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When I blogged the heinous murder of a Philadelphia dog walker in a “safe” neighborhood, two things struck me. First, that the killers admitted to searching for an easy target. Second, the murderous villains would not have considered a dog walker openly carrying a firearm an easy target. Yes, there is that. I’m a firm proponent of open carry for comfort, firearms normalization (which defends and extends gun rights) and deterrence. But there’s an important if statistically improbable concern: firearm retention. You don’t want someone using your gun against you. If you’re new to guns and want to open carry, excellent! Here are three tips for dealing with that issue . . .

1. Maintain situational awareness

Situational awareness means being aware of your situation. Thinking about where you are, who’s around you, what’s happening and what might happen. In other words, proactively scan your environment for your safety. Are you in a situation where there’s a possibility of a gun grab? Is the possibility high, low or extremely unlikely?

The general rule of thumb for open carry is the same general rule of thumb for concealed carry: avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. If you find yourself somewhere where two of these three criteria are operative – say a bar with people getting drunk –  leave. If all three are present, you shouldn’t be. Vamoose. Bail. Skidaddle. Hit the road. Better yet, don’t go there.

Situational awareness requires more than a simple heads-up. It’s also about being aware of your own ability to avoid, escape or engage. As in defend yourself. Where’s cover (something that will block bullets) and/or concealment (a place to hide)? How would you help friends of family? It’s not paranoia. It’s simple, basic, preparedness.

The greater the potential risk of a gun grab, the more you need to be ready for evasive action or violent confrontation. For example, if you have to pump gas late at night, be prepared to run, use the car as a block or defend yourself. Consider your defensive options and then get on with the business at hand: enjoying life as free American.

If that process seems too daunting, you might not want to open carry. Keep in mind that the process becomes instinctive and that most of us live in a world where the risk of a violent attack are low. Generally speaking, criminals aren’t looking for a fight, never mind a gunfight. Open carry reduces your risk of an assault.

2. Keep your distance!

If your spidey senses start tingling, if a dodgy looking stranger or group of strangers is vectoring towards you, move! Distance = survival. If you need to deal with an attack, the more distance you put between you and your aggressor(s) the more defensive options you have – including non-firearm-related action (e.g., shouting a warning and /or the blocking strategy described above).

I don’t mean run away any time a stranger or strangers approach. Check out who’s coming into your personal space and decide whether or not evasive action is required. For example, if [what appears to be] a pan-handler is moving towards me, if someone untoward asks me the time, I move away. If I’m walking down the street at night and I see a gang of twenty-something men heading my way, I cross the street. If I’m strolling down an average street on an average day, I’m aware but not evasive.

When you get near a stranger, position your body to reduce the risk of a gun grab and increase your ability to protect your firearm (some basic close-quarters combat training wouldn’t go amiss). When I open carry and meet new people, I stand slightly sideways, with my left shoulder (I carry on the right side) towards the stranger. Again, this isn’t pathological. If everything seems fine, I relax and continue enjoying life as free American.

3. Look good, be polite

The other “threat” that worries new open carriers: the police and bystanders.

Don’t let the dozens of open carrier/cop confrontations on YouTube put you off. If a police officer approaches you, keep your hands in plain sight (away from your gun), smile, be polite (of course) and deal. Legally, you don’t have to show ID or ID yourself to a police officer unless he or she suspects you of a crime. But you’re under no obligation to school the cops, which almost always leads to delay and an escalation of their investigation.

If you’re going to comply – which you can do while stating your objection – ask the officer how they’d like you to proceed. “My wallet is in my back pocket. Is it OK if I take it out?” Speak and move slowly. Relax. If they want to check your gun and you’re OK with that, have them remove your firearm. If you’re wearing a retention holster, tell them and ask how they want to proceed.

As for interested bystanders, be polite (of course) but never let anyone touch your gun. Don’t remove your firearm from the holster to show it to someone. As for antagonistic bystanders, people who object to open carry, be polite (of course) and leave as soon as possible. There’s no point in engaging in a gun rights debate with someone who doesn’t know a free American when he or she sees one. You’ll only stress yourself out and increase the chances of a physical attack.

