Carrying concealed in cold weather presents its own special set of challenges for women. Although we can rely on heavy layers and jackets to keep our holstered defensive gun hidden, those same heavy layers and jackets can make it hard to reach in an emergency. This can be even more complicated by the way the average woman’s wardrobe functions. The CCW experts at CrossBreed Holsters have some terrific winter-carry tips … here’s how to make them work with your snowtime self-defense strategy.
Choose Your Gun
The most common self-defense advice you’ll get is to always carry the same firearm with which you have practiced the most. That would mean that if you’ve been carrying a teeny-tiny microcompact pistol all summer—and that’s what you’re most familiar with—then you should probably keep carrying it.
That said, now that you don’t have to conceal your gun under a sundress, you do have the option of upgrading to something bigger, with a higher magazine capacity or a bigger caliber. Larger, heavier firearms tend to be more comfortable to shoot and practice with than super-compact pistols, so there is a real advantage there if you feel you can dress around it.
Choose Your Position
Once you’ve determined which gun will be your sweater-weather savior, you’ll need to decide where to carry it. The most popular on-body CCW positions are on the front and side of the torso: strong-side hip, cross-draw or appendix. Smaller guns work more easily at the appendix position, while larger guns are going to be more comfortable on your hip. Whatever you choose, remember that the first thing you will need to do in a defensive situation is get your winter clothes out of the way so you can get at your gun.
Practice That Draw
We really can’t overstate the importance of practicing your draw from concealment. If your local range won’t allow that type of practice, you can do it with a “blue gun” or “dummy gun.” Or perhaps you might consider buying a replica of your carry gun in BB form! Umarex, SIG SAUER, Pyramyd Air and many others make replicas that offer the same weight and feel of a real firearm while reducing the safety concerns of practice to virtually nil.
The wardrobe is where this gets complicated for women. Between the vagaries of fashion and the requirements of professionalism, selecting a shirt/sweater/jacket combo that lets you get to your concealed firearm quickly is tough. That said, sometimes a challenge can become an opportunity. One recent trend in women’s outerwear is to have a warm winter coat that doesn’t zip, but instead hangs together in front on one hook-and-eye. It may sacrifice a bit of warmth, but that setup allows you to get to your waistband without having to unzip—or even do much of a sweep.
Another possible bonus in today’s trends is the high-waisted pant. Turns out that the high-waisted pant can do more for you than make you regret that time you dared to eat a carb in 2013! They also usually need to be cinched at the natural waistline, meaning you get a “bunched up paper bag” look just above the cinch ... which hides a gun’s butt very nicely.
Of course, that’s not the end of the story. None of the above will be helpful to you if your firearm isn’t safely and comfortably secured. One key factor is choosing a quality holster that offers you secure retention and ease of use. If you’d like to know more about how to do that, check out this great blog from CrossBreed Holsters!