Open Carry in Tacna, Arizona

In Tacna, Arizona, I saw this fellow openly carrying what appears to be a stainless steel Colt Mustang in .380. He told me he’d served in the Marine Corps, as indicated by the tattoo. He was driving the four-wheeler, which can be licensed for dual use, on and off road, in Arizona, a capability not available in many Eastern states. Notice the folding, lock-back pocket knife clipped in his front right pocket. It’s a snapshot of freedom that has been chipped away in much of America. Only two or three generations ago . . .

the idea that carrying a pocket knife would be illegal would have been considered absurd. Fortunately, Arizona is one of a handful of states that have eliminated most of the niggling little local ordinances that made carrying a pocket knife legally dangerous.

By the same token, the idea that an openly carried firearm would endanger the public would have seemed ludicrous. As Texas considers becoming an open carry state, as gun owners in open carry states wake up to the fact that OC helps protect gun rights, it’s a good idea to thank those that already open carry for exercising their gun rights.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

comments

  1. avatar S.CROCK says:

    Oh God bless the free state that I may be able to move to as soon as a year from now!

  2. avatar Mike says:

    Is it really safe to carry that kind of a weapon with the hammer cocked back as seen in the image above?

    1. avatar cmeat says:

      yes. every single day.

    2. avatar TheBear says:

      Plenty of pistols, including 1911s are single action, which means the hammer has to be cocked in order to actuate the trigger.

      These types of weapons usually have robust safeties, which would be on the other side of the pistol in the pic.

      I personally don’t like them. When I carried, I did so with pistols that are both double and single action, electing to keep the safety off and the weapon uncocked. This way the longer, harder trigger pull acted as my safety.

      Note: I wrote this out since this is probably a relatively common question among people who haven’t messed with too many different types of pistol.

    3. avatar Derek says:

      Just as safe as a Glock or my XD-S. That’s what safeties are FOR. And the trigger is not exposed. They don’t magically go off.

    4. avatar pwrserge says:

      It’s the way a 1911 style action is designed to be carried. Modern pistols have a manual thumb safety, a grip safety, and a drop safety.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        The Mustang is not a true 1911 design. The 1911 safety blocks the trigger. The Mustang safety does not.

        1. avatar John M. says:

          The 1911 safety blocks the sear, not just the trigger. It’s mechanically impossible for the hammer to fall with a 1911 thumb safety engaged.

          I have no idea how a Mustang thumb safety works.

      2. avatar Johannes P. says:

        The Mustang has a firing pin safety and a frame-mounted safety. It is apparently possible to cycle the action with the safety engaged. There’s also no grip safety.

        Whatever it is, it is probably not a ‘typical’ 1911.

        http://www.colt.com/Catalog/Pistols/380Mustang%C2%AE.aspx

        http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/10/foghorn/gun-review-colt-mustang-xsp/

        http://www.gunblast.com/Colt-MustangPocketLite.htm

    5. avatar Jake Tallman says:

      Well, the trigger guard is covered by a rigid material. So yes. Even a single action handgun with a super short, light trigger pull is as safe as anything if the trigger guard is covered.

    6. avatar Irish1776 says:

      Not only is it safe, it is THE ONLY safe way to carry a 1911 style handgun if you are going to carry with a round in the chamber. Otherwise if the hammer caught on anything, when it slams back down it is likely to cause a negligent discharge.

      1. avatar Jay Williams says:

        Negative—half cock.

        1. avatar Dan A says:

          Half-cock is not a valid way to carry a 1911. It wasn’t designed for it, there is no reason to do it, and manually lowering a hammer on a live round increases the probability of a dangerous mistake.

        2. avatar Robert Howard says:

          @Dan A I believe what Jay is saying is that half-cock is the fail-safe for the situation stated above – the hammer getting caught on something and rebounding to fire – and he would be correct. The half-cock notch is designed as an added safety in case the sear/hammer interface fails or is bypassed.

    7. avatar Nagurski says:

      With a gun like a Glock, you have to negligently pull the trigger. With a gun like this, you have to negligently remove the safety then negligently pull the trigger. Its perfectly safe.

    8. avatar Robert Howard says:

      Safer than carrying it in any other way.

  3. avatar Dan says:

    This is everyday life here. You can conceal and open carry without a permit. Why else do you think our crime is so low considering how high our population is?

