Winter presents its own set of challenges for carrying a concealed weapon. With colder temperatures and bulkier clothing, it can become overwhelming to figure out how to stay active with your concealed carry weapon during winter.
Wear the right clothing.
Winter means more layers of clothing. For concealed carriers, more layers mean more places a handgun can become stuck and a longer gun retrieval time.
Experiment with different locations until you find one that you can easily access while wearing cold weather clothing.
One of the best practices to adopt when the weather gets colder is to stand in front of a mirror andpractice drawing your firearm. Do this until you can confidently clear the winter layers without catching a jacket zipper.
Once you have done this, go to the range and practice drawing and firing your gun while wearing cold weather clothing until you develop the appropriate muscle memory so that, in an emergency, you will instinctually access your gun from that spot.
Reassess your holster type.
As exceptional as yourquick draw holster is in summer months, it may not be as suited to colder weather. With cold hands and bulky winter gloves, simple strap retentions secured with Velcro or buttons can cause problems. Some holsters offer features like passive retention or finger breaks that may not be as effective during the winter.
Take time to consider how cold weather might affect your ability to break the weapon free from your holster. Practice unhooking or unsnapping the holster’s retention system with gloves or numb fingers until you are comfortable doing so. Alternatively, seek out a substitute holster option, such as Kydex holsters to use in colder months.
Coat cover is not always concealed cover.
At first glance, winter jackets might appear to be the perfect solution for concealing a firearm. However, it is essential you test the cover a jacket affords before assuming this.
When you reach your arms above your head or bend down to pick something up, does your coat shift enough to expose your handgun? If so, consider adjusting your placement or invest in a coat with a better fit.
Down winter coats are made of light, flexible fabric. While they are perfect for keeping warm without added bulk, light fabrics distinctly outline your weapon when they are stretched, including when you sit.
Conceal jackets allow for natural movement and a fast path to your handgun. A high-quality carry jacket is lightweight but does not puff out or bunch up. They can also come with compatible holster attachments, like a TacTec System™ and elasticized cuffs, to keep sleeves out of the way. The Quixip® system couples accelerated access with tough, long-lasting fabrics that hold up to repetitive wear.
The most important thing is to find a jacket that fits. A poor fit can cause just as many issues as a jacket that is not suited for a concealed carry weapon.
Reassess your lubricant.
Cold temperatures have a noticeable effect on most oils and fluids, and your gun lubricant is no exception. Modern oils have been created so that their function remains unobstructed despite colder temperatures. However, if the last person to lubricate your gun was the manufacturer, there is a chance the oil or grease that was used is incompatible with sub-zero temperatures.
It is understandable that doing a complete breakdown of your gun to clean out every drop of grease and oil is not the most appealing idea. Instead, test how well your current lubricant holds up by placing your gun in the freezer overnight. Follow this up with a round of test shooting in the morning. If the gun does not function at 100%, you have an issue.
Your gunsmith might find that all your gun needs is a new firing pin, or they may suggest you consider carrying an alternative gun for winter temperatures.
Preparation is key.
The winter months are both a challenge and an opportunity to test your skills and knowledge and make you an all-around conscientious concealed carrier. You must be prepared to deal with the obstacles the cold weather brings.
Practice concealing your handgun with winter clothes or drawing with numb fingers. Also, consider trying out new gun holsters that are more compatible with cold weather clothing and temperatures.
Whether it is your first winter season or you have had many years of practice, it is essential to review your gear and methods of concealment to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you if you are required to draw your weapon.
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