Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Carrying in the COLD

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Bobson, May 23, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Bobson

    Bobson Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    4,206
    Location:
    Snohomish County, Washington
    If you were going to be living in a place that has extremely cold temperatures for at least a few months every year (let's just say well below 0 degrees F, to make this simple), and wanted to select a carry gun specifically for that time, what would you select?

    Obviously, in this hypothetical situation, we can assume you would have multiple layers of clothing on, so virtually any handgun you would select would be okay as far as size/concealment is concerned. Let's also assume weight is a non-issue, within reason. I don't want to get any suggestions along the lines of a MAC-11, but a steel-framed, full-size 1911 or so wouldn't be out of the question.

    This would be for mobile protection from two-legged predators only (not HD). What would you look at as the optimum selection? Seeking a balance of caliber (penetration - remember that people would be wearing layers), handgun size, handgun weight, etc.

    Let's assume we were carrying a Glock 19 or Glock 26 during summer months in this area, when people typically wear jeans and a t-shirt or similar apparel. In the winter, when many layers and thick coats are added, would the 9mm become a less-than-ideal option? Would might be a better selection?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  2. Sergei Mosin

    Sergei Mosin Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,596
    I live in such an environment, I carry a full-size all-steel 1911 in .45 ACP all year long, and with that weapon I have no concerns about penetration. I wouldn't be concerned about penetration with a 9mm either.

    I think the only cartridges worthy of concern in winter are those that are pretty marginal to begin with, from .380 ACP on down. But I wouldn't carry a .380 anyway unless I required deep concealment, and in wintertime that 1911 can meet the deep concealment requirement!
     
  3. Tinker

    Tinker Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Messages:
    547
    Location:
    Alabama
    A full sized polymer handled pistol.

    The reason is that when I first got a Glock (my first polymer gun) I noticed that my ungloved hand stayed fairly warm when the gun was cold. Metal ones tend to sink heat out of your hand.
     
  4. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Messages:
    5,884
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    I'm normally not a fan of polymer pistols, but I have to agree: go polymer. A metal pistol is NOT going to be pleasant to come in contact with in winter, and they also tend to function as a heat sink. Try a Springfield XD, in whatever variety and caliber you prefer.
     
  5. don p

    don p Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    In a house in Florida
    :scrutiny: I 'm not in agreement on that. Gun is holstered on your side and should be nice and toasty and warm next to the old love handles, should it not:what:
    What about all the GI's carrying 1911's in Europe during the winter months of WWII?
     
  6. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,220
    And be readily accessible??? A gun for self defense should be easy to get to, not under 2-3 layers of clothing.

    If they had to fire their 1911 bare handed, I bet they froze their hands. Generally speaking most GIs fought with a rifle and gloves on.. with an exposed trigger finger.

    I would concur that a polymer frame would be easier on a bare hand in cold weather, BUT a nice wood grip or hogue wrap around on a 1911 would be workable for the few moments you need it. I would stay away from the Aluma grips. YIKES, Aluminum is a better heat sink than steel.
     
  7. don p

    don p Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    In a house in Florida
    OK, are you suggesting open carry? Where do youcarry in winter months?
     
  8. KenW.

    KenW. Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,096
    Location:
    Out West
    The average person isn't going to be "on-gun" for a substantial length of time like an infantryman. While carrying in the cold the gun will be under your coat and fairly well insulated from the temperature.

    I've carried metallic and polymer pistols proffessionally for years, and have never noted a temerature difference.
     
  9. 627PCFan

    627PCFan Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Messages:
    2,001
    Location:
    Sterling, VA
    retracted
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  10. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,736
    Location:
    Central PA
    Seems like several questions here:

    1) Penetration against multiple layers of clothing: I don't worry about this. Even the bulkiest layers commonly worn aren't going to significantly slow down a reasonable defensive round. Might tend to plug hollowpoint cavities, maybe, perhaps, but the bullet will penetrate, which is the key anyway. Carry whatever you normally would carry for self-defense. 9mm, .45, .44 all work for me.