Above all, look good. Dress well, do normal stuff. Wearing an aggressively pro-2A T-shirt or bandolier of bullets (I’ve seen it) is asking for trouble. Don’t get me wrong: as a free American you’re free to dress any way you please and behave in any way that’s legal. But you’ll do more for your own protection, and the protection of your and our gun rights, by presenting yourself as a clean-cut “average Joe.”

77 Responses to Guns for Beginners: Three Tips for Open Carry

  1. That there is great advice.

    And one more tip for people who are new to open carry: very few people will ever even notice that you are armed much less react to it if they do happen to notice. I had a full size handgun in an easily visible outside-the-waistband holster on my hip for over an hour in a farmer’s market with every bit of 150 people and not a single person noticed that I was armed.

    Note: the panhandler who approached my family as we were entering our vehicle outside the farmers market noticed immediately and changed his tune.

    • My experience now that I live in Arizona is this: People notice but no one cares. I get a lot of people who want to chat, though, and since I am almost always in a hurry, I seldom OC. I will say that I take offense when an OC’er carries in an unsafe holster or uses a shoulder holster that sweeps everyone behind them, which I have seen more than a few times. Nothing like being in line at a store looking down the barrel of a Glock in a shoulder holster of the person in front of you.

      • Meh… A properly secured shoulder holster is not a danger to anyone. I definitely prefer a shoulder holster to having yet more crap hanging off my belt.

        • except for the fact that shoulder holsters are an awful carry option and should be avoided religiously.

        • Well if they CC properly, you wouldn’t know if they were shoulder carrying. I don’t always automatically assume that the person in front of me in line wearing a coat or vest is going to have a shoulder holster on them.

          My usual aversion to shoulder holster generally comes from Soldiers and M9’s (usually officers) who opted for the shoulder holster, and it irked me to no end. Yes I know the weapon is cleared, but after being pounded in the head by the military not to flag fellow Soldiers, it seems a little hypocritical to be constantly staring at the receiving end of an M9 whenever I’m trying to get chow.

      • A gun in a holster is no different than an inert grenade. Neither will just “go off”

        I’m for the 4 rules but the “muzzle sweep” by a holstered weapon crap needs to stop.

    • I noticed a guy OC’ing yesterday with 1911 in what I will call Condition 5. No mag, with the hammer down.

      To each his own but that is just plain dumb.

        • Admittedly, I am no expert on 1911s, but my understanding of every condition includes a magazine in the gun. This guy had an empty chamber, hammer down (not cocked), and no magazine present in the gun.

          BTW, serpa holster like the guy above. Urban legend but I understand a lot of novices have shot themselves in the foot with those holsters. At my list trip through Sig the instructor said they were getting ready to ban them and he discouraged students that had them from using them.

          @carry.45- Southern NH, in a newer gun store that is “world famous” for its political signage.

      • If you meant the hammer was cocked than the only justification for that I can think of is that it’s easier to rack a 1911 with the hammer cocked. Side note what part of NH?

      • I’m from the town south of that notorious gun shop. Really nice guys in there with a good amount of knowledge.

        The guy carrying without a mag sounds like he was maybe just trying to educate the public in the ways of 2nd A. Though in a manner that is not tactically advisable.

  2. RF knows a whole lot more about non-uniformed open carry than I do, and this all seems like great advice. I CC with pro-2A attire such as shirts from TTAG, Ares Armor (which I get compliments on because it’s a very cool shirt), North County Shoot Out, etc.

    • I don’t generally randomly advertise my pro-2A stance in my attire, but my “gun” shirts are generally of the subversive sort as found on ENDO, i.e. hipsters won’t get it, and POTG will get a kick out of it.

  3. Okay, first and foremost, open carry is a constitutional right and I concealed carry almost everywhere I go. I just don’t think that open carry is a good idea though.

