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As I started my stroll down Thayer Street, I clocked the cop on the other side of the street. Bicycle guy. Bright blue jersey. I concentrated on walking normally—which is damn hard when you’re trying to walk normally. I mentally rehearsed my Terry Stop. Say nothing until spoken to. Hands in plain sight. And . . . Didn’t happen. Nor did any Brown students see my gun. Why would they? These proto-Masters of the Universe don’t even look both ways when crossing the road, expecting (as they do) drivers to accept their primacy on planet Earth. The only person who noticed my Caracal: a street vendor selling jewelry at mark-ups that would make a buyer for Forever 21 blush with shame (as if). So I bought a cigar and took my eight-year-old to Sunshine Creamery . . .

The venerable East Providence ice cream shack services a vastly different clientele than the tony East Side strip. Let’s just say that if you could identify a demographic segment that shouldn’t be eating ice cream—in terms of maintaining a healthy lifestyle—Sunshine Creamery would offer an excellent representative sample. [Note: I’m not sure which Amendment protects Americans’ right to eat themselves to death but I’m all for it.]

This time, my holstered heater made some waves. At least I suppose it did; I don’t think the people straining the plastic chairs were staring at me because I used to look like Richard Dreyfus. Of course, Lola was nonplussed, lost in whichdamnflavorworld. I, however, was as nervous as Chief Brody after Quint attached a dozen barrels to Bruce’s backside.

Proximity was the problem. I was supremely aware of all the customers within arm’s reach of my gat.

The Caracal C sits in a custom Kydex rig made by RKBA Holsters. The 9mm sits closethanthis to my hip, and nearasdammit disappears under a simple T-shirt. Great for concealed carry. Open carry? Not so much. It takes nothing more than a good old yank (Yank?) to pull it free.

I don’t know of anyone who makes a retention holster for the Caracal. If it comes down to staving off a gun grab—Heaven forfend—I am retention. My close quarters combat training would serve me in good stead in such a situation. You know; if I had any. For anyone wondering when situational awareness wanders across the border into paranoia, Open Carry RI needs you.

There is a solution. I have a terrific Galco retention rig for my bat-eared LasertLyte-equipped Glock 19. Unfortunately, tooling-up with the combo turns Open Carry into OPEN CARRY. While I’ve trained with the Galco holster, I reckon discretion is the better part of valor. Well, avoiding Terry Stops and undue attention.

Hang on . . .

In my previous installment, I declared that I’m open carrying to educate Ocean Staters about their gun rights (i.e. “normalize” firearms). If that’s true, why am I trying to be discreet about my gun? And why am I pointing out my own hypocrisy when TTAG has so many intelligent readers?

Clearly, I’m conflicted. On one hand, I view open carry as a necessary political expression of Americans’ right to keep and bear arms. On the other hand, I’m just not ready to push the outside of the societal envelope. Meanwhile, I worry that I’m not properly equipped or trained for the job/avocation.

I’m pinging my gun gurus for emergency weapons retention training. Guys, consider yourselves pinged.

As always with guns, what you don’t know can hurt you. On the positive side, the more you know the more you want to know, and the more you know the more you know that you need to know more. So far I’ve learned that firearms obliviousness is rampant; indicating a lack of preparedness and (let’s face it) society’s relative safety. Oh, I also figured out how to eat an ice cream cone with my left hand.

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  1. Amendment 9 states our right to eat ourselves to death.

    Also, it doesn’t matter if Amendment 2 is only their definition of “militia” because Amendment 9 would also state the right to bear arms in that case.

    • You know, when I saw RF use nonplussed, I looked it up, even though I (thought I) knew the meaning. Google gave two definitions: (1) surprised and/or confused to the point of unreaction; (2) unperturbed. (I define it as the first of those two.) Seeing two seemingly opposing definitions left me nonplussed. Your article informed me as to why there were two listed.

      The quiz results from his college students surprised me, but I suppose maybe it’s a generational thing. That, or “kids these days” are just wrong. I use “momentarily” both ways, depending on context. For the other three words, I use and define them by their “original” meanings, and would correct anyone who did otherwise. In my mind, “disinterested” is almost inextricably linked to the word “observer,” which leaves no uncertainty as to its meaning, and I can’t come up with a construction in which using “presently” for “currently” makes any sense.

