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What are your winter carry practices?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by chaim, Oct 8, 2022.

  1. chaim

    chaim Member

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    I wasn't sure if I should put this here, or strategies, tactics and training, since it will hit on both guns and clothing and other practices, but here it is...

    So, I have carried part-time for years. I have a non-resident UT permit, and I'm often in a state where I can carry. However, I live in MD where until Bruen a carry permit wasn't happening for most people. I have applied for my MD permit, and given recent timelines to process the applications, I expect to have mine in about a month plus or minus a week or two (they have 90 days under MD law, lately they've been taking about 60). I recognize things are different carrying a few hours a month, and a couple days straight a few times a year on vacations and weekend trips vs. regular, day to day and all day carry. One area I'm thinking about lately is winter carry (especially since I'll likely get my permit in late Oct to mid-Nov, when things are starting to get cold).

    With my past part-time carry, winter meant I could carry OWB (more comfortable) and/or carry something bigger than my usual practice. It didn't mean much else (at least in active consideration). Now...

    Gloves:
    Do you wear gloves in the winter? They definitely make a difference shooting. I've recently started occasionally (at least a few mags per range trip) wearing a shooting glove. This is a rather tight and form fitting glove meant specifically for shooting. I've still found the feel of the firearm's trigger and controls to be far different and challenging. Some guns I thought would be no problem, I find getting my finger into the trigger guard to be slower and much more difficult, and for some, the controls are quite difficult. How much do you practice with gloves? Do you only wear gloves when it is so cold you have no other options? Do you pick gloves based on how form-fitting and gun friendly they are?

    Guns
    I love my CZ PCR and SIG P229. Both are DA/SA guns. The trigger is far enough forward in DA that I find them hard to engage the trigger with the shooting glove. In SA they are no problem. Do you pick your winter guns based on how easy it is to work them with a gloved hand? Who even makes a gun with a large enough trigger guard where this isn't a problem?

    Coats and jackets
    The extra layer does make concealing a larger gun easier. They also make it slower to get to the gun if it is concealed under more layers than normal. Does anyone use any of the jackets marketed as CCW outerwear? I'm thinking about it, but I doubt the utility. The inner gun pocket will take longer to get to if you have to unzip the coat to get to it. If I get one designed with an inner pocket, I'll probably carry on my belt like normal and consider the gun inside the coat as a backup. Zippers to help you get to your belt carry gun quicker... well, are they really any quicker than simply grabbing the edge of your garment and yanking/pulling it up to get to your gun? The only ones that seem to me to really provide any utility are those with an outer pocket with a quick access panel with a Velcro or snap opening (like those from Berne), but then, I can see that being an problem if it means the gun is less secure (I can certainly imagine it snagging on something that you brush against, causing the gun to tumble to the floor).


    What I'm thinking...

    I need a bit more testing/training shooting with my shooting gloves at the range, but I'm thinking I may have to forego DA/SA for winter guns. I'm not sure if I'd be better off with a striker fired pistol or if I should go back to SA autos like a 1911 (but then, how challenging will the safety be with gloves on). Revolvers seem to work, though they could be tight depending upon the gloves. Gloves... I'll possibly only wear them on the coldest days (but then, operating a gun with numb fingers will pose its own challenges so maybe not). I'm considering wearing shooting gloves that are designed for shooting when it isn't too cold, but then, none of my gloves are that bulky (leather dress gloves, relatively thin and tight fitting knit gloves, and some motorcycle gloves left over from when I used to ride). I have been thinking about a CCW jacket (off and on anyway), but as I said above, I'm not sure I see the utility.

    Luckily I'm in MD where winters are relatively mild. We only have a handful of truly cold days each year. I can get away without gloves (especially just for a quick trip from my car into a store or into my house) much of the time. I can often get away with a relatively light coat (I don't even have a heavy winter parka) and sometimes I can even have it unzipped. But, there are definitely times where gloves, layers and a heavier coat are needed.

    So what do those of you who live in a state with winter temperatures do?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2022
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  2. jar

    jar Contributing Member

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    We get three or four days a year when I might want to wear a jacket. The biggest clothing change is maybe long sleeve shirts and on the worst days maybe long pants. As an old Balmer boy seeing a dusting of snow twice in two decades is about as close to winter as I want to get.