    2) Cold gun: In a self-defense encounter, I'm not worrying about how cold the gun is. This isn't an extended range session, it's a few shots in a few seconds. Cold gun, hot gun, whatever. It's going to go bang, and that's the important thing. Unless I'm wearing it out in an ice storm and exposed to the weather and it becomes slick to hold or iced up so it won't work. But how realistic is that? :scrutiny:

    3) How to carry? Even if you'd normally OC, it seems pretty unlikely you'd strap on a pistol belt OVER a parka, so the gun will be under cover. You should get some practice in drawing and firing the gun using whatever gear (parka, bibs, gloves?) you would normally wear under those conditions. I wouldn't carry the gun under a set of bibs, though. That's too hard to get to. But under the parka or other top layer? Sure. I've taken tactical classes dressed like that!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  11. JTQ

    JTQ Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Messages:
    5,416
    Location:
    NW Florida
    I agree, it shouldn't make a bunch of difference what material your pistol is made of since you would have it under several layers of clothing, or at least your coat. Unless you are a Mountie or a game warden, having your side arm buried under some clothing is just the price of doing business when living in the cold. If you are standing outside in the cold taking a handgun class for a few hours, you may have an advantage with polymer, but otherwise I don't think it makes a difference.

    I would be inclined to just stick with your G19. As explained in these two forum threads, the 9MM is apparently the way to go.

    9MM vs black bear
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=660114

    9MM vs 45ACP
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=659727

    I don't have any 9MM experience, but I'm sure you can trust these very knowledgeable experts. I'm currently limited to .45ACP and .357 Magnum in my handguns, and feel a little bit at a disadvantage after reading those two threads, but I'll soldier on with what I have until I can get around to getting a pistol in 9MM.
     
  12. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,220
    No. My normal winter coat is I guess what they call car coat length. Plenty long enough to cover a gun on my hip. but being outside my pants, outside my shirt, but under my coat. While it's somewhat protected from the elements, it's not like it's going to be body temp. I'd expect it to be quite a bit colder than that. I'd expect that if carrying in such a fashion one would practice pulling the coat up with the off off hand and accessing the firearm. Some days I wear rain pants, I tuck them UNDER the gun, not over.. still hidden by my coat, but now an extra layer away from my body.
     
  13. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Messages:
    5,146
    Location:
    CT
    Sam's post is spot on. The only thing I'd add is that because HP bullets can clog on that quantity of clothing, I might be inclined to pick something like a wheelgun loaded with something like a .44spl wadcutter. A round heavy enough to penetrate, already relatively wide, and with a flat front/squared off shoulders to still cut and crush nicely rather than "ice-picking."

    Of course, if I had a modern semi-auto in any caliber 9mm and up, with a non-clogging expanding bullet (such as Hornady Critical Defense/Duty, or Federal EFMJ), I'd be plenty happy.

    Oh, and with that many layers, I might consider a shoulder rig. I may possibly be faster on the draw.
     
  14. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,736
    Location:
    Central PA
    How do you figure? I can lift the tail of my jacket a lot faster than I can unzip and go for a shoulder holster.

    Of course, I'm assuming it's really COLD, so the jacket would be zipped. But I'm faster from any belt holster than a shoulder holster either way...
     
  15. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Messages:
    5,146
    Location:
    CT
    As am I. But with a whole bunch of layers, i've found a gun on a belt holster can get tangled in undershirt, overshirts, base layers, windbreakers, etc... I do not carry in a shoulder holster, but if you could simply unzip the out layer and have the gun easily presentable, it might be faster. I dunno. Pure speculation. I'd have to be there and figure it out for myself before giving a definite answer. Luckily, I'm one of those nuts who doesn't really get cold, so even in a blizzard, the best I'm likely to wear is a light jacket.

    It's all a matter of preference.
     
  16. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Messages:
    5,187
    Location:
    West of the Big Muddy, East of the Rockies and Nor
    I normally stear clear of these Glocks for everything threads but the best choice is as clear as the nose on your face. I am referring to the K-frame 357magnum. Consider that;

    It is small enough to be carried in a large coat pocket.
    It can be fired multiple times from inside a coat pocket. A semi-auto the first round but after that???
    The revolver has a 100 years of carry in all types of weather in the holsters of police. military and sportsman. I carried one once when it was so cold the ink in my pen frooze.
    The 357 magnum has serious stopping power and outperforms the 9mm, 40 and 45 acp.

