Concealed Carry Holsters Considerations to take into account during winter months
Safety doesn't take a snow day – why should you?
Just because inclement weather is raging all around you, that's all the more reason to carry your favored sidearm. The issue, amongst both veteran and beginning marksman, is how to keep one's firearm within reach beneath all those layers. The good news is that it's still possible to take along a concealed carry holster. The maybe-bad news is it's truly only effective if you train for the environment. There are seasonal considerations to take into account which we wrote about previously here: Concealed Carry during Winter VS. Summer
In the discussions about using a concealed carry holster properly, the natural evolution should also lend itself to prudent training and assessment. Real world situations don't tend to shape themselves exactly like a training environment but what does transfer is the muscle memory you develop from repeatedly using your firearm in a controlled and predictable environment. Life, unfortunately, is never as predictable.
Here is an exercise to enhance your effectiveness with a concealed carry holster in cold weather:
Cold Weather Gear “El Presidente” with Concealed Carry Holster
For this exercise, wear everything you would expect to wear to go out in your average cold weather environment.
Taken from the old favorites in combat pistol exercised of the SOF community, the immediate focus is first being familiar with how you respond to having your concealed carry holster beneath layers of clothing.
1. Start with your back facing three targets spaced exactly one meters apart and ten meters from where you're standing.
2. Place your hands on top of your head.
3. Turn around and place two rounds in each target.
4. Drop your clip, reload.
5. Fire two more in each target.
6. Clear your weapon. Place it back in your concealed carry holster.
Ideally, this is a timed event but if you haven't completed an El Presidente with your current concealed carry holster with cold weather gear on, focus at first on just performing the task slowly. For the first run, it's recommended that your pistol shouldn't even be loaded so you are more focused on the movement.
The purpose of this drill is to both familiarize yourself with the concept of muscle memory and reaction timing paired with accuracy and precision in a cold weather environment. Regardless of where your skill level is with firearms, it's always important to allow yourself more time than you think you need. This will also give you some measure of idea of combat effectiveness with cold weather gear on and using your concealed carry holster.
What's great about this event is that it will give you a better feel for which style of concealed carry holster suits your tastes – Inside the Waistband (IWB) or Outside the Waistband (OWB). No one can be a better judge of which one is better suited for your individual shooting style than your own practice and especially training for inclement environments where multiple layers of clothing are involved.
Another consideration to take into account is shooting with you winter gloves. It may be worth taking some time to practice drawing with your gloves on. We explored that exact topic a few months ago: Shooting with Gloves during Winter
As always, safety first, and as you progress – get a buddy to time you. You'll be surprised by how fluid and natural you are able to react no matter what clothing you're wearing.
About The Author
James England is a former United States Marine Signals Intelligence Operator and defense contractor with over two tours spread over the Al Anbar province and two more operating across Helmand and Baghdis. He is presently a writer focused on Western foreign policy and maintains an avid interest in firearms. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, he presently resides in New Hampshire – the “Live Free or Die” state. He is finishing up his first novel, “American Hubris”, which is set to hit shelves in Fall of 2015.