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By Chris Hernandez

I’m not a fan of openly carrying a pistol. Before you accuse me of being an “anti-gunner” or liberal activist, you should know I’m about as pro-2nd Amendment as they come. I’m a 20 year cop, 25 year Marine and Soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and am 100% supportive of armed citizens. I’ve written extensively on the importance and need for the 2nd Amendment, and effectiveness of armed citizens against a variety of threats. Having said that, I think open carry is a bad idea . . .

No, I’m not saying everyone who open carries is a bad guy. Nor am I saying there’s never a good time and place for open carry. Several people have told me success stories about open carry, and I believe them. But hear me out on this. As a cop I’ve carried a gun on and off duty for decades, and have a pretty good grasp on the factors involved with being armed in public. So I’m going to lay out my reasons why people shouldn’t, generally speaking, open carry a pistol.


I started as a cop in 1994, not long after police went through a collective “holy cow” realization about how many officers were killed with either their own or their partner’s gun. For decades cops were more concerned with a fast draw than a secure holster, and as a consequence lots of cops were disarmed and killed. Around the early 90’s equipment companies started pushing security holsters, and police academies started training harder on weapon retention techniques. The number of officers killed with their own weapons fell sharply. In my first years on the street, I was in a couple of chaotic fights where the suspect apparently unsnapped my holster without me realizing it, but couldn’t get my weapon.

Fast forward a few years to 2001. I was a UN police officer in Kosovo, working with officers from 54 countries plus the local cops. In my unit we had officers from America, the UK, Greece, Germany and a few other places. I bought my own security holster, but our Greek cop carried his pistol in a really slick, not very secure quick-draw holster. He sold those holsters to several local officers, over my objections.

One afternoon we were in the office before shift. One of the locals had his Glock in the Greek speed holster. As the local officer conversed with coworkers, I walked up behind him, slapped the holster snap with my left hand and yanked his pistol out with my right. He spun around in shock. I handed his pistol back and told him, “that’s why you shouldn’t use those piece-of-crap holsters.”

Then I felt a tug on my weapon. I turned around. The Greek officer had seen me disarm his customer, got angry, and tried to do the same thing to me. But he didn’t know the sequence of movements necessary to remove my weapon. My gun was still secure in the holster.

So what does this have to do with open carry?

The average non-LE belt holster has, at best, a single snap. Many holsters rely on only friction and a tight fit to keep the weapon in place. For a concealed weapon, that’s generally regarded as an acceptable risk; it’s hard for someone to go for my gun when they have no idea it’s there. But if you’re walking around with an exposed weapon in a typical holster, especially in a crowd, you’re at risk of being quickly disarmed.

Photo by

If you’re willing to spend the extra money on a security holster (they’re not cheap), and willing to put up with the extra bulk (they’re not small), then I’m a little more with you on open carry. But if you think, “I’m going to be so alert all the time, nobody could possibly disarm me,” you’re wrong. Nobody is switched on 24/7. We all get tired sometimes, we all get lazy, we all get complacent. We can all be overpowered by someone bigger and stronger. If you’re open carrying with a regular holster, you can be disarmed, period.

This wasn’t a holster issue, but it illustrates an important fact. Not every criminal is afraid of a gun. If you open carry, you may just make yourself a target.


When I’m in public, I don’t advertise that I’m armed. I don’t wear anything that says police, I rarely wear anything related to the military. One of my goals is to be the “grey man”, the guy nobody notices. Cops or military guys may pick up on clues and ping me as one of their own, but almost nobody else will. And that’s a good thing.

If I’m ever unfortunate enough to find myself in the middle of a crime in progress, I doubt the criminal will immediately ID me as the guy who needs to be shot first. I won’t wear tactical pants (anymore), or t-shirts with huge Glock or Colt symbols, or anything else that screams “I’m probably armed”. Instead, I’ll be just another face in the gas station, bank, mall or theater. In most cases, this gives me a distinct advantage.

Criminals get tunnel vision just like everyone else. Watch videos of convenience store robberies; you rarely see a robber watching his back, or securing customers. Most robbers quickly scan their surroundings for cops or other immediate threats, go to the counter, produce the gun, get what they want and run. If I’m regular Joe in the background, I can draw and make my move when I have the element of surprise.

If I don’t think the robber is going to hurt anyone and I don’t want to risk opening fire around innocent bystanders, my “move” may be to be a good witness. But if the robber is threatening enough or starts shooting at the clerk, I can engage him from an advantageous position, like right behind him. There’s nothing immoral about shooting a bad guy in the back.

If the worst ever happens, and I wind up in the middle of a robbery while my wife and kids are with me and I have no choice but to fire, I’d much rather be involved in a “shooting” than a “shootout”. Ideally, the robber will figure out I’m armed right after he yells “Ow, something bit me!” like Forrest Gump and falls to the floor with multiple gunshot wounds. That’s a much better outcome than having the robber walk in, see me openly carrying, and shoot at me first.

If you’re in a place targeted by a criminal, carrying concealed could give you an extremely important advantage.


This is one of the more contentious points about open carry. The anti-gun side thinks anyone who open carries wants to scare and intimidate people. Even if the open carrier is doing nothing threatening, doesn’t say anything and behaves in a totally benign manner, people around might still freak out. Last year I wrote about an incident in Forsyth County, Georgia, where a man was legally open carrying at a park. This generated twenty-two 911 calls, sparked hysterical reactions from local media, and was the subject of really stupid reporting from the Daily Kos.

Photo credited grudgingly to the Daily Kos

People at the park got so scared of this man, they herded their children into a baseball dugout and stood guard in front of it. One woman broke down crying for the camera, saying her son asked, “Did that man want to kill me?” This incident has received national attention, been blown way out of proportion, and is being used by the anti-gun side as yet more proof that pro-gun people are insanely violent (“That crazy man was carrying a gun in a park! Around children!”).

So what did the open carrier accomplish?

If his goal was self-defense, I guess it worked. No criminals attacked him while he walked through the park, probably because they were too distracted by the stampede of terrified parents rushing their children to the dugout. And criminals definitely weren’t going to try to rob the guy as police screeched into the park in response to the twenty-two 911 calls. So he achieved safety, at the cost of being the center of tons of unwanted attention from the local public, police, and eventually much of the country. Keep in mind, this was in gun-friendly Georgia, not some liberal paradise like California.

And some open carriers deliberately try to inflame the public and provoke a police response. This goes back to what I wrote earlier this week: I support open carry as a political statement. I don’t support it as a tactic. If your goal is to rile everyone up and force them to accept your right to carry, fine. Walk around with an AR-15 across your back and a Colt 1911 on your hip, and have your friends follow with cameras. You will get the public’s attention. You will provoke a police response. In an open carry state you should be simply questioned (not detained) and allowed to go about your business, which apparently is to make as big a scene as possible. And maybe to put a video on YouTube, showing how you were hassled by freedom-hating cops for no reason.

Is that why we want to be armed? To force people to react to us?

Carrying to provoke a reaction and then complaining about that reaction is pretty dumb. It’s right on par with a woman walking around topless in New York City because it’s legal there, then complaining “people were staring at my boobs”. Many gun-rights advocates loudly claim they want the government to leave them alone, then some of them take actions calculated to get police officers all up in their grill. Human nature is human nature. Guys will stare at any exposed boobs that happen by, and people uncomfortable with guns will freak when someone openly carries a gun around them. Open carriers and topless women can be as legal as the day is long, but they’ll still have to deal with the unreasonable and unwanted attention their actions bring.

