Why I don’t open carry and don’t think you should either


I don’t think it’s a good idea for most anyone to “open carry” in today’s society …

Open carry is basically defined as carrying a gun around in your holster with no concealement garment to cover it.

I’ll share with you why I don’t do it and why I don’t think you should either.


But before we get started …

I totally, adamently, 100% support the RIGHT of everyone to open carry

Just because I don’t think it’s a good idea to open carry doesn’t mean I don’t support the right of open carry.

When open carry became a big issue last year with Texas moving to change their laws, I was surprised that most people don’t realize that pro open carry laws are very, VERY common in America.

Open carry has been around since the birth of our nation. It’s not new. In fact, open carry is currently legal in 45 states — 90% of the country — and in 30 states you don’t need a license to openly carry a holstered pistol. My home state of Virginia is one of those open carry without any kind of license states, so it seems normal to me.

Again, to make my political position completely clear.

I support what’s known as “constitutional carry” or “permit-less carry” as practiced in 6 states in America. In short, every human has the God given right to self-defense and to bear arms for that purpose and that right is recognized and was the reason for the writing of the 2nd Amendment. Because of this, there should be no need for a “permit” to carry a self-defense weapon (open carry or otherwise). That’s my political stance on it.

Even Though You Can, I Don’t Think You Should

Part of being a smart adult is to realize that while you CAN do something, sometimes you probably shouldn’t …

As adults we are free to do a lot of things. As we should be.

But we have to make choices as to what is the smart thing to do in every situation.

I was reading a news story just this morning where two police officers were murdered by a suspect in Maryland. The reporters seemed to think that the suspect shot the first cop because he was in uniform.

It got me thinking that while you can and should be allowed to open carry, I don’t think you should. Here’s why …

1. You may be de-selected. Or selected.

I’ve heard from many open carry advocates that they think having a gun on their hip will “de-select” them in the eyes of a violent criminal because it will make them a “hard target”.

Maybe, maybe not.

Maybe he’s scared of the gun. Or maybe because he has his gun concealed, he knows he can get the drop on you before you have a chance to use yours. Something like walking up and shooting you in the back of the head so that you can’t use your gun.

2. Criminals could try and take your gun.

This is the other side of the coin. Criminals could see your gun being open carried and really want it.

So it could in fact “select” you as a target of opportunity.

Greg Ellifritz writes, “Every year about 10 percent of the cops who are killed in the line of duty are killed with their own firearms. Cops are trained to be alert, they often work with partners, and they have the best retention holsters available. Yet they still get their guns taken from them! You think you can do better because you took a one-day CCW course? Understand reality. You can’t see everything and you can’t win every fight. Your gun can be taken and used against you.”

And he has a point. Not only in the United States but in countries where the societies are doing very poorly, like Brazil and Venezuela, this is a common tactic for street criminals to get more guns. Thugs simply pick out cops to assassinate and steal their guns. It’s like shopping for them.

If you carry a gun in the open, are you also good enough with your hand to hand skills that you could literally fight and wrestle a stronger, younger, faster opponent off your gun?

3. You probably don’t use the right holster.

The truth is that most people buy the cheapest holster they can find.

If you’re going to be open carrying then you should have a holster with some type of retention device much like cops use. Examples are the Safariland SLS or ALS which have some type of retention device to make it hard for someone else to grab the gun out of your holster.

Almost every picture I’ve seen of an open carry person shows them carrying the gun in some cheap, nylon holster that looks like it could fall off their hip at any moment.

4. Sadly, a lot of people are going to freak out. Some will call the cops.

The fact of the matter is that most people in today’s America just aren’t used to seeing people that aren’t in a police uniform walking around with a gun on their hip.

Some of those people will freak out. Some of them will eventually call the cops. So you’re going to have a lot of interaction with the police if you open carry. It’s almost a given.

Myself? I really, really dislike having the cops “called” on me for any reason whatsoever. No offense to police, but any day I don’t talk to a cop is probably a good day.

5. Criminals don’t open carry their guns. Why should you?

Finally, you give up a bit of the “surprise” advantage if you have your gun in the open and a criminal doesn’t. He knows you’re armed, and you don’t know he is a criminal OR armed.

I don’t think that’s a good situation to be in.

If you are attacked by a violent criminal you’re already behind. You have to react. Because many people don’t conceal carry, it is a severe shock to most criminals when someone they thought was a victim pulls out a gun to shoot back at them. This is the reason why you see so many potential crimes where the criminal starts running as soon as the good guy produces a gun. It is not expected and often this one action ends the crime in progress.

This is probably the reason why John Lott’s research has shown, “Americans also used guns defensively more than two million times that year, and more than 90 percent of the time merely brandishing the weapon was sufficient to stop an attack.

Carrying concealed gives you a surprise advantage. Open carry gives you nothing.

My advice is to have a gun, but keep it concealed …

I just can’t see any benefit to open carry that is not shared by concealed carry.

The dubious assertion that it will de-select you as a “hard target” by a bad guy is hard for me to believe. It’s a well known fact that criminals are quite good at “sizing up” their prey.

In other words, they can look at a lot of people walking down the street and see which one is soft and going to be a good victim simply by how the person carries themself, how they walk, how aware they are, etc

Here’s what I think: if you walk and talk and act soft and unaware and carry yourself like a “soft target” WITHOUT a gun … then you are still a soft target … and now a criminal will most likely see a soft target that he knows he can overpower and take a gun from.

In short, open carrying a gun while handling yourself like a victim will only make it more likely for you to be victimized.

So yeah, that’s my take …

I totally, completely, 100% support the right to open carry (in fact, it pisses me off that I have to even make that clear as it should be unquestionable) — but I don’t think most anyone should do it as a matter of practice.

What about you? Do you open carry? Do you agree with me that you should not open carry? Why or why not?

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Caleb Lee is the #1 best-selling author of "Concealed Carry 101" and founder of PreparedGunOwners.com. He is a civilian (no law enforcement or military experience) who shares information about self-defense and becoming more self-reliant. He's a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo, NRA Certified Basic Pistol & Personal Protection Inside The Home Instructor, Concealed Carry Academy Instructor certified & also a graduate of the Rangermaster firearms instructor course. He's also the author of numerous online courses including the UndergroundAssaultRifle.com course.


  1. I believe like you, that concealed carry is better, but we shouldn’t have to take a course and pay for a permit.

    • I agree with not paying for a permit, but not with skipping a course. I have seen too many Nimrods with guns shooting at targets in the 10′ to 15′ range (man sized) and missing! The whole target! Even in the army I saw Drill Sergeants knock down a recruit who heard something and turned around with a loaded M-16 ,not even realizing it was aimed at half the company. EVERYONE needs training and Practice. I have no desire to die because some jackass thinks they are too good to need training.

      • I agree, but I dont think training should be mandatory. That’s like telling someone they need to take a journalism course before starting their own blog to exercise their free speech rights … knowhwatImean?

        thanks for the comment

        • Wow!!! Seriously? A blog is not going to get you or someone else killed. How ridiculous an argument you make. The very basic training only gives you the four most important rules of handling a firearm. It takes about a half an hour at any gun shop or shooting range. In fact if you are new at a range they require you to go over the basic rules of handgun safety. This is a very serious subject. The handling of a deadly weapon without even the most basic of training is more dangerous than walking through the north side of Milwaukee in the daylight. Never mind doing something that stupid at night. You need to get your head screwed on straight here. Journalism, give me a break.

          • Mark,

            Your reply is an emotional response. It’s simply not supported by the facts.

            Nor is it correct. You should never need any “qualification” (like mandatory training) to exercise a fundamental human right. Period. Full stop.

