Let’s start with this: I’m going to assume that you’re smart enough to keep your concealed carry gun clean and dry regardless of conditions. We’ve got some excellent resources about that here on the site, so take a look if there are any questions.
Concealed Carry with Layers of Cold/Rain Gear
Moving along from there, the chief challenge that CCW types face in inclement weather is not keep your piece dry, but keeping it accessible. The fact is that layers of cold weather gear or a raincoat can impede the lighting quick draw and presentation you’ve (hopefully) been practicing regularly during your CCW journey. Never fear, though—there are some tips and tricks that you can use to smooth the transition to your winter or rainy season wardrobe.
Shifting Your CCW To a Pocket
First and foremost: if you have a piece of inclement weather clothing you wear regularly (parka, slicker, coveralls, etc) it really can be as simple as shifting your CCW to an outside pocket in that garment. I strongly recommend investing in a good pocket holster to avoid any potential accidents, but this approach does work. The chief danger is that you’ll leave your CCW in your coat when you take it off, but that can be remedied with a little discipline on your part. Double check, every time.
Use Layers that Allow Easy Access to Your Existing Carry Location
If you’d prefer not to adjust your carry system—and there are good reasons why you’d want to stay consistent—you may want to invest in outerwear that allows access to your normal mode of carry. A lot of outdoor gear is great for inclement weather while incorporating pass-through pockets and zips that allow access to your normal clothing within. This will likely slow your draw somewhat, but it’s another option to consider and keeps your CCW on your person even when you’ve removed our outer layers.
Ankle Carry Might Be Out of the Question in Bad Weather
A particularly tricky issue arises around ankle carry. I have no problem with ankle carry for a backup weapon, but cold weather clothing can render your ankle CCW inaccessible. Rain boots, snow pants, and other inclement weather gear add both physical and metaphorical layers of complication to drawing an ankle piece. With this in mind, make sure that you’re able to get to your ankle rig in a timely manner in any cold-weather or rain gear.
Dealing with Gloves while Carrying Concealed
Blessed as I am to live in the coastal South, I don’t run into this much, but gloves are a real issue for folks who carry during cold weather. Gloves change everything about CCW from drawing the weapon to getting your finger on the trigger. Take a good long look at your hand protection during cold weather conditions and figure out how to adapt it to your carry needs. Something as simple as removing the trigger finger of your glove can make all the difference.
I hope these tips help you get through the wet and/or cold times of the year. I’ll end by reiterating that the key to successful inclement weather carry is, as with all things CCW, endless practice. The discipline of concealed carry requires constant training, so incorporate this into your routine.