Some of you will undoubtedly say, “I don’t have to change my behavior because of other people’s stupid reactions.” I agree, in principle. But we should also be free to walk in the woods without being eaten by bears. Unfortunately, bears attack and eat people because, well, they’re bears. Liberals and the media overreact, distort, inflame and try to spread panic about armed citizens because, well, they’re liberals and the media. My reason for carrying a weapon isn’t to prove anything, it’s to defend myself, my family and innocent people around me. I can do that better if I don’t have a crowd of panicked liberals calling 911 on me, police questioning me and TV cameras following me to report the Manufactured Outrage of the Week.

Again, as a political statement, I get it. This is America, please speak out about what you believe. But if you’re trying to provoke a response, don’t act like your goal is to be just a regular guy, no different from everyone else except that you happen to be armed. You can exercise your 2nd Amendment rights without making a scene, which in my opinion works out better for all of us on the pro-gun side.


This is going to be another contentious point, because not all open carriers are trying to be confrontational. I’d guess most of them aren’t. But many have been, and I think that confrontational stance works against us.

As a writer, I travel in some pretty liberal circles. The modern writing culture is basically overrun with extremely left-leaning people. As a conservative soldier and cop, I’m the fringe element. And because of this, I’ve had quite a few conversations about guns and gun control with liberal friends.

We on the pro-gun side often justifiably feel that debating the other side is pointless. We want to tell people preaching “reasonable” gun control to shut up, slap them with a copy of the Bill of Rights, show them our openly carried pistols and walk away. Unfortunately, while slapping them and walking away might be satisfying, it doesn’t help. And actually does more harm to our side.

I had a conversation recently with a very intelligent, very reasonable liberal friend. This guy is knowledgeable as hell on many subjects, and discusses everything rationally. Except guns. On that subject, he checks every irrational, emotion-driven box there is.

When we had the gun control conversation, he broke out the usual arguments (“the kind of people who want to carry guns are the ones I’m afraid of”, “if someone drops their gun it’ll go off”, “guys with guns will get mad and shoot it out over minor arguments”, “if everyone’s carrying guns how can the cops tell who the bad guys are”, etc). We had this conversation at a coffee shop, and he thought I wasn’t armed. When I told him, “You’ve never seen me without a gun”, he was taken aback. He seemed to think guys who carry guns can’t be trusted, have no self-control, and will spray and pray at the drop of a hat. When he found out I’m always armed, he had to reconsider.

My friend and I have been attending writers’ group meetings for over a year, we’ve hung out at bars and restaurants, and he’s never seen me do anything stupid. Being armed doesn’t make me cocky and impulsive like he thought it would; on the contrary, because I’m armed I’m much more likely to avoid confrontations. After the conversation, my friend had a new perspective. Chances are, next time he’s around his liberal friends and the topic of gun control comes up, he’ll totally screw up their mojo by saying, “I was convinced that only wackos carry guns. But then I found out this totally normal friend of mine always carries a gun. He calmly explained why he thinks I’m wrong about gun control, and he made a lot of sense.”

Photo credit

Call me crazy, but I think that kind of interaction is worth a lot more than the shock tactic of, say, walking into Starbucks with an AR-15. Had I been openly carrying, our very productive conversation would probably have never happened because my friend would have been scared to talk to me (since, you know, I might have gotten angry and opened fire). Even if my friend doesn’t change his stance on gun control, he still learned that armed citizens aren’t the racist, redneck, Tea Party insurrectionists and child-eating NRA members some liberals think we are.

I know the anti-gun side’s tricks. I know many of them engage in irrational, overtly emotional attacks on us. I get sick of it, too. But there are intelligent, reasonable people on their side who will listen to us if we make the effort, and some of them do change their views. We gain a lot more traction when self-described “New England liberal” author Justin Cronin writes an essay titled “Confessions of a liberal gun owner” or Anthony Bourdain tries to convince his liberal friends to stop demonizing us than we do by telling everyone who disagrees with us to fornicate themselves. Or by openly carrying a pistol, just to piss off the people we know are scared of guns.

Again, guys, I’m not saying open carry is flat-out wrong and nobody should ever do it. If you’re in a place where open carry is normal and accepted, and you think it’s worth the risk of being disarmed or spotted by criminals, do what you think is best. There undoubtedly are places where open carry doesn’t raise an eyebrow and criminals know better than to cause problems, just like there are places women can walk around topless without being ogled (or so I hear, but my wife won’t let me confirm that).

But in a whole lot of America, legal or not, open carry is going to cause problems, and it’s going to put you at more risk. Which is why I think it’s a bad call. Not that it’s evil, not that it’s immoral, not that it should be illegal. In most cases, it’s just a bad call.

Chris Hernandez blogs at and is the author of Line in the Valley and Proof of Our Resolve.

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  1. Chris,
    I appreciate the points you are making and I don’t disagree with your logic. I would like to counter that in Oklahoma, where we’ve had OC for two years now, There hasn’t been a surge of open carriers walking about even though we pushed very hard to have the bill passed. In fact, most of us have simply relaxed how we carry concealed, For example; I no longer carry a single stack 9mm inside the waistband while constantly worrying about an accidental exposure (previously a criminal act which would result in a fine or worse).

    These days, most of us carry larger framed pistols with an un-tucked shirt offering basic concealment instead of going to all the trouble of deep concealment. I think, once the novelty wears off, most Texans will still carry concealed but more casually then before.

    • I think the piece very well written. I also think that OC should be legal – there should be a choice, and it also means not having to be paranoid about a little printing.

      Anyway, I take Chris’ piece to be a seriers of fairly compelling arguments as to why CC is, IN MOST CIRCUMSTANES, the better choice – it’s not an argument for banning OC.

      Oh, and carrying a rifle into the middle of town to get a coffee makes you look like a dumb-ass. I know that folks in Texas do it because it’s legal while OCing a handgun is not, so I get the politics, but it still looks stupid and/or paranoid. Texans, please get the law changed regarding handguns, and then have your fellow lone star staters leave the AR at home or in the truck.

    • This is what we were trying to get in Floriduh. Instead we got a “brief exposure” edit that erased all standing case law, a legislated-from-the-bench printing law, and a LEO and Judiciary that have “interpreted” the phrase “brief exposure” to be less than a millisecond, arrest you anyway.

      I’d like to OC simply to have a layer between me and the gun so I don’t have it poking me and sweating all over it all the damn time, and be able to carry a real gun… I couln’t give a damn what anyone else thinks of it.

      You either get full-on Open Carry, and then pick what suits you somewhere in between, or you get nothing at all.

      The only gun I can carry without being Felonized is a .380 pocket gun like a P3AT or a PT738… I’m essentially forbidden from carrying my 1911 unless I become morbidly obese.

    • +1. Thanks Chris for your points, which carry a lot of weight, for me, given your experience on the ground.
      Downloading “Line in the Valley” right now to kindle.

      Drew, to your point, here’s a timely update on the decided lack of “blood in the streets” going into Year Two of legal CCW in Chicago.

      • Yeah, but Chris’s experience on the ground, and mine, and that of a few others here, doesn’t count for much, because, you see, we’re just servants of the State who wish nothing more than to crush the rights of gun owners and dismantle the Second Amendment. Any argument along the lines of what Chris said is Anathema writ large, and those who agree with it should probably be excommunicated from the holy ranks of true believers.

        It must be nice to have one’s fervent beliefs so tightly wrapped up, based on opinion trumping experience, that any dissent can be cavalierly dismissed, much like the lockstep libtards and progturds they bitch about.

