Why do you carry different guns?


New member
I have read alot of things on the boards about "winter" and "summer" carry guns. My question is fairly simple I guess. Why do you carry a heavier weapon in colder months than in summer months?

I understand that you can conceal "more" gun with the heavier clothes that winter allows you to wear but, do you really NEED a larger means of self protection. Is crime statisticaly higher when it's cold? I've always known the summer heat to make a BG crazy along with everyone else. When it's 80 at 3 A.M. here in August I see ALOT more activity than when it's 30.

I feel that my M&P 9mm and I more than ready\able to protect myself and my family in any temperature. In any clothing. In any light conditions.

Have you so little faith in your "summer" gun that you pray for cold weather to carry that 1911 in a stout .45 caliber, and if so, why don't you just find a better way to conceal that monster?

I'm truly curious about all this and I pass NO judgment on anyone about anything. I just want to make sure I'm not missing something. Thanks in advance for your replies.

Because I can?

Actually, I've pondered your question too. I live in Vegas, and don't even own heavy winter clothing. I carry the same guns year around, varying them based on how inconspicuous I want to be, and how casual the clothing I'm wearing is. Do these Fimbulwinter dwellers feel the need for more power to penetrate the substantial winter garments of their potential adversaries?

Come on cold-weather people---warm weather minds want to know!:D
I have three regular carry revolvers, primarily for different needs for concealment. It is as much a situational thing, as a "hot & cold" thing. The best arrangement in my opinion, is one weapon, carried the same way always. That just isn't practicle in some situations. If you can do that, more power to you - not much argument about that. :)
Just not sure why the smaller guns. If you're willing to carry a .38 snubby or even a .380 with hydra shok, why then do you NEED to carry a larger or larger caliber gun?

Again, do you think you can't defend yourself with that .380 while wearing board shorts instead of a parka. Even worse, do you really like wearing that rediculous "I'm packing" vest just to conceal a gun that everyone knows you have because you inadvertantly advertised it.
Here is my reasoning it may be sound or not.

Up in the great white north we get snow. Back home they got 2 feet of snow right now, and more on the way. That snow didn't just drop over night it's been piling up since before Christmas. That means it ain't got above freezing since then. In order to stay warm you got to dress in layers. I know of one time when it never got above zero degrees F for over a week straight! So a small caliber handgun will have more trouble putting down a BG in this case. So I opt to carry the bigger gun.

Now in summer we dress lighter so a big gun is hard to hide. Hence the little one, though I would not trust anything smaller than 38 Spl myself. A nice light weight 38 like the ones from SW is very comfortable and concealable.

One more thought. Many people get tired of having to work to hard to conceal a large gun. Some may even opt not to carry where as if they had a small pocket gun they might. The first rule in a gun fight is to have a gun.

These are my reasons plus I guess if I were to be honest I just like the idea of having more guns.
Well...There are a bunch of reasons. I don't always carry a bigger gun, but I think about it. Its nice to "comfortably" carry my SAA once in a while. I like to carry it, I feel at home with it. Although its easier to carry in a side holster under a big jacket then shoved down my pants during the summer. So there is the issue of wanting to carry other guns and comfort in doing so. You do that in the summer and people wonder why your wearing the parka.

A big reason is that peoples clothing choices change quite a bit during the winter. You are more likely going to run into an attacker with heavy winter clothing on in some places during the winter than the summer. Now granted this is up north winters, but still. There has been studies, and I cannot remember which federal law enforcement branch it was. Someone else may remember. The studies involved penetration of bullet calibers through moderate to heavy winter clothes. Although all bullets pass through, some calibers...The lower ones, had a harder time remaining as effective.

So with all that in mind, one has a better oppurtunity to carry large guns, aka size, that maybe they like but cant fit comfortably during the summer and having a larger gun, aka caliber, can be useful if your up where people wear heavier clothing sometimes. Its just a choice thing.. Don't think anyone feels outgunned either way. Many just like the oppurtunity to dust some the other relics off the shelf during the winter that dont get to see as much use.
Regardless of the weather, I'll be carrying the same 3 guns in the same places (1 Glock 23 and 2 Glock 27s') when I'm working. When not working, I'll carry 2 guns (where legal) in the same places.

I believe that consistencey and practice are key factors in properly carrying concealed firearms.

Larger caliber guns can penetrate all that extra clothing (I grew up in the South - Southern Wisconsin!) I recall how much I had to bundle up in winter. For a round to stop a BG, penetration is important, no? But there's something else: How many people, just on this site alone own more than one handgun, each with the ability to stop a BG? So, a parallel question, which is in the same vein as the one asked on this thread: If one handgun can stop a BG, why do you own more than one? The answer: Because we like them and because we can. I sure as hell wouldn't want to own only one gun. To the contrary, I want more.
The other respondants pretty much nailed it. I think it has to do with dressing around the gun. I'm 6'+ and trim. Couple this with IWB carry and I can conceal my P99 year-round, even in board shorts. The second point is penetration through winter clothing. Assuming that a second (i.e., summer) gun is of a lesser caliber then multiple shots are required to STOP a BG in the cold.

-my $.02
Well I just can not let any of them get to lonely. Pratice with all and want to able to shoot anything I pick up.All carried in the same place only differance is triger pull and ammo.It looks funny in florida when you wear shorts and a jacket.
I never really gave any thought to more firepower to penetrate heavy clothing, but it makes since. I switch guns mostly do to ease of concealment. My primary carry gun is a Sig P229 Equinox in .40 S&W. My BUG is a Kahr CW9 in 9mm. The Kahr becomes my primary, and sometimes only, gun in the summer. The real issue is making sure that your proficient with whatever you carry. I do 95% of my training and dry fire practice with the Sig. I also try to stay competent with the Kahr.
I'm really pleased to see so many people putting in thier $.02. I see the 2 main reasons are: choice, simply wanting to carry another gun, and penatration.