    Here’s my line of thinking. No one should know I have a gun with me unless I am at the range or using it in a defense situation (something that I have thankfully never had to do). Open carry, to me, seems like wearing a “Shoot me first” sign to anyone who is seriously intent on doing you and yours harm. In addition, you never know when a criminal may decide they like your gun and decide to take it from you, by first placing theirs in the small of your back. Ultimately, though, I think it comes down to the element of surprise. Think about the videos you watch where there is a DGU, 9 times out of 10 the criminal scuttles like a cockroach when a gun is even presented. Why give them time to plan and prepare to deal with you?

    It’s too early in the morning and I haven’t had coffee yet, so sorry if that is not all too coherent. And once again, I believe that open carry is a right. I just don’t think it is always a good idea…

    • It’s the only argument against open carry I can respect. Not coincidentally, it starts out by affirming that OC is a right.

      The OC response to this:

      Think about the videos you watch where there is a DGU, 9 times out of 10 the criminal scuttles like a cockroach when a gun is even presented. Why give them time to plan and prepare to deal with you?

      of course would be that, just like most DGUs don’t involve firing bullets, because it de-escalates in a hurry, and thus are hard to count, most defensive Open Carries are never noticed by anyone…because rather than planning and preparing to deal with your gun, the bad guy just decides to try a softer target. You can’t count something you aren’t even aware of. It’s entirely possible that an OCer is much less likely to be an attempted victim than a CCer is; we’ll never know (and thus continue to argue about it) because we can’t know what didn’t happen.

    • Then you shouldn’t OC. Personally, I think it’s a great idea and I have a ton of reasons why. That’s why I OC.

    • Your arguments are well taken. I have to believe that when a criminal sees a gun, he is more likely to wait for an easier target than to “shoot me first.” Let’s not forget our time-tested assertion that criminals prefer unarmed victims.

      Concealed carry is the element of surprise. Open carry is deterrence. Both strategies have their place. I sometimes deliver large amounts of cash to banks as part of my job, and I can’t help but notice that the security guard at the bank (off-duty police) is always open carrying. But he is always concentrating on situational awareness and doesn’t let people get behind him.

      • You talk as though CC is NOT a deterrent, and I have to differ. For purposes of illustration, assume 50% of the population CC’d, I’m pretty convinced that would deter ALL violent crime. 0% would deter zero. As soon as the percentage leaves zero, bad guys figure pretty quick that there is a possibility of being killed attacking ANYONE, because they do not know who is carrying. I’d guess (no reference) that a decrease in violent crime would become noticeable long before the percentage of CC reached 20%. OTOH, while that *might* be a reason for legislatures to require concealment (I doubt it), there is certainly no requirement for you or me to make decisions based on benefits to someone else. Thus far I have not had the opportunity to OC, so haven’t really considered the question, but that may change.

        • John Lott demonstrated statistically that concealed carry LAWS deter violent crime. But it doesn’t apply at the individual level, and carrying concealed doesn’t make me more or less likely to be targeted by criminals than if I’m not carrying.

      • Concealed carry is the element of surprise.

        Curtis in IL, why would you want to surprise your attacker? Once you’re attacked you are not on your own terms and are already in trouble.

        • The element of surprise comes when I tell the mugger “O.k. here. Let give you my wallet.” But I’m not reaching for my wallet. It comes when I’m not the intended target and can draw undetected to protect someone else.

          I really don’t want to argue about this. It has been discussed at length by people much more qualified than I am. I only want the option to decide for myself which method is best for a given situation. I don’t have that option in Illinois and I’m jealous of those who do.

      • Curtis and Steve: I appreciate the deterrence argument and I have to agree with you that your average criminal is going to pick an easier target. My thinking is that your average criminal is going to be deterred by the fact that I am a 6′ tall 225 lbs guy. It’s the one that isn’t deterred that I am worried about.

        Danny: You are absolutely right. If you have good reasons to OC, then you should OC. However to address your second statement…

        “…why would you want to surprise your attacker?”

        Because that element of surprise gives me back a tiny bit of the edge I lost in being attacked (which is a failure of my awareness to begin with). If someone knows I am armed, and still decides to attack me, then they will come at me prepared to deal with that threat. If they don’t know I am armed, then I have a nasty surprise for them.