  2. what a new and novel argument.
    OC vs. CC.
    9mm vs. 45.
    condition 1 vs. Israeli.
    oranges vs. jet skis.
    as long as we’re arguing between ranks, right? neither method is 100% go, 100% of the time.
    a trained, armed citizen is good in my book, so long as the gun is holstered, he/she is aware of the surroundings, and its a 9×19 (come at me, bro!)

  3. Yes, guns are shameful in our culture and we should keep them hid at all times. Thanks for the reminder that attempting to change “hearts and minds” is so much mularkey.

        • +1000 Excellent article. Very valid points. Here in Oklahoma people seem to be less frightened of guns in general. I have open carried when I dressed to warmly for the day as it turned out. No stares, or 911 calls.

          Thank you for the lessons!

  4. #3 Here in AZ people open carry all the time at least in San Tan Valley and no one really cares. I’ve seen a guy open carry a Raging Bull in 454 casull, tab bit excessive but he brought his soda and smokes and went on his way. No mothers crying in the corner fearing for her and her children’s lives, just another day in the desert ^_^

    That being said I still prefer concealed carry.

  5. Well said. If I open carry in public it will be with a group unless I’m in an establishment that knows me personally and is comfortable with me doing so. But I will not just show up unannounced to a movie theater or some other public venue because it’s legal.
    After we get open carry here in Texas it will be interesting to see what happens. I’m sure there will be a flurry of 30.07 signs appear overnight.
    I’ll be warming up the popcorn.

  6. While I don’t really disagree with anything the author said here I still tend to support OC. We shouldn’t hide from our rights on this. Even if it’s practical to do so.

    • I think the best argument Chris made against OC was the point about being in a place being burglarized. If the BG spots your firearm who knows how he might react.

      • If the BG spots your firearm who knows how he might react.

        Based on known criminal psychology, statistics, criminal surveys, and anecdotal evidence, the would-be burglar is most likely to leave and pick a different target.

      • If the place is being burglarized, chances are my gun is in my hand, and how I carried it in there is unimportant.

    This statement is true, but the argument you make is based on fear and non-events. 44 states have OC in some form or fashion. Don’t you think that if this were a pervasive issue, the liberal media would be running these “OCer gets gun stolen/shot first” stories non-stop? Yet they aren’t out there. Why is that? Maybe because bad guys go somewhere else and generally don’t mess with OCers?

  8. Mr. Hernandez: Actually, I’m afraid your liberal friend is less likely to say ” I thought all gun carriers were wacko until I found out my normal friend carries a gun” than he is to say “I thought my friend was normal until I found out he carries a gun”. There are exceptions to every rule, and maybe you found one, but they are called “exceptions” for a reason. And your example Justin Cronin, to the extent he is an exception, is precisely the “exception that proves the rule”. I started to read the article from the link in your piece here–until it all got familiar, and I realized I had read it before. Mr. Cronin is firmly in the “guns for me and my similarly intellectually-advanced acquaintances, but I’m still uncomfortable with all those redneck plebes out there owning/carrying them (and besides, nobody really needs an AR-15)” camp. I can see behaving with a certain regard for the folks who just haven’t thought about the issue too much or are not that ideologically inclined to start with, but if you think rationality is going to sway an ideological liberal into acceptance of the actual meaning of the Second Amendment, you’re dreaming. Think about it–how “rational” is it that a person like your friend thinks that a gun that he can’t see is LESS dangerous than a gun that he can see?

  9. I wish I could open carry in Illinois. And I don’t think ex-military/cop opinion carries any weight AT ALL with me…YMMV

  10. No disagreement that carry should be done professionally and with respect for others. That said, I didn’t see anything in this article that went beyond fear mongering and the tired old rhetoric of “Your gun’s going to be taken away!”, despite this not having happened. Of course you should use a retention holster. Of course you should be situationally aware. None of this is a proper argument against the choice to OC if you so desire. The benefits outweigh the risk, and I have not seen a proper argument yet to debunk this.

    The fact that the ones so often arguing against OC are cops or ex-cops, or CCW instructors, is telling. Either it’s a power trip and ego issue (“I’m the only one trained enough to carry this gun!” ring any bells?), or it’s a monetary issue (CCW instructors worried their source of income will dry up if people don’t go to them for training for a CCW if they can just OC instead). Neither of which are valid arguments.

    OC if you want. Don’t if you don’t want to. Don’t try to tell ME how I must carry. And articles like this, with ad hominem and strawmen used as “points” against open carry, are just laughable and easily dismissed. It’s the same sort of “I’m for the 2A, but…” logic antis use to slowly erode our rights. I refuse to be ashamed of being a gun owner, and won’t be listening to people that are ashamed, and are mad not everyone else is ashamed too. I am proud to live in a country where the natural right to keep and bear arms is recognized, and I will continue to show my pride by respectfully open carrying my pistol in public. As usual, I expect no issues, but will always be vigilant for trouble attempting to find me.

    • Take away the need to get a permission slip in order to legally CC (and perhaps even OC a pistol, if the TX legislators pass the bill), and both the political principle and practical need for OC’ing will largely evaporate.

      • +1
        As I stated in my most recent reply, it’s the permitting system that causes the problems. Not how we choose to carry.

  11. Excellent article.

    +1 100%.

    Couldn’t improve on it, as a combat vet of three U.S. wars and more years as a street cop.

    • as a combat vet of three U.S. wars and more years as a street cop.

      What about the value of ubiquitous open carry as a deterrent to tyranny? That’s part of the basis of the Second Amendment. To remove that from a free society leaves the Second Amendment somewhat toothless for the purpose.

      • Sure, I’d go for that. Now let’s get the other tens of millions of gun owners to all do it together at the same time. Otherwise it’s not gonna work.

        Listen, there’s Second Amendment faith and fortitude, and then there’s everyday reality in populated areas. It looks like we’re making progress in some states and then not so much in others; that’s normal. We’re still a long way from having our Second Amendment Utopia here nationwide, so until then why not exercise a little common sense? Pissing off and scaring people and classifying them all as hoplophobe cretins doesn’t help. More of them are waking up; why make it harder?

        • You are stating, albeit in a different way, that the Second Amendment is outdated and not applicable today. I wholeheartedly disagree. Our government has grown so large and so intrusive that the Second Amendment and its shall not be infringed is even more on point and needed today. The Second Amendment was written then for now.

          Pissing off and scaring people and classifying them all as hoplophobe cretins doesn’t help.

          I don’t do those things. They own their respective feelings and any therapist worth his or her pay will tell you that. If someone gets pissed off or pisses their pants as I’m going about my business openly armed then that is their issue and not mine. I’m not a “hearts and mind” cheerleader so don’t even waste time trying to convince me. We are enabling the demise of the exercise of our own right to bear arms by enabling those who believe that they have a “right” to “feel” or not to “feel” a certain way. They need to grow up but if they don’t, I really don’t give a damn.

          BTW: Any progress in Ohio has been because of open carry and not in spite of it. Carry openly. Carry often. Don’t be ashamed of exercising the right. Refuse to apologize for it. If you don’t believe that the individual right to bear arms is honorable and necessary then neither will they. 😉

    • While I suspect that what you opine is correct and don’t OC myself, I don’t think you presented any compelling evidence supporting any of your points. I don’t think the fact that you participated in some wars adds any credibility on this particular subject either.

      • His first point is silly. Cops close to engage in arrests, THIS is when their guns get taken 90+% of the time. -I- will never be doing this. I will either hold the gun on them while they lay on the ground. Or I will hold the gun on them while they’re crumpled to the ground bleeding out. I will NEVER play police and attempt to restrain an attacker.

