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Women’s Winter CCW: Tips for Carrying in Cold Weather

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Women’s Winter CCW: Tips for Carrying in Cold Weather

As the seasons change, so must our concealed carry strategy. The clothing we wear and the items we need to carry change at the first signs of the temperature dropping.

While winter concealed carry is typically easier to dress for and allows you to try different carry techniques, there are a few added challenges that you should be prepared for.

Luckily, strategically using your winter layers to your advantage and practicing your draw can help make concealed carry in the winter a breeze. Let’s jump into some tips and tricks for ensuring you’re ready for anything this season!

Try a New Holster or Carry Position

If you’ve been waiting for it, this is your sign to try out some new carry styles.

Winter layers are far more forgiving than the tank tops and sundresses of seasons past, so now is a great time to test out some different holsters, carry positions, or even guns that you’ve been thinking about trying.

In fact, you may find it easier to switch to carrying outside the waistband in the winter, as it will put your firearm in a more accessible position. Not only can it be more comfortable, but it will be easier to draw when wearing all those extra layers.

Woman drawing gun OWB

Some people prefer to ditch waistband carry altogether in the winter and choose pocket carry instead. These holsters can easily be carried in your coat pocket, making your gun both accessible and more comfortable to carry.

Finally, off-body carry is always an option. While it’s not necessarily recommended by most experts, carrying your gun in a purse or backpack eliminates the issue of drawing from under layers, though it’s still a much slower way to access your pistol.

Dress for Success

Who doesn’t love bundling up in a warm jacket and scarf during the winter months? Fortunately, your CCW loves your winter wardrobe almost as much as you do.

By far one of the most effective ways to conceal a handgun is with layers. And, if you’re like most people, you’re already bundled up in warm cardigans and sweaters at the first hint of pumpkin spice.

Winter is also a great opportunity to embrace those accent pieces that distract from your CCW. Scarves, hats, and bold patterns (do I see flannel?!) are all commonplace when the temperatures drop and work well to draw the eye away from your waistline.

Dressing to conceal carry the most efficient way

But before you get too excited, there are a few things to take into consideration when dressing for concealed carry in the winter. While concealing your gun is easy when it’s cold out, drawing it is another story.

While the added layers help reduce printing, that additional layer of clothing also gets in the way if you need to draw to protect yourself. So, keep this in mind when dressing this season, and be sure to practice drawing from under those extra layers!

That being said, everything from cardigans to cozy sweaters to vests, flannels, and jackets makes concealing your weapon super easy. One thing to keep in mind if you plan to take advantage of your winter coat to carry OWB is that you’ll need to wear an extra cover garment if you plan to head indoors at all (unless you want to wear your parka inside that is…).

Rethink Your EDC Kit

While many of the basics in your everyday carry kit will stay the same (think gun, wallet, keys, etc.), you may have to make some seasonal changes as the weather cools.

For example, it may be time to toss a pair of gloves, some polarized sunglasses, and some hand warmers into your backpack and an emergency blanket and snow chains in the trunk of your vehicle.

A beanie, coat, warm socks, thermos, and thermoplastic utility tape are all other great items to include in a comprehensive EDC kit, just in case you need them. Essentially, think about the things you would need in a winter emergency, and make sure to have them on hand this time of year.

To help you get started putting together your winter EDC kit, download our free printable checklist here!

Practice Drawing in Your Winter Gear

No matter how you plan to adjust your carry system this winter, you will need to practice drawing and holstering in your bulkier clothing so you don’t run into any surprises if you need to defend yourself.

So, how should you go about training for winter concealed carry?

The most important part of winter EDC is to spend some time practicing drawing and holstering your weapon from under those additional layers. You can do this at home using dry fire training techniques to get the hang of it. Then, do a practice draw every morning once you’re dressed for the day to make sure you won’t run into any issues.

Woman pulling out handgun from coat in a vedder kydex holster

As you’re training, pay special attention to the technique you use to clear your cover garment(s). As always, you’ll want to use your weak hand to move any layers of clothing out of the way so you can draw your pistol with your dominant hand.

Because you’ll probably be wearing an extra layer or two in the winter, it may take some time to figure out how to successfully clear all the fabric away with a single hand. So take your time and practice until you’ve got it down. If you notice any clothing is difficult to clear or is getting in the way when re-holstering, you may want to rethink your outfit.

And don’t forget to practice all of this while wearing your winter gloves, as that adds a whole other layer of difficulty. If you can, also head to an outdoor range to practice drawing and shooting in the cold with stiff fingers. Notice how it feels different, and practice until you feel comfortable doing so.

Summary

Winter is a great time to try some new carry positions or techniques. Because winter clothing adds some extra layers and bulk, it’s a lot easier to conceal even larger weapons. That said, there are some additional things to keep in mind, as drawing from under extra layers can be a bit of a challenge.

If you’re looking for a new IWB, OWB, or pocket carry holster this winter season, visit our Holsters by Gun Model page for Kydex holsters that are custom-made for your weapon of choice.

Interested in items beyond holsters? Check out our Resources Page for links to recommended products like lights, lasers, first aid, maintenance, and more, and browse our selection of apparel, and accessories at our website, vedderholsters.com.

If you’d like to connect with other like-minded women in the gun community, join our Facebook Group, Women of Vedder, for all things concealed carry and self-defense.

To stay up-to-date on all the latest Vedder Holsters content and offerings, check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And be sure to visit our sister company, GeoGrit, for all your American-made minimalist wallet needs.

Mikayla Blair

After launching her career as an award-winning journalist in the American Southwest, Mikayla Blair joined the Vedder Holsters team as a content writer in 2021. She writes about all things guns, holsters, and concealed carry, and is especially passionate about women's self-defense.

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