      For the record, I also use the Oxford comma, although I understand that most high-schoolers are now being taught that it’s incorrect due to the teachers’ slavish devotion to the AP style manual. Screw ’em, they’re wrong.

      • People used to use “presently” all the time to mean “whenever I get around to it”. We don’t see that much anymore. Similarly, I know the word “cleave” used to mean “attach”, but I don’t use it that way.

        On the other hand, literally tons of people use the word “literally” to mean “figuratively”. If the common use of a word is incorrect, does that change it’s meaning?

        I don’t know, but I have stopped correcting people. Sooner or later we will wake up and find that it is totally fine to use the word “their” instead of “there”. On that day, I will go back to drinking, and I will also insert commas in my sentences, whenever, I, want.


          iirc, is a good place to start.

          To my thinking:

          1) Words mean things. Use them right. Sheesh.

          2) There is no “the” language, no word has a meaning, when you complain about change you just being wrong. The codified rules of spelling and grammar do NOT, repeat NOT, re-emphasize NOT, precede predate control or regulate the language. They are a poor attempt to codify a pre-existing and uncondifiable condition. The ways language is created EVERY DAY confound the experts’ attempts to take a snapshot of language. To change how we express ourselves in order to satisfy – not the rules but – the rule makers is on par with making laws to make it easier to be a cop. Nothing to do with the real operation of normal people.

          Language is fluid. Have fun with it. If the fun leads to confusion, don’t take out your stick, be intelligent enough to recognize that it can happen and work to eliminate the confusion, not the confuser.

      • While I have finally, though begrudgingly, accepted the it-must-be-opposite-day bizarro-world usage of nonplussed, you can take away my Oxford comma when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!

  2. I’ve always said that I could duct-tape my pistol to my forehead and wear it as a tiara and nobody in Massachusetts (outside of Boston) would notice. It’s good to see that RI is also into the whole Sgt. Schultz thing.

      • The best answer should anyone dare to as is without a doubt another question: “What duct tape?” followed by the kind of look usually given to those whose insanity is self evident. 🙂

    • I’ve considered a torso mount that would place a BFR front and center on a white t-shirt.

      “What would the caption be?” Um.. is there really a need for a caption?

  3. You probably feel as uncomfortable as the early civil rights advocates in the 60s. I would imagine your reaction is normal. Imagine being black and going into an all white ice-cream parlor. Except you can’t be low key about being black like you can with an open carry pistol.

    This is off topic, but I remember years ago eating at a great cambodian restaurant in Providence – a real dive, but delicious.

  4. As for firearm retention, a little formal training might be in order. The major thing is don’t let someone stand behind you (where you cannot see them) and be prepared to act without any hesitation whatsoever if someone does try to snatch your handgun out of its holster.

    Be especially cautious when using urinals in a public bathroom while open carrying. Try to have a friend go with you that can watch your back while taking care of business. If that isn’t possible, the next best thing is to use a stall with three walls and a door. It might be a good idea to avoid standing in crowded lines as well.

    If prevention isn’t enough, one of the counter intuitive strategies is to drive your hip into the person while getting your hand on top of your gun and pushing it down into your holster. If you try to pull away, your handgun could stick to their hand rather than your holster and now they are already pointing it at you. If you smash yourself into them, it is much harder to grab it … and even if they do they aren’t really pointing it at you.

    My pre-programmed response is to drive my hip into them while putting my right hand on top of the gun (or their hand) and pushing down … then use my left hand to smash a vulnerable soft tissue area such as their throat, neck, or eyes.

    Finally, the ultra-compact pocket guns as a backup weapon might make the most sense of all. While someone is struggling to remove my primary from its holster on my hip, I can reach my left hand into my left pocket, remove the ultra-compact pistol, and promptly start shooting the assailant.

    • There are some good points here.

      If you are carrying the gun to educate people, then there is no need to keep it loaded. If the gun does not make you safer (and arguably makes you less safe) then just keep the clip in a different pocket.