    It is hard to accept that other guns are a better choice then the gunstore favorite.

    I find the K-frame with a 3" barrel fits all the above. Hey come to think of it so did the FBI.
     
  17. markdaniel

    markdaniel Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    85
    I have a few cabela's coats. They have a zippered pocket inside the stormflap that goes over the zipper. It is big enough for a compact pistol and very easy to access. the coats are also gore tex so the gun is not exposed to the elements.
     
  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Messages:
    22,106
    Location:
    Northeast PA, USA
    I pocket carry a J frame revolver year round loaded with a premium .38 Special +P round and I don't worry about cloths or the cold. Carrying in my pocket removes the worries of a coat or anything else getting in the way of my draw.
     
  19. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    4,178
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    I grew up in North Dakota where the winters were long and weeks below 0 degrees F weren't uncommon in the JAN-FEB timeframe.

    Most of the time I did not change my carry setup. A service or full sized pistol carried IWB was what I carried most of the time throughout the year. What I did change was the way I dressed. If I was running to the store, just throw on a jacket and be good to go. If I was going out for the day, or somewhere I planned on taking my jacket off, I would throw on a pullover fleece and then the winter jacket. That way the jacket stays unzipped, and/or I could remove it and still be concealed.

    I do not recommend carrying in the chest level/zipper pockets found on many jackets. I tried, and found it to be uncomfortable. The garment will list to one side. If you go somewhere warm, taking off the jacket separates you from your gun, or keeping it on makes you sweat uncomfortably.

    An alternate method I eventually came upon was pocket carry in the main jacket pockets. The hands are on the gun, hands and gun remain warm, and access isn't a problem since it's right there. Best when going for walks, again you don't want to do this if you plan on removing the coat.

    Sometimes I would do both, since it's so easy. Keep in mind that's your advantage here. Cold climates don't restrict carry, they increase your options since you can hide just about anything under a jacket.

    I did come to prefer polymer pistols, but selected them based on what I shot well. There was an incidental advantage during the winter, however, since I did my practicing at an outdoor range. I liked polymer pistols and plastic magazines, and lots of those magazines already loaded so that time spent in the cold could be focused on shooting. Generally I would stop going to the range in October, but then cabin fever would set in by December and I'd find myself out on the prairie with tears from the wind streaming down my numb cheeks as I did my best to pretend they were a fountain of joy from shooting my CCW for the first time in months. :uhoh: For range sessions like that, plastic is better than metal.
     
  20. Wanderling

    Wanderling Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    Messages:
    691
    Precisely. Finally someone said that.. It has to be accessible.

    The war in Europe that American troops engaged in was in a relatively mild climate. Italy, Northern France and Germany aren't exactly famous for harsh winters.

    Zero degrees F is roughly -18C. So the OP is talking of temps around -20 /25C. I would guess that's a full 10 deg lower than the conditions Allies encountered in the coldest months of European campaign. At -25C holding bare metal with your bare hands is painful. Also your fingers freeze up and even pulling the trigger, let alone carefully aiming, is hard. Besides, in case of a hostile encounter, you can't waste precious time getting rid of gloves, and you're not going to walk around in a freezing cold without them either.

    If WW2 is used as an example, we really should look at the experience of Russians, Japanese and Finns. All used gloves in winter. If I am not mistaken the Japanese even redesigned the trigger guard on Nambu to accommodate thick gloved finger. The Russian army used (and still uses) woven gloves (knit, cotton, wool, or mix). These gloves are warmer, allow better degree of finger control than leather, and are cheaper too. On the downside they tend to be somewhat more slippery and also get wet very quickly if you get them in snow. Regardless, if serious about carrying in very cold winter, I'd take good woven gloves over leather, and definitely over the ones that must be taken off to fire (like the very thick Thinsulates or similar).
     