            You say this “The handling of a deadly weapon without even the most basic of training is more dangerous than walking through the north side of Milwaukee in the daylight. Never mind doing something that stupid at night.” but it’s just not true.

            Do I agree everyone should get training? Yes. Should it be mandatory? No. That’s it.

            For hundreds of years Americans survived handing their deadly weapons without mandatory firearms training.

          • If you really think this way, not that I disagree, then the US Constitution needs to be amended.

          • You are wrong. In fact, a blog, newspaper, or book has the potential to kill more people than any single firearm possibly ever could. Ever hear of Mein Kampf? Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book? The (un)Holy Koran? The pen truly is mightier than the sword. According to yours and other “But”er anti-gun people’s logic, there should be mandatory government approved training for every single thing on the planet.

            “Excuse me sir, do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior, The Most Holy And Magnificent US Government?” -Mark Lahti

        • I believe that gun ownership and carry ability of any sort should be free as well. However, I think training should be mandatory for the simple reason that too many people will choose not to take any kind of training if it isn’t mandatory. There are a lot of laws out there and if nothing else, everyone should have a good understanding of the laws. Deadly force is not something we should take lightly, ever.

          • I still respectfully disagree. There should never be “mandatory training” to exercise a fundamental human right.

        • For the reasons you mentioned, open carry isn’t safe, especially in secluded areas. Open carry is good and we should do it because it’s a right, but the only time I open carry is, at events like OC lunches, OC dinners, OC BBQ’s.
          My wife and I were going to a church dinner, but we found out we missed it, it was on Saturday evening, instead of Sunday noon. There was a OC lunch in Chrystal City, and when I told her we missed the church dinner, she said want to go to the OC dinner. There wasn’t anyone there from our area, but we met some new people and it was a fun event.

        • I agree that the government shouldn’t make it mandatory for training, but maybe gunships should offer a free very basic course in safety, you, and I both know common sense is a very uncommon thing these days. My point is that some point, some basic training should be mandatory. Of course no government involvement, but some of these younger fellows that will pick up a gun and point it at a friend, because he knows it’s not loaded(we know their always loaded) and end up killing his best friend, brother, or sister because of no training. It should be taught at home, but that’s not always the case. Yes I ramble,lol

        • I have to disagree. Honestly, if you want to carry a firearm, you should never stop learning and never stop practicing! You need to be educated on the weapon you are carrying/using. One could argue about paying for permits or the cost of courses or what have you, but anyone carrying a firearm needs to be educated. With all do respect, there’s a big difference in firearms and journalism.

      • The practice and qualifying distance is 7 yards, because this is the safe distance if a perp charges at you; you would have barely enough time to unholster a weapon.

        I think every state should have constitutional carry, but anyone that is capable of carrying open or concealed needs to know how to handle a deadly weapon. Gun safety should be taught at an early age, starting somewhere between 6 and 9 years old, depending on the child. My dad bought me a single shot, Stevens 22 rifle when I was 9 years old.

        • I bought my 4 year old daughter a Daisy BB gun rifle, and a Cricket .22 the next year. She is now almost 15 and enjoys shooting my Colt 45 the most.

  2. I think you are probably on target (So to speak). In the absence of a broad breakdown of systems (Including observing the law) a gun is more effective if concealed. This is almost intuitive and a long list of reasons why, unnecessary. You don’t signal your punch, you don’t threaten to hurt or sue. You act out of enlightened self-interest. Purposefully, directly and without warning. I know this is contrary to what we are taught in CCL class but I and a goodly number of other Americans are not inclined to negotiate with someone coming at you with obvious intent and a weapon. You drop them and lawyer up.

  3. I support open carry but will not open carry for the very reasons you have just outlined
    I see no advantages to advertising I am armed. In fact I feel that it makes me more of a target. How easy would it be for an unarmed thug to knock me upside the head and become an armed thug. Part of being a responsibly armed citizen is protecting your weapon from unauthorized use.
    Support open carry but carry concealed.

    • We should make a bumper sticker with that comment! “Support open carry but carry concealed”

  4. As I tell people I come in contact with, you cannot out draw someone who already has their gun trained on you.
    By the act of open carry you make yourself the first target in any type of active shooter, robbery or hold up situation. I am a police officer. The ONLY time I open carry is when I am in uniform.
    I also notice that most people I see in my area open carry have cheap holsters and cheap guns. I wonder if it more of a psychological macho thing than anything else to open carry. Maybe they tried to get into the military or law enforcement and could not make it.
    Stay aware and be safe.

    • Yeah the cheap gun and cheap holster thing is probably a sign they haven’t thought it all through yet. Thanks for the comment!

    • i would open carry vs concealed simply for the fact that if i had to react i KNOW i can clear a holster faster without moving clothing out of the way. by that logic , LEOS should carry concealed as they would have less chance of having THEIR weapon taken from them. also if you are so totally unaware that someone could get close enough behind you to physically knock you out or snatch your weapon , you have poor situational awareness ( not you , just speaking in generalities) . nope , the constitution doesnt differentiate between concealed or not and people should do whatever they are comfortable with

  5. I agree totally with you on all basses !! I am extremely in favor of the Second Amendment and I think concealed carry permits are a good idea, But there is No reason to take the element of surprise away from the Bad Guy, Or Give the Bad guy standing behind you in line waiting to pay at the local 7/11, Who you do Not yet know is a bad guy and that you do Not know has a hammer under his jacket, A chance to pull out the hammer and hit you over the head because he wants to take your gun and then just to be sure he may shoot you with your gun ! And there is also no reason to scare anti-gun people into having a heart attack or calling the police that could in itself lead to your being shot by the police, After all how much on alert and ready to shoot first and ask questions later are police who show up on a police call dispatched as “A Man With A GUN !” I as a former Police Dispatcher can tell you I have actually heard Police officers panting when they called in their arrival at calls dispatched as a “Man with a Gun !”

    • I agree,,best to have the advantage of not letting the bad guys get the drop on you ..makes sense..Florida where i live are going for the open carry law..but i have decided if it passes i will continue to conceal my gun..

  6. I, too, believe in the right to open carry. I believe that is a given with the thinking of our founding forefathers when they wrote the second amendment to the Constitution. However, I also agree with you that a person should not carry their weapon openly in public. Every reason you have given is exactly right, and the way I also believe.

    I have been a police officer in my life where I carried my weapon on and off duty. Even when a private detective I also carried, albeit concealed most all the time. Where I have now become an old man in my mid seventies, I no longer go in, around, or through places that may have the many hazards one may encounter, I don’t see any need for me to carry a weapon concealed or otherwise. However, I do have strategically located weapons in my home, and do practice getting to them and put into scenario use on a regular basis. All of which is a spontaneous act with no forethought. The only thought given to these scenarios is to place a weapon in advance, maybe even a day ahead, with indoor, plastic practice ammunition. I don’t wait more than two days before I
    suddenly decide my scenario exists and act. (I also don’t do this if any
    other person is here.)

    Practice with indoor plastic ammo, and live fire on the range is critical
    to maintain proficiency. Target shooting is fun, but combat shooting
    practice is most necessary when shooting. There is a world of difference
    in being just a good shooter, and a good combat shooter. Years before
    I qualified as a distinguished shooter in target shooting, but had to
    practice much to become a Combat Master in combat shooting.

    Where I feel as you about open carry, I don’t expect that I will ever
    again even have need of concealed carry for myself. My concealed
    weapons in my home will probably be sufficient for me.

  7. In the winter months in the north you can carry the right gun in the right type of coat with your hand on your gun if need be, under dire situtations you can fire without removing the gun from your pocket I like a revoler for this type of carry.

  8. I tend to agree. Until open carry is something so universal it causes no notice, I will continue to carry concealed. Back in the 1800’s most male carried except in very large cities. If we get back to that polite armed populace, I will to invest in some “more presentable ” open carry holsters!

