Time has flown by and we are starting another winter cycle. Depending on how you feel about colder weather, you’re either excited to carry a larger firearm or you’re trying to figure out how to conceal carry with the extra layers. Now some people will be safe from the great northern cold. Everyone in Florida or Arizona will be safe from the struggles of layering up. Carrying in winter months can be a great thing for some people, but can also be challenging to others. Let’s dive into the challenging and positive aspects of carrying during the winter months.
How to Practice for Extra Layers
Carrying concealed during the winter months can be challenging for individuals who are either new to concealed carrying or live in areas where it doesn’t always get down to cold temperatures throughout the year. The hardest part about the cold temperatures is the added layers onto the body. This makes it much harder to draw your weapon in an emergency situation. With the addition of a sweatshirt or coat, it can sometimes be another few seconds to get your gun out of the holster. A great way to become proficient is to stay consistent with what you use as a coat and just practice.
Simple dry firing at home or going to an outdoor range a few times during the season is a great way to get some real-life experience drawing and presenting the gun from added layers of cover. If you do plan on going to the gun range and trying in a live-fire drill, its always important to go slow first and have safety be your number one priority. Dry firing would be when I would speed things up but focusing on the important aspects of drawing. Practicing with dry firing can be a really helpful tool but it’s important to be consistent.
Breaking Down Movements
Often times, I will do 10-15 draws out of the holster with the first five being slow and focusing on my movements. After that, I will do another 5-10 draws at real speed to see how everything goes when I need to get to my gun quickly. Once I feel comfortable with how my draw is going, I will add in something like going for my spare magazine. Not everyone carries a spare magazine so this might not apply to everyone, but the final 5-10 reps should be incorporating that spare magazine if you do carry one. Breaking down and practicing specific movements is a great way to make your reps meaningful without rushing and mixing in things that complicate the drawing process. If you practice this way for 2-3 times a week, you’ll become much more comfortable with carrying under more layers in no time.
Different Carry Methods
Often times people will switch their carrying style once the cold weather starts to roll in. It’s fairly common to switch either carry styles or carry guns depending on the weather outside. Some people really enjoy the colder weather because they can easily conceal carry larger guns without much effort. Another common trend for winter carry is to switch from Inside the Waistband carry to Outside the Waistband carrying. People often start carrying OWB because the vast majority of people say its more comfortable to carry larger firearms than stuffing it into your pants.
Something like a large winter jacket with multiple layers will easily break up the overall shape of the handgun. Older individuals will carry a shoulder rig as well since its easily concealed like the OWB holsters. This isn’t as commonly seen as it was eight to ten years ago but it’s still a valid way to conceal carry in the winter months. Now keep in mind these are just different options for carrying in the wintertime but if you are used to carrying concealed in an IWB holster then, by all means, stay with that. Like I said earlier, its really important to remain consistent so if you can carry the same way all year round, it’ll probably feel more natural to conceal carry no matter what you’re wearing.
For people who are newer to concealed carry, carrying in the wintertime can be somewhat intimidating. It’s definitely a different experience if it’s a new idea, but with time, carrying under more layers does get easier. The most important part of transitioning to colder weather is to consistently practice until you feel comfortable. It may seem like a simple concept, but practicing regularly will make carrying with more layers less intimidating without having to stress about the changes.
It’s always good to try out new systems when you’re at home and can see what works best for you over time. I’d love to hear about some of your favorite carry methods for wintertime in the comments below. Let me know if you change carry styles or if you keep consistently carrying the same way. If you have questions feel free to send me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.