  21. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    23,648
    Location:
    Los Anchorage
    It's a genuine issue up here. There are of course some firearms with extra wide guards to permit handling with gloves, but I've found they are still not practical in genuine cold temps where you're exposed. The Glocks for example give enough room for a standard gloved finger which is protected from, say 10-35 f. above zero. But when you get into subzero cold or worse yet south of -20 f., your gloves need to be considerably bigger and puffier or you'll start running out of fingers.

    I've tried all kinds of solutions to this problem, but the best I've come up with is this.

    The handgun is the same year-round. The trigger guard is not modified. It sits in the holster compartment of a Maxpedition fatboy. This keeps it on the surface of whatever I'm wearing, so I don't have to dig through fleece or wool layers to find my sidearm.

    The gloves are kept on a lanyard loop, and my draw drill is simply to grab the tip of the right hand glove finger in my teeth and yank it off, then go for the draw with the bare hand. This does expose the flesh to the cold, but in those circumstances the exposure is likely to be pretty limited in duration. At twenty below I'm good for a few minutes. For deeper cold, glove liners are kept on during the exposure.

    As a backup and to keep the hand warm, I just use a simple jacket pocket carry.
     
  22. shep854

    shep854 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    952
    Location:
    Birmingham AL
    I had a 'pass-thru' slit cut in my car coat, so I can access my trouser pockets with the coat buttoned. This allows me to pocket-carry my J49 revolver, like I do during warm weather.
     
  23. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    7,005
    Location:
    Frozen North
    Make sure you can shoot it wearing GLOVES
    if you shed gloves, wear two, one is a THIN contact glove, who's job is to keep you SKIN from freezing TO (and in -30 this is VERY important) everything, as your moist fingers (think about this, just came from your 'warm' glove') will instantly freeze to anything you touch and to get loose, you will remove the outer layers (or more) of you skin
    if the pistol is warm, keep it warm, if it gets cold (left in the car....) keep it cold

    going between causes condensation, condensation freezes, an ICED up FP goes CLICK CLICK CLICK

    And wearing it under the outer layer, is in between, it isn't as warm as you (might even be freezing) but it's still warmer (and moister) than outside.

    Honestly, If I'm going about town in my car, I pocket carry, I'm only going to be wearing thin gloves (and it's not for the warmth, it's damn annoying and PAINFUL when you hand sticks to everything, including the steering wheel) I'm NOT dressed for exposure

    Out and about, 'exposure' like Cosmo and his hippy:D bike rides in the snow, I either put something in my old army M9 holster that is padded and flapped, keeps the snow and stuff out, or carry something like a shotgun if I'm in the woods.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  24. shep854

    shep854 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    952
    Location:
    Birmingham AL
    One of the first gun reviews I read by Mas Ayoob was for a SIG P220 with the Euro mag release on the heel of the grip. He liked this because it prevented accidentally dropping the mag with a thickly-gloved thumb (he was in New Hampshire at that time). The P220 also has a big trigger guard, the better for a gloved trigger finger.
    These were among the reasons he liked it as a winter gun. Of course, .45ACP didn't hurt either.
     
  25. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    4,178
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    RE multiple layers, the concept of the IWB draw doesn't really change if you're a typical urban dweller. To draw from my IWB right now, I would reach back, brush my T-shirt up, grip, and draw. To draw from my IWB in North Dakota in December, I would reach back, brush up my fleece or jacket, grip, and draw. Not that hard. Practice is of course a must, but it's easy.

    If you're talking about being in snowpants or coveralls, then yeah you'll need to come up with something else. At those times, pocket carry works, or a shoulder holster with a cover garment over the snow pants, or unzip your Carhartts and have a shoulder rig underneath.

    As for gloves, I usually wore Nomex flight gloves and kept my hands in my pockets. I was warm, still had my dexterity, and with the hand in the pocket I already had it resting on a pistol. The fastest draw is the one you don't have to do. Again, for day-to-day urban dwellers who usually won't have more than 2 minutes of exposure those gloves worked. During cold snaps at absolute zero or blizzard conditions, there aren't a lot of riff raff out and about to threaten, but if it's something you're still concerned about, I would recommend the wool mittens that pull back to fingerless gloves. I've had good luck with them during deer hunting. Keep the fingers exposed while out and about, pull down to mitten mode while driving or if it's that cold out that you feel you need that.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page