  9. Agree 100% on all points. I’m a retired cop and all your situational comments are definitely based in fact. Not only will bad guys target open carry folks but they will target them first and by surprise. Good article and thanks for all your writings.

  10. 100% agree I certainly don’t want the extra attention that open carry gives and I don’t want others to know what I’m carrying. I also don’t want to carry concealed because I don’t want to let the government into my life that much, and in this state CCW is very expensive, nor do I want them to know what I have. On my property (I live on a farm way out of town) I carry a pocket pistol all the time when outside and have it close when inside including at night, as well as a more powerful firearm nearby.

  11. I will say do not open carry. I am a commission Security officer and I have been told ,I will be the first one shot. I have had a man tell me he will take my gun.I pulled it .My gun is loaded at the time. He stopped. We both was lucky.
    I also say do not have a sticker telling, ,you have a gun in your car or truck.And even the house. I hear it at times. I was broken into,, had my guns. Taken.

    • Thanks for chiming in. Sounds scary!

      But yes, great idea not to have your truck have all the gun signs for all the guns you own and are keeping in the truck right there 🙂

  12. The one reason I open carry, is that our society has been so indoctrinated that guns are horrible, that we need to educate them that guns carried by noncriminals make them safer. We need to establish that carrying a gun is the normal state of existence, not some aberrant behavior. We need to reset the definition of “normal” behavior. Why let the people who would take away our God given Second Amendment Rights, define the culture?

    • I get that argument. I really do …

      So if you do open carry, just be aware of the “tactical disadvantages” you are facing and train and prepare as best you can for those.

      It’s like being a copy, you HAVE to open carry, so they take every precaution/training/preparation available …

  13. I totally agree, open Cary is a bad idea. You have stated most all of the reasons I wouldn’t Cary in the open.
    With the exception of a security detail.

  14. Open Carry will just bring you trouble…CCW and save yourself the trouble! May God Bless America, AGAIN!

  15. I also agree to a certain extent. Idaho has open carry for all guns except in large urban areas where concealed carry is legal. But open carry is more for the long guns such as rifles and shotguns. People get nervous about those who open carry in grocery stores as do police. It is common sense to not bring about such fears. It does not take a bad guy long here to realize they can get shot by attempting some sort of illegal activity. That does not mean that someone might do that but it lowers the odds. So far it has worked.

  16. I’ve always agreed with you, and for the very reasons you give. The bottom line, nutshell summary of the primary reason NOT to carry openly is that YOU LOSE THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE.

    In any serious conflict, be it to win a sports trophy, a legal battle in court, or a crucial military battle, it is ALWAYS a mistake, and often a fatal one, to provide your opposition with ANY SHRED of information about you that you are not forced by circumstances to reveal. ANY information/knowledge you provide to your opposition is almost invariably of zero or near-zero help to you, and virtually certain to be of AT LEAST some help to your opposition, potentially of crucial and decisive help that puts him into the winner’s circle.


    Because I thought through this issue, I came up with another reason to avoid open carry, which relates to others, not directly to yourself. It seems only logical to me that if many CCL holders choose also to carry openly, they may actually be assisting crime and contributing to the harm other innocent, law-abiding citizens are subjected to — even contributing to their loss of life. The author gives strong hints that he understands this too, but doesn’t mention it explicitly. It should be pretty obvious why:

    If all, or most who CAN legally open carry were to do so, then violent criminals will be the first to be aware of it. So even in cases where you are “de-“selected because of your visible gun, what you have done is purchased your own safety (in that PARTICULAR instance only) at the expense of another person, and steered the harm or loss of life onto another innocent person to save yourself. Crooks will be the first to understand this implication of “universal” or very common open carry, if most licensed owners began open carrying where they can do so legally. Put yourself in the criminal’s shoes. Under such circumstances, the LACK of an openly carried arm is a virtual guarantee that the person does not have one, by definition (on our premise that most who can open carry, do). He will therefore be more brazen and confident he can get away with whatever he chooses to do to the visibly unarmed victim. He can just go out to “steal his daily bread,” pick on the first person he sees without a visible gun, and take what he wants and/or do what harm he feels like doing.

    Basically, when you do NOT make yourself into a desirable target by open carrying, and actually succeed in “de-selecting” yourself for victim-hood, then you may be making yourself into a de facto accomplice in the victim-hood of an unarmed citizen in a subsequent attack. Yeah, that victim CHOSE to risk being a victim by not carrying, and if everyone carried, armed violent crime would probably drop like a stone, so you can’t legally or morally be blamed for choosing to take whatever personal measures you wish to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. Nevertheless, as the author points out, even if having a gun in your belt or on your hip does reduce your odds, on balance, of being successfully attacked, it is still not the optimum choice. It can make YOU a magnet, as the author points out, and it would provide just as much if not more protection if it were concealed . . . AND it would make the task of the wannabe perps harder because even those who ARE wary of open carry citizens will no longer be able to eliminate you from consideration and concentrate on those with a much higher likelihood of being unarmed.

    If the vast majority of those who can carry openly were to choose NOT to do that, the criminal’s job would be much harder, much more risky of harm to himself, and much more likely to be unsuccessful. In short, the choice to openly display your weapon by a majority of those who legally can, encourages certain types of crime and assists in their success, amongst the other liabilities it places on the carrier’s own person, which the author covers in detail.

    Finally to summarize in a sentence: HAVING a weapon gives you an edge. Having it concealed is virtually guaranteed to sharpen that edge, while openly carrying is a guarantee that your edge will be dulled at least somewhat in most cases, extremely dulled in a few instances, and possibly slightly sharpened in a few instances.

    • Wow. You certainly put a lot of thought into that comment!

      Your last paragraph is spot on too!

  17. I live in an open carry state, Idaho. But concealed carry is the best way to go in an urban setting which is what most do and we have such a program. An open carry in an urban area causes some to get very nervous and call police. Even police can get nervous. So it just pays to not open carry a handgun at least in an urban setting. Otherwise, open carry is legal if a person has a valid hunting license.

    • For sure open carry without licenses of any kind is legal and always has been (as long as I’ve been alive) here in VA. Still, unless I couldn’t conceal carry for some reason, I would choose to conceal it.


  18. I don’t know about other states, but in calif. a security guard that is armed if he shoots some one he has to go to a police shooting board just like a police officer has to go to. I to think just because you can dose not mean you should. I agree any day you don’t have to talk to a cop is a good day

  19. Caleb I totally agree with you on this. I’m also 100% for open carry as well but don’t think it’s a good idea for all the reasons you have mentioned. It may be ok in a rural area but I think it’s an especially bad idea if you live in a large city as I do

    • Yup, exactly. There are probably a lot of small rural towns maybe out west or wherever in the U.S. where everyone knows each other and its common to open carry. Can’t really see a downside there. More power to ya. But in and around bunches of people I see no big advantage. Thanks for chiming in!

  20. Thank you for your very well thought out position on open vs concealed carry. I have thought through the issue myself several times and came to much the same conclusion; you came up with even more very good reasons for your position. One comment, however. Writers and commentators expressing conservative views, I believe, are more vulnerable to attacks by the other side than liberals when a “typo” or misspoken word enters the picture. In the second to last sentence of the third paragraph of point 5, I’m sure you meant to say “good guy,” not “bad guy.” You left your self open for some @$&%^ in the liberal media to grab that sentence and splash all over the front page of some yellow rag, “See, even Caleb Lee of ‘Underground Assault Rifle’ agrees that EVERYONE who carries a firearm is a “BAD GUY!” Yes, vigilance is EXTREMELY important whether it is about our surroundings as we walk through life, or our written or spoken word.