  12. So do you advocate no carry if open carry is the only option? There are states where CCW’s are hard to get yet they allow open carry. Do you go open or sans weapon in such circumstances? How about somewhat disguised open-carry? Say derringer in a square holster?

  13. You probably have some good points and I probably agree with you, but the moment I read the story of taking the Greek cops gun I couldn’t get past the unprofessionalism. Way to represent Americans, American police and American military veterans.

    • You didn’t read the article closely. I didn’t take the Greek cop’s gun, I took a local cop’s gun that he was carrying in a quick-draw holster he bought from the Greek cop. I did this inside an office, before we started our shift.

      Bad way to show that officer an important lesson? Maybe. Did he learn just how quickly and easily he can be disarmed? I think he did.

      • Regardless of the nationality of the officer you disarmed it was still unprofessional. I’ve traveled to multiple countries training different military and police forces and that sort of behavior is what gives Americans a poor reputation for professionalism.

        There are much better methods to instruct individuals, especially foreign individuals regardless of language barriers.

        • Nothing, repeat, nothing instills knowledge like going hands on…He probably saved that guys life.

  14. Don’t agree with most of it (point 1 is solved by getting a retention holster, 2 is overblown as we have not seen a rash of OCers having their guns taken and used against them in place where it’s legal, and 3 is, as you said, ideological). But I would like to emphasize the below.

    “Carrying to provoke a reaction and then complaining about that reaction is pretty dumb. It’s right on par with a woman walking around topless in New York City because it’s legal there, then complaining ‘people were staring at my boobs’.”

    Am totally going to use this at the next opportunity.

    “So you’re saying that women shouldn’t be catcalled depending on what they’re wearing, but gun owners deserve to be shamed/have the cops called on them/assaulted because they’re carrying legally?”

  15. Whenever possible I agree that CC has advantages over OC. We have the right to OC in PA, but very few do when out and about. I even avoid OC when on the trail since it’s easy enough to CC, I avoid the attention of DCNR Rangers as well as the ire of the granola hipsters.

  16. So, here’s the rub: How many people that see you in your lifetime talk to you at all? 1% would probably a massively liberal estimate. Out of the ones that do talk to you, how many go past ‘Would you like fries with that’? We’ve just effectively cut out everyone outside your immediate close friends and family. You want to start dialogue.. how the hell are you supposed to do that if there’s nothing to start it? Do you walk up to random people while ccing and smile and say “Did you know that I am armed with a concealed handgun right now?” Of course you don’t. If you cc, the antis get to run around and talk shit about gun owners, and since there is no OC, the only thing most people see are the ‘crazies’ they show on the news, so holy crap those gun nuts must be crazy after all. However, every time a guy goes to McDonalds and gets his burger with his gun out and nothing happens, that’s one more data point to add to our list. Sure, the pearl clutchers can go to their friends and scream about the guy with the big scary gun, but eventually someone is going to ask ‘So what happened?’ and the only answer they can give is ‘Well, nothing’. That is the big win right there. Then when the antis roll out their ‘ban guns’ crap, the people who really don’t care one way or another are going to say ‘but I have seen people carry guns in public and they didn’t do ANYTHING. Why should I have a problem with them?’

    • “‘So what happened?’ and the only answer they can give is ‘Well, nothing’”

      LOL, excellent. I can imagine in my minds eye this conversation actually taking place. I think what you describe is really the only way to convert antis, actually…..through their own friends and people they converse with making them realize, slowly but surely, that they are basing their entire anti-gun narrative on irrationality. They won’t listen to us, we’re “the enemy”….but they’ll listen to their own family and friends that aren’t pushing guns on them…but are just making them realize their strong attitude against gun ownership is a little bit unhinged.

    • Exactly! “What happened?” “Well, nothing…” Can’t help but think of the OC march in Dallas, all the Action-Deprived “Mom” types wetting their panties and swooning and fulminating and stamping their feet, but otherwise folks just looking and maybe even saying, “what the hell?”–and 10 minutes later they are going about their business and nothing has happened.

  17. I always see this argument made about open carriers being ‘targets’ but yet I have been completely unable to come up with a single article in which a person legally open carrying a loaded firearm was relieved or his weapon, or robbed of it, much less shot and killed or anything like that. The guy in Oregon doesn’t count because in that county you could not legally open carry a LOADED firearm, and the only other incident I have heard of was an attempt on an open carrier but the person trying to take the gun was defeated by the retention holster (underlining the importance of a good retention holster when open carrying).

    As for people being frightened, people might be frightened by people that wear red shirts also, that doesn’t mean people should stop wearing red shirts. Considering that fewer people that legally open carry commit assaults while doing so than people wearing red shirts do I have to say a person has to question the rationality behind the fear.

    • “I always see this argument made about open carriers being ‘targets’ but yet I have been completely unable to come up with a single article in which a person legally open carrying a loaded firearm was relieved or his weapon, or robbed of it, much less shot and killed or anything like that.


      This article is a heap ton of fail. It has no place on a site called “The Truth About Guns.”

      Speculation and beliefs is not truth.

      • I cannot find the article. A guy open carrying a Ruger 22/45 got robbed of his gun on the day he purchased the pistol. A guy mentioned he liked his gun. The new gun owner was flattered. Then the thug whipped out his gun and forced the new gun owner to hand over 22/45. Another guy got robbed of his gun during a drug store robbery while practicing open carry.

        I am not saying your head needs to be on a swivel while practicing open carry but you do need to be aware of what people around you are doing.

    • And further, there are documented and verifiable cases where OC has deterred attacks.

      This whole “OC paints me as a target” and what-not needs to die the death of other falsehoods.

      • Yep.

        Also, just like all of the focus on increased individual carry and decreased crime; what if there were incidents? That doesn’t negate the right of choice nor necessarily the wisdom of open carry. If crime rates were to sky rocket in places that the RKBA was unfettered, would we be correct in allowing ourselves to be disarmed? I don’t like putting the RKBA exclusively in baskets with crime rates and incidents because even if the opposite effect happened, I’m not going to be disarmed.

    • Situational awareness fail. The video linked in the article is about an open carrier who was robbed of his weapon. I know of one other OCer who was robbed of his weapon, and another incident where an unarmed robber tried and failed to take an OCer’s pistol. And of course we all know of tons of cops who have been disarmed.

    • What you seem to be saying is what I was thinking through the whole article:
      Points 1 and 2 are tactical decisions; inherently their effectiveness and veracity could be analyzed by examining data. That data should be taken from general populace, NOT police or other military or paramilitary carriers.
      Points 3 and 4 are totally political choice; they both boil down to: are you carrying purely as a strategic decision, to enable gun use as a tactic, should a situation arise, or are you also (or instead) carrying as a means of political speech? If it is the former, then you can carry concealed or open, as your preference, and, preferably, the data (from point 1 and 2) dictates. If the latter, then you, essentially, must in some way call out yourself as a gun user; either by wearing pro-gun clothing/gear and/or by carrying openly. It is ok to carry for purely strategic reasons sometimes and for political speech others. No one has to have a purely static approach.

  18. I may have missed it but this article doesn’t really get around to one of the core reasons for Second Amendment protection of the right to keep and bear arms; deterrence of tyranny. You’ve covered ordinary crime and scaring the sheep but completely ignored a major impetus for the 2A.

