The winter weather can be a dangerous time of year. It also increases your risk of hypothermia, frostbite and carbon monoxide poisoning. Getting dressed to conceal carry in the winter can be tricky. Luckily, concealed-carry clothing and accessories can help you carry in the cold responsibly.
What you wear significantly impacts how easy or difficult it is to access your self-defense weapon. This is especially true during the winter when you’re bundled up in extra layers. Your carry method also affects your ability to access your gun. While carrying inside the waistband (IWB) is a great choice for summer, it can be better for cold weather. IWB requires you to clear your clothing for the firearm and can be hindered by bulky boots or overshoes that cover the ankle.
If you wear IWB, opt for pants with a wide, flat waistband and look for fabrics that allow for easy concealment. Try cotton, which allows air to circulate and is soft and durable. You’ll also want to consider a wrap or blazer that can be worn over your shirt and conceal your firearm. These are called “cover garments” and are great to have in your wardrobe for concealed carry in the winter.
Winter clothing can make it easy to carry your firearm without compromising your style. Concealed carry clothes for winter can hide your concealed weapon and spare mags with a spread corduroy collar for a classic western look with discreet interior firearm pockets. It’s important to keep printing in mind when carrying during the colder months. This means that you may need to reevaluate your carry method if your usual one needs to be fixed with the thicker fabrics and layers typical of winter clothing. For example, an inside-the-pants holster can be difficult to reach when wearing a jacket and might get tangled up in the coat when drawing. For this reason, it’s always good to do some dry and live-fire practice with your holster before you start wearing it in public.
When dressing for winter, be aware of how your clothing may affect your ability to conceal carry. Suppose you wear gloves too thick to work with your firearm comfortably or interfere with aiming and trigger manipulation. In that case, this may affect your ability to use your weapon in an emergency. The same goes for heavy fabrics that make it difficult to draw your gun quickly. Additionally, wearing a jacket that requires standing up straight (or slouching) can lead to printing issues as your shirt settles into your waistline, creating extra layers to clear to access your pistol. Fabrics with a natural color and a matte or satin finish can also help minimize printing. Plus, patterns and prints like stripes, animal prints, polka dots, and plaid can distract the eye and help to hide your handgun. Be sure to try out different cover garments, such as a cardigan, blazer, or button-up shirt and see what works best for you and your concealed carry setup.
Many people carry in different ways depending on the season, and that’s fine. However, practicing with whatever holster and firearm combination you use is important to know how to access it quickly in an emergency. For instance, if you carry inside the coat with an inside-the-pants holster and wear layers of clothing, that gun could easily work its way up or down and get tangled in your undergarments. Also, if you carry an overcoat or parka that buttons up the front, it’s easier to access your gun as you wear a long jacket. That’s why it’s a good idea to try out a shoulder holster under your winter clothes and get comfortable with it. That will make it the most dependable option for you in a crisis. A shoulder holster also works well when you wear a long coat over it.