    I do remember one Easter Vacation back in the late 1950s when we did get snowed in at school. We were stuck at the top of Falls Road with a lovely long drop down through the old dairy pastures to Green Springs Road. Fortunately the cafeteria had lots of neat aluminum and plastic trays so those stuck in school and unable to get out formed a line down the hill with the upper school kids as course stewards and the middle school kids formed teams and may those who survived be celebrated.

    Unfortunately some parents had tried to get to the school and so caught sight of the slalom. Unfortunate for THEIR kids who were immediately disqualified by reason of mother seeing just what did you think you were doing and so instead of trudging back up the nearly a mile of steep uphill climb were hauled off. Parents said the kids were rescued. Kids said they were kidnapped.

    Lost all the power that night so the kids still in residence were forced to camp out in front of the many fireplaces in the old mansion with nothing to eat but pb&j, hot dogs cooked on a stick cut by the older kids, koolaid and the 5 cent cokes from the machine in the dorm.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2022
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  3. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Some of my winter coats have pockets large enough to carry my three smaller autos, my surplus parka has pockets big enough to carry my 1911 in a Remora in them.
     
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  4. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    Nothing changes in my carry at all. Same gun in winter as the rest of the year. I do wear a jacket in winter for me not the gun.:evil:
     
  5. chaim

    chaim Member

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    Do you find the trigger and controls to be difficult to access and use when wearing gloves? Do you train with gloves if you will be possibly defending yourself with them? If you do, and find your gun works with gloves, what gun do you use (or do you find that any gun will work with enough practice)?
     
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  6. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    I wear mittens in the winter. Loose enough they just shake off and go on easily. There is nothing warmer, and if you need the dexterity, you have it with a quick shake.

    I dont do anything different with how I carry. I normally dress in layers, and wear an anorak type windproof pull over, over a fleece or sweatshirt if Im going to be outside any length of time, and its easy to clear. Simply grab at the waist and pull up. I normally carry AIWB though, which makes things a lot simpler, access-wise anyway. It also works the same with a zip up windproof over the same, although you can have some options there, depending on the zipper set up.
     
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  7. chaim

    chaim Member

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    I should have mentioned that one of the options I've considered (and what was my plan when carrying out of state in the winter before the prospect of regular carry) was to wear gloves when I need to and take them off as I'm drawing if I think they may interfere with my shooting. My only concern is that even if that only adds a second to my draw, it adds a second that my attacker has to shoot/stab me before I'm ready to defend myself. Can I consider this option, yes. Do I think it is the way I'm going to go, no.
     
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  8. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    :rofl::rofl::rofl:
    Ha,ha,ha!!! I know what you meant, but that question made me laugh right out loud because it brought back a memory. It's all relative, chaim. ;)
    In 2005, my wife and I flew down to San Diego (from here in SE Idaho) in January because her dad passed. One evening while we were sitting around talking with the family, I heard my sister-in-law say she had been busy putting in her "winter tomatoes!"
    I didn't say anything, but my wife told me later that the look on my face was priceless. WINTER tomatoes?!? Oh, for crying out loud! o_O
    Anyway, to answer your question - I don't change much about the way I carry in the winter compared to all of the other seasons here. I wear my concealed carry gun under a long shirt or vest year around. In the winter I usually add a coat or jacket, but that often comes off when I get to wherever I'm going (like church or a restaurant or somewhere), so I like the fact that my gun is still concealed when it does.
    I seldom wear gloves. However, my situation might be different. Because I'm long time retired, when it's cold, I just stay inside. Before I retired (I was an electrician) I often had to work outside in the cold, and I had to wear gloves of one kind or another year around. But I wasn't allowed to carry a gun at anyplace I ever worked anyway.
    I still do wear gloves (and long sleeves, long pants, sturdy shoes and safety glasses) when I'm running power equipment around home, and I do carry a gun that is sometimes concealed under a vest or jacket. I just don't worry about how well I can or can't shoot while I'm wearing gloves. I guess maybe I should. ;)
     
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  9. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    Same as summer. Just warmer clothes.
     
