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The importance of wearing proper shooting gloves during winter for concealed carry holders

Winter is Coming

It is reasonable to assume that time spent at a range, for most people, has them shooting under very ideal conditions. Perhaps they are rested, have a perfect stance, and are barehanded. But winter is coming, and that means more layers on your body, and not only jackets and hats, but gloves too.

For those of us who are serious about concealed carry we will take the time at the range to practice shooting under a wide variety of circumstances, even if it means wearing a leather jacket when it’s 80 degrees outside. Why? Because practice really does bring us closer to perfection. Be honest, though, how many of you have practiced shooting with gloves?

When shifting over to winter carry, some will move to an OWB (Outside the Waistband) holster because it makes access easier while wearing more clothes and yet keeps their gun concealed.

There are seasonal differences to take into consideration, Take a look at our previous article: Concealed Carry - Winter VS. Summer

Others will wear very specific outer layers, like jackets without hoods because they know hoods impair peripheral vision. If you don’t have good peripheral vision then your situational awareness is shot (pun intended).

Another key feature for a good winter jacket is that it’s not tight. Sorry if your style is the skin-tight, short-waist denim jacket that seems popular with the “hipster” crowds today. Your jacket needs to be loose and your arms should be able to move freely.

We wrote an in depth look at wearing CCW holsters during winter here: Wearing Concealed Carry Holsters During Cold Weather

Perhaps the most important consideration when winter comes is gloves. This decision is all-or-nothing because under no circumstance will you have the chance to say, “Hang on, let me get these things off so I can grab my gun” when you are in a situation where you need to draw.

This doesn’t just apply when facing a threat from an individual; hunters may encounter a charging bear, and bears don’t always listen to verbal instructions. 

But just not any gloves will work. It is extremely dangerous to draw while wearing an unfamiliar (and bulky) pair of winter gloves because it happens to be five degrees outside.

You can make the choice to not wear gloves in the winter, but that will have to be your choice every day, no matter the temperature outside. And if this is your choice, will you be able to shoot properly when your hands are cold and dried out? That answer can only be found at the range, practicing drawing and shooting in extreme cold with cold hands.

For others, though, gloves are an appropriate choice, and there are many good shooting gloves on the market. It may take spending time with different pairs until you find the right ones for your comfort AND your specific gun.

A pair of gloves may work well when shooting a .357 revolver, but will they work just as well when you’re holding a snub-nose .38?

Finding the right pair of gloves is a balancing act between achieving warmth (which is the whole reason you’re wearing gloves, right?), having them slim enough that your trigger finger fits well inside the trigger guard and yet does not get stuck in the upper section of the trigger, and that the material does not cause hammer or slide bite.

Finding and practicing with the right pair of gloves will ensure that your gloved hands do not impede the slide lock of a self-loading handgun or that you won’t cause an unintended discharge by exerting lateral pressure on the trigger when your gloved finger enters the trigger guard.

One consideration for avoiding the latter is to shoot a double-action-first-shot handgun, one that requires heavier trigger pressure for the first shot. Though consider that after the first shot the transition to single-action may make it easier to double tap, unintentionally.

Now let’s discuss adhesion. No matter how stylish that pair of department store gloves look, if they don’t “adhere” to your handgun, you have created a dangerous situation. Cotton gloves, by and large, should not even be considered. Yes they may fit well and be flexible, but can you control your gun (and thus the situation) when your gun slides around in your hand?

Whenever you find the right pair of gloves, buy an extra pair to keep stashed away (like in the glove box. Yes, that’s why they’re called that!), so you’re never tempted to “throw something else on” when you can’t find your shooting gloves and you’re late for your errand/meeting/whatever.

And then practice, practice, practice. Practice drawing; practice engaging/disengaging the safety; practice the slide lock; practice the magazine release. And, of course, practice shooting.

But there is an equally important task to practice with gloves and it has nothing to do with your gun or your holster.

Practice doing your daily chores with gloves on, as you don’t want to get in the habit of taking your gloves off and putting them on for every little task. Can pull your wallet, find the credit card you need, or sort through your cash without fumbling?

Can you sign a check wearing your gloves? Remember, your shooting gloves are likely going to be form-fitting, so they won’t be easy to remove. A glove is a new hand; treat it with the same respect.

Ryan Newhouse

About The Author

Ryan Newhouse is the son of a gunsmith. He hunts and writes in the mountains of western Montana. His freelance writing has been published locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. He covers many topics, from profiles to food and beer pairings. He is currently teaching his young daughter the exciting relationship between a BB gun and balloons.