    I’m a 20 year cop, 25 year Marine and Soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and I was a UN police officer in Kosovo

    I’m not calling you an anti and I think that your article was well written. It is obvious that you gave the subject alot of thought. However, the above pedigree doesn’t necessarily lend pro-2A cred with some, myself included. The way that you reinforced your support for the individual right to bear arms openly in the article does lend much to your pro-2A credibility. It will be interesting to read if your response simply dismisses the deterrent value of the right to openly bear arms as impotent against today’s military and that today’s military and law enforcement wouldn’t turn against the People. If you covered this and I missed it then I apologize in advance. I look forward to reading your response.

    • John,

      I understand your concern. I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be in Texas; just about every cop I know here is a 2A supporter, which apparently isn’t true of many police in other states. I do understand the resistance to tyranny reason behind the 2A, and have written about it on my blog. One essay I wrote about the need and ability of citizens to resist tyranny was published here on TTAG.

      And don’t worry about my UN work. I promise I’m not plotting help the UN take over America. Trust me, having firsthand knowledge of the UN convinced me it’s not capable of taking over an elementary school. 🙂

      • Thanks for the reply. I will give it a read. 🙂

        As to the UN thing… I don’t think anything of the sort. The point I was making was that when someone has been an agent of government for many years, that can (but does not always) mean that their point of view can become slanted, even if ever so slightly, more in favor of government’s interests than that of individual rights. I personally know of some current and former agents of government who are staunch supporters of individual rights over government intrusion. We have wonderful people who post here that are or have been agents of government that likewise express strong support of individual rights. However, it is my opinion that these individuals are in the minority. So, when someone gives their experience as an agent of government as proof of their support of individual rights, I am reluctant to accept that as proof on its face.

      • That was great article! Thank you for writing it. There are a few minor places where we draw different conclusions but overall we are in clear agreement. It seemed familiar when I read it so I suspect that I’ve read it before and I had forgotten.

        As to its relationship to open carry… My position is that at least some of the People must be openly bearing arms day to day in order for the deterrent value of the Second Amendment to be viable. Such open carry greatly wards off tyranny from domestic and foreign origins. If the only time that people were to regularly open carry was during practice, militia drills, and times of strife, it would severely weaken the value of the 2A as it relates to maintaining a free nation. Imagine the rules of engagement for a tyrannical government when that government could never be sure why the people were bearing arms in public on a regular basis. Any tyrannical move by government towards them, absent a clear and imminent threat, could be seen as an overt act of aggression and a declaration of war on the People.

        I understand much of your position in this latest article even if I don’t disagree with most of it. The big reason for me to support openly bearing arms everywhere and everyday by at least some of the People at any given time is as the deterrent indicated in the Second Amendment. I’m asking you about open carry for that specific reason. It’s a genuine question and I’m not trying to push you or anyone else towards giving a particular answer. It’s just that when I look at all of the rationale given by some for not open carrying, this one doesn’t really seem to get any deep thought and this one reason alone is crucial enough for me to continue open carrying and encouraging others to do so.

        • John,

          Sorry, I’ve just been pretty busy with work, family and writing projects. Let me give you an in-deoth answer on that later this week. In general, I don’t disagree that the people must be visibly armed as a deterrent to tyranny.

        • No rush, take your time. My question isn’t bait and I’m really interested in your take on it. I hope to learn from your POV. If the reply gets lost in the shuffle you are always welcome to get my email address from RF or anyone at TTAG.

          ETA: If anyone else wants to post their opinion on it, please feel free.

    • Chris Hernandez, I know that little time has passed since I first commented and I didn’t particularly expect a response by now. However, I wanted to make sure that my question did not fall in the cracks. I believe my point was unique amongst these comments thus far and that it is a valid question. After all, you stated:

      I’m about as pro-2nd Amendment as they come.

      Well, I highlighted a concept that sits at the heart of the Second Amendment as I did not find it addressed in your article. I take it at face value that you are pro-2A. Now, it would be nice to read your thoughts about open carry and the role it plays in deterrence of enemies foreign and domestic. Hopefully, it will demonstrate that you understand the Second Amendment and offer some good perspective on open carry that I believe is missing from your article. After all, how could someone be pro anything without understanding that which they support? The 2A is not necessarily just about defense against ordinary crime. It is not about hunting. It is not about target shooting. It is not about collecting. How is the deterrent value of the Second Amendment maintained if people do not openly bear arms regularly in public?

    • Actually, I have a problem with the pedigree, Chris! As a 25 year Marine I’m sure you will appreciate the concept of challenges on the basis of “Stolen Valor”. The Marines don’t normally accept new guys after they have had a 20-year LE career, so I’d assume you had the 25-year Marine stint previous to that. However, there was no conflict in either Iraq or Afghanistan 20+ years ago. Care to modify your brag, or explain just how that timeline worked?

      I’m sure there is a reasonable explanation, but it looks like you’re full of it, as of now.

      • Larry,

        Curses! I’ve been trapped by my own lies! The truth is, I’ve been assigned to two ultra top secret, Tier One, higher-than-high-speed Blackest Ops military units. One was called “The Marine Corps Reserve”, the other was called “The Army National Guard”.

        Now that I’ve told you this classified information, you know what I have to do…

        Seriously though, I signed the papers to join the USMCR in 88, went to boot in 89, became a cop in 94, finished my enlistment in the Corps in 95 and joined the Guard. Served in Iraq in 05, Afghanistan in 09. My cop service has been concurrent with my military service. We have 23,000 people in the Texas Air and Army Guard, and about 754,000 of them are cops.

        Your internet investigation skills need a little work, bro. 🙂

      • I assumed (and still assume) you were joking, LarryinTx. 🙂

        But, for anyone who is wondering…

        I’m a 20 year cop, former Marine and US Army combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. I blog at and have published two novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. I’ve been married 20 years, have four children and a beautiful granddaughter, and am a proud native Texan.

        In the military I’ve never been a special anything; I’m just a regular Joe, and I write about regular Joes. My novels stick as close to reality as possible, and my blog is full of true war and cop stories.

  19. Being able to carry concealed WITHOUT a government permission slip should be the primary motive behind anyone who owns a weapon . Might it be that since the ‘open carry’ idea is that a government permission slip is NOT required ,many want to support this movement…..As a 2nd A believer..I do not support ANY government required permission slip…for anything…..but I will still carry concealed…and open in the woods……as this writer explains in a very logical and informative way….Semper Fi

      • John, I had not even thought of that angle. People like our excuse for a prez have convinced themselves that nobody actually has guns, except for 2 or 3 people somewhere in the Midwest, screw them, I’m taking over. If he rode around in his bulletproof gas-guzzler and saw 50 or a hundred people OCing every time he went out, he might get a wake up call! OK, that was stupid, the guy is dumb as a post, but maybe his HANDLERS would get that call.

  20. Great write up Chris, you covered all the bases on safety, tactical advantage, and common sense. The only folks likely to reject and take offense to your observations and advice will be the nut-job hard core open carry obsessed fringe with their mindless group chant that by God their right to open carry any gun anywhere anytime in any manner they choose “shall not be infringed”; you know , the usual suspects like the Nutty Buckeye, Chip, and the other half dozen or so open carry obsessed zealots who bird dog TTAG ever vigilant for an excuse to preach sedition.

    I’m glad that Dan at TTAG actually posted such a measured, thoughtful, and rational opinion shared by most of us who actually carry a firearm for defensive purposes, and a mindset that balances the pro-gun agenda with a reasonable big picture approach to preserving 2nd amendment liberty.

    • Nasty names and calling me/us stupid will not carry as a logical argument, you sir have won troll of the day.

