Dress for (Defensive Practice) Success

For concealed carry, it makes sense to practice drawing from what you’re likely to be wearing in an actual defensive situation. Quick draw from open carry can actually be counterproductive to the concealed carrier because it usually won’t incorporate the movement pattern you need to clear the cover garment.

Do you have to wear suits, as I do for court and such? A suit jacket, particularly in tropical weight, may not be as easy for the drawing hand to clear back as, say, a photographer’s vest. In hot weather, my typical casual garb is a T-shirt under an untucked, open-front Columbia style shirt. The light fabric will be slower for the drawing hand to clear than, say, the stiff canvas-like material of the Armadillo vest I might wear for maximum speed concealed carry draw in an IDPA match.

What about cold weather? Heavy weather clothing can prevent full arm extension for some who favor the Isosceles stance; the bent arms of a Weaver stance might work better. Have you worked with reaching under, say, the topcoat and suit coat you might use to cover your gun in Sunday-go-to-church garb? Leaving the inner jacket unbuttoned and the outer coat fastened no lower than the solar plexus will still allow strong side hip draw — if we’ve practiced it.

I remember about 30 years ago at an early National Tactical Invitation event when Jeff Cooper acolyte Mark Moritz competed wearing a suit jacket. He got an award for High Realist. Made sense to me.

Winter gloves make the pistol harder to hold. A finger with thick glove may apply trigger pressure early in a handgun with small trigger guard, such as a 1911, and may block trigger return on a double action revolver after the first shot. A gloved thumb may fumble with a manual safety or decocking lever. Gotta try it to know.