Welcome back to another edition of Concealed Carry Corner. Last week, we talked about various shooting drills to help incorporate movement into your range sessions. If you missed last week, I’ll be sure to leave a link to the article here. For the majority of the United States, the colder months are upon and that means layering up to keep warm during these cold winter months. Naturally, some of you will be switching out your carry guns to larger full-size carry guns with the addition of more jackets and warm layers. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in concealed carry related jackets but are they worth it? Let’s take a closer look to answer the question are concealed carry jackets worth it?
Cheap Amazon Options
One of the more popular options for people is to purchase a generic carry jacket with built-in holsters and pockets for magazines and other accessories. In theory, it seems like a really practical system that will let you easily carry a handgun with no holster or anything. In reality, it’s not as perfect as it may seems initially. I’ve tried a few different versions over the years and initially, they do the trick, but they are not perfect and often times your carry guns will sag and shift while you walk around.
If you have a small revolver you want to keep secure in the inside pocket, these jackets would work really well. If you want to have a secure medium or full-size pistol though, these jackets are not a viable option. These jackets are typically more geared towards men and there aren’t many options available for female shooters. Typically you’ll need to get creative if you’re looking for a concealed carry jacket designed specifically for women. You can often times deals from $50-100 for these jackets which seem like a steal, but in the long run, they are typically lower quality than a regular jacket for the same price.
More Expensive Range/ Carry Jackets
There are a number of reputable companies that are well-known in the industry and make great jackets and outdoor gear for shooters. Whether it’s concealed carry related or range gear, having high-quality outerwear will go much further than something made to a price point. Some of my favorite companies like Viktos, Arctyrx, FirstSpear and 5.11 make some very high-quality jackets that may not necessarily be made specifically for concealed carry but they are a great option since they are often firearm-minded products.
Certain companies like Viktos make high-quality jackets made specifically for carrying concealed with side zippers and pockets with zippers on the inside to access your firearm from your jacket pocket. Personally, I have a few of their jackets as well as their sweatshirts and they are some of my favorites out there. They don’t scream tactical or carrying a firearm like other companies’ products but give you plenty of options for accessing a firearm. 5.11 has toned down their tactical look as well and now offers products that look more like everyday clothing which is a huge plus for looking like an everyday person. Having quality outerwear will not only improve your draw speed and confidence, but the added quality will ensure your jackets last year after year.
Using Regular Jackets
The easiest method as well as the cheapest is to use the existing jackets you already own. People will oftentimes get caught up in the process of finding the perfect jacket when you will oftentimes have a great option already in your closet. Having specific carry clothing is awesome and there’s no doubt it gives you options, but it’s not necessary for the slightest. Some of my favorite jackets to wear is a zip-up sweatshirt in addition to a lightweight fleece coat. Layering up while carrying does a few different things to help make your larger framed carry guns disappear. The first big advantage layering gives a carrier is an ability to break up the shape of the firearm with each layer.
Having multiple layers over your pistol grip will help curve a sharp grip contour. Most times with 2-3 layers all those harsh angles from your grip will disappear which makes concealing a firearm almost disappear. Having a couple lightweight layers will also help fight off the bitter cold without having a massive heavy outer layer to fight with if you ever need to draw your pistol from concealment. Having multiple layers is typically way easier to move fast than something like a heavy-down jacket due to its overall mass. Drawing a gun from concealment can be a real pain in the butt no matter what and fighting heavy thick winter jackets can be almost impossible even with lots of practice.
Practice is Key
The biggest trap I see people fall into is the idea of buying your way into being proficient with a firearm. Whether that’s accessories, special clothing or whatever else they think will give them an advantage. The simple truth is practicing your garment clearing and draw stroke is the number one way to become confident in your abilities. Some individuals just don’t want to put the work into their draw stroke with layers on.
There’s no quick product that will change your performance overnight, but consistent dry fire practice with your jacket on will improve your abilities within 2-3 weeks typically. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for the fastest way to improve your draw from concealment with layers, I would highly recommend dry firing and practicing your draw stroke from concealment.
It’s a fairly common trend for people to look for products to improve their abilities instead of training. If you have the disposable income to invest in specific carry jackets, I think it’s a helpful addition but it’s by no means a must-buy item. I have specific carry jackets as well as regular jackets and between the two, I will typically carry with my regular jackets just layered up to give me a few light layers to blend the rough angles on the handgun. Everyone has different opinions on what’s best for them, but you typically don’t have to spend extra money on gear to perform better.
Let me know what your favorite piece of concealed carry gear is and if you think you need specific jackets to carry a gun. I am a firm believer you can make your existing jackets work with practice but I know some of you will disagree so be sure to leave your thoughts down in the comments below. If you have questions about carrying or firearms in general, don’t be afraid to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there and we will see you next week.