Throughout my time at TFB, I cannot tell you how many times people have asked what guns I carry most and what I personally like to carry. I usually will give them a short answer talking about how my carry choices depend on the time of year and where I’m going. After being asked repeatedly about my personal carry choices, I figured it would just be easier to write up my choices and explain why I carry the items I do every day. Let’s take a closer look at my personal winter carry choices and gear I use daily.
My Firearm Choices
Depending on the situation, I will decide to carry one of three firearms typically. I may have an oddball day where I carry something else either for testing purposes or to give feedback on certain products, but on a typical normal day, it’s one of these three usually. If you’re looking to have more than one consistent carry piece, it’s important to try to keep firearms and their positions consistent to train easily with them.
SIG P226 Elite
Call me an old soul, but one of my all-time favorite firearms I own is my SIG P226 Elite. This gun has been with me for 10 years now and has roughly 17,000 rounds through it. I have replaced the springs on it multiple times and it has always been 100% reliable for me. It’s not the lightest option or even the most ergonomic but I absolutely love this handgun. I grew as a shooter with this gun and it always feels natural to me which is why I carry the P226 as much as I do.
Despite being a full-size handgun with a weapon light, the P226 carries fairly easily with a good holster and I have grown used to the weight so it’s not a bad option for a full day of carrying. I carry my Elite over other options just because it feels so familiar to me and I have so many rounds through this pistol. Like I said earlier, it’s really good to carry firearms that you feel confident using and can shoot well. If you shoot a particular handgun better than others, it’s always a good idea to pick that rather than force a different firearm into a spot just because it’s an easy pick. Overall, the P226 Elite holds a special place in my heart and typically that’s the firearm that leaves with me on a daily basis.
It’s hard to describe how good the Glock 19 is to carry on a daily basis. The overall size and weight of the Glock 19 combined with its 15+1 capacity is a winner in my book. If I’m wearing thinner layers or just want to carry a lighter firearm than the anchor P226, you will find me carrying the trusty Glock 19 on my hip a decent amount of the time. We can’t really ignore the crazy reliability that Glock has become famous for which is a definite plus when it comes to protecting yourself with a firearm.
Having such a large aftermarket backing as well helps build your perfect carry gun exactly how you want it. If I had to have one carry firearm that would be a good choice all year round, I would have to go with the Glock 19. The weight to capacity ratio of the Glock 19 is one of the best on the market in my opinion and holster support for these handguns is ample, to put it mildly. Any type of holster you’d want is available for the Glock 19.
SIG P365 XL
The smallest option on the list would be my SIG Sauer P365 XL. While the regular P365 is a great option for compact carry along with the 43X, I personally like the XL version a tad more because of the larger grip and longer sight radius. A gun of this size is one of the easiest to carry while offering a respectable capacity. I will typically carry this if I’m dressing up and still want to be armed but can’t have a full-size handgun in a sweater or dress shirt. Is it possible to carry a full-size gun in dress clothes? The short answer is yes but having a smaller firearm is much easier while offering peace of mind since you don’t have to worry about printing near as much.
If I’m going out to dinner or spending time with a group of friends, this will be a great low-profile option. Now some of you may ask why not just carry the XL full time if it’s the easiest to carry. The big downside to smaller firearms is the fact they are tricky to shoot quickly while maintaining accuracy. It’s rather tough to keep the smaller guns shooting flat while larger framed handguns give you more grip to control the recoil more effectively. You can definitely train more and make it your main carry, but I shoot larger handguns better while training so I carry that more in the winter than the smaller options. Everyone is different and that’s ok, these size guns are a great option for people who want to keep it simple.
My Holster Setups
Depending on the activities, I will typically either carry inside the waistband or if I’m outside, I will opt for an outside the waistband holster. Both have merits and in the wintertime, it’s a tough choice since both are really viable depending on how cold it is outside in your area. Regardless of what I choose, it will be in the 4 o’clock position since I carry both style holsters strong side. Keeping your draw consistency is important no doubt. If you have the ability to keep it the same, it won’t make a huge difference what you decide. If you typically carry AIWB holsters, your choice will be a bit tougher since they are different draw strokes. Since I carry IWB holsters throughout the year, I will typically just stick with that style since it’s what I’m used to during the rest of the year.
IWB holsters are the easiest to conceal regardless but during the brutally cold winter months, OWB holsters are definitely a viable option. With the weather typically being below zero, having multiple layers on your body makes it much easier to have a firearm on your belt in an OWB holster. For working and moving around, having an outside the waistband holster is much easier but limits how many layers you can take off to keep it concealed. Ultimately it’s up to the individual carrier, but depending on the situation both can be really useful in their own ways. If you’re on the fence, I would say give both styles a shot and see which one works best for you.
Figuring out what works best for you depending on the season can be tricky for people starting out. Everyone is different and there are a number of different options when it comes to carrying concealed in the winter. I gave you a few examples of what I enjoy carrying in the winter when it comes to guns and holsters. These aren’t the final answer to what you should carry, but rather a look at what system works for me and could be a good starting point for you. It’s always good to learn from each other to make life easier. Different perspectives can always help and I enjoy seeing what other people have come up with as well.
Let me know what you prefer to carry in the winter months and if it changes throughout the year. Do you typically carry one handgun all year round or do you rotate depending on the time of year? I’d love to hear what you guys do down in the comments below. If you have questions about carrying concealed or just firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Next week I will take a look at some of the extra stuff I carry on a daily basis. Stay safe out there.