I feel like choice is choice and that many people on this site are much more proficient at shooting than I am. I envy these guys that have time and money to practice with all those weopons. But, I like my 9mm and that's why I carry it as opposed to my S&W .40.

I feel I'm pretty knowledgable on stopping power and ballistics of many common rounds and I don't buy into "bigger is better". I myself have shot through windshields with 9mm, .40, .45 and even a .22 among a few others. I have shot at car doors and even engine blocks just for fun and learned valuable information in the process. Many rounds had surprising results. At 7 yards it took 3 rounds of 230g .45 FMJ (fired from my full size Infinity) to get through the windshield of a Geo Metro but, my Glock 19 passed through the seat and lodged in floor with one shot firing 140g FMJ!

I guess I really did get my answer already but, please keep those post coming. We can all learn from each other and that is why we're here.
I live in Texas and I carry my HK P2000 SK all the time. I may have to resort to a fanny pack at times but I always have the same gun. Often in cooler weather I wiil carry my Glock 19 as a back up because I can carry more with more clothes but summer or winter I have the HK.
I'll quote frontsight here

I guess I better quote frontsight here..."Any gun will do if you will do". I would not call myself a great shooter, I think I have my luck at cqb distances with any gun with ease. As for the caliber debate. You'll find cases where people went down on the first shot from every caliber, .22 and up. I've shot .22 rounds through thick hard wood doors without issues. However, the higher the caliber you can handle or take with you, the more probabistic the stopping power. Basically the greater the wound channel the more likely you are to stop that person or penetrate to that person. I'd feel comfortable with any caliber, but I know I will have better luck with .380 plus at getting to the target. Its also a good point to mention that someone wearing a normal wool winter coat is most likely going to be taken by any round. However, I've seen some people wear some really heavy clothing when it gets below zero. Bullets tend to do wierd things, the more material they have to go through.
Summer vs. Winter firearms

I live in southern NV too, Henderson specifically, NDS, it's been getting below freezing here lately. I've seen frozen water in sidewalk gutters recently. While it does not get cold here in southern NV often, it does happen. My first house I bought back in Dec 1997 had the top of the pool froze over, a dusting of snow on the diving board and the kitchen sink pipes froze (didn't burst though) since they were inside of an exterior wall facing the backyard (quite common in southern NV homes). Anyone who owns a pool in southern NV should keep the pump on during the winter months when the forecast calls for it to get below freezing. Late December 2006, my truck was covered with snow in the morning before sunrise.

A house I was renting recently had an outside mister PVC pipe burst. Fortunately it was not inside the wall and was an easy fix. I also bought my latest vehicle with heated front seats and an engine block heater. If the forecast calls for it to be below freezing, I plug in the engine block heater for the night. The car heats up more quickly and is easier to start. Granted, I did buy it winter ready since I drive up north to UT, ID and MT pretty often.

Here's my reasoning with carrying larger calibers during the colder months;

1. Hollowpoint rounds are less likely to expand when they pentrate heavier clothing. The clothing stuck in the bullet can defeat the expansion of the round effectively making it ball ammo. If you're going to shoot ball or FMJ ammo, you want it to be as big a ball as possible. If your 9mm or .38 special effectively becomes ball ammo because of going through a thick piece of clothing you've decreased your stopping power probability significantly. Ayoob wrote an article on this quite awhile ago and the physics makes sense to me.

2. You can conceal more of a firearm with thicker winter clothing.

My colder weather calibers; .40 S&W, 10mm and .41 magnum, .44 special/.44 magnum and .45 ACP.
My warmer weather calibers; .380 ACP, 9mm Makarov, .38 spl/.357 magnum and 9mm.
That's alot of guns to carry my friend. ;) I'm also a huge fan of Ayoob and I can see his point and it is sometimes true. Clothing can "clog" a JHP turning it into a FMJ.

Thanks for reminding me of this tidbit. Aim for the head if they're all bundled up I guess.
I carry one of 4 different .45's the same way in the same place all year round... IWB @ 4:00.

I also have a couple smaller guns. They are normally only carried as a BUG. If I am in need of "deep concealment" I will carry one of them alone, but that rarely happens.

I also only carry CorBon DPX ammo... it does not turn in to a FMJ even after 5 layers of denim! :D

Hope that helps! ;)
I guess the biggest thing is circumstances. I switch out between day and night mostly. If it is daylight and I am in uniform I carry the old standbye SW model 10 in my duty holster and a backup of a ruger 2inch 101 both loaded with Plus P ammunition. At night in uniform I switch to a Taurus Tracker in 45ACP with a Ruger P95 for my BUG. If I am working out of uniform about 70% of the time I carry a Sig P220 in 45ACP and a Ruger P345 as the BUG. I can get away with the bigger weapons because I'm 6'5 and 250 so concealment isn't a problem. The daytime uniform stuff is for the Officer friendly stuff. Everyone I approach has me outgunned as they all have long guns.
I tote as much gun as I can
1. carry comfortably
2. conceal without standing out.

Colder weather just means that better cover garments are less noticeable.

Face it, a leather jacket, parka, rain coat, or whatever hides the bulge of that full size .45 much better than a heavy weight cotton T shirt or a silk cornball Hawaiian shirt ever will.

Over the years, I've used everything from a 2 shot .32ACP derringer to a 5" Smith N frame for concealed carry. It all depends on what you can wear to hide it and not stand out like a Sherman button at a Georgia picnic.

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