    1. avatar JoshuaS says:

      Hmm.. AZ and California both have comparable crime rates, actual CA is considerably lower, except for robbery. Biggest difference is in rape and property crime

      All numbers per 100,000

      National

      Violent Crime : 367.9
      Murder and Manslaughter (not including negligent manslaughter/homicide): 4.5
      Rape (definition revised for 2013): 34.4
      Rape (old definition): 25.2
      Robbery: 109.1
      Aggravated Assault: 229.1
      Property Crime: 2730.7

      Arizona
      Violent Crime: 405.9
      Murder and Manslaughter (not including negligent manslaughter/homicide): 5.4
      Rape (definition revised for 2013): 46
      Rape (old definition): 35.4
      Robbery: 101.1
      Aggravated Assault: 263.9
      Property Crime: 3399.1

      California
      Violent Crime: 396.2
      Murder and Manslaughter (not including negligent manslaughter/homicide): 4.6
      Rape (definition revised for 2013): 25.3
      Rape (old definition): 19.5
      Robbery: 139.9
      Aggravated Assault: 232.3
      Property Crime: 1658.1

      Now there are reasons for this having nothing to do with guns (jailing a huge percentage of the population for one). But AZ doesn’t have a low crime rate. And it is bad form to claim it does.

      1. avatar Silver says:

        Take out gang related violence and violence perpetrated by illegal aliens, then give me the numbers.

        1. avatar Bob101 says:

          Exactly. I just moved to Arizona, so I have been paying attention to these.things. Sheriff recently pointed out that if you magically removed all the inmates in our jails who are illegally in the country, the jails.would be practically empty. Our biggest crime problem is connected to our proximity to the border — drug trafficking, human trafficking, Mexican gangs, etc. I have heard that after Constitutional Carry was enacted, the frequency of violent assaults and robberies committed against regular people nose dived. Criminals, I understand, became a bit more careful who they selected.

        2. avatar JoshuaS says:

          Why? That would be a red herring.

          The same may be said of much of California crime. Gang related, etc. So what? That was never the point. If you want to point to issues with the border to explain the historically higher murder and much higher rape rate, that may wll be valid. Is it true that most crime happen is certain areas and not others? Yes it is. California ain’t compton, nor is Arizona.

          He made a claim. The claim is patently false. I merely reported the FBI UCR stats for 2013

          From 2000-2007 it had the highest crime rate in the damn country. And while it has improved since then (number 6 in 2013), that is pretty much the end for any stupid claim that it has low crime rates. And DC is a utopia then?

          Now most of that was the obscene level of property crime. Murder rates, well it was number 20 (meaning 31 states, as DC is included as if a state were lower) in 1992. Since then it got worse, in comparison to the rest of the country. In the top 10 from 1998-2008, and in 2009 -2013 it was ranked 15, 6, 8, 15, 13 respectively.

          Don’t tell me it has a low crime rate unless you want to call CA crime rate very low. Still in the top 20 for robbery too (though that was one category where CA was even worse)

      2. avatar Yellow Devil says:

        I’ve been told by a Border Patrol Agent (who was in the same Reserve unit I used to be in) that the enforcement efforts, in recent years, have been strengthened in CA (and NM if I remember correctly) but have dropped or remained the same in AZ. Why? His explanation was that it was an effort to funnel the drug and illegal immigration routes through AZ. I guess their philosophy was that if these activities were going to happen, might as well create a funnel through one state instead of all two or three, which would technically make it easier for them to track or apprehend later. If true (I cannot find anything to confirm or deny what he was saying) then that would explain in some part to the reason why AZ, with smaller population and physical size of CA, would have similar crime rates. I would also add that most border states are just stepping stone for illegal aliens and drugs, since the final destination are states well north of the southern border. So they might trespass or break into private homeowner buildings that they pass through, which they wouldn’t do at their place of destination. It also doesn’t help that with border enforcement so lax in some areas, some Mexican children actually attend schools in U.S. towns and walk back and forth home each day.

  4. avatar Derek says:

    Wow! Not just gun owners but TTAG’s is waking up!

  5. avatar David L. Black says:

    One of the reasons I moved down here is the Constitutional Carry. I carry open every day and only had a few places say I couldn’t carry in their establishment. For the most part the comments from people have been positive or curious of what kind I am carrying. Contrary to the myth I have NEVER in two states of open carry had anyone “target” me or try to take my weapon from me.

  6. avatar Lfshtr says:

    Just moved from Az. And sure miss the freedom! I am now living in Nevada which is almost as free as Az. Be careful out there, always watch yer six!

