Guns and Gear

Concealed Carry Corner: The Good and Bad of Winter Carry

Welcome back to another episode of Concealed Carry Corner. Last week, we talked about some concealed carry examples from three different people who are drastically different but all carry a concealed firearm. If you happened to miss that article, be sure to click the link here to check it out. This week, I want to talk about another topic that some get really excited about which is carrying in the winter months. There are plenty of benefits to the extra layers but it also presents plenty of problems as well. Let’s take a closer look at the good and bad of winter carry.

Concealed Carry Corner @ TFB:

How Is Winter Carry Different?

When the colder months arrive for the majority of the United States, it can be a blessing for most people who carry a gun. Some will joke around and say they can carry almost anything with the amount of layers you have to wear to keep warm. The cold weather means carrying full-size guns without the worry of printing or being caught since you will usually have large jackets over your handgun. It allows you to carry your favorite range guns instead of smaller compact carry pistols.

The biggest change between summer carry and having to carry a firearm during the colder months is moving all those layers out of the way. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly takes more practice than just walking around in a regular shirt and shorts. With some practice, having more layers in the wintertime can be a massive aid in your ability to carry larger firearms without worrying about printing or being caught.

The Benefits of Layers

With the northern states dropping below the freezing temps, having the ability to throw on a sweatshirt or heavy jacket gives you more options for carrying handguns that otherwise would be really tough to conceal in the warmer summer months. When it comes to layering during the colder months, I prefer to go with a zip-up sweatshirt with a lighter fleece jacket over top of the sweatshirt. The addition of each layer will smooth out the imprint from your pistol grip and make it look more contoured versus having a weird mark on your side like it would be in just a shirt.

If you have a heavy winter jacket it will do the same but I prefer the medium coat with a sweatshirt because I can still take the jacket off indoors while having some level of coverage. Carrying a larger firearm that you practice with at the range certainly adds a level of confidence. When you go out in the world with a gun you shoot regularly it allows you to have something you are familiar with and that allows you to confidently make shots rather than feeling underprepared.

Personally, I spend the vast majority of my range time shooting full-size handguns and training with those rather than putting hundreds of rounds through smaller carry guns that I carry in the summer months. Having the ability to carry something that I shoot the most really allows me to carry something larger like a Glock 17 or SIG P226 instead of my smaller Glock 43 or 48. With a  larger firearm, you automatically have a longer sight picture for more accurate shots, a larger grip for more control and it allows you to carry accessories like a red dot or weapon light without feeling nervous about printing.

Some Challenges of Carrying In The Cold

The extra layers will certainly help conceal your handgun better but having extra layers certainly has its drawbacks as well. With just a shirt, it’s not difficult to draw one-handed from concealment. With the addition of a heavier jacket or even a sweatshirt and coat, it’s not easy to draw from concealment with just one hand. You most likely will have to start practicing drawing your handgun with both hands to clear the heavier jacket or layers.

The fastest method I’ve found to do this is to grab the jacket and layers with your support hand which for most people is the left hand, pull the covering layers up to clear the handgun, and then draw the firearm with your right hand before dropping your jacket and adding your support hand to the grip. For those of you who carry an appendix set up, it’s the exact same process with you clearing the garment with your left hand and drawing with the right. With enough practice and time given to your draw, it can be a really fast fluid motion.

Overall Thoughts

I personally find carrying in the winter months to be more fun. Not only can you carry larger firearms that are easier to use if needed, but it’s also easier to carry accessories. I didn’t get much into the benefits of outside the waistband holster with cold weather apparel but that’s for another article. Some of you may prefer to carry the same firearm every day no matter what time of year it is. That is not a bad thing even slightly but some of us like to grab a larger handgun for self-defense and there are real benefits to it.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Is it beneficial to swap out in the winter months for a larger handgun or do you think it’s better to keep the same all year round? Sound off in the comments down 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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