        Once again, this is all conjecture and training on my part. I have never been attacked and I have never had to use my weapon outside of the range (God willing and the creek don’t rise, I never will have to). Since data is hard to come by on deterrence vs surprise I have to trust my gut.

        Of course OC or CC, either way is better than no carry.

        • “Because that element of surprise gives me back a tiny bit of the edge I lost in being attacked”

          Which is not better than not being attacked at all in the first place.

          As for the rest…the “sees me armed and attacks me anyway,” check out William Aprill’s excellent lectures on victim selection.

          Here’s a primer to get started:

          http://dsbscience.com/ballisticradio/BR20130714_WilliamAprillDeselectYourself.php

          The key point to understand and internalize is that the default is “don’t attack.” They, violent criminals, have to very quickly see evidence to undo that default…evidence that an attack has a high likelihood of success.

          There HAS been at least one documented case (Waffle House in Georgia) where criminals admitted after getting caught that they declined robbing a place because they saw customers with OC handguns inside before they entered.

          In other words…the “deterrence” effect has both a huge body of research (by those that study criminals and criminal motivations) and real-world documentation to support it; the ‘shoot me first’ or ‘attack me anyway’ does not.

    • ” Open carry, to me, seems like wearing a “Shoot me first” sign”

      It might SEEM like that, but it doesn’t happen in the real world.

      More “Geezer Science.”

      If you don’t want to OC, don’t OC. It’s not skin off my nose and certainly none of my business. But don’t provide strawman arguments in an attempt to rationalize your (personal) decision.

      • Wow, JR, stand down soldier. Ain’t nobody here attacking your way of life. OC away my friend. We’re all on the same side of the constitutional fence. I was just presenting my personal thoughts on the matter, I’m not telling anyone else what to do with their life.

        • So, I’m an over-reacting “soldier” just because I said you are wrong about something? I see.

          https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem

          ” I was just presenting my personal thoughts on the matter,”

          Your thoughts, as expressed, were based on feelings and not data. Whatever idea you have about OC being equal to a “shoot me first” sign is not supported in the real world by evidence.

          Since this is The Truth About Guns, and data does matter in discerning truth, it is not unreasonable to point out when someone is spouting unsubstantiated memes.

          As for attacking my way of life…I don’t even OC that often, so there’s a fail on that assumption as well.

          Logic is important. Facts matter. When we start ignoring those we sink to the level of the anti’s.

    • I agree 100% of your thoughts in certain circumstances.mendment If I am in a high crime area or an unfamiliar neighborhood I want to conceal my gun. But if I am just walking my dog or a similar activity I will open carry. When I go into local businesses I do open carry in businesses that pro second amendment. If I don’t know/care how the business management stands on the second amendment I conceal my gun.

  4. I was on a trip to Europe not too long ago and noticed I sure got accosted by panhandlers and other pests a LOT. Knowing the hazards of pickpocketing it was a constant struggle to keep these people the heck away from me. One clown even tried to start shining my shoes without my consent and wouldn’t quit until I went R. Lee Ermey on him. (And then complained about how rude I was.)

    (As a side note, panhandlers simper, whine and abase themselves a lot in Europe, even sounding like they are praying to you, and prostrating like a Muslim at prayer behind the cup they are hoping you’ll drop money in. I found it disgusting.)

    It also happened a lot on my second-to-last trip to the PRK (Peoples’ Respublik of Kalifornia). Most recent trip, no. Maybe Peruta made them more timid.

    • Happens distressingly often in Austin, too, though they mostly just park their cars out of sight and carry a “poor me” sign, often so worn it’s obvious this has been their job for years.

  5. But you’ll do more for your own protection, and the protection of your and our collective gun rights, by presenting yourself as a clean-cut “average Joe.”

    Sorry to nitpick but there has to be a different way to say this. There are no collective gun rights. The RKBA is an individual right.

    Treat it as such, state as much lest the courts start thinking it’s a collective right reserved for militias again.

  6. Retention is good. An OC holster that fosters retention is good. The necessity for high level retention holsters is a matter of taste and location, I’d say.

