Welcome back to another edition of Concealed Carry Corner. Last week, we talked about different styles of iron sights on carry pistols if you happened to miss that article, be sure to click the link here to check it out. This week, I want to look at something I often struggle with during really cold temperatures like most of the northeastern part of the country is dealing with currently. When you start to have 3-4 heavy layers on your body, it can be tricky to grab a concealed firearm quickly. Certain carry positions as well as a few different techniques can make it easier to draw. Let’s take a closer look at how it can be tricky carrying a concealed gun with layers.
Concealed Carry Corner @ TFB:
The Problems with Layers
With the winter months bringing freezing temperatures and sometimes wind chills in the -10 to -30 range, it’s important to think about how you may carry differently than in the summer months with just a shirt and jeans on. When the northern states become so cold you need hats, heavy down coats, and gloves to go outside, it can be very tricky to consistently draw from concealment. Other parts of the country have wildlife that can be even more of a threat than people. Whether it is the frigid temperatures out west or the constant barrage of snow in the northeast, it is important to practice drawing from concealment. If you just expect to draw smoothly with extra layers and gloves on, you will have a real rough reality check when you have to draw for self-defense.
All it takes is 10-15 minutes to sit down and figure out what works best to draw from concealment. If you can’t seem to make it work after one practice session, it’s never a bad idea to practice once a week for that same 15-minute time frame with a coat on. Just getting a rough idea of what works for you and putting reps in will make drawing in a stressful situation that much easier under stress. Repetition and muscle memory are the keys to having a smooth draw stroke under stress and the more practice you put in ahead of time, the easier it’ll be to draw your pistol under pressure.
The first choice when it comes to carrying concealed is having some sort of belt-mounted holster either outside the waistband (OWB) or inside the waistband (IWB). For the vast majority of the time, this is by far the easiest to carry a concealed firearm without drastically changing how you dress and what you wear on a daily basis. When you start throwing layer after layer on top of your carry gun, the belt line can sometimes be tricky to access when you have heavy coats and sweatshirts over it. As a result, sometimes you have to get creative if you can’t carry on your belt line anymore.
Traditional OWB/IWB Belt Carry
For the vast majority of shooters, the most common way to carry a concealed firearm. Most will want to keep it on their belt for the sake of consistency and no matter the weather, you should try to keep your handgun’s position on your body as consistent as possible. This can be tricky though if you start throwing on a heavy sweatshirt with a jacket on top as well. There are plenty of ways to quickly get rid of the barriers to quickly access your firearm.
Leaving your jacket unzipped is one of the easiest ways to have fast access to your firearm, but depending on how cold it is, that may not be an option for you. The key is to have multiple layers to keep you warm but have them be open like an unzipped jacket and zip-up hoodie so you can easily move the layers with your drawstroke to pull your handgun as quickly as possible. If you absolutely have to keep your coat zipped, pulling up on your jacket with your off-hand and drawing with your dominant hand will also be a quick way to draw your firearm from concealment. It’s all based on what your options are and what works best for you. This is where putting in the practice really does pay off.
One of the more interesting options when looking at carrying during the cold months is seeking out other options. Like I said earlier, I always recommend keeping your carry as consistent as humanly possible. Sometimes certain individuals do like to mix things up when the temperatures start to drop. Whether it’s carrying a bigger handgun or switching positions, it is fairly common to mix things up as the temperatures start to drop.
One of the ways I’ve found to draw faster under a ton of different layers is to carry in a shoulder holster. I typically will have my outer coat zipped about halfway which will still allow me to have full access to draw a firearm but just like carrying on your belt, this method will also take practice and repetition to quickly draw from concealment. It is another option to consider in the grand scheme of things and most may not think of it right away but shoulder holsters are a great option if you wear long heavy coats.
With seasonal changes, the weather really can have a substantial effect on not only your carry system but also how your draw stroke looks and what you have to do to clear the firearm from your clothing. The key to being effective with multiple layers is to practice at home with 15 minutes of dry firing occasionally and practice drawing from concealment.
With a bit of practice and repetition, you’ll be good to go in no time. Let me know what you guys think about carrying in the winter months down in the comments below. If you have questions about carrying concealed or firearms in general, be sure to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there and we will see you next week for another edition of Concealed Carry Corner.
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