By Jim Wilson, American Rifleman
For those of us who are serious about personal defense, cooler weather means that we can get back to carrying our full-size defensive pistols on a routine basis. Coats, jackets, and other covering garments won’t seem out of place and they’ll do a better job of covering up the larger guns with which we generally do our best shooting. However, it’s not a good idea to clean, oil, and put away that small belly gun we generally carry during warm weather.
When you are wrapped up in that heavy coat and wearing gloves, you have to realize that it will take you longer to get that gear out of the way and draw the big defense gun to deal with a threat. Of course, when a person has some inkling that trouble is about to appear, he can get his coat open and be ready to deal with the problem. But what about those times when the attack comes as a complete surprise and time is even more critical than normal?
That sort of surprise can happen to any of us, no matter how alert we try to be. For that reason, I like to slip my little belly gun into a side pocket of my coat. In many cases, it can be the quickest response, especially when trudging along in really cold weather with my hands in my coat pockets to keep warm.
An even better variation of this practice would be to carry the little gun in the pocket on the support side of the body. In that manner, a person has access to a defense gun with either hand.
As with everything else regarding defensive shooting, practice is important. A person should not just assume that he can clear his coat in time to get the big gun. Nor should he assume that he can handle a criminal attack by shooting with his support hand. Dry practice at home is important to perfect the use of either gun, as well as practice on the shooting range. Go through the movements and develop a technique that works.
And what about those gloves you wear? Can you run your chosen defense gun wearing gloves? If not, it would be a good idea to practice getting the glove off of your shooting hand. Some gloves can simply be snatched off with the other hand. With other gloves, it might be fastest to bite the glove with the teeth and pull the hand free. Again, practice with the cold weather gear that a person actually wears will help work out the fastest method.
So, yes, winter weather allows us to more easily conceal a big gun, or multiple guns. But developing a technique for getting into action quickly is critically important. Stay warm and stay ready.