      For protection, keep a smaller gun concealed. This is similar to an old magic trick. When people are watching the bright shiny open gun, they are oblivious to the one you shoot with.

      Not sure I would do it, though. It seems to me that you are running the risk that some Neighborhood Watch nitwit is going to come running up to you and claim that he was in fear for his life.

  5. People where i used to live (Louisville, KY) are mostly ignorant to gun laws. Outside of the city it is pretty Red but like most big cities, downtown and the nearby suburbs are Blue. Before I had my concealed carry I would open carry on occasion (not too much since I don’t like advertising).

    At the time I was working at Wal-Mart and there was a young customer who open carried (the only one I’d seen) when he came in to shop. I had heard at least three employees on different occasions mention there concern to a fellow coworker. On another occasion I was out to dinner with a friend who had his Glock 26 legally concealed under his jacket. When we went to sit down he put it on his chair and it looked like the waiter “was going to shit a brick” when he saw the gun. I have another friend who was told by a security guard that he couldn’t carry his 1911 in a White Castle because he wasn’t a cop. One, no law says only cops can carry and two, there was no sign posted that banned firearms.

  6. in close proximity, stepping on one (or better yet, both) of their feet and pushing is always a good idea. This in addition to any use of your hand to protect the weapon of course.

  7. While I know that you’re on a mission, concealed carry would still be the first best defense against a weapon grab, or being shot first. It appears that you’re not having much of an impact anyway, what with everyone wandering around in their own world not noticing anything, a common malady even for people driving two ton vehicles. Those that do notice probably think you’re a cop, so I’m not sure you are convincing the masses. I’ve taught weapon retention in the police academy, but you can’t get there from here…or there.

  8. Tim is great to talk to, sells holsters with retention strap if you want it, and will customize as necessary.

    Yeah, it’ll be more than a “C” note. You get what you pay for.

  9. Glad to see other instructors like Joseph chiming in. I instruct weapon retention as well as counter-assault. There are always a lot of ways to skin a cat and nowhere is this more true than in a discussion on combatives. However, the following are some quick tips for your situation:

    1) If it’s not concealed, get a retention holster. They don’t make one for the caracal? Carry something else. I have had love affairs with less well known guns (such as you and your caracal) but I’ve learned that retention and deployment (ie holster) are almost as important as weapon selection. You are right to be paranoid. All you need is one imbecile who thinks he’ll be a big “hero” by disarming Robert Farago the gun weilding public menace. Or a bad guy…

    2) Practice weapon retention. Grab a buddy, grab some red guns and wrestle over them. Hard. Make it part of your PT for the day (it will quickly become a workout) Start from different phases of the “gun grab” scenario. For example, perp from behind, in front, from each side, on the ground mount, on the ground mounted, on the ground side mount, on the ground side mounted, on the ground rear mount, etc etc etc. Seek training and advice from multiple sources and train on what is most realistic and gives the the warm and fuzzy.

    3) Situational awareness. I think you’ve got that one covered. However, paranoia is no bueno. That could affect your decision making if something happens. You need to be able to regulate your physiology enough to default to the correct and appropriate use of force. Every time.

    4) PT. A lot. Strength and stamina are oftentimes game winners. Nowhere is this more true than if you’re engaged in the fight of your life over your own weapon.

  10. I’m more in favor of unrestricted open carry than most, and it’s better to have a gun than not have a gun, even if the holster’s not perfect. But if you’ve got money for cigars and candy bars, there’s no excuse not to have a good retention holster. Beyond the retention aspect, if you’re carrying a gun, it’s going to bump into the world, and the world’s going to bump into it. The extra leather cushioning provided by a broad strap across the back of the slide really helps things go a lot more smoothly.

    • OK I’m making the switch to the Glock 19 and Galco retention holster. The setup is MUCH more prominent. Report later today.

      • Good deal. You’ve hit the big problem with open carry; securing your gun. With concealed it is always, well, is it concealed.
        I wouldn’t give up on that Caracal though. Maybe someone can make you a good custom holster. It sure looks like a sweet pistol.

