Winter is here and that means a return to cold weather concealed carry. Though the concepts are the same year-round, winter weather presents its own set of challenges to concealed carriers. From bulky clothing to gloves, gun owners that carry must tweak their setup to accommodate the winter months.
Don’t worry, though, Guns.com has your back with some tried and true tips to alleviate the worries that winter brings.
1. Break out that full-size gun
Unlike in the summer when lighter, shorter clothes dictate the need for smaller guns; cool temps afford concealed carriers the ability to opt for larger firearms. If you’re usual carry is a Glock 43 in June, step up to the Glock 19 or even the G17 come January. Not only does this grant you more rounds but it offers a larger footprint to grab under all those layers.
While we’re on the topic of guns and holsters, you might want to even consider using an outside-the-waistband holster if frigid temperatures plague your local area. An OWB holster sits out the outside of the pants and is more easily accessible if you tend to sport multiple heavy layers on the go. Be mindful with OWB, though, that you’ll need a cover garment – like a vest or longer sweatshirt – to prevent keeping your coat on 24/7.
2. Be mindful of clothes
It’s easy to get excited about winter carry and its endless possibilities, but don’t forget that clothes often make or break the concealed carry experience. Longer coats, though fashion-forward and on-trend, make drawing more difficult than shorter coats. If a peacoat is in your future, you might want to leave it unbuttoned so that you can still grab that gun if needed.
If you’re sporting multiple layers, also be cognizant of how that can impact your draw. Can you free the gun from under a t-shirt and sweatshirt combo or is it better to conceal with just a sweater? Test out your winter wear before heading out on the streets to ensure you have a good grasp on any limitations.
3. Grab the right accessories
For once, I’m not talking about ammo or optics — although if you want to stock on those too, we’re not going to stop you. As temperatures drop and snowflakes fill the skies, you’ll most likely find yourself reaching for some gloves to keep your fingers toasty and warm. Before donning your favorite pair, though, it’s prudent to test them out with your preferred firearm to ensure you can still operate the gun.
Mittens are cute but not functional when it comes to firearm manipulations. With the gun unloaded and cleared, dry fire with your gloves. If you can still manage to pull the trigger, rack the slide and clear potential malfunctions with your set then rock on! If not, it might be time to invest in a new pair. We prefer the SKD PIG gloves as they keep my hands warm without sacrificing dexterity.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Let’s be real, you should be practicing year-round if you intend to carry; but, definitely put in those reps in the winter months. If you’re changing carry position, you need time to re-train your brain and that’s only accomplished through practice. If you’re adding more layers or a coat to your ensemble, understanding how this impacts your draw is essential to stay safe.
We suggest setting aside time each day to dry fire as well as a quick dry fire session before leaving the house – especially if you’re in a new outfit. A little bit of preparation goes a long way towards preventing catastrophe.
On the hunt for a new carry gun or need to stock up on ammo in the meantime? We’ve got your six! Head over to Guns.com to peep our entire inventory of new and used guns as well as the accessories you need to concealed carry this winter.