    • I don’t open carry, except occasionally in my shop. I may or may not if it becomes legal in Texas ( depends a lot on whether it will be licensed or not). None of which makes Mr. Hernandez’ arguments any better or worse. What might make them better would be to address the points made about deterrence and the relative paucity of actual examples of OCers being “targeted” and/or disarmed–and maybe an example of a liberal or two who actually gave an inch in their ideological opposition to the freedom expressed in the Second Amendment. There has been little to no response to those points, altho I see Mr. Hernandez has visited and commented. Instead, we get one incident where a guy managed to get robbed and says he “feels like” he was targeted because of his gun, and a couple of up-front “guns for me but not for thee” liberals who happen to take personal pleasure in firing guns. You don’t have to be any kind of mindless extremist to see the weaknesses there. You may have to be one to consider Mr. Hernandez’s views as unassailable by any thinking person.

      • Did Mr. Hernandez claim to have CC’d in Iraq? Afghanistan? As a cop? Let me guess, that was “different”?

    • See. This is why we can’t have nice things. The bottom line is everyone from the government to my brother wants to use FORCE or COERCION to either get me to do or not do something. That is the problem.

      Tactical, ideological, philosophical, rational, whatever, it doesn’t matter. If I’m not, either by commission or omission, depriving you of any of your rights then my FREEDOM to do whatever I want, regardless of personal safety, is none of your or anyone’s business.

      If what I have just written is not true then nobody that supports any amendment on a piece of paper or anything else has any “right” to bitch or complain because that means the government, the people (democracy), the “Right”, the “Left”, ISIS, or whomever does have the right to use said force or coercion.

      So which one is it?

    • I don’t know why you guys bother reading “so predicable – too funny” Unlis. He’s just here to incite arguments. Textbook troll.

  21. I agree with the article, in that realistically, OC makes people uncomfortable, because the majority of folks today are city-dwellers and have no perceived need for a gun in their daily lives. They are less familiar with them and more likely to be scared, in the same way that a bloody meat cleaver looks like an ordinary tool to a butcher but like a terrifying murder implement to those who have never gotten their meat (if they eat it at all) any way except in neat little packages from the supermarket.

    We aren’t going to do a lot of “winning hearts and minds” by showing off our guns in public, because it will never become common enough to be perceived as routine in downtown Bigcity the way it is on the farm -there’s simply less need for a firearm, except for self-defense, in a city, so the only ones who will OC are the activists. And for self-defense, CC is king, as the author explained.

    OC should absolutely be made legal, and if it takes rallies and OC demonstrations, then that’s what we ought to do. But from a practical point of view, the main benefit to OC laws is to protect people who are using guns as tools -to prevent the tyranny of John Doe getting hauled to jail by the overzealous constabulary after he is glimpsed carrying a rifle down a country road, or a pistol on his belt because he felt like it, or when somebody gets a peep at his piece when he stretches as he fills his car with gas.

    • We aren’t going to win by not pressing for it either. The alternative is to sit back and let the gun ban lobby erode everything a piece at a time. That is their long term strategy.

    • “Never” is a very long time. Are you sure?

      City dwellers are the very people who NEED to carry, the crime is horrendous. Someday they will figure it out, as of now the high-born are happy to continue their efforts to disarm the tint-challenged.

  22. Sigh….

    How statistically significant are all these possibilities? You’ve presented the same type of evidence as CSGV does: hypothesis and FUD.

    I suggest you may be doing too much reading there.

  23. There are multiple valid reasons on both sides of the issue. Location is one consideration. What is perfectly acceptable in Sand Point, Idaho is going to go over like a fart in church in downtown Seattle.
    Points have been eloquently made and I have no purpose other than to insert my two cents.

    I prefer not to open carry. I rely heavily on my natural life long keen observation skills. I’m aware of my surroundings and pay attention to what my eyes see. I also don’t care for the “slow to access” concealed carry. If someone has to fumble around trying to get their weapon presented, that may be too long. There had to be a compromise. I found that appendix carry partially obscured provides adequate concealment but blinding fast accessibility. Virtually nobody notices my firearm and there is a lot to be said for stealth.

    I fully support the right to to open carry, but I prefer not to tip my hand.

  24. The article is well-written and the point is received.

    That said, I don’t agree. OC is admittedly not always appropriate, in all settings or at all times. Agreed. But for many, concealed carry is simply not a serious option at times. It also reduces your tactical options, as you must carry a smaller gun, which will hold fewer rounds, and you will have to find a place for spare magazines. And I’ve had a hard time finding good mag holders that will attach to my belt AND remain concealed. I had to make do with a Leatherman pouch until it fell apart.

    If and when Florida gets OC, I plan to carry that way. I will invest in a good retention holster (police or similar), but I would really prefer to do so, because it means less sweat and grime on my gun. It also makes running much easier; I have to be very careful what kind of shirt I wear while running, what time I go, and what route I take, lest I start printing. Admittedly, buying a subcompact would help (I have a G19), but I shouldn’t have to.

    I will state categorically that OCing in a confrontational way is a bad and stupid idea and it makes the whole community look bad. Absolutely and without reservation, I agree on that point.

    As for the ambusher/ambushee thing, the point is that you are substantially less likely to be approached in the first place if you visibly have a gun. Combine that with simple alertness and it becomes a very effective deterrent. Contrarywise with CC the only visible deterrent you have is your alertness. That’s useful if you already don’t look like a soft target, but its less effective.

    Its true that if someone is going to attack you, you’d rather they hadn’t already psyched themselves up to assault someone who has a weapon. In that case, surprise is a VERY useful tool. But more will be turned away if they do know that you have a gun, because the mere having of a gun does make you less of a soft target in their minds.

  25. “… and people uncomfortable with guns will freak when someone openly carries a gun around them.”

    That is an irrational learned response — it is NOT a natural response. People do not freak out when an openly armed police officer walks by. Military personnel do not freak out when another armed service member walks by. Hunters don’t freak out when another armed hunter walks by. And soccer moms don’t freak out when a person drives by in a 4,000 pound deadly missile (automobile).

    I don’t doubt that a hysterical person freaks out the FIRST time that they see an open carrier. And I don’t doubt that they freak out the second or third time. Hopefully they eventually stop freaking out as they acclimate to seeing openly armed good responsible people.

    • Yeah, I’m puzzled by Dan’s mention of the hysterical reactions to the guy open carrying in a park. Those who open carry in states where it’s been legal for awhile keep saying they get little or no reaction.

      It’s all about getting the public acclimated, and the more people open carry, the faster that acclimation will come.

      • That guy was calling attention to himself, plainly trying to freak people out. He wasn’t there to take part in watching a game or anything, just to freak people out. Telling people “I have a gun and there’s nothing you can do about it”, etc. Clearly a mental case or a plant. Or both.

      • Yeah, most people don’t really notice that I carry openly. Even carrying a rifle in the Southwest Ohio cities doesn’t even seem to be noticed as much as the nay-sayers tend to claim. The sheep aren’t going to get used to it if we hide it.

  26. I am in complete personal agreement with all three of your points about the pitfalls of open carry, but I do NOT believe how we carry should be legislated at all. I will keep mine concealed all the time and be the “grey man” as you put it, but others may choose the riskier option. Open carry WOULD eliminate the possibility of accidental “brandishing” of the firearm by someone legally concealing a firearm, which is a big no-no here in Texas. In the summer heat, its easy for your untucked shirt to blow up and expose the grip of my G23 sticking out of my shorts! Contrary to popular belief, Texas is not the open range wild west as many suppose, and it will be a long time before we even follow suit with some of the more logical states who have already signed “permitless carry” bills and lose those infernal carry permits altogether. Too much money being made in fees and by those who make money leading concealed carry classes to eliminate permits altogether, I guess. In any case, your treatise is well thought out and spot-on from a practical standpoint.

