January 31, 2023

Cold weather presents opportunities and challenges for concealed carry. You compromise your protection if you don’t prepare and practice for cold-weather carry.

Proper preparation increases your comfort and safety. Read on to discover cold-weather considerations for concealed carry.

Stay Warm by Correctly Layering

Compared to your wardrobe during warmer times of the year, winter clothes often make it easier for you to conceal your weapon. The layers usually keep your weapon out of sight, and heavier fabric prevents printing better than a lightweight or thin material. But if you don’t layer your clothes correctly, you can add unnecessary bulk, making it harder for you to maneuver.

The number of layers you need to wear depends on the temperature. But these general guidelines will help you wear strategic outfits that don’t inhibit everyday carry (EDC). And in case you travel somewhere with different winter conditions from your home, you might want to know these details when layering for concealed carry.

If you’re going to spend substantial time outdoors in the cold, wear base layers or at least a base layer shirt. Rather than insulating body heat, the base layer will wick away moisture to prevent your clothes from retaining sweat and giving you a chill.

The next layer to add is a mid-layer, such as a fleece jacket or sweater. This layer provides warmth and insulates body heat. Additionally, if you’re in a wet environment, make sure you’re wearing a waterproof outer shell. The shell can be part of the mid-layer or a top layer, such as a coat.

Protect Your Agility

Strategic layering is the most efficient way to stay warm, but you need to do more to enhance your agility in the winter. Agility is the ability to move quickly and easily, and while winter conditions and clothes make it challenging to preserve your agility, thoughtful planning helps.

When it comes to winter accessories, choose items that won’t inhibit accessing and using your firearm. Avoid drawstrings near your gun, and avoid wearing long scarves.

If you wear gloves, ensure you can safely handle your gun and accessories. Check that your finger can still fit in the trigger guard opening. Practice reloading your gun to ensure you can handle your firearm and ammunition well.

Wearing footwear that provides adequate traction is a good idea for all occasions, but it’s imperative when you carry. Sufficient traction allows you to maintain form in the isosceles, weaver, or fighting stance. You won’t help yourself or anyone else if you don’t have reliable footing.

Choose garments that allow you to access your weapon easily. A loose-enough sweater is simpler to reach under than a button-down. Wearing your jacket open or only half-closed will give you easier access to a shoulder holster. An open coat also doesn’t allow printing as easily as one that’s closed.

Finally, when outdoors, warm up by moving around and improving your circulation. Your extremities will get cold the fastest, so stay active to keep your arms and legs warm. If your fingers go numb, it becomes difficult or impossible for you to handle your firearm and ammo.

Reconsider Your Holster Position and Gun Size

When you carry a concealed firearm in cold weather, consider changing your holster position or carrying a larger gun. Changing your holster can make it easier for you to reach for your weapon. And a larger firearm gives you a longer sight radius, improving your shooting accuracy.

If you wear a long enough coat or jacket, you might enjoy carrying outside the waistband (OWB). You probably don’t wear fabric heavy enough in warmer temperatures to keep the firearm concealed. But in the cold, you might be able to carry OWB discreetly. Make sure that when you raise your arms, your outer fabric doesn’t rise enough to reveal your weapon.

For some people, layers of clothes make it difficult to access your strong-side holster. Another position that can work better in cold weather is shoulder carry. This holster can make it possible for you to carry a larger weapon than other carry positions. Make sure that an open jacket doesn’t reveal your firearm.

With pocket carry, you keep your gun near your hand, and it’s easier to access your weapon discreetly. A well-constructed pocket holster keeps your gun from sliding around. Remember that if the pocket holster is in a jacket and you take the coat off, you no longer have the weapon on you. Keep guns away from unauthorized users, and don’t place your jacket anywhere absent-mindedly.

Finally, concealed carry backpacks make the best holsters if you want to carry a larger gun but don’t want to keep it on your body. You can keep your firearm and other EDC items organized and accessible in a low-profile backpack. Treat the backpack as a holster rather than a regular bag, and always keep it near you to prevent unwanted access.

Practice Using Your Firearm

Sharpen and maintain your firearm skills with routine practice. Keep in mind that with additional layers, you might be clearing a heavier garment. Since that’s the case, your draw might change in the winter. And with a larger gun, you’ll have to get used to new gear.

Practice drawing, firing, and holstering with your winter gear on. Use an outdoor range to acclimate to doing everything in the cold. If you usually wear gloves outside, use them as you practice. And if you normally wear mittens, practice taking them off before you draw your gun.

Getting lulled into a false sense of security is one of the worst things that can happen if you’ve been carrying for a while. Ensure you can shoot well to stop your target without harming others or damaging property.

You must consider your outfit, firearm, and accessories when it comes to cold-weather concealed carry. Staying warm and dry puts you in the best position to defend yourself. And adjustments to your EDC items can enhance your efficiency.

Improve your carry experience with equipment from Elite Survival Systems. We carry a range of high-quality holsters, including concealed carry backpacks for off-body carry. Shop with us today for all the gear to discreetly carry your gun and other EDC items.

Cold-Weather Considerations for Concealed Carry

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