by Bob Owens - Thursday, December 15, 2011
Winter is here, and while it is a nice day out as I'm writing this—in the mid-60s here in central North Carolina—I also know the bone-chilling days of winter are ahead. It's time to start bundling up, and that goes for those of us who chose to carry a concealed handgun as well. If you're looking for an interesting carry option, you might want to take a peek at the SIG Sauer Concealed Carry Jacket.
I've been wearing one off-and-on as the weather dictates for the past month, and I'm impressed so far. Unlike a lot of "tacticool" clothing, the SIG Sauer jacket is very unobtrusive. Even to the discerning eye, it looks like nothing other than the ever-popular heavy canvas field or chore coats offered by all sorts of clothing manufacturers, and more than one person asked me if it was a Carhartt.
Like the Carhartt comparison implies, the SIG jacket is sturdily built. Mine came in black, and is made of 100 percent heavyweight cotton canvas with a smooth nubuck leather collar and a warm no-pill fleece liner. The jacket seemed sized a little large, and the sleeves run a little long, something that turns out to be a plus with my wingspan. The fleece liner actually cuffs inside the jacket to stop wind from blowing up the sleeves, which is a thoughtful plus, as are the gathers on each hip that can keep drafts from coming in the jacket from the bottom. The Concealed Carry Jacket closes with the wearer's choice of a heavy-duty zipper or buttons (or both).
The outside of the coat has one zippered pocket on the left breast and two handwarmer pockets, but the selling point of the SIG Sauer jacket has to be the two huge velcro-sealed interior pockets, one on each side.
When I say the interior pockets are huge, I am not exaggerating in the slightest. During one weekend chore jaunt, I carried my new Detonics MTX .45 ACP in the left pocket (for a right-hand draw). Knowing I might be sitting and waiting a while at one of my stops, I put my Kindle e-book reader in the other. I suspect I could easily have replaced the Kindle with an iPad or even a small netbook without too much trouble. Like Jonah's whale, the SIG Sauer jacket seemed willing to gobble up just about anything I could throw at it. Most importantly, it did so while distributing the weight well, and without giving anyone any indication of what was inside.
I haven't yet had the opportunity to wear the jacket in a downpour, but it has kept me dry in short, across-the-parking-lot jaunts through light rain without any problems. It should turn away snow equally well. I think I'd consider giving it a waterproofing treatment soon, so it holds up to the more severe and damp weather that tends to hit us in late winter and early spring.
If I have one concern about the SIG Sauer Concealed Carry Jacket, it is the sturdy, foot-long hook-and-loop cavern-covers that keep the interior pockets closed. While the strips ensure your gun will not take an embarrassing tumble to the pavement, the strength of the hook-and-loop lockup means opening the pocket to get to the holstered handgun within is a two-handed job.
There is also the fact that being such a sturdy and warm jacket, it is something that you will almost certainly have to take off if you are indoors for any length of time, and if you put the jacket down or hang it up, you are no longer in control of your handgun. Of course, the same holds true for all kinds of off-body carry including briefcases, handbags or fanny packs.
These minor quibbles aside, the SIG Sauer Concealed Carry Jacket does just about everything right. It retails for less than competing jackets in this class and has comparable or better construction than most other models. Plus, it adds massive internal pockets and gives you the option of carrying a sizable handgun (and/or other cargo) unobtrusively in multiple types of holsters. There are perhaps other jackets that can perform as well, but few do it as economically.
I anticipate wearing mine for years to come, whether or not I happen to be carrying a handgun inside.
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