With the colder months comes layered clothing and behavioral changes. If you carry a concealed firearm, there are a few things that you should keep in mind during the winter to ensure you are still prepared and ready to go at a moments notice.
During the summer, you are more likely wearing a t-shirt while carrying and have practiced the act of drawing with a t-shirt on. Lift shirt to expose firearm, draw from holster. This should be part of your muscle memory if you’ve been practicing on a regular basis. Once we add a winter jacket to the equation, your draw will more than likely change. If the jacket is unzipped for example, the motion is to sweep it to the side and away from your firearm, THEN lift up your shirt to access your firearm. We’ve now added an additional step, and we need to make sure to practice in the same fashion we do during the summer months.
The nature of humans is to bundle up when it’s cold. How many times do you see someone walking around in January with their hands in their pockets, chin squished to their chest in an attempt to keep warm, and maybe even a hooded sweatshirt around their head. If this is you, I’d recommend a change. If you are navigating in this fashion, your situational awareness drops dramatically. If a hood is up, your peripheral vision is diminished quite a bit. If your hands are in your pockets, you could be more easily off guard and ill-prepared. These are just a few things to keep in mind.
If you don’t shoot with gloves on, don’t wear gloves in the winter. This is just my opinion, as shooting with gloves is a completely different feel than with your bare hands. If you do wear gloves in the winter, the recommendation is to obviously train with the same gloves that you wear. Having two pairs of the sames gloves is also recommended. Keep a clean pair that you wear every day and have a ‘dirty’ pair that you use at the range. Walking around with lead on your gloves all day isn’t the healthiest idea.
Some folks are inclined to wear an OWB holster in the winter verses their normal IWB holster. I’m kind of against that and here are my two reasons why. First, unless you’re practicing drawing from the OWB holster, I don’t recommend carrying this way because it’s a different draw than from an IWB holster. I prefer to stick to one solid method all year round, as to diminish any mistakes that could be made. If you’re off by even a half inch when drawing your firearm, it could cost you a deadly second or two while you’re fumbling for your firearm. Second, if you’re at the store and reaching for your wallet, you could inadvertently swoop your jacket to the back, exposing your firearm.
Lastly, shoot outside in the snow
You’ll be surprised at how well you do. But until you do it, you just won’t know. Dealing with cold hands while shooting is a different experience, and it’s good to know how you react when it’s 15 degrees outside. It’s just another part of the training process that I want to put a little emphasis on. Plus, you get to shoot some more! Win-win.