    I have yet to see any documentation of a serious number of gun grabs from ordinary people carrying openly. Don’t put cops into the mix because they just don’t fit here.

    Show me that those who OC are at serious risk of having their guns grabbed. I’d like to see the proof.

    • I can vouch that there is a danger of having your gun stolen if you leave it in your car! Trying to steal It off my hip is clearly grounds for me to shoot you, so I doubt many are going to think that’s a good idea, unless they have a gun in my back, in which case a retention holster will not help at all, and they might steal that as well!

      • Exactly. I have only experienced one attempt to grab my gun, and that was by an instructor! I had only been carrying for about 6 months, and this guy had been telling the class that it would be easy to grab a gun from an OC holster. Mine was a simple leather job with a leather thumb break.

        Anyway, this idiot got behind me and then got his hand on the gun. Bad move for him. I stepped back and to the right (to put the gun more or less out of reach), then stomped on his foot and swung my arm. Clobbered him on the head as he bent in pain with the foot. The look on his face was priceless.

        Anyway, after that there was no talk about gun grabbing for the balance of the day… The tall young instructor certainly didn’t get anywhere near me again. 🙂

        I was 60 years old then… might be a little more difficult ten years later, but I think I could still make someone wish they had left me alone. 🙂

    • ^^^This!^^^
      I have come across the argument of “being targeted by BG to get your guns from you when you OC” on virtually every other Open Carry discussion. And yet, I haven’t seen any factual evidence of it becoming a criminal trend or modality. At least in statistically significant numbers. I would love to be pointed on the right direction if there is any reported case of this happening.

      • “And yet, I haven’t seen any factual evidence of it becoming a criminal trend or modality. At least in statistically significant numbers. I would love to be pointed on the right direction if there is any reported case of this happening.”

        You won’t find such evidence to support that as a trend or modality.

        The very notion is Internet Hot Air fantasized by someone who wanted to sound erudite on the subject and has been repeated as fact ever since. (This phenomenon is known at “Geezer Science”).

        It’s even extremely rare in the case of uniformed cops who open carry every day. Gun grabs attempts with cops tend to be more during general struggle than a cold grab attempt.

        The decision to CC or OC has many legitimate factors to be weighed. It is unfortunate that false memes have entered the process as well.

      • The places where a criminal would target a person for their gun tend to be places where its extremely difficult to legally own one. Doubt its too big an issue in the OC/shall issue free states.

  7. I met my first open carrier (that I noticed) 2 days ago when I went to a military surplus store to look for a holster. She was confidant, polite, and likable. She told me she open carries everywhere and people rarely notice or seem bothered. One of her reasons to open carry was to force herself to improve on situational awareness.
    I do not have the guts yet to do that as I just started carrying concealed yesterday and I couldn’t even get myself to leave one in the chamber, even with the safety on. Baby steps, suppose.
    Also, there are several people I am often around that I simply don’t want to discuss guns with.

    • With any luck, someday soon you WILL want to discuss guns with them, or anyone else. Carry is not only a right, it is a sensible choice.

  8. While we talk about awareness I contend the daily mental aspects of carrying, open or concealed, is the real challenge.

    Cross country business trip in my camper turned into a 2.5 hour nightmare with Illinois finest. Placed my handgun in my computer bag bedding down at a campsite. Sleep wake, place bag in passenger area. Three hours later I’m in a warrant-less search of my truck and learning quickly how the executive branch shoves 4A in your ass. Turned out ok but would not wish that experience on anyone.

    • Thankfully the executive branch in Illinois has changed. The legislature, not so much.
      The idea of concealed carry reciprocity is unheard of in Springfield, so unless you fork over big $$ for an Illinois license, best keep the gat cased and unloaded.

      Knowing the laws in the state you’re traveling through can save you a lot of grief.

      • When the police do not feel any responsibility to obey the law themselves (warrantless searches, for example) it seems best to just avoid the state.