  27. A lot of things are bad ideas. That doesn’t mean that there is a need for the government to ban them. People can make their own decisions about what works best for them and their situation.

  28. “Having said that, I think open carry is a bad idea . ”

    In general, NOBODY really disagrees with this. Its the principle of it being a choice!

    • I don’t think that open carry is a bad idea. It’s part and parcel of the whole necessary to the security of a free state thing. IMHO, to call open carry a bad idea is, in essence, calling the 2A a bad idea. There are greater things at stake regarding open carry than defense against ordinary crime. When these types of articles don’t even touch on that main thrust of the 2A then they essentially have little to do with the Second Amendment. The 2A isn’t about what these articles are talking about. These articles could be written with or without the existence of the Second Amendment and it wouldn’t substantially change what is being stated. It’s time for authors of these pieces who assert that they are pro-2A to connect their opinions with the actual amendment’s purpose and spirit.

      If these authors want to convince me where/when/how I open carry then they need to connect what they are stating with the Second Amendment beyond just speculating that the sheep will vote for gun laws. How is the deterrent value of the 2A maintained without regular open carry? Questions like that must be answered if they wish to convince me. If they aren’t trying to convince people to not open carry or on open carry in a certain way or at certain time/place then why are they being written?

  29. I have to ask why is an article that was published on the authors blog months ago just now being published?

  30. So open carry scares the sheeple and we shouldn’t do it. Fine. But our very existence scares the sheeple, so maybe we should all just die or something.

    • Add to that the fact that government wants us too ashamed and frightened of negativity to openly bear arms. Holder would like us to go through what smokers did years ago. Anyone see that Holder video? Having a people reluctant to freely and openly bear arms serves towards government’s favor to the determent of Liberty.

    • It probably refers to holsters other than the level 2 & 3 duty holster cops and other professionals who carry in uniform use.
      They make several good retention holsters for plain clothes and concealed carry.

  31. I for one am all for open carry for demonstration purposes as long as it is done right. And exposed boobs. but Id rather keep my pistol concealed and the element of suprise as well

  32. It’s no different than all the plain clothes detectives that OC. You’ve seen em. Most of these people that are open carrying at starbucks are just fakebook attention whores. Hey Hipsters?

  33. Great article! I have made some of the same points in my articles. As a police officer I often talk to those carrying for self defense. The two biggest problems I see are cheap non secure holsters and those keeping practice ammo in their guns on the street.
    If you carry for self defense carry the right ammo and spend the money on a good secure holster.

    • I believe that I’ve asked you before in comments to at least one of your writings: How is the deterrent value of the Second Amendment maintained if people do not regularly open carry? We get a lot of these articles that give opinion on tactics; self defense and political. However, none of them actual relate it to the purpose and spirit of 2A protections.

  34. once again, this sounds like self-inflicted constrtaint of 2A. “don’t scare the horses”. walking around openly armed will only be accepted behavior when the sheep see lotsa shepards, everyday, openly carrying a firearm. if you want adults to remain children in their worldview (see no evil, hear no evil, face no evil) then hide your gun. if we want people to accept lawful behavior, we should not fear demonstration.

  35. Hooters and Handguns? Sounds like a good movement to me. Maybe we could talk those moms into doing something like that. Check out the blonde with the twin 38’s

  36. Okay because of your experience as a cop you kind of mostly don’t like open carry. This was really long-winded without presenting anything new that was useful. I am going to estimate you changed the stance on open carry for exactly zero people.

  37. Much like the author, my work in entertainment takes me into some very left-leaning, statist circles. You know the type, government grants for everything except things like roads and bridges.

    Most of my friends know I’m a “gun guy”, most know I carry, but tend not to bring it up that often. I have a few friends though, that seemingly delight in finding news articles where someone who owns a gun messes up and there’s injury and/or death. And they call it a “data point”, while ignoring the millions of other data points of lawful gun owners who go about their days with no negligent discharges or other unsafe practices.

    Often the debate comes to a head though when said people find out that I’m armed in their presence, and have been for a long time. I point out that “nothing happened”. They then relax and tend to forget about it.

  38. Sorry to rain on your parade, but as long as there are open carry states like Arizona, which have none of the problems open carry is said to bring, there will never be a valid reason to prohibit or discourage open carry. None.

    • Precisely. We have been sold that line of crap before, with gunfights at the OK corral and blood running in the streets, over and over and over, every time another state proposed CC, and apparently some of us never learned. It has been done, the evidence has been collected, the jury is in, the question does not have any credibility any longer. Yet, here it is again.

  39. I wish OC were more the norm. My position comes from differences in hardware. My CC piece is in my hip pocket, a Ruger LCP 6+1 rounds of .380. If I were open carrying it would be my Sig SP2022 15+1 rounds of 9mm. With my fairly tall/thin build and clothing that I wear, the Sig is hard to conceal so I have to be satisfied with carrying a mouse gun.

    PS. While overall Georgia may be gun friendly, I imagine there are many urban/suburban areas that are not.
    Here in NC, our system is somewhat schizophrenic. We are an open carry state, but it is illegal to “go armed to the terror of the public”. We can carry in parks, unless there are athletic fields at the park. But many parks still carry the old no weapons allowed signs.

    • We put in much effort to get any unlawful signs removed everywhere they are still up in Ohio. If y’all aren’t doing that in North Carolina then you need to start. The signs will usually stay up and cause problems for CCers who print and OCers until people take the time to force government entities to remove them. Get on their case about it and don’t let up until the signs come down.

        • Ironically, that would be a crime in Ohio. 😀 Some do take the signs down themselves. I suppose that if the groups with which I associate weren’t successful over a great period of time, we would tear them down.

  40. The best written article on the internet, ever!

    “because I’m armed I’m much more likely to avoid confrontations”, is an argument rarely considered. In Texas I was walking into Bucky’s when some little guy in scrubs and crocs walked out and threw his wrappers on the ground. I watched it, looked him in the eye and never said a word. He launched into me about what I was staring at, and what was I going to do about it “bitch”. I took one step towards him, then got back on course to go into the store. My wife was surprised and happy that I didn’t teach the little fella manners, but I had to remind her that I was carrying concealed, therefore I had more responsibility to de-escalate the situation. Oh, but what I would have done if I hadn’t been carrying!

  41. I open carry every time I leave my house. Have done so for a little over 3 years now.

    I have never sent kids and moms screaming for there lives. In fact for the most part nobody even notices.

  42. I hold a Texas CHL and if current legislation goes through I will be able to carry openly.

    That said I doubt I will do so. I really don’t like attracting attention to myself. I would rather surprise a bad guy than have them see me coming and be ready for me. I suppose there ARE reasons to carry openly but I can’t think of any that apply to me.

    If you want to open carry, that’s your business and I won’t criticize. Nor will I faint if I see someone carrying openly.

  43. Only places I plan on OC is at home or the range. That being said, after OC passed in my state a few years ago, I’ve seen plenty of OCers. However, we have had ZERO, again ZERO incidents. No panicked 911 calls. No gun snatches. Nothing. And I’ve seen plenty of OCers. Mainly from people like the guy at my local supermarket who was wheelchair bound. IWB is not really an option for him. Nobody made a fuss.

    • To be fair, here, if someone managed to snatch my gun and otherwise left me alone, I doubt I’d report it. Bringing cops into any equation regarding guns should be thought through thoroughly.

