Unorthodox CCW Thoughts


A long heavy coat for cold weather wear makes it slow to access a pistol worn as I usually do, on the right hip.
This Galco shoulder holster keeps the Colt Cobra revolver readily accessible.

The Cold Steel City Stick is an elegant, classy looking stick even a country
boy like me can appreciate — and it’s right at-hand!

Everything in life involves tradeoffs, beginning with where you live. In two-season country you have six months of too hot and six months of just right. In four-season country, beginning in spring you have three months of fairly nice, three months of just right, another three months of fairly nice, and then winter. If you have the time and money, the way to deal with winter is to take a three-month vacation in two-season country.

Winter sports can be fun when you’re young. A good winter’s day now involves a fireplace, a steaming cup of coffee, a good book and a dog sleeping with his head on my fleece-lined slippers while the wind and snow beat on the window.

Sometimes you just have to go out, which leads to the issue of where to carry the CCW. Most of the year an IWB holster high on the right hip works just fine. Where it doesn’t work very well is when cold weather requires a long, warm winter coat.

A long, heavy winter coat does have one advantage — the bulk makes for easy concealment. With some coats you could likely conceal an M4, short-barreled shotgun, knee mortar, or attack dog. Eventually though you get to where you’re going and the outer coat comes off. Now we’re back to a handgun, and you still need a light garment to keep it concealed.

With a winter coat and strong side carry, forget any kind of speed draw. Only the most patient mugger or street thug is going to stand there waiting while you pull off your gloves, unzip or unbutton the coat and dig out your sidearm. One solution, I suppose, is to hope for the best. Muggers and thugs don’t like cold any more than you do. Up north we used to see bumper stickers saying, “Forty below keeps out the riffraff.”

Carrying a small pistol in the coat pocket and transferring it to a pants pocket when taking
off the coat is an option for CCW in cold weather.

Pocket Transfers?

Another is to transfer your sidearm from the holster to a pocket of the heavy coat when putting it on, and back again when taking it off. This works, though you do need some privacy when making the transfer. I’ve heard some suggest keeping a light, concealed hammer revolver in the coat pocket. I just don’t like the idea of hanging the coat up so the gun is not under my immediate control.

Another solution is to be a woman — or at least identify as one? — and carry a stylish purse with a special pocket for your pistol. Or if not a purse, a European carryall, organizer, or briefcase. These keep the handgun readily accessible. The downside is the purse or carrying case itself may become a target for muggers. Inevitably there are going to be moments when the case is not under your immediate control.

Of course there is no law saying your CCW must be worn on the hip. I’m kind of lukewarm about shoulder holsters as a rule, but circumstances alter cases. When cold temperatures require wearing a heavy coat a shoulder holster comes into its own. The handgun is reasonably accessible if the coat zipper is open a bit, or if one or two buttons are left unbuttoned. With a light vest beneath the coat the gun can be concealed even when you take the outer coat off.

If your regular carry gun isn’t too bulky or heavy it may work for you in a shoulder holster. Personally I like a lightweight gun in a shoulder holster. I haven’t found anything I like better than an alloy-framed Colt Cobra. It weighs about 18 oz. when loaded with six cartridges. For me at least the grip is large enough to fit the hand comfortably.

Dave’s Idea

There’s a way to eliminate the need for concealment, and to have the weapon already in your hand. Recently what with creaky knees and, in my wife’s case, knee replacement surgery, we’ve come to appreciate the utility of walking and hiking sticks. Such a stick can also be a very effective defensive tool. A local cutlery shop carries a selection of Cold Steel sticks. After comparing models I bought two, an elegant City Stick and what I guess you could call a Country Stick, a long “blackthorn” model.

The advantage these have over my homemade and store-bought wooden sticks is they are very strong, and have some heft and substance. I’ve been practicing a few basic defensive moves from online videos. The stick is always right there — in your hand. No one gives a second look to a “seasoned citizen” carrying a cane. I can take it anywhere, even on a plane. That last one is something to think about.

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