    • Thanks David, fixed that. No matter how many times you proof-read … those little errors will slip in.

  21. I was borderline on purposefully carrying open or making it a matter of the convenience of what I’m wearing. I’m 71 and have carried open more often since I got my conceal license, by the simple fact that before conceal was passed, accidentally covering the weapon suddenly subjected me to police harassment. I’m buying the idea now, that I’m no longer 25 years old and if some young tough wanted to take it, knowing I had a weapon, gives him one step up. When I’m too old to be the “man of steel” I used to be…it’s time to hang up the spurs and go deep conceal. Make the punk…the surprised one in a confrontation.

    • Absolutely Tim.

      I get what you’re saying … before every state in the US had Concealed carry laws, open carry was your only option. And you were at a disadvantage because the bad guy could hide his and surprise you.

      • The county I live in has something over 100k residents, and I read an article in our local paper, where our Sheriff said they have issues almost 7800 CCW permits. Several years ago he spoke at our monthly meeting and said they had issues 4 thousand permits; that is an increase of almost 3 thousand. Seems like there is a lot of crime, even in an rural county like ours; not the county I grew up in in the fifties..

  22. I am 100% pro on we should be able to exercise our right to carry without permits, fee, and permission. I am also 100% against open carry for to many reasons to list. take a piece of paper and start writing the negatives of open carry and you will end up with writers cramp. take a matchbook cover and write the pro’s of open carry and you will have a lot of time to spend with your family. I personally believe that open carry will eventually hurt all the hard work put into fighting for our rights and give back a strong foothold to the anti gun a-holes. I believe bad things to good people can only come from open carry. ccw will always have the upper hand. practice and proper gear will always have the edge, because what the bad guy don’t know can and will hurt them.

    • I don’t think open carry LAWS will hurt the liberty movement … but I think douchebags trying to get attention by being “in your face” about open carry doesnt help

  23. I agree. The sight of a firearm scares many people. I often carry a concealed 44 mag while hiking in the woods. In early and late season bears are looking for food and you never no when you could stumble on one. I have met many other friendly hikers while out and many times their look changes when they see I am armed. I take the time to explain why I carry and that the firearm is just another part of my safety equipment. Most agree with me and understand. While I hike the deep woods many hike trails and think they don’t need safety equipment. It can be deadly as a criminal the first time they get between a mother bear and her cub. Many times I think there is more fear of the sight of firearm than a bear. There is no need to scare others.

  24. I do agree, and being disabled realize that using a power wheelchair for mobility does mark me for a “soft target” do carry have my CCW for a 1911 Commander with laser grip sight. Why give the goblin any additional advantage, surprise is king. I do support open carry and Constitutional carry here in Texas from a political view, but will continue to carry concealed from a practical view as I’m not interested in making a political statement, only in making it home safely at the end of the day.

  25. Open carry would make the citizenry nervous. Veterans should be allowed to conceal carry. I agree with all you said above. If the polititions allow open carry, , I would think they are hoping for unfortune insidences to flood the news.

  26. Absolutely right. There is one counter argument. If large numbers of people were open carrying and had each other’s back, then the criminal will probably not even attemp the crime because he is severely outgunned. Open carry in Texas allows police to check a license which puts criminals who open carry at higher risk. You can bet that 99.9% of open carriers in Texas are licensed and law abiding.

    If no license is required in your state, do not open carry. Open carry depends very much on the situation. I carry concealed.

  27. I agree that you firearm should be concealed. It does add the element of surprise to a would be bad guy and the deterent to any further action. Also, the gun haters will really go nuts with all this firepower displayed. And perhaps the open carry would make a lot of good people uncomfortable seeing all these guns and they have none.

  28. Caleb, I fully agree with you on all items. I prefer to Concealed carry IWB, however Legal Open carry can prevent Jail time if your weapon is accidentally seen. Florida is again trying to delete the accidentally seen Concealed carry protection in 3 bills currently in the Legislature

  29. … and I think concealed carry permits are a good idea.

    Concealed-carry IS a good idea, but CC-permitting is an annoyance,
    it unnecessarily affects ONLY the law-abiding, and is an infringement
    of our god-given, Amendment II-supported, right.

    • I think you meant to say that concealed carry permits are a bad idea?

      But yes, it’s an infringement of rights for sure.

  30. Respectfully, I think concealment greatly reduces if not stops the idle, natural curiosity of children, and ends their natural proclivity to touch first out of such curiosity.
    And, regarding the tendency of the fearful and the oppositional to vocally instigate a shunning and/or call #911 right off, exercising one’s right to carry and to do it securely need not be done in a way that feeds reactionary much less vocal disturbance.
    It is possible to carry with sound practices and preparation, accompanied by considerateness, prudence and thoughtfulness.

    Semper Fi,

  31. Open carrying prevented me from having to use my gun to shoot someone. They saw my gun and decided not to bother me after all. I was “deselected” based on #1 above.

    Both open and concealed have their advantages and disadvantages. I do either one, depending on circumstances. I probably conceal carry when in public more than open carry on any given day.

    Having a level II holster is not a bad idea when open carrying, again, depending on circumstances.

    We had lots of people open carrying in restaurants during the days before we repealed the ban and I can’t think of any of the above list of bad things happening (other than the occasional freak-out by an anti).

    Bottom line: I wouldn’t write off either form of carry.

  32. In NYS, open carry is a felony. Matter of fact, if you’re lucky enough to have a CC permit and someone “makes” you while carrying concealed, it’s also a felony, according to the CC class my dad took about three weeks ago.

  33. It makes a lot of sense. You wouldn’t sit at the table with your full house face up, would you? I’d also think that, instead of having that nice gun cabinet, or that fancy big safe, you might also conceal your guns around the house, rather than all in one place. The burglar can’t steal what he doesn’t know is there, and if you have a “sudden visitor” it’s a real boon if there is a weapon hidden right close to where you are, wherever you are in your house. Kids? Might have to rethink best places to conceal………..

  34. I always thought I was just paranoid. I don’t want anyone to know what I carry or can do. I would rather surprise them than be surprised. I’m glad to see others feel the same way!

    Thanks for this article.

  35. Open carry out in the boonies, when hiking etc. maybe. The problem I have seen is the FEW gun owners who want to say “Hey, Look at Me! I Got A Gun! I’m Tough! ” We have an individual who runs a range out where I live who is now in a fight with the county over land use/modification issues who went to most of the Public Hearings with his Pistol on his Hip, I guess to make a Political Statement. Unfortunately, he had a tendency to name call, etc. He did not promote his side at all, soon had a reputation as a bit of a hothead. Carry a Open Gun, Be Argumentative, you seem like a bully to some. 30 years as an LEO, Retired, some 17 years as a Use If Force Instructor, I don’t need to impress anyone. I ,like to be sneaky, keep people guessing. 🙂

  36. I don’t carry my 9 mm very often anymore, when I do it’s always concealed, I do take it when my wife and I are vacationing in our RV, we are retired and I’m not the strong guy I use to be, do to many injuries and surgeries and such, so when traveling I carry concealed, because we are most times staying in private campgrounds, you never know, or I leave it in the RV. We all live in a very litigated society now days and if you shoot someone, even while their attacking you, you will always go to jail first and if you don’t kill him you can be sued for everything you own. I was told by a retired judge once that to be completely off the hook from doing jail time for self defence, you or someone your with, wife, friend or what ever. You first have to know your going to be killed, or gravely injured and if you do act, he had better have a gun also. I was told if he had a knife that didn’t matter, I could not shoot him in self defence with my gun I was told I would have to kill him with a knife. Oh and don’t make the mistake and only wound him. even if hes in your house, all you will end up with is his Hospital bills, pay for his court costs, and do time along with it. I live in Washington State and it’s Liberal laws are always for the criminal’s every time in cases like this. I use to work with a man who shot his ex brother in law, who was all hoped up on crack, and killed him, because he was being beaten with a fire poker in his own house after an argument, that nearly killed him before he could get to his gun to blow his head off. The court said he used unreasonable force in defending himself, he served 4 years before getting out on a technicality, he lost his job, was divorced, lost his house and is now, who knows where! Did anyone pay for his doctor bills after being beaten with a fire poker, Hell no! I don’t even know what to say, I just hope I don’t have to make a split second move to protect my Wife and I. What now, do I go and get knife, a club, or my gun, but because it’s the right thing to do, I’ll always, in a true life threatening moment make sure he is dead from a gun shot, remember dead men don’t tell stories, except in the case of old John who was trying to defend himself and his family in his own home!