        • Lake Michigan + Illinois blocks almost 2/3 rds of the nation to east-west travel. Driving south around Illinois would easily add 8 hours to your drive time. For example driving straight through Illinois from Toledo, Ohio to Des Moines, Iowa takes about 8 hours. But if you drive from Toledo to Des Moines through Paducah, Kentucky (to avoid Illinois), that trip now takes 16 hours.

          If all of the politicians, bureaucrats, and law enforcement agents in the United States actually respected the United States Constitution — the Supreme Law of the Land — we wouldn’t have this problem.

  9. Some more nuanced advice: don’t dress like a criminal. Working the cash register at a fast food place, I’ve seen those guarda money transport guys come in for food before and they open carry. Being in uniform lets me know right away how to react. If you want to open carry, wearing normal clothing or even some shirt with a pro gun message helps let a cop know who they are talking to.

  10. Well stated article. It’s always nerve wracking when you first start to OC, but as you say, once you realize that most people will never even notice you’re carrying, you start to ease up a bit. Of course, this can be a double edged sword, as this ease can cause you to be complacent.

    OC already deterred an attack on my person just because the would be aggressors saw my gun and scooted pretty quick. If I was CCing, I probably would have had to draw my weapon. To me, that’s a win…didn’t have to draw and didn’t have to shoot.

    • Funny how many CCers are concerned about printing when many people don’t even notice when some folks OC.

    • “OC already deterred an attack on my person just because the would be aggressors saw my gun and scooted pretty quick. If I was CCing, I probably would have had to draw my weapon. To me, that’s a win…didn’t have to draw and didn’t have to shoot.”

      EXCELLENT.

      Very well put.

  11. I might add a fourth tip for OCers: carry a voice recorder for your own protection. Turn the audio on when you leave the house and turn it off when you return. At the minimum turn it on if law enforcement initiates a traffic stop or when you leave your car to go into a store or restaurant or whatever.

    • How about just using an app for your phone for this ? Our phones are with us all the time. Same reason why most of us don’t bother to carry a camera or video recorder anymore. There are quite a few apps that would work for this and save the expense of a recorder.

      • Battery life, for one. Your phone dies a lot quicker than a standalone recorder will, especially if you start recording. But there are apps that stream such recordings to the cloud, so that’s a plus for phones…..far too often police will confiscate video or audio recordings and “accidentally” lose them…if they’re already violating your civil rights, what’s a little theft and destruction of evidence? The streaming option prevents this from working in their favor, and only helps you later when you sue the PD for color of law violations.

      • Because an audio recorder is small, uses very little power, is much easier to start than a cell phone app (simply press button when in stand-by mode), and can record hundreds of hours. Some people carry them in their pocket or in one of the spare mag pouches. I wear mine on a lanyard beneath my shirt. Can’t see it and it works great.

  12. Wouldn’t it be cool if some major retailer posted signs that said ” Warning to Criminals ! a large percentage of our customers are armed, proceed at your own risk”

  13. As a former Philadelphian, as I left the place, OC is NOT a good idea. Large thug population can now lye in wait and target you from a distance or another method. Esp if they want what your putting out on display. Little insight on the neighborhood of victim. Its surrounded by urban decay, a pocket within a pile of surrounding thuggery. Living in a delusional oasis. Highly Democratic.

    • Maybe, but you have to ask this question….why target the guy that can shoot back when there is no end of unarmed individuals all around you that are probably a) situationally unaware, and b)unwilling to fight back, even if they had the means?

      Risk getting shot and killed for a used gun and a few bucks, or sneak up to the inattentive individual and rob them before they even know what’s happening? Even criminals can logic that risk/reward ratio out and come to the obvious conclusion.

      • Street Thugs, Gang Members=No logic. They plot and kill for the littlest of reason. They cannot get arms legally. Highly dense urban areas are a festering pool of criminals looking for a score One can open carry, but it’s tactically unsound. They travel in numbers, they communicate and they follow. OC gives them the advantage.

  14. I’ve been carrying for a long time but I began OC’ing about 9 months ago. In my area (a blue corner of a very red state) I don’t think I’ve ever seen another OC’er. I thought we could use some so I started my own trend. In those months I’ve only ever had 3 people comment: some kid at the park asked if I was a cop, some lady at a buffet line thanked my for carrying, and the “loss prevention officer” kicked me out of Old Navy. I’ll admit, I was a bit annoyed to find out pretty much nobody notices/cares. It might have something to do with the optics of a normal person doing mundane things … with a gun versus the antics of some of the more extreme members of our sect.

