Winter is coming, okay maybe for most it’s already here. Adapting your carry load-out to accommodate the cold weather is not as difficult as some believe.
Hot & Cold
The point to understand is there are two main environmental conditions; hot and cold. Each have there unique challenges to overcome. In hot weather you are dealing with less clothing and or lighter clothing options. The risk of printing is higher; which means you can’t get complacent with your gear or methods. They have to be well thought out and practiced. In cold weather you must protect yourself from the environment. That requires purpose built clothing and lots of them. Your risk of printing is low due to the layers and bulk, but gaining access requires more effort. Your primary concern in hot weather is concealment and in cold weather is access.
I see many techniques espoused that are limited, almost one dimensional. You can’t afford this in the best of conditions. The old adage if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The key is the gear you choose and methods you use. We teach a 3-gun approach to achieve true EDC levels. You can’t rely on your “go to gun” you love for everything, it just wont work. You will need to consider a secondary and maybe even a backup gun. I tell people reality often dictates a different plan than the one you came up with for the best conditions and not the real ones. This is the reason we teach a universal approach to defeat methodology. You want a technique for as many conditions as you would face.
Well thought out defeat methodology does not care about where you carry or what you carry. It is more concerned with clearing the cover garment quickly and reliably. Whether it’s strong side or appendix, it shouldn’t matter. It also takes into consideration the various types of cover garments you may be required to wear. From the oh so popular T-shirt, to formal wear to cold weather wear. A major consideration for concealed carry is does your technique work versus multiple layers. If it doesn’t, that’s your first mistake. The mistake again lies in being one dimensional. You should regularly practice to defeat multiple layers. The benefit to this thought process is having a technique you can use regardless of the cover garment or weather conditions.
Don’t Get Caught Flat Footed
When it comes down to drawing for cold weather concealment a major oversight is situational awareness. You might not recognize the challenge or you got complacent because all you practiced was wearing a T-shirt. Now you have three layers on, plus your outwear is zipped closed. I hear some comment how they will not zip up their outer wear to have quicker access to their carry gun. If you are truly in cold weather you sound like an idiot. You stand a greater chance of becoming hypotermic than drawing your gun. You need to plan for a slower drawstroke, one that is more deliberate. You may also consider backup guns that are easier to get to over your primary carry gun. Carrying in a pocket is one solution, but you must have the gun carried in a holster. The final consideration is whether you are wearing gloves to keep your hands warm. If not, you run the risk of having less dexterity which can affect your shooting. If you do, you run the risk of complicating your drawstroke due to the extra material. I recommend you practice with gloves, it helps you appreciate the reality of drawing from deep cold weather clothing.
I enjoy the winter time, for me it is a great time of year. For others, the struggle is real regarding staying warm from deep cold weather concealment.