  37. Here in Florida, I just told my Representative Matt Goetz that I support his Open Carry legislation going before the Senate now after being passed by the House. But I also told him that open carry is a bad idea for most people for reasons most commentors have already stated. I just want to be protected from zealous cops because I reached for something and my shirt or jacket exposed my firearm. Im not worried about the occasional squeamish liberal that happens to see my firearm. I’ve had cops called on me and 3 pistols pointed at my back while pumping gas, and at the time I was attending L E Academy. I got free Arby’s out of it. A major point that I didn’t see covered was that there could be a confrontation with someone that is open carrying and the temptation to point to the exposed firearm to make a point, and the argument would escalate. Sooner or later it is bound to happen. It should be a right, but a bad idea for too many reasons.

    • Your thoughts mirror my own.

      I’m upset now that I didn’t include the point you mentioned — that in some states it can get you in trouble if your concealed carry gun is accidentally exposed — open carry laws protect you from that.


  38. I understand about what you are talking about,but I will have to disagree on some of the points that you have made. I do open carry and I have a CCW. I felt that it is more important that everyone should have to go through a class to carry. Weather it is open carry or with a CCW.
    You are right that it does bring people to see you with a gun on your side, but at the same time. You said that makes you a soft target. I don’t think that it does make you a soft target because a thug that is going to try and rob you are most likely going to go for the person that they think doesn’t have a gun on them, so they are the ones that the thugs are going to go after first. Not the person who is carry a firearm on them in the open.
    If you look at the other side of the coin, the person that is going to rob someone is not going to just do it, if they can see that you do have a firearm on you. They are going to start to think of things like, CAN I GET TO HIM/HER FAST ENOUGH BEFORE THEY CAN GET THEIR FIREARM OUT. IF I DO GO AFTER THEM. WHO IS GOING TO WIN, AND THEN THEY ARE GOING TO THINK, WILL I GET AWAY BEFORE THEY SHOOT ME. No they are going to go for that mom with the kids, the elderly man or women that I can knock down and take what I want from them.
    I do agree that it DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU OPEN CARRY OR CONCEAL CARRY. EVERYONE NEEDS TO GO THROUGH A CLASS “PERIOD” Too many times people think that I got a firearm on me and then over react. They need these classes to teach them the right time and the wrong time to draw their firearm. They need to know what the law is, if they do have to defend their life or someone else.
    I also agree that you are right about people going out and buying a holster that doesn’t fit right. I my self, do own different types of firearms, and I make sure that I go to a good gun shop and have them help me pick out between 5 and 10 holsters for each firearm and then I start to go through each one, until I find the right holster for that firearm.
    I also feel that anyone that owns a firearm and keeps it in their home shouls have a good arms safe to put it in while they are home, if they have kids, or to put it in when they have people that come over to visit them. More kids die each year because the parents didn’t use the right safety in or out of their home. A GUN IS NOT A TOY AND SHOULD BE PUT AWAY WHEN THERE ARE KIDS AROUND IN THE HOME.

    • I totally disagree with this statement

      “I do agree that it DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU OPEN CARRY OR CONCEAL CARRY. EVERYONE NEEDS TO GO THROUGH A CLASS “PERIOD” Too many times people think that I got a firearm on me and then over react. They need these classes to teach them the right time and the wrong time to draw their firearm. They need to know what the law is, if they do have to defend their life or someone else.”

      The facts simply don’t support this assertion.

      Arizona has been open carry AND concealed carry with no permit for as long as I am aware. I don’t see this “problem” of “too many people over-reacting” just because they’re carrying a gun. My state of VA is open carry, no permit, etc — again no problems here. This is a made up fear/issue. It just simply doesn’t happen as often as people think it would.

      • How can you say that “I don’t see this “problem” of “too many people over-reacting” just because they’re carrying a gun. My state of VA is open carry, no permit, etc — again no problems here. This is a made up fear/issue. It just simply doesn’t happen as often as people think it would.” You whole blog here is about your choice to NOT open carry so it is completely understandable that you wouldn’t see any “problems” because you don’t open carry. All of the “reasons/opinions” in this story are completely unfounded in reality. It is almost non-existent to hear of a person being disarmed who is open carrying. And the element of surprise argument just doesn’t hold water. Most people especially criminals don’t even notice a gun being openly carried. Criminals are usually so intent on their objective that they rarely if ever would notice you openly carrying and if they did they most assuredly aren’t going to train their gun on you and shoot you first to start off their crime? That would just be ignorant. They are going to move on to a less threatening environment where they don’t notice any threats and that is if they even notice your open carried gun in the first place which they probably won’t. People who are going to carry a deadly weapon daily need to train and train often for any and all scenarios so that when they are thrust into a deadly encounter they will be able to react purposefully and without delay in order to protect themselves and others around them.

        • I live in VA as well, and I’ve personally seen people over-react to open carriers.

          Second, yes, many times a bad guy will choose to shoot the well armed good guy first. Look at countries like brazil where this is the game plan for criminals to actually get more guns. They find a police officer, run up behind him and shoot him in the head so they can get his gun.

          Believe what you want, and do what you want, but the benefits of concealed carry far outweigh any perceived benefits of open carry.

  39. You all have some valid opinions. Mine is simple, I’ve got one, or two, you can’t tell. Because they are concealed as is my CCP.
    At my age, and disabilities that I have, I may need all the advantages that I can have.


  40. Great article Caleb. I agree with all of your points. Open carry simply makes the person an obvious target.

  41. Well stated. I like having the element of surprise. Besides, I’m too old to fight a kid off.

    Chaplain Ed

  42. I’m licensed to carry in Texas. Up until January 1 of this year that meant I could legally carry concealed. Today it’s my choice whether open or concealed. I opt for concealed. Oh, I’ve open carried in the neighboring states of New Mexico and Arizona but folks there, other the snow birds, don’t freak out. One nice thing about Texas having legal open carry this ends some rogue officers filing “failure to conceal” charges when they inadvertently see a portion of one’s handgun. And up until this this year, these bogus charges were filed a number of times each year. We have an odd quirk in our firearms laws and that is long guns, rifles and shotguns, are unregulated; you can open carry them to your heart’s content as long as it’s not one of the places specifically forbidden to have a firearm under Teas law.

    The author of today’s piece is a resident of Virginia. Love the state almost as I love Texas. and they recognized my CHL. One of the weird things about Virginia law was that you couldn’t conceal carry and handgun into a bar but could legally open carry into one. That may have changed since I was last there.

    I wondered around enough. Even though I may legally open carry now I’ll continue to conceal carry. Not for any of the reasons in the article but just to please my darling wife.

    • Sam totally get how open carry protects you against bogus “failure to conceal” charges.

      And you’re right! Actually the law in VA now is that you can BOTH open and conceal carry into a bar … except … you can only get drunk if you’re open carrying! The law is actually written that way as far as I’m aware lol Crazy huh?

