Considerations for Carrying in Cold Weather

Cold-weather presents a host of challenges to those of us who carry concealed. Below are some concealed carry considerations that may help make it less of a pain in the butt.

Carry Outside Waistband (OWB)

If you carry inside the waistband (IWB), you may choose to capitalize on the fact that you are wearing a jacket and carry in an OWB holster. If you swap over to an OWB option, you still must clear away your coat, but it may make the process slightly simpler than carrying IWB. If you want to carry your handgun OWB, make sure you use a holster with some passive retention. What we mean is to use a holster where the gun isn’t flopping around inside of it. That is a disaster waiting to happen.

Consider leaving your jacket unzipped. Doing this allows for a pretty straightforward draw, regardless of the position you are carrying the gun. However, there are some downsides to leaving your jacket unzipped. One, you will be colder. Secondly, it requires some practice to get it out of the way during the draw stroke. There are several different techniques you can use to clear the cover-garment during the draw stroke. Things like the thickness, weight, or length of the jacket all affect which method works best.

You may also try and wear a warm, form-fitting, thermal underwear, base layer. You can tuck that layer into your pants behind the holster, which helps keep you warm by not allowing cold air to blow up under your shirt. If you wear a nice, warm undershirt, you may be able to forego a heavy jacket. In fact, you may find putting a thick hoodie on top of that warm shirt is all you need to stay warm.

Let’s face it, wearing gloves may be a necessity in some climates and at certain times. Whenever possible, use gloves that allow you to access and use your firearm. Some attributes of ‘gun-friendly’ gloves are those that are not too bulky. I have seen some LEO’s wearing gloves that were so thick that they would make it almost impossible to defeat any of the retentions on their holster, let alone allow the trigger finger into the trigger guard. If you must wear gloves this thick, work out a draw that incorporated removing the glove(s) and then moving to grip the gun. Gloves that have some ‘grippyness’ to them are a huge help, even in warm weather. So if you are going to wear gloves, why not take advantage of material that aids in the grip.

Confirm you are using proper lubrication. All lubricants are affected in some way by cold weather, some more than others. Warm temperatures allow the lube to reach all the necessary parts. There are some greases and lubricants that tend to get thick and gummy when cold. While it isn’t likely you will be out in the low temperatures cause this, consider checking your preferred lubricant. I have seen guns malfunction in cold weather classes and then function after applying some oil. The lube or lack thereof was likely only a contributing factor in the malfunction. However, it is a factor that is easily controlled, as opposed to something like freezing temperatures.

Lastly, consider the caliber and capacity of your everyday carry (EDC) gun. Numerous studies have shown that .380 is only marginally effective in self-defense. This has to do a lot with a lower velocity not providing enough consistent penetration and expansion of the projectile. Believe it or not, multiple layers of thick clothing impacts both expansion and penetration. It may be a good time to consider a setup that generally performs better in the application of self-defense.