With Christmas right around the corner, it means wintertime for half the country is upon us. Being from Michigan, I understand the difference in clothing and what it means to switch over to a wintertime carry mindset. Having extra layers on your body definitely presents some challenges when carrying a concealed firearm on a daily basis. There are a few options people prefer in the winter months. Whether it’s changing your carry style or even changing your concealed firearm, there’s a number of things that people do during the winter months. Let’s take a closer look at what options you have when carrying in the winter months.
The Beauty of OWB Holsters In Winter
There are a ton of people who switch from carrying an inside the waistband holster to an outside the waistband for the duration of the winter months. Many argue that carrying OWB holsters are more comfortable to carry for long durations since it’s outside your pants rather than riding inside your pants. Throughout my experience over the years, I tend to just keep carrying inside the waistband since that’s what I’m used to but OWB is an extremely comfortable way to carry.
With the typical heavier style jacket or layers that people carry in the winter, there’s no danger of printing or accidentally brandishing your firearm. Carrying on the outside of your waistband will also eliminate the need to clear additional layers of clothing. If you carry IWB, not only will you have your coat and outer layers to clear but also your clothes. With an outside the waistband holster, there’s no need to clear an extra layer of clothing under stress. It may seem like a small advantage but drawing a firearm in self-defense, I’ll honestly take every advantage I can to protect myself.
Shoulder Holsters In Winter Time
Now all you old timers are always crying about shoulder holsters and why I never love on them. Well, this one is for you guys because it’s one of the few times shoulder holsters actually make sense. Like I said earlier, carrying under a bunch of clothes can make it tough if you’re carrying inside your waistline. Having the gun higher up out of your waistband is significantly easier to draw with multiple layers on than it is sometimes carrying IWB or OWB style holster.
There were a number of years in the wintertime I would carry a full-size handgun with two spare magazines in a shoulder holster instead of on my waistband. With a heavy coat, there’s no real reason to worry about printing or brandishing as long as you have the firearm covered by the coat. Now there is a bit of a learning curve when carrying with a shoulder holster over a simple belt style holster since shoulder holsters do tend to move around a bit more than other styles. The biggest key to shoulder holsters is making sure they are properly fitted and set up for your firearm. There are a number of great How-To videos on this exact topic to show you how to properly set up your shoulder holster.
I get asked all the time by people why shoulder holsters can be a benefit during the winter months or just in general. Most new shooters who ask always think about the days of Miami Vice and the certain stylish appeal that comes with a quality leather holster. During the cold months though, shoulder holsters can make it much easier to draw and have access to your firearm than other methods. This is particularly true when sitting or driving in your vehicle.
Having quick access to your firearm while driving is a big plus and certain belt holster options become even trickier to draw from when you start adding bulky winter coats into the mix. Certain people have claimed to take their coat off every time they get into their car, but this isn’t exactly practical when it’s well below zero on certain mornings of the year. At the end of the day, it’s about being able to draw quickly and easily from concealment and shoulder holsters are honestly a great option.
Consistency is Key
No matter what method you decide to go with for carrying a concealed firearm, it’s important to keep consistency in mind. This is typically why I’m against changing your carry style during the winter. Often times the skills you took the time to learn aren’t used and you have to familiarize yourself with a new system that may not be used once the weather starts to get warmer. If you plan on carrying with a certain holster style, it’s paramount you invest the time to train with that style.
Now be aware with shoulder holsters and just drawing, in general, isn’t always allowed at various ranges. Every range is different when it comes to rules about drawing from a holster. The Miami classic style holsters where the barrel is pointed directly behind the shooter is most commonly the type that will get you into trouble in public ranges so it’s never a bad idea to ask before practicing your draw. If you can’t find a place to practice your draw, there’s always dry fire practice in your home with snap caps just to be safe. It’ll give you the repetition of drawing without the danger of having a negligent discharge.
Wintertime carry can offer a number of benefits like carrying a larger handgun easier without the worry of printing or brandishing. A number of people will opt to carry a larger firearm with the security of wearing a larger coat, but it’s not a mandatory thing to do. Having something like a Glock 48 or Glock 19 all year round is perfectly fine, but if you’re looking to move up in size, these carry options may not be a bad way to go.
No matter what you decide, it’s always important to practice to become proficient. There’s no sense in changing your carry style if you don’t practice the new style to the point where it feels comfortable to draw from. Let me know what you guys prefer when the weather gets colder. Do you stay with the state style holster all year round or do you mix it up as the weather gets colder? Let me know down in the comments below. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.
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