  43. I’m sorry but I disagree on a couple of levels. Don’t get me wrong, like you I believe people should be able to carry either way, specially with out a license or special permits. I’m not going to get into a long winded journalistic approach to why I disagree. However, I will touch on a couple of major points.

    1. By taking the gun into the shadows of concealment leaves the public unaware of “Justice”, much like the reason cops carry open. When people see a gun, they also can fill protected. We shouldn’t be cowering to the liberal fears that “PEOPLE WITH GUNS” are scary…ooooohhh! This is crazy. I come from a state where open carry is very acceptable behavior and only people from the east coast or west coast seem to be “WHAT?” a man with a gun. The reason they say that is because the state cowered to the liberal ways! Now the only people who have guns are those who conceal them “Legal and illegal”.

    2. A man or woman who carriers a gun becomes the “Last” defense for a criminal and I believe if everyone was packing an open carry, their would be less criminals to begin with. They would see they are out numbered.

    3. To use your justification that people should carry their guns concealed so we don’t give the criminal the upper hand is based on fear, again. First I think the open gun, makes the statement… this area of operation is under protection. If you are a criminal, it would be a reminder that he would have to weigh. Is this guy a fast draw and do I really have the upper hand. He might try, yes.. but to conceal it it based on fear. We need to stand up to the criminal and let them know we do have the area protected. We shouldn’t let the states, governments take this right away and by everyone cowering to conceal is and admission, that we shouldn’t open carry. In Florida, alone the open carry was done away with just because they didn’t want to scare tourism.. Really, tourism wins over the second amendment and nobody did anything. We need to stand up, quit judging why other people want to carry open. I read alot of your comment here and most agree with you. I’m actually ashamed that you have that many followers that agree. We need to stand up to society, through our fears away and quit being POLITICALLY CORRECT and OPEN Carry, just like our Law Enforcement. It serves the same purpose in their midst as it does in the military. A gun open and available is a criminal stopped!

  44. There’s usually a vile assumption made with this this topic, and that is to make it an “Open Carry” versus “Concealed Carry” and never the twain shall meet. Almost like saying, either you Open Carry or you don’t. If you Open Carry you can never Concealed Carry.

    There’s no such limitation and to frame it like that is to commit the fallacy of False Dichotomy. I support all forms of carry, just as outlined in the Second Amendment. When I OC (rarely, and for all the good reasons you’ve outlined) I usually do it with at least one or two others also OC. Cops OC because it is a fast access method, but they also have partners, and access via the radio to the ready support of fellow cops.

    To me, open carry, concealed carry, whatever. Just carry.
    But understand the consequences of each, as any adult ought (and regardless of topic).

  45. I mostly open carry. About a year ago I was in a well known department store and noticed a fellow following me. I made several dodges only to find him following again. As we approached the mens clothing department from a main aisle, I turned abruptly and faced him. He avoided eye contact and disappeared heading toward kitchen aids. I live in the south where summer is unbearable even in shorts and tee shirts. Primarily, weather dictates if my gun is covered or not. I read these articles mainly to see if I find anything new in the CC/OC debate. Nah. Owning a gun is dangerous. Boating is dangerous so is driving an automobile. Getting out of bed is dangerous. Even concealed carry is dangerous with the wrong or a worn holster, I’ve read more than a few articles of people putting holes in themselves. The debate over open carry is much older than the recent events in Texas and it must be understood that for the better part of the last 100 years the control of issuing concealed carry licenses by the state has been the primary method of denying the general populance their right to bear arms. The recent surge in open carry began as a direct result of people choosing to open carry in “may issue” states where the “authoratahs” made it standard practice to deny applications for a CCL. Having been an avid follower of gun politics for the last 40 years, I personally believe that the issue of open carry has done more to liberalize state laws on the carrying of arms than any other single issue outside the election of the current president. I do not mean to disparage the advancement of concealed carry laws, as without advancement in that area, I’m not sure that those being denied CCL’s for no other reason than their issuing personage was antigun would have turned to open carry. In the end it is far more important that as gun owners we support the free exercise of the right to arms. I think “debates” like this in the end only serve to bolster the anti’s position as it becomes all too easy for them to point to our differences and use them against us. You know, “Look, even people who own and carry guns in a responsible licensed manner don’t like open carry” And you could write a whole blog of nothing but “I DO NOT DISAGREE WITH OPEN CARRY” but the arguments made against it is what the Shannon Watts and Gabrielle Giffords of the world will latch on to. Little different than the Joe Bidens of the world praising the virtues of the shotgun while denouncing black rifles.

  46. Great article Caleb, you make a strong case. The hypothetical points you presented are all valid. In my non confrontational experience open carrying, I have had overwhelmingly positive reactions from other citizens. At the heart of the open/concealed debate (like nearly everything else in life) are the unknowns. I believe that if you are trained, carrying secure and aware of your surroundings, the best way to carry your firearm, is the way that allows you to defend yourself in the most confident and capable manner possible. In the final analysis, there are as many pros as cons for both sides of the argument because there is no way that any one method of carry, or weapon carried, can possibly be the best in every situation encountered. Thank you again for you article and your contribution to a very important issue.

