Carry concealed with confidence this winter.
My favorite time of the year is upon us, but I'm not talking about all the homemade pumpkin spice candles my girlfriend buys at the hayrides and harvest festivals. I love the fact that it's hoodie weather and that winter is the best time for concealing a handgun.
Here are my five tips for concealed carry this winter:
1. Wear Your Concealed Firearm in the Same Place Every Time
Everyone has different behaviors, styles of dress, and body compositions. There is no one position over another. It comes down to what is comfortable to you, where you feel confident, and where it is easy to get to quickly.
Create a lasting habit this winter by carrying in the same place every time. Make sure you find the right place for you during cold weather.
2. Be Conscious of How Many Layers You Are Wearing
Be aware of what it will require to get to your handgun. Take the time to practice the steps required to get your pistol from the holster to pulling the trigger. I recommend practicing in a mirror with the cleared and safe firearm you plan on carrying.
Does the hammer on your Smith & Wesson 637 get hung up on your jacket zipper? Do you need to further move your coat to get the muzzle of your HK P30L to clear the holster? You need to be conscious of the steps it takes to reach your concealed pistol.
3. Concealed Holster Retention Matters in the Cold
Different holster materials use different ways to secure the firearm. Leather and nylon holsters usually use strap style retention fastened by Velcro or button snaps. Will you be able to break these retention devices while wearing gloves or with cold hands? Have you practiced enough to do this under stress?
Kydex holsters will either use passive retention or a finger break. Will the passive retention of Kydex be secure enough based on your level of activity? Are your gloves too big to push the button on the finger break? Step back to understand your holster.
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4. Your Coat Cannot Always Cover Your Concealed Firearm
It's easy to think that a big hunting jacket will always cover your handgun, but do not depend on a coat to conceal.
Remember that certain motions or positions could reveal your firearm. Does your coat ride up to show your firearm when you bend over to pick something up? How about when you reach to the top shelf of a store? When you sit does the handle poke through your shirt (printing)?
Think about the actions that could compromise your concealed status. Constantly think, train, and create good habits for safe and responsible concealed carry.
5. Invest in a Good Belt for Concealed Carry
The most common factor for people having issues with carrying is that they usually do not have a good belt. The belt is the most central and vital to any carry array. I'm surprised by the lack of information and discussion about this central piece. There is a very distinct type of belt for carrying.
Look for belts that have durable material and are thick and wide. Avoid belts that feel flimsy or can be bent across their width. Problems with printing, holster ride, and chaffing (to name a few) stem from an improper belt that cannot support the weight of a firearm.
I prefer two-inch wide rigger belts made of thick nylon. Try this one from Cabela's.
Concealing a firearm is a balancing act and a journey. Look at yourself in the mirror. Take pictures of your gear while carrying. Every person is different and these are just my opinions.
It is up to you to take a conscious and critical look at your own concealed assortment.
Keep calm and carry concealed, my friends.