  11. I’m positive that people assume you’re a plainclothes cop. Who else would have a gun on their hip? Analogy: when you see somebody trying to jimmy a car door in broad daylight. “Bummer, locked his keys in his car” everyone assumes. Open carry is damn ballsy. I’ve carried concealed for 20 years; and I wouldn’t have the guts to carry openly.

  12. I understand that the Caracal is a great weapon, but if you have problems finding retention holsters for it, it may become a great weapon for somebody to shoot you with. I’d find a retention holster, or use a different gun for open carry.

    You could try a leather holster from El Paso Saddlery or Milt Sparks, they’re not tacticool, but they have retention straps and hold a gun just fine.

    • +1 on both (they are my top two choices for leather) but Milt Sparks models usually don’t have retention straps. DeSantis seems pretty good about getting models out for new guns too. Not quite as nice as the other two, but decent, and they get points for responsiveness to the market.

  13. Robert,

    You have to act like you belong.

    Attitude and body language conveys a lot and if you act like open carry is a big deal, then, yeah, it is a big deal.

    The more you open carry, the more you will relax and the less you will think about open carry.

    You should be less aware of the gun on your hip and more aware of your surroundings.

    Or, move to AZ, where open carry isn’t even worthy of comment, other than to discuss holster and type of firearm.

  14. I live down the street from Sunshine creamery, and that place rules. My shooting buddy George is an Akido instructor, and he can show you some great moves if someone trys snatching your gat. He offers a free class for for first timers at his martial arts studio. I’m smaller than average, and dropped a 6 foot 200+ pound guy with little effort. He calls it the gentle art form because you use the other persons power and weight aganist them. I’ve been telling him to offer a class using training guns and we could see how you would react during an attack.

  15. Bravo RF. Doing something in public to help gun rights, carrying comfortably, nearly ensuring that any potential confrontation is stopped once they see the gun obviating actually using it, and bucking mistaken but conventional wisdom! And in Rhode Island! I love it!

  16. I have started to OC in NOLA during my evening dog walks. I usually use the same remora holster I pocket carry with just stuck IWB with the grips and slide exposed. No one notices.

    Of course I live one block from the French Quarter and at anytime there can be all kinds of odd stuff going on and most people are drunk or on their way to get drunk so there are other things to look at then a OFWG w/ a compact pistol and three dogs.

  17. When you open carry most people think you are a cop. Nothing more. Some people get nervous around cops, others are a little fascinated by the sight of a gun on someone’s hip because they don’t see that often, and a small number of people think you are a paranoid cowboy with a lot of enemies.

    An even smaller number of observers see you as a normal American exercising your rights.

    That’s my nickle assessment and it’s worth what you paid for it.

  18. Interesting post and comments… I was stationed in New London (CT) in the late 70s and I was always surprised at how open the gun laws were there compared to NY/NJ to the south and Mass. to the north. Spent time hanging out in RI but don’t remember anything to do with guns. No more paperwork to purchase in CT than in the midwest where I had grown up but it was hard to find a place to shoot anything noiser than a .22. There was a big former sand quarry east of the Thames between Groton and Norwich (about three miles straight east of where Foxwoods is now, I think) where a lot of us subsquids used to go make noise and when the cops stopped by they were always pretty cool as long as there were no open beers visible.

    Liked Phydeaux’s off-comment – rhadeyelan is where I learned about Portugese food; there was a joint in downtown Newport that made a seafood ‘n chorizo soup that was one of the best dozen things I’ve ever eaten.

  19. Robert, you’re over thinking this. You’re trying to educate, not frighten. An AR strapped across your back is open carrying, but it is not going to desensitize the public and LEOs. Let them get used to your small gun before you start carrying the stainless 1911 race gun with four shiny magazines on your other hip. Think olive drab for now. You can bling later. Carrying a child with you was good cover too.

  20. I feel I need to share this with fellow shooters. LaserLyte has LOST my business. I got my S & W shield in the mail and it came with a booklet for accessories. In the booklet was a LaserMax, Inc. laser sight description. Later, I went to LaserLyte’s website and saw they copied the LaserMax description from the booklet, word for word! Even the headline. Not cool. I hope LaserMax calls them out for this.. if they even know yet.


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