  47. The Open Carry Argument
    My primary goal when I’m out and about (besides whatever I went out and about to do) is to go about peaceably and not be the victim of a violent crime. To that end I carry a firearm whenever I go out as well as follow all the other standard safety practices like maintaining situational awareness, staying out of high crime areas, and avoiding confrontation. I also have a larger overall goal of making it through my life without shooting anyone. Simply put, I don’t want to be responsible, legally or morally, for another’s death. Those two goals might appear at first blush to be mutually exclusive, and with concealed carry it would be a difficult set of goals to realize.
    Carrying a concealed firearm presents to a criminal that I am unarmed. Every study I’ve ever read, not most but every study, says that criminals will avoid an armed person or home when selecting a victim. That only makes sense, right? Robbers, rapists, or carjackers might be dumb and opportunistic, but they have the same instinctual sense of self preservation we all have. Hyenas don’t attack lions to steal the gazelle the lions have just killed. It’s all about risk management; are the potential gains (a tasty gazelle dinner) worth the potential pain and damage the lion’s teeth will cause, and does the hyena really need to test the lion to figure out the answer? No, the hyena can see the lion’s teeth and knows to stay well clear.
    Deterrent Value:
    When I’m carrying concealed I feel like my ‘teeth’ are hidden, and thus of no real deterrent value. If I appear unarmed then I am unarmed in the eyes of the robber, I appear as easy a target as almost anyone else out on the street. My probability of being a victim of a crime, violent or otherwise, is completely unchanged by the fact that I have hidden beneath my shirt the means to defend myself. My goal, however, is not to be a victim in the first place, remember? I don’t want to be a victim that fought back successfully and triumphed; I prefer to not be victimized at all. Concealed carry is good; it throws a wrench in the works for criminals who might see the teaming masses as a smorgasbord of financial gain. This deterrent effect is, nonetheless, indirect. At some point the thug will weigh the risks vs. the gains; is his current desperation for money/drugs/booze/gold grille greater than the gamble that one of those people might be carrying a gun? If he decides to play the odds, which helped along with surprise tip the scale in his favor, he will attack. Will his attack allow enough time for me to draw my concealed firearm to affect a defense? Maybe, but then again, maybe not.
    Remember, I don’t want to be a victim and I don’t want to shoot anyone. So how do I realize both goals; or how do I make them inclusive? I can do that through open carry. By making it clear and obvious that I am armed, that I have teeth, I tip the risk scale to the point that the criminal’s gains are far outweighed by the risk. There is no ambiguity when the thug is doing his risk assessment, there’s something right there in plain sight that can quickly and painfully change or terminate his life. You may not think his life has much value, but as I mentioned before, he has the same sense of self preservation as any other living creature and to him it’s every bit as valuable as yours is to you. It would be foolish to ignore this indisputable fact when you develop your overall tactical strategy.
    First One To Be Shot:
    There are some who criticize open carry and claim it will make you more of a target or ‘the first one shot’ when a robber walks into the 7-11, despite the absolute lack of credible evidence that this has ever happened. If the robber walks in and sees that you’re armed, his whole plan has encountered an unexpected variable. In bank robberies where he might expect to see an armed guard he will have already factored that possibility into his plan, but only for the armed guard, not for open or concealed carry citizens. No robber robs a bank without at least a rudimentary plan. Nevertheless, being present for a bank robbery is an extremely remote possibility for most of us regardless of our preferred method of handgun carry. Back in the 7-11, if he sees someone is armed he is forced to either significantly alter the plan or abort it outright. Robbing is an inherently apprehensive occupation, and one that doesn’t respond well to instant modifications. He is not prepared to commit murder when he only planned for larceny. He knows that a petty robbery will not garner the intense police manhunt a murder would. He doesn’t know if you’re an armed citizen or a police officer and isn’t going to take the time to figure it out. Either way, if someone in the 7-11 is unexpectedly armed, how many others might be similarly adorned and where might they be? Does this armed individual have a partner who is likewise armed behind him in the parking lot, someone who is watching right now? Self preservation compels him to abort the plan for one that is less risky. So we see that the logic matches the history; open carriers are not the first ones shot because it doesn’t make any sense that they would be.
    Probably the most common condemnation of open carry comes from the armchair tacticians who believe it’s better to have the element of surprise in a criminal encounter. Although this was touched on in the previous paragraph about deterrence, I’ll expand on it specifically here because there are some important truths you need to consider before you lean too heavily on this false support. Surprise as a defensive tactic is based on unrealistic or ill-thought out scenarios. The circumstance where several street toughs surround and taunt you for a while like in some Charles Bronson movie is not realistic; the mugger wants to get in and out as fast as possible. In most cases you will have only seconds to realize what’s happening, make a decision, and react. Imagine you’re walking along the sidewalk when two gangsta looking teenagers suddenly appear at the corner coming in the opposite direction. You have only seconds to react if their intent was to victimize you. Do you draw your concealed firearm now or wait until there’s an actual visible threat? If they are just on their way to church and you pull a gun on them, you are the criminal and you may forever lose your firearms rights for such a foolish action. If you don’t draw and they pull a knife or pistol when they’re just a couple steps away, your only options are draw (if you think you can) or comply. Imagine staring at the shiny blade of a knife being held by a very nervous and violent mugger, three inches from your or your wife’s throat and having to decide whether or not you have time to draw from concealment. The element of surprise may not do you any good; in fact the only surprising thing that might happen is that your concealed carry pistol gets taken along with your wallet. The thug will later get a good chuckle with his buddies about how you brought a gun to a knife fight. The simple truth is that while surprise is a monumentally superior tactical maneuver, it is exclusively an offensive action, not a defensive one. I am not aware of any army that teaches using surprise as a defense against attack. No squad of soldiers goes on patrol with their weapons hidden so that they can ‘surprise’ the enemy should they walk into an ambush.
    It Will Get Stolen:
    Another common criticism of open carry is that the firearm itself will be the target of theft, prompting as criminal to attack simply to get the gun from you. Like the previous example of being the first one shot in a robbery, above, this is despite the fact that there is no credible evidence it happens. It also blindly ignores the more obvious fact that anything you possess can make you the target of a crime, be it a car, a watch, or even a female companion (girlfriend, wife, or daughter). Crooks commonly steal for only two reasons; to get something you have that they want, or to get something that you have so they can sell it and buy something they want. There are no Robins in the hood trying to help the poor by stealing from the rich. I don’t claim it could never happen; just that it’s so remote a possibility that it doesn’t warrant drastic alterations to your self defense strategies. If you believe otherwise, leave your watch, sunglasses, jewelry, and cell phone at home, hop into your Pinto wagon, and head out to do your thing.
    It Scares People:
    One other statement against open carry I hear is that it damages public perception of firearms owners, or that by carrying openly we are not being good ambassadors to the public. While there are some people who have a genuine fear of firearms, due either to some horrible past experience or anti-gun indoctrination, the majority of people are either indifferent to them or quite fascinated by them. I’ve never kept track of the dozens of fellow citizens I’ve encountered who have marveled at the idea of open carry, but I do know exactly how many have expressed displeasure at it; one. People are scared of many things for many reasons; however, pretending those things do not exist only perpetuates the fear. Someone who is disturbed by open carry is going to be every bit as disturbed by concealed carry. The only effective way to overcome a fear is to come to the intellectual realization that the phobia is based on emotion and not on fact. By being a firsthand witness that a firearm was carried responsibly and peaceably, and wasn’t being carried in the commission of a crime, one discovers their fear is not fact based, but emotional. Thus, open carry can be a very effectual way of helping to overcome the emotionally based fear of the firearm. After all, you’d be much more likely to believe in ghosts if you saw one rather than if you listened to a ghost story around a campfire. We give much more credibility to the things we experience than we do to the things we hear. The bottom line is that this argument is made by people who don’t or haven’t carried openly; those of us who do so on a regular basis have an entirely different experience.
    I’m Not Comfortable Carrying Openly:
    This is really the only reasonable argument against open carry for an individual. We all have a comfort zone for any aspect of our lives and we prefer to stay within that comfort zone. We all agree that it’s better to be armed and never need the firearm than it is to need it and not have it. There is a point where concealing your firearm becomes so problematic, due to conditions like temperature or comfort, that some choose to either leave it behind or carry in such a way that it would be difficult or impossible to draw it quickly. If it takes me five or six seconds to draw my firearm from deep concealment and I had sufficient time before hand to do so, I would prefer to use that five or six seconds to avoid the entire encounter. I’m glad we have concealed carry laws in most of the states; it empowers and protects not only us but the general public through the offset deterrent effect. Some of us, however, choose the more direct deterrent effect of open carry. The combination of the two makes the criminal’s job that much more risky, that much more dangerous, and that much more uncertain.

  48. I wanted to open carry. After reading your article it definitely gives me something credible to consider. Thank you for the info. It is on point. If a cop can be overtaken…..

  49. More of the same nonsense and it shows ignorance about gun laws. OC and CCW laws are not identical in most states and OC legal in many more places or accessible than CCW is.

    So setting aside the false assumptions and facts from the Mom’s Demand Action Playbook, unless the author is talking about OK, TX, MN, VT, CT, MA, or IN. The conversation is pointless, old and tiring.

    People would be better off learning gun laws because most people who pontificate about gun laws and open carry are almost always ignorant of gun laws and don’t understand why things are the way they are.

    • I hope you’re not reffering to me — the author of the article?

      I in no way, shape or form think OC should be illegal. Or that it’s NOT your God given right. Again, for the record you should be allowed to legally OC or CCW as many guns as you like, without a permit, in any state because it’s your natural right as a human being to defend yourself using whatever tools you deem necessary.

      My article is simply my opinoin that you shouldn’t OC if given the opportunity to CC because there are more advantages to being armed and concealed.

  50. Many people use the “deterrent” effect of OC but I personally think that only works if there are multiple OC on the premises. For example if all employees at a business are OC then I can see the deterrent factor. But if only one employee is armed anyone “casing” the place knows they have to take that person out first. All the way back to Sun Tzu the elements of surprise and deception were heralded.

  51. Excellent article and I 100% agree. I open carried until Missouri passed Constitutional Carry last Fall. In my small town, I was never spoken to by any one except a young man who asked what kind of gun I carried. And I never had a local cop look sideways at me. Still, now that I can legally do so, I carry concealed.