  7. avatar Kent says:

    To each his own, but I am a little curious why you would belt carry a sub-compact .380. I have a Ruger LCP, but only carry it when something larger is not possible. Just thinking out loud…

    1. avatar Jake says:

      Because that’s how he wants to carry it. Besides, he may not have anything else. #EndSmallGunShaming

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      Because, being a big-assed Marine, he has no need to “compensate.”

    3. avatar John M. says:

      I’m with you. I’m not trying to shame the dude, but if concealability isn’t a factor, why not a Glock 20 or a 1911?

    4. avatar savaze says:

      It gets blazing hot here and little pistols are popular. When you don’t have the cash to buy an additional winter gun it makes sense to carry whatever you’ve got. Besides our winters only get down to the 60’s so heavy winter clothes don’t exist, unless you live in higher elevations. Little pistols are also less noticeable, I can’t tell you how many times I mistook one for a belt-clipped cell phone – at least with the Hispanic crowd, which I’ve noticed that they like leather holsters/cell phone holders).

    5. avatar Bob101 says:

      Sometimes, a larger pistol just gets in the way when engaging in certain activities, so you either carry a smaller pistol or you do not carry. Beyond the practical, I sometimes select a firearm from my safe to carry that day simply because I have not.carried it for a while, but that is just me.

  8. avatar Vhyrus says:

    I open carry all throughout Mesa and Phoenix. No one bats an eye.

  9. avatar Quinn says:

    Open carrying a 380. Really??

    1. avatar PavePusher says:

      Why not? What do you see as the problem with it?

      1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        I’d bet he read on the Internet that no one should open carry a .380, and so believes everyone agrees 100%. Hence both the ignorance AND the snark.

        Geezer Science. Gotta love it.

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        Because the whole point of a .380 is the ability to easily conceal it compared to its larger, more effective cousins that are easier to shoot with better sight radii and ballistics.

    2. avatar Swamp Daddy says:

      gun bigot

  10. avatar 33AD says:

    God bless my home state!

    Hey Texas People of the Gun – make sure anything you sign into law includes preemption rules.

    Saves you from unknowingly breaking a law by just driving across the intersection.

    1. avatar T. Colt Carry says:

      Texas has always had preemption, no local law or ordinance allowed. State law only.

  11. avatar Nagurski says:

    When I first got into guns, everybody always argued about 9mm vs .45. I love the fact that they have found common ground in their disdain for .380 and .40.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      and then some days I step into the mix with my .38 revolver. Some days are just tougher than others. 🙂

    2. avatar Bob101 says:

      I always argue that it is not about how big your bullets are, it is about how you use them. 🙂

  12. avatar HotHotHot says:

    Yes, it is glorious living AZ. When I carry, I carry concealed although I have seen open carry from time-to-time. I’m in an urban area.

    I also opted for the CCW even though it wasn’t required (constitutional carry) mostly for the reciprocity aspect, although the training was nice too.
    .
    And FWIW, it’s not just lock back knives, automatic knives are legal too.

    Several years ago I almost moved to Colorado. What a mistake that would have been.

  13. avatar Wut says:

    What he is doing is completely legal in the vast, vast majority of states. Doubly so if you are in a rural area like he is.

  14. avatar LongBeach says:

    Looks like he’s rocking a Kershaw Zing. Awesome knife, unfortunately let down by quite possibly the world’s worst pocket clip. I liked that knife so much that I bought (and subsequently lost) two of them in a row before I learned my lesson about the crap clip and upgraded to the Volt. (I know, I know… Take my happy ass back over to TTAK…)

    1. avatar Nigil says:

      I think it’s a mojito. You can tell by the ‘horns’ on the frame that catch the locking lug. Also has that goofy kind of pocket clip with the recurve and the holes.
      Kershaw FTW.

      1. avatar LongBeach says:

        After further review, it appears you are correct. My bad.

    2. avatar GuyFromV says:

      Ganzo G704?

  15. avatar Silver says:

    Man, I miss Arizona. Nothing bad I can say about it.

  16. avatar J.D. Smith says:

    Well c’mon back Silver and any other gun guys who left. Who knows how things will be in, say, 5 or 10 years. Might need all the support we can get.
    Hey where the hell is Tacna anyway?

