Carrying in Cold Weather

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s that cold time of year again. At least, it’s that time of year for people who live where it gets cold. I live in South Texas, where people think the next ice age has arrived, anytime it drops below 60 degrees. But since I grew up in the north, that’s not an issue for me; I just laugh when I see everyone bundled up in their winter gear, and I’m still wearing shorts.

For the rest of you; those who live farther north and those who grew up in the Deep South, wintertime means heavy coats, hats, gloves and scarves. For those of us who carry concealed, it also means having a hard time getting to our pistol, if we need it in a hurry.

Keeping warm and the ability to defend ourselves seem to be contradictory goals. But they don’t necessarily have to be. People have come up with a number of solutions to this problem through the years. All you have to do is find the solution which works best for you.

Keep Your Coat Open

The most obvious solution to this problem is to keep your coat open, so that you have access to your gun. Of course, depending on how cold it is and your personal resistance to the cold, it may be impossible to do that.

Even if your coat is open, your draw will be affected by it. A winter coat is heavier than a shirt or suit coat, so will react differently than those lighter garments will. Be ready for that and make sure your coat will rise to the occasion.

Baggy, Short Coat

Speaking of your coat rising to the occasion; you might want to make sure you have a coat which will do just that. A short, baggy coat will work much better than a longer or tight fitting one. With a short, baggy coat, you can lift the hem of the coat and draw, much like you would with a t-shirt. While not as convenient as a t-shirt, the shorter the coat, the less likely it is to get in the way.

Coat Pocket

Probably the easiest way to avoid the coat causing any problem at all is to change the way you carry, putting your pistol in your coat pocket. This gives you ready access to it, with just about any coat. Of course, you’ve got to have a coat with big enough pockets for your pistol… or maybe you’ve got to have a pistol that’s small enough for your coat pockets.

The danger here is in not having the pistol in a holster. One of the things that any good holster does is cover up the trigger and trigger guard, preventing your finger from accidentally touching the trigger. When carrying in your pocket, you really need a pocket holster, like those which are used for carrying pocket pistol in the front pocket of your trousers.

I’ve never seen any, but you can easily make a larger version of these holsters. I made one for my Springfield XDS, so that I can carry it in the cargo pocket of my pants. It wasn’t all that hard to make and provides the right sort of protection for my pistol’s trigger.

Speaking of Cargo Pants

This may be the easiest way of all to stay warm and carry your gun concealed in the wintertime. I wear cargo pants (or shorts) regularly; so sometimes I will carry my pistol in the right cargo pocket, rather than in a belt holster. Typically I do that when I’m wearing a shirt that’s too tight to put over the pistol. Regardless, it works. I happen to like carrying my pistol there anyway, as drawing from the thigh is faster and easier than drawing from the waist.

Slit in the Coat Seam

If you wear long coats, a standard way of giving you access to your pistol is to make a slit in the coat’s seam. Any good tailor should be able to do this for you, in such a way that people won’t be able to tell. You can carry your pistol like normal and still access it easily, even with your coat on. Just make sure that the slit is long enough for the pistol that you’re carrying.

If you’re going to do this, you’ll probably want to keep the coat buttoned. Otherwise, the alignment of the slit and the gun might not be very good. Any clumsiness that causes could slow you down; not something you want.

Carry Bag

There is no rule or law I’ve heard of, which requires you to carry your pistol in a belt holster if you’re carrying concealed. Women regularly carry their pistols in their purses, so I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t carry yours in some sort of cross-body bag, like a messenger bag or a tablet bag.

This would probably require you making some sort of custom holster to hold the pistol in position, in a way that makes it easy to draw. You don’t want it flopping around in the bag, with the potential for an accidental discharge or the problem of having your pistol facing the wrong way when you go to draw it. Some experimentation will probably be required.

Watch Out for Gloves

Gloves can be a problem too. Trigger control is the most important element of shooting and you’re going to have a hard time controlling your trigger if you can’t feel it.

One solution is to cut the index finger off your gloves, leaving that finger exposed. Of course, that finger is going to get cold, so you may not like that idea. Another option is to make a slit in the glove, at the base of the finger. That way, you can extract the finger, without having to take the glove off. Either way, it’s going to slow you down, so you will need to make time for it.

It’s all about being ready, and that has to include being ready in times of inclement weather. So, just like keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand, be sure to have a plan for carrying when it’s cold.

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