I have to ask this question because I am not an American citizen, and I don’t own a handgun and, even if I did, Canadian handgun possession laws would forbid me from either style of carry. But the subject will continue to be a cornerstone of debate on TTAG, and in the hearts and minds of the pro and anti-gun forces in the United States. So I started to wonder about the pros and cons of the open and concealed carry debate . . .
My first road trip to the US was also an eye-opener when I first saw a holster-mounted side arm on a guy in one of your western states. This was new territory for this particular Canucklehead and it had a giant deterrent factor for me as an observer: I observed that this guy would be my last choice for a disagreement because he had already won any potential argument I might have had with him.
I am not by nature a guy who picks fights with strangers but the idea of a squabble with a guy with a “big iron on his hip” (to quote the late great Marty Robbins in song) is even less likely in my world. So my natural conclusion would be that an open carry would be viewed in the same fashion by other people.
On the other hand, a guy with a concealed carry permit is less likely to avoid confrontation simply because you can’t see that he is packing a weapon. I am sure that a concealed carry guy feels more secure with his ability to draw a weapon under threat of harm, but it seems to me that an open carry guy would be less of a target for potential confrontation.
Sure the concealed carry guy is going to pull out a hell of a surprise for any potential threats to his well-being, but the open carry guy may well be ahead of the game before it even starts because he has already warded off a threat with a visible show of potential force.
What am I missing here? I realize that I may have over-simplified the open vs. concealed carry debate but the fact that American states (and even individual municipalities) operate under a very wide range of diverse handgun rules and regulations makes the question almost a lab experiment in your country. Are open carries safer than concealed carries, or am I simply a misguided Canadian?