not make perfect, but it will make you more prepared.

QuoteAs the old self-defense adage advises, the worst place to learn is in the middle of a fight. Be ready. Winter is coming.