    ETA: I did get one reaction that really surprised me. My daughter was absolutely freaked out at the idea of me going to OC. She’s gotten used to it it definitely wasn’t something I expected. We’ve had guns in the house for all of her life and she’s shot most of them. She literally cried that she didn’t want daddy to go to jail. Hopefully she has a more comprehensive understanding of liberty now. That alone was worth the anxiety of switching to OC.

  15. OC is a right, and like most rights, if it’s not used it will be lost. See, e.g., the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where no law prohibits OC (with a license). Yet anyone who does so will be hassled by the local volkspolizei, possibly arrested and often cited for public disturbance or some other bullsh1t charge.

    These tips are great. Here’s another: use your right, brothers and sisters, or it will go away.

  16. I’ve already got the holsters ready for when Texas goes OC (I have airsoft versions of all my duty pistols.). I’ll fly home on leave if I have to.

  17. Is it legal to semi-OC where OC is legal (I live in Texas, so I may have the oportunity to OC soon)? For example, can I wear my gun OWB but let a long t-shirt fall over it and be printing or having the bottom of the gun/holster show? In places where OC/CC are legal do you have to pick one or the other? IE Concealed is completely concealed, and OC is completely open(tucked in shirts).

    • OWB is perfectly legal in Texas as long as you have a shirt or outer garment covering it. Printing is not illegal in Texas either, the law got rewritten last session to where they have to prove you were trying to cause alarm. Incidental flashing from movement is covered.

      • Oh wow. Thanks. At the time I got my license in 2012, concealed meant concealed. I knew we could carry OWB, but I didn’t want to go through the worry of accidentally showing or printing. Haha. Sweet.

  18. Here’s where I have an issue: “Above all, look good. Dress well, do normal stuff.”

    OC’ing while on lunch break/coming home from a day digging cellar holes should be just as acceptable as while on lunch break/coming home from a day in a business office.

    That’s called “Do(ing) normal stuff”.

  19. How many times has the person in the pic shot themselves when drawing? I’m sure it’s happened almost every time. SERPA’s are quite possibly the biggest menace known to man. Mine hasn’t gotten me yet, but I’m sure it will, someday…

  20. “Legally, you don’t have to show ID or ID yourself to a police officer unless he or she suspects you of a crime.”

    That’s a general principle, but do NOT rely on it, as police are notoriously poorly educated on the law, and laws vary from state to state.

    For example, in Texas, you are only obligated to provide identification if you are ARRESTED, not simply detained or otherwise suspected of a crime. State and federal courts have been slapping down officers for unlawfully arresting I.D. refusers for decades; most recently that I’m aware of in Austin in 2008’s Dutton v. Hayes-Pupko case.

    However, officers seem almost universally unaware of the law and decades of jurisprudence, and persist in demanding I.D. at will. So you may win the war, but understand you could actually be arrested for refusing to identify.

    That said, regardless of any other circumstances, even if you’re not obligated to provide I.D., it’s always a crime here to falsely identify yourself.

    Be safe out there, folks, and the biggest part of being safe is being smart.

    • In the Northest, 2nd circuit, during Goldberg v (I can’t remember) the judge ruled that the all the RAS a LEO needs for a Terry stop.

  21. Mr Farrago hit most of the high points of OC. But I think he missed perhaps the most important item: USE A RETENTION HOLSTER.

    If you OC, you make yourself a target. The gun needs to be difficult to take. The ALS is lightning fast and allows a proper grip. But it requires practice. Lots of practice.

    The Safariland GLS requires much less training but seems to make a proper HIGH grip difficult. If you aren’t willing to invest the time with the ALS, the GLS will get the job done.

    I use my ALS for every practical shooting competition I compete in and for all of my holster draw practice. It’s fast, smooth, and secure.

    Just my $0.02.

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