      Let’s see you say that 3 times, real fast.

  44. I agree with some of your points, particularly regarding retention holsters. I’ve mentioned before that open carry must be done with class – that Starbuck pictures looks creepy. Having your gun in your hand is for self defense.

    With that being said, responsible open carry is a great way to introduce anti-gunners to balliatic normalcy. I’d think that they would just run out of energy being freaked out every time they see a gun. Then again, some people just really enjoy being freaked out.

    • I’d think that they would just run out of energy being freaked out every time they see a gun. Then again, some people just really enjoy being freaked out.

      That is precisely what happens in Ohio. The few that notice simply stop noticing, or at least blatantly freaking out, after seeing open carriers a couple of times. The very, very few that don’t tend to be drama queens about a constellation of other things too. When we were hindered open carrying handguns, we typically returned carrying long guns. By the third walk, nobody cared if people open carry either or both. From then on, most simply opt to conceal carry with a few still open carrying which maintains immune system memory (like a vaccine). Once the sheep see that it’s no big deal and that it is NOT going to stop, they settle right down.

  45. This subject has been kicked around on this blog before, and I doubt we are ever going to settle the argument.
    If you want to open carry in public, that may be your privilege, depending on where you live. But be advised that you may be making a target of yourself. You will also be scaring some folks, which may be scary for you! Because they vote!
    I just don’t see the point of it. If there are criminals in your immediate area, why would you want to tell them you are armed! If they also have a gun, and intend to do you harm, they have a definite advantage, since they know where your gun is and you don’t know where there’s is. In fact, you don’t even know who it is that may be coming for you!
    I like the writers comment about being the “grey man”. Keep a low profile. The less folks know about you the better, especially when it comes to you being armed!

    • If OC brings me risk, that would be my business, not yours. As mentioned before, there are plenty of OC venues in the country which have no problems. Why are we reinventing, here, all the objections which have been PROVEN groundless already? Is the sky falling, AGAIN?



    ** Open carry a completely unloaded handgun. You get the benefit of open carry deterrence and if some brave criminal takes your firearm – it will not function as they intended.

    ** Conceal carry a loaded handgun.

    Problem solved.


    ** Let them take your open carry handgun. Who cares. It’s not going to fire. Do a solid soccer style “check” and knock them over followed by a CC draw. If you are concerned they will run away with your piece, replace your open carry with one of those blank firing hollywood handguns. If they attempt to assault you – you know what to do.


    ** So does smokers these days. Opinions… we all have them. Everyone needs to exercise a liberal amount of tolerance so we can get along. BTW – you can’t please people that don’t respect privacy, rights, or can’t mind their own business.


    ** I agree with this. It’s called being polite. You want to carry a AR in a coffee shop? Why not?? Don’t carry an AR in a coffee shop in the low ready, with your finger above the trigger, posing in cell phone selfies, while telling everyone in the shop “Sup! I got an AR – there is nothing you can do about it. Suck on it.”

    While at the same time, if a guy is carrying an AR in a coffee shop that isn’t your business. Maybe his vehicle broke down and he didn’t want to leave his AR in the vehicle and he lives close by. Maybe he wanted to pick up a drink on the walk home. Who knows. Regardless, if he really wanted to hurt you, he would have done so already by running in guns blazing regardless of any carrying laws. Logic people. Understanding. Less fear.

    • Or, someone tries to take your OC gun, shoot him with it. 3, maybe 4 times nationwide, that will no longer be a problem. Except, of course, there are already OC places, and it is ALREADY not a problem. We are shooting ourselves in the foot, right here on TTAG.

  47. I’ve still to read an argument against Open Carry that holds water. These included.

    I support Gun Rights, but…

    Whenever a politician is a “but head” he gets both barrels…

    • If you can find where he indicated that Open Carry should be banned, I’d be more sympathetic to your characterization…or rather caricature…of his viewpoint.

      There’s a huge difference between “I support the second amendment, but I believe there are some reasonable restrictions” (which class of statement you rightly condemn) and “I support the second amendment, but you’re exercising it stupidly.” The latter statement is closer to what he is saying (he’s more polite than my paraphrase would indicate) and that latter statement holds the right as an absolute even as it criticizes your judgement.

      Or to make an analogous statement, “I believe in the first amendment, but standing in Harlem wearing an ‘I Hate Niggers’ sandwich board is stupid” does not make someone a first amendment “but”-er.

      Now if you want to disagree with him on whether OC is or is not the best choice, that’s another matter. But his belief that it isn’t doesn’t (by itself) make him anti-second amendment.

      • I agree. I didn’t read any thing in the article that would warrant labeling the author a right to bear arms butthead. (However, as I’ve expanded elsewhere in comments, the article was essentially 2A neutral beyond simple statements.)

        • A bunch of Americans would wish to carry. If half OC and half CC, where is there a problem? The circular firing squad here is silly.

        • Oh, I agree with you LarryinTX. I think OC vs CC discussions are counterproductive. I support the choices that anyone makes regarding carry modes. I’m overjoyed when they carry at all and don’t worry one second about how they do it.

          Frankly, I think a society that has a good mix of people CCing and OCing is best. It keeps criminals, tyrants, and would be invaders guessing who is armed but reminded that we always are. 😉

  48. When I find a retention holster for a Super Blackhawk, I’ll use it. But I’m still open carrying it. I think that for whatever reason (Hollywood?) the public sees well guns as less threatening than semi-autos. Since I prefer my revolver, and it’s a bit and to CC, I’m fine open carrying it.

  49. “Call me crazy, ” you are crazy or an anti-gun freak, trying for a low key slam! Your pathetic cry for anti-gun thinking response fills me with contempt. You do not want a conversation, you do want to take our guns!

    There should be a law against fake 911 calls. Oh there is! Repeat offenders be warned.

    Gathering all the kids and putting them in a limited egress situation. Then standing guard? With what deterrents available? Sounds like the parents were stupid, to me. Of course they were, in more ways than one!!!

  50. Recently in the city I live in I have been attending numerous city council meetings where the disarmament agenda driven council members were trying to pass a city ordinance banning open carry because one (one) person was seen carrying in a park and the police were called. Nothing happened. Yet the city spent a year and numerous meetings to find a problem worthy of their open carry ban solution. For many of the same reasons listed in this article I do not OC, but I am certainly for the right to do so. Busybodies want to ban or restrict whatever they personally don’t agree with while those who truly respect freedom want it even for things they do not choose to do. That is a big difference between us and the progressives.

  51. I’ve tried public open carry a couple of times and disliked it. Retention and defending my weapon were the two chief concerns. I’m not a big guy. 5’11” and 180lbs with a baby face that says, “I’m innocent and naive”. The last thing I need is to get in a physical altercation over my gun.

    I don’t take issue with people open carrying. But, I don’t feel like it’s the best option generally.

  52. I live in Colorado where outside of Denver and Boulder OC is fairly common. My county also has a very large number of CC permits issued. I usually do CC. This is because I generally have enough going on with the kids tagging along and don’t need another distaction. I also do it out of respect for my boss (who approves of carrying) and church (where I am in leadership) because I do not want to be a distraction from the more important things I have going on there. Out in the mountains or stopping at a rest stop after dark? Usually OC.

  53. “I’m not a fan of openly carrying a pistol. Before you accuse me of being an “anti-gunner” or liberal activist, you should know I’m about as pro-2nd Amendment as they come. I’m a 20 year cop, 25 year Marine and Soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan…”

    And thats when I stopping