Concealed Carry Tips for this Holiday Season
With the holidays upon us, there will be plenty of excuses to be out and about in the nice winter air. Whether it's caroling with friends and family or sitting down for a big meal, we're covering some of the big considerations concealed carriers should have in mind when engaging in the festive holiday season.
Practice Drawing From Beneath Layers
A big mistake a lot of concealed carriers make when it gets into the wintertime concealed carry is not practicing their draw from beneath multiple layers of clothing. It's actually a pretty big deal when you think about it. Out and about with family and friends, we usually put on some layers if we intend to be outside for any length of time. Those layers can act as an impediment to draw style and ability.
Indoor practice: If you practice at an indoor range, it could be the difference between a little upfront discomfort of being bundled up inside or a much greater discomfort of fumbling for a pistol from beneath a coat, a sweatshirt, and thick gloves.
Outdoor practice: Thankfully, outdoor ranges let you wear colder weather clothing without feeling out of place. Even still, focus on a slow steady draw at first. The big thing is keeping the finger clear and off the trigger no matter how many layers you have to fight through.
Sitting Down For A Big Meal
As we've said plenty of times, being home doesn't mean being unarmed. As a concealed carrier, you can still sit down to enjoy a good Christmas Eve dinner. Invest in an IWB holster with a comfortable backpad. You may need to switch from a 2 o'clock or similar position to something closer to the 3:30 or 4 o'clock range. Find a position for your IWB where you can sit comfortably in a chair and still be able to eat like a normal person.
Indoor practice: Take a seat at the dinner table. Is your concealed carry handgun comfortable? Can you pass the gravy without the holster digging into you? If you need to adjust it to a new position, simply excuse yourself, go to the restroom, and move the holster to a comfortable position.
Walking Around Doing Christmas Shopping
Inevitably, you'll be called out to go Christmas shopping at some point (or multiple points) throughout the holiday season. If you find yourself having to stop and pull up your belt to keep your belt straight, consider a good gun belt. Even if you're uncomfortable with the idea of wearing a thick, rigid belt, you'll usually find that belts of this nature not only help keep your pants on the straight and narrow, they actually provide good back support and are quite comfortable.
Making that commitment to carrying everyday means being vigilant in guarding yourself, your friends, and your family. A couple minor adjustments and you should be carrying comfortably and still able to participate in all the usual reindeer games.
Holiday Season Is Full-Size Handgun Season For Many
A common practice among many concealed carriers is to vary the size of handgun they carry with the season, with the colder months being suitable for carrying a full-size handgun and warmer months for more easily concealed pistols. After all, the clothes and many other things are different during the colder parts of the year.
Many find that concealing a full-size handgun is difficult during the warmer months, when most people wear little more than jeans (or shorts) and a t-shirt. During the winter months, more layers are worn as well as generous outerwear, making it easier to carry and conceal a full-size handgun. This is when many people will take to carrying their service-grade handgun like a Sig P226, 1911 or Glock 17.
The extra layers of clothing also prompt some to consider carrying a larger, more powerful cartridge. The reason is the exact same as why some people may begin carrying a larger handgun during winter weather - more layers of bulkier clothing. As a result, some people opt to carry handguns chambered in 10mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP or .357 Magnum instead of .380 or 9mm. The larger, more powerful calibers often offer greater penetration, which may be desired in some areas where anything less than a down parka is insufficient outerwear in winter months.
Switch To OWB Holster For Easier Concealment
There are likely a number of people out there who conceal with an IWB holster because it's the most reliable way to conceal a handgun, but would a wear an OWB holster if given the choice. During the winter months, concealment with an OWB holster is much easier than during the warmer months. After all, having more layers and outerwear can easily hide an OWB holster.
One may find that concealment is easier, as OWB holsters are often far easier to put on and take off than IWB holsters are. There are a great many OWB holster designs that are very easy to conceal, some with merely jeans and a t-shirt, but many require some sort of outerwear to effectively conceal.
There may be some experimentation required to dial your carry set-up in just right, but many people relish the easier concealment during cold weather.
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.