  52. I agree with most of these points and so do most people I talk about with guns. However, sometimes it’s just not able to conceal. In most states (I know in Colorado) you have to be 21 or older to even be eligible for a CCW. As someone who isn’t quite old enough but more than capable of having one, I’d prefer to open carry and possibly have to deal with these risks than have the need arise and not have a weapon to defend myself or others with because I don’t want to illegally conceal my weapon.

  53. 1. You may be de-selected. Or selected. – I will side with the statistics and proven studies. Through in-depth interviews with 1,874 imprisoned felons conducted between August, 1982, and January, 1983, the government-funded researchers delved into the deep-seated attitudes of criminals on the questions of weapons choice, deterrence, attitudes toward “gun control,” criminal history, and firearms acquisition… Fifty-six percent of the felons surveyed agreed that “A criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is armed with a gun;” 74% agreed that “One reason burglars avoid houses when people are at home is that they fear being shot.” A 57% majority agreed that “Most criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police.”
    I would rather portray myself as obviously prepared to protect myself than pretend to be a victim with my gun under my shirt. Criminals attack those who appear to be victims.

    2. Criminals could try and take your gun. – For every instance you post that an open carrier has had his gun taken I can show you one where a concealed carrier has had his taken.

    3. You probably don’t use the right holster. – I use a retention holster. Argument invalid.

    4. Sadly, a lot of people are going to freak out. Some will call the cops. – So what? I am not responsible for other’s reactions. I open carried across 10 states recently on a drive out west and back from SC and not one person freaked out. I open carry every time I go to NC and not one person freaks out. If the cops are called, they can’t do anything but watch me exercise my rights and the caller will likely get chewed out for being a douchebag.

    5. Criminals don’t open carry their guns. Why should you? – Where to start with this one? First of all, in this section you repudiate your first argument not once, but twice. “This is the reason why you see so many potential crimes where the criminal starts running as soon as the good guy produces a gun.” And “This is probably the reason why John Lott’s research has shown, “Americans also used guns defensively more than two million times that year, and more than 90 percent of the time merely brandishing the weapon was sufficient to stop an attack.”” So does a visible gun act as a deterrent or not? Make up your mind. Also if you conceal your gun so you can surprise the assailant, it makes it sound like you are hoping someone will attack you so you can whip it out and blow someone away. Again I do not want to appear to be a victim by hiding my gun under my shirt. It is known, and has been known for years, that criminals prefer to attack the defenseless, helpless, unaware, and weak members of society. Have you ever been told that to avoid being mugged you should keep your head up, walk like you have a purpose, and watch your surroundings? Of course you have. The reason this works is because you are not acting like a victim. Hiding your gun is acting like a victim.

    • 1. I see your point, but that’s still nearly 50% (give or take, I’m not doing the math right now) of criminals that are not deterred, and see it as a challenge to take your gun. If your gun is concealed, then if that same criminal decided he wanted to engage you, at least he “might” be surprised when you shove a gun in his face.

      2. That’s just not likely – I would wager $100 that WAY more open carriers have had their guns taken than concealed carriers. Way more. If you can provide proof otherwise I’ll pay you.

      3. Retention holster is the only choice of open carry, you agree with me there. Good.

      4. I agree… in theory. As long as you handle yourself respectfully, it’s their problem. I suppose my original purpose in typing that was to point out there are a LOT of douchebags who open carry and are very confrontational and “in your face” about it – especially when people freak out – and it does NOT help the liberty movement or our 2A rights. In fact, there are at least two instances I saw just today, where laws were passed immediately after open carriers made some government officials very uncomfortable.

      5. Two points here…

      One, the presence of a gun prevents a crime when the criminal thinks he had a victim and finds out the victim is going to shoot them. If the criminal sees you have a gun and still decides you are his victim then the gun has no deterrent effect. If he attacks what he thought was an unarmed victim and instead sees a gun, it can and has deterred crimes. Please note I’m not advocating brandishing here as a method of self-defense, the only time the criminal should see your gun when you’re defending yourself is the sub-second it takes to draw the gun and start pulling the trigger, putting bullets into him.

      Two, you either look like a victim or you don’t. Again, if you carry yourself like you said – not victimly – head up, confident, etc – you look less like a victim. If you have a gun open/concealed, you still look less like a victim. If you look like a victim, less confident posture, etc – then open/concealed gun you look like a victim. It’s also not something you can “fake” – so your’e double screwed if you ARE a victim and you’re faking the tough guy act AND you are open carrying a gun – those are the type of people who get their guns taken from them and shot with them.

  54. Ever hear of Joanna Hawke-Pettit? No? Google ‘Cheshire CT murders’. The horrible episode began with two parolees getting a hard-on for a woman and her daughter in a grocery parking lot. Open Carry is permitted in CT. Ask yourself whether this might not have happened had Mrs Pettit been open carrying a Glock 26 in a retention holster while pushing her shopping cart through the parking lot that fateful day. I’ll answer fir everyone reading this tiresome, tedious, pedestrian, and non-original tripe…she’d be alive today…as would her two lovely daughters. Not raped, strangled, burned alive.

  55. So the reason my dad finally got his Conceal carry was because of issues with BLM officers while hunting. He had on a side arm while riding a horse many miles from anyone. As it rained he put on his rain coat and this covered the side arm. The BLM officer tried to arrest the entire hunting party because their personal side-arms were covered by the rain gear. Thankfully the county sheriff got involved and issued CCWs to each hunter and told the BLM guy to pack sand.
    The right to do either protect us that carry from many potential potholes in the many legal regulations that are out there. I support either one or both. A guy riding a motorcycle can have his shirt come un-tucked and his weapon exposed till he can stop the bike safely and re-conceal it. Why should he go to jail for that?

    • wow. talk about taking the letter of the law over the spirit of the law. glad it turned out alright!

  56. I agree, but except for #4. Do some people freak out when they see someone legally open carrying? Yes. But THIS should definitely NOT be a reason to not open carry. People being offended because someone is exercising their constitutional right SHOULD NEVER be the reason, or even a factor, in not exercising that right. The other points are valid reasons for not open carrying; but #4 is not only a bad argument, in my opinion, but it also hurts the 2nd Amendment.

    People are offended by certain speech. Should we therefore tape our mouths shut and voluntarily render Free Speech moot? No, I don’t think so. Ditto with the 2nd Amendment!

    In fact, we should instead work hard to teach people the Truth: they are SAFER because of armed citizens. We should work to make people comfortable with the idea of carrying, rather than endorse and perpetuate their “Oh no! Someone is carrying a gun!!!”

    Another point is this: It would be different if EVERYONE open carried. 99% of the time, I conceal carry, for the reasons stated (except for #4) But when I am at a place where everyone open carries, like at a gun store or gun range, I open carry. In such a scenario, it is different. (just like it would be different in the general public if everyone open carried)

    I’ll also open carry on the 2nd of each month, for the express reason of my comments about #4. This is known as the Every 2nd Matters movement.

    • I also believe that it is important to use a retention holster when open carrying to try to eliminate someone taking your gun from you.

  57. Actually, I thought I was the only person who thought open carry was a way for a person to invite trouble. I was at a cookout last summer and two of the guests had guns on their hip. I have no idea why, and I know one has a really bad temper. We left quickly

  58. I agree with you and several others have commented on the fact. If someone intends to do harm to others, open carry says “shoot me first”.

    • And how often does that ‘getting shot first’ actually happen? Got any signficant stats?

  59. Once you bend the knee to Fascism, it’s damned hard to unbend.

    I do what I want, as I determine circumstances to merit, and damn the Fascists.

  60. P.S. Some statistically significant evidence to support your claims would have bolstered your presentation….. but we know there generally isn’t any.

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