    1. Forty miles east of Yuma.

  17. avatar JoeVK says:

    I have a Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops knife that I got as a Christmas gift from my wife. It’s in my pocket every day, clipped to the edge of my pocket the exact same way the guy in the pic has his knife. I’m not 100% sure if it’s legal to carry it where I live, but I do it. Although I did go to the county courthouse once and forgot I had it. I remembered when it set off the metal detector. The sheriff deputy manning the door put it in a lock box at his desk and gave it back when I left, so I guess it must be legal. Or maybe he didn’t care if it was legal or not either. One thing I am sure of, it’s definitely against company policy for me to carry and use it at work. But I do anyway, because screw ’em.

  18. avatar Gearmoe says:

    Here’s a truth. I lived and worked in AZ for a while. I was not accustomed to the freedom they had and it caught me off guard a few times, freaked me out a bit until I was acclimated. Unfounded and secondary to the anti-gun propaganda. When I no longer was there I missed it and came to realize what is being lost. I never saw or heard of one single problem from guns/knives. In fact it was a safer feel as I didn’t worry so much about the occasional idiot doing something stupid. The anti-firearm groups spread nothing but fear, hysteria and lies. They are ones causing much of our violence as their fear is a root cause of behavioral reactions.

  19. avatar Paul says:

    I moved to Phoenix about 12 years ago from Kentucky.

    I enjoy the freedoms we enjoy here when it comes to Arizona. Texas tries to steal our thunder when it comes to gun rights – but we have them beat for the moment.

    Best part about living in AZ? The great ranges, and the general acceptance of open carry, friendly people. I am a small framed guy, and I like to carry a full size firearm. It is what i am most accurate, comfortable, and capable with. Often, this means I have to open carry.

    The best part is when all the out-of-state temp. residents come to town to escape the weather of the place they chose to move to (snowbirds…)

    I eat lunch at the same place nearly everyday – as do several other people. I am quite a bit younger than the usual few tables of regulars there, they are mainly retired war vets. Wearing hats with whatever ship they served on, well worn unit tattoos, etc. Some have to be in their 70s or 80s.

    Unfortunately this particular place is also popular for the snowbirds, as it’s food is generally non-offending to their delicate digestive tract (I eat there often because it is nice and quiet.)

    Every once in a while I will take one of my 1911s out for a walk, open carry. I don’t care about what your opinion on them is, I don’t OC for attention, mine has proven 100% reliable and they are the handguns I am most accurate with out of my collection.

    As I am walking to the table I notice the old vets giving me the “nice to see you, and your 1911” nod. The snowbirds from the less-free states look in horror and whisper about it.

    The best part is when they (snowbirds) interrupt my meal to tell me they don’t approve or pass off their half-baked political views regarding OC or firearms in general. I calmly, concisely, and politely (they usually never are…) educate them on how if someone started stabbing patrons here, they would all be cowering behind the people in the place that they know are carrying a firearm. For the last 3-4 years – not a single one could rebuke that statement or argue it. The old vets – just laugh and wave as they leave.

  20. avatar Matt says:

    I open carried in Costco yesterday evening shopping with my family here in AZ… The strangest thing happened, no one cared and my gun didn’t magically jump out of my holster and go on a shooting spree… And that’s the gun I bought through a licensed dealer and he didn’t call NICS for a background check… I can’t imagine what Shannon would think!

    1. avatar SteveInCO says:

      That’s interesting, because Costco actually forbids guns in their fine print. Obviously no one there gave a crap what corporate sez about ’em.

      1. avatar Matt says:

        All of the Costco’s here in AZ used to be posted at the entrance; sometime last year, all of the signs came down (at least at the Costco’s in the Metro Phoenix area). I’ve open carried in Costco on numerous occasions since without anyone saying anything. I’m aware that somewhere, hidden deep in some fine print somewhere in their membership agreement it says no weapons allowed… but I’ll leave that to the Costco’s located in blue states to enforce upon their sheep. 🙂

  21. avatar Turd Ferguson says:

    I grew up out there. Still have quite a bit of family there, so I get to visit on occasion. Such a small town, I know who is in the picture by the tattoo. If the writer of the article is planning another visit out there, I can introduce you to more than a few gun guys and gals. Or you could just introduce yourself to random people. 90% will be potg. Knife and gun carry is very common there. Thank goodness.

  22. avatar RJMercer says:

    I would have chose a holster with a better retention mechanism on it. Then gain Im not a Marine. Thumbs up to all those that OC in a responsible, conscious manner and don just OC to record a tense interaction with local law enforcement.

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