  10. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    I could never wear gloves when I was at work in the winter, they just dont keep your hands warm. I did wear my leather gloves when needed though, but not for the cold. Mittens are really the only way to go as far as the cold goes, and you figure out how to make things work if you're out all day.

    I dont wear gloves to shoot with, no matter how cold it gets. The mittens work great, and if its really cold, you can just leave one on, and stuff the other in pocket, behind your bibs, ect and use it like grandma's "muffler" as needed.

    Normally, if Im in and out, car or house, or shopping, etc, I dont wear anything on my hands.
     
  11. chaim

    chaim Member

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    California is different. Compared to the plains states or up north, MD doesn't get that cold. We do get MD cold (highs in the 20s, 30s, low 40s) for a good 30-40 days each year, and we get sub 20 degree lows about a week per year (sometimes into the low negative temperatures). I remember when I dated a woman in California once (I no longer do long-distance dating) and we sat at the outdoor seating for a restaurant at night that was running propane heaters... it was in the freaking 60s and people were wearing jackets, sweaters and running the heater. People who relocated here from up north laugh at us native Marylanders in the winter, that day, I had some idea where they were coming from.

    Much of the time I can get away with just keeping my hands in my coat pockets, it usually isn't cold enough that I really need to. However, there is probably 10-20 days I year I need to.

    I think I read a thread here or on TFL a couple years ago that got me thinking about it. I finally started practicing with shooting gloves recently, and I haven't liked my results. Maybe they'll come with time and practice. Maybe I'll need to rethink my carry guns in the winter.
     
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  12. dweis

    dweis Member

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    I live in SE PA where the weather is similar to MD. In late fall and winter I OWB carry a Ruger Security 9 Compact with a 15 round magazine plus one other 15 round magazine OWB. My holster lets the gun ride high and that means my coats (bomber style) cover the pistol and magazine. If I have to remove the coat I untuck my shirt to cover the weapon.

    Rarely wear gloves, but when I do I use I use Thinsulate gloves which are not bulky. When I explored buying the pistol I took the gloves with me. The trigger guard is quite ample and gloves work fine — even for lined leather gloves.
     
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  13. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    I'm sorry I failed to mention that I live in Texas and winters here last several hours and gloves are not used by me.
     
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  14. entropy

    entropy Member

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    1st question: It depends on the gloves. I wear either Mechanic style gloves, which I do shoot with in the winter, or aviator gloves, when it's warm enough to. I can throw a pair of trigger finger glove liners over those, and they slip off quick. If I have to put the trigger finger glove over the liner and aviator gloves, it's cold enough to just keep the hands in those huge wool lined pockets of the parka. If I have to throw the Aircrew arctic mittens over the gloves, I probably won't have to worry about carrying, 'cause I'd be the only one crazy enough to go out on that kind of cold.
    The Mechanic and aviator gloves work with all of them, the trigger finger ones don't work with the 1911, but if I'm wearing them, I probably have the parka on, and keeping the hands in the pockets as much as possible.
     
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  15. chaim

    chaim Member

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    Hmm, mechanics or aviator gloves may be a good idea. Part of the problem for me is large hands and short (for the rest of my hand size) fingers. So, gloves that fit, there is a fair amount of extra material in the fingers. Something more form fitting like the mechanics gloves, especially if they have some stretchy material (so they could be smaller overall and possibly still fit) may be the way to go. Then again, my shooting gloves are quite tight on my hand, but still a bit too long for my fingers. If mechanics gloves don't work, I may just have to go gloveless most of the time (and walk with my hands in my coat pockets), and deal with the lower performance when it is truly cold enough that I have to wear gloves. Though, I do have some knit gloves that are small but stretch so they fit over my hands without any extra material in the fingers, so they may work (though, they aren't all that warm). They do tell me that there are gloves out there that are small enough that my fingers will totally fill them, but that stretch enough to fit the rest of my hands. Any suggestions on brands of mechanics gloves that may be similar in fit?
     
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  16. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

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    Bermuda shorts and a tee shirt, year round. I own some jackets, even wear one a few times a year. Only wear long pants to church and the very rare business trip.

    Always pocket carrying the same pistol.
     
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  17. chaim

    chaim Member

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    That would not be comfortable in MD winters, and not really my style (I do sometimes wear shorts when it is hot though). I am thinking of retiring to NC, but I'll still need winter wear if I do since it would be out west in the mountains where it may get cold more often than it does here (they definitely get more snow).
     
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  18. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    It doesn't really get cold enough in Alabama to change up my carry habit or routine. I keep a pair of gloves and fleece hat in my coat pocket out of habit but rarely use them unless I am outside for awhile. I still carry the same gun, ammo, holsters as I did during the summer. Just sometimes I have a jacket on.

    When I lived in VT, things were different but not by much. One thing I like about Walthers, is the area inside their trigger guards is larger than your typical Glock/M&P striker fired gun. This gives alot more room for a gloved trigger finger. It does get cold in Germany, where the guns are designed. And it carries over in their thinking process. OWB holsters are more comfortable in my opinion when wearing a jacket and untucked shirt. I usually carried IWB in the event I went inside and took my jacket off, I was still concealed.
     
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  19. gyp_c2

    gyp_c2 Member

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    I wear the tiniest glove liners I can find that allow finger dexterity. If it's too cold for them, it's too cold for most everyone.
    :eek:
     
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  20. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    I go from an IWB subcompact 9MM to an OWB compact pistol. Last year was a .357 Sig G32 but this year the nod goes to the Springfield XDM Elite 10MM.

    Outer wear gets heavier as the weather drops here in SW Ohio. Easier to conceal a larger pistol on the hip. Don’t really wear gloves unless I’m out for extended periods but when I do it’s a light mechanic’s type glove.

    Yes, I’ve been to the range getting re-acquainted with the different pistol. I’m a bit different than some as I prefer a round with more energy when outer layers increase in winter. Others may disagree and I respect that.
     
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  21. shafter

    shafter Member

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    When choosing a carry gun I pick the largest gun I can carry practically year round in my usual clothing. In the winter that means jeans and untucked flannel or wool shirt. In the summer it's probably still jeans and an untucked short sleeve of some kind. RIght now the biggest I can carry in all seasons with comfort is a single stack Glock 48.

    I am strongly against mixing up carry guns and carry locations. Muscle memory is a real thing and every rep of training your draw stroke is money in the bank. This is also true for actually firing the gun. Under stress you may not even see your sights so I want the gun to point the same way every time. When things happen fast you'll be acting subconsciously and I don't want to fumble for a gun that is not where it was yesterday.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2022
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  22. Risky buisness

    Risky buisness Member

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    In Wyoming, where it gets way cold working outside, i switched up from a OWB flap holster and its 2 1/2" smith to a inside the jacket, vest chest holster for an N frame .45 colt. Sure kept snow and hay off of it and 1 tug on a zipper and the handgun was right there.
     
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  23. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    With auto-pistols, an advantage of DA/SA is that they can tend to work well, with gloved fingers. This is one of the reasons, other than nostalgia, that I started being on the lookout for S&W Model 3913/3914/908 DA/SA pistols, in 2018-2020, to “replace” the one I had sold, regrettably, in the Nineties. My aging hands were starting to feel the cold, much more readily, making gloves more necessary. (A potential move, to a colder area, did not happen.)

    Some DA revolvers’ triggers can tend to snag on gloves, during the reset phase of the trigger cycle, so, weather that demands the wearing of thick gloves can be a time when a Single Action sixgun can be useful.
     
  24. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

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    If you carry DA/SA now, I would hesitate to switch to striker with a gloved finger. My thought is that you would be apt to fire inadvertently.
     
  25. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    One advantage of Texas is that "winter" is perhaps 6-7 weeks of the year. And, conditions that want more winter gear tend to limit goblin activity.

    Like @entropy I like mechanic's gloves, especially for driving and doing out door stuff. If just for the cold car, I have some Thinsulate gloves which fit well enough for firearms use.

    And, probably most importantly, is practicing with one's winter gear. Which means eschewing indoor ranges and getting in the outdoor time.

    And. I'm entirely happy to not be tasked to operate with military gloves/mittens in harsh weather.
     
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