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Winter Carry - Dressing for Concealed Carry in cold climates

by Daniel @HolsterCentral on December 06, 2023
Concealed Carry in Extreme Conditions: Navigating Winter Activities:

When winter activities demand an insulated suit that covers you from shoulders to feet, accessing a conventionally carried gun becomes a challenging task. Similar difficulties arise when donning a full rain suit, requiring partial undressing to reach your concealed carry location. In these scenarios, strategic adjustments to your carry method are essential to ensure readiness without compromising comfort or safety.

Carrying concealed is a responsibility that many individuals take seriously, incorporating it seamlessly into their daily lives.

However, as the seasons change and weather conditions become less predictable, the challenge of dressing for concealed carry becomes even more apparent.

In this article, we will explore the importance of maintaining consistency in your concealed carry setup, adapting to different weather conditions, and ensuring proficiency in various scenarios.


Adapting to Weather Conditions: Living in an area with diverse weather conditions requires a thoughtful approach to concealed carry. As temperatures drop and inclement weather becomes a reality, incorporating protective clothing into your wardrobe is necessary. However, the challenge lies in ensuring that the added layers do not compromise your ability to access and operate your concealed carry equipment effectively.

Clothing Considerations: When selecting protective clothing, it's essential to choose items that complement your concealed carry setup. Consider options like jackets with strategically placed pockets, allowing easy access to your firearm. Layering can be an effective strategy, ensuring you stay warm without sacrificing accessibility.

Flexibility and Range of Motion: Cold-weather clothing, while essential for protection against the elements, can pose challenges to your flexibility and range of motion. Heavy sweaters and jackets may limit your ability to move comfortably, and the added bulk could impede reaching your carry location efficiently. To overcome this limitation, regular practice becomes paramount. Engaging in drills that involve drawing, handling, reloading, immediate action, and movement with your cold-weather attire ensures that you are not hindered in critical moments.

Alternate Carry Methods: Recognizing the limitations imposed by seasonal changes, it's prudent to have alternative carry methods or locations in your repertoire. This involves being acutely aware of your surroundings and adjusting your carry strategy accordingly. For example, an outside the waistband holster might be a viable alternative during the winter months when heavy layers make inside the waistband carry locations less accessible.

Choosing the Right Gear: Investing in purpose-designed cold-weather gear can make a significant difference. Look for jackets with strategically placed pockets or built-in holsters that allow for a quick and discreet draw. Additionally, consider layering with garments that balance insulation with the need for agility.

Considerations for Adapting to Cold-Weather Conditions and Maintaining Readiness:

Choosing the Right Holster: The effectiveness of any carry method depends significantly on the holster you select. For concealed carry, ensure that the holster covers the trigger guard completely, preventing accidental discharges.

The holster should also provide sufficient retention to secure the firearm during movement.

Additionally, practicing draws and reholstering with your chosen holster is crucial to developing muscle memory and ensuring a smooth and controlled response in high-stress situations.

All of the Holsters we sell on Holster Central cover these bases.

 Paddle outside the waistband holster

Our Outside the waistband paddle holster is great for winter carry as it allows quick on/off mounting to your belt, its comfortable, it provides quick consistent draws and is still concealable (depending on the size of your gun's grip) 


Conclusion: Dressing for concealed carry is a dynamic challenge that requires adaptability and preparation. By maintaining consistency in your carry setup, regularly practicing essential skills, and adapting to changing weather conditions, you can ensure that you are ready to face any situation that may arise.

Concealed carry in extreme conditions demands adaptability, strategic thinking, and consistent proficiency. As winter activities and inclement weather alter the dynamics of conventional carry, making thoughtful adjustments to your approach ensures that you remain prepared. Whether it's modifying your carry location, incorporating specialized pockets, or refining your draw from an outside the waistband holster and defeating your cover garments, the goal is to maintain accessibility without sacrificing security.

Bonus tips

Here's some concealed Carry tips for ALL seasons

The Tactical Advantage: Regardless of clothing and circumstances, having a readily accessible firearm is paramount. As the saying goes, timing is everything, and discreetly having your gun in hand at the ready provides a tactical advantage. This tactic, borrowed from the playbook of knife fighters, allows you to be prepared for potential threats while maintaining the element of surprise. The ability to return the gun to its concealed position unnoticed, if the danger passes, further enhances your tactical advantage.

Consistent Proficiency: To navigate the challenges of winter activities and extreme conditions, staying proficient with your chosen concealed carry method is crucial. Regular practice is key, and each session should be approached with the mindset that it could be the test of your life. By practicing often and honing your skills regardless of the season, you ensure that you are prepared for any situation that may arise.

Consistency in Carry: Choosing a specific handgun and carry location is crucial for maintaining consistency in your concealed carry routine. Whether it's an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster, outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster, or off-body carry, selecting a reliable setup that suits your needs and lifestyle is essential. This consistency extends to the type of handgun and extra ammunition you choose, ensuring familiarity and comfort with your equipment.

Proficiency and Regular Practice: 

The adage "practice makes perfect" holds true in the realm of concealed carry, especially in adverse weather conditions. It's not just about having the right equipment; it's about being adept at using it. By incorporating specific drills into your routine that simulate real-world scenarios, you enhance your muscle memory and build confidence in your ability to navigate challenges while dressed for the weather.

To enhance your concealed carry skills, regular practice is key. This includes drawing and holstering your weapon, handling it safely, reloading, performing immediate action, and moving to cover. Proficiency in these actions is vital, especially in dynamic situations where quick decisions are necessary. Covert drawing and reholstering should also be a part of your skill set, considering the unpredictability of escalating or de-escalating conditions.

Weapon Retention: When carrying off-body or in situations where someone might discover your concealed firearm, weapon retention becomes crucial. Training to retain control of your weapon in various scenarios is essential for ensuring your safety. Be prepared for inadvertent lapses and be confident in your ability to maintain control of your firearm.

Situational Awareness: Carrying a concealed weapon goes hand in hand with heightened situational awareness. Being conscious of potential threats and adapting your carry approach to different situations and conditions is part of responsible firearm ownership. Whether it's adjusting the location of your firearm or choosing an alternative method, staying vigilant ensures that you can effectively respond to any threat.  

Adaptability and Readiness: Ultimately, the key to successful concealed carry lies in adaptability and readiness. Regularly assess your daily activities, clothing choices, and potential environmental factors to determine the most effective carry method for each situation. Stay attuned to the limitations of your chosen method and be open to adjusting based on changing circumstances. 


Carrying concealed is a lifestyle that demands flexibility and foresight. Whether opting for two guns or exploring different carry locations, the goal is to seamlessly integrate your firearm into your daily routine without sacrificing accessibility or safety.

Each carry method has its pros and cons, and finding the right balance requires careful consideration of your unique needs and circumstances. By staying informed, practicing regularly, and remaining adaptable, you can navigate the challenges of concealed carry confidently and responsibly.

Remember, the best-concealed carry strategy is one that aligns with your lifestyle and ensures you are always prepared for whatever may come your way.

Stay safe, stay vigilant, and make informed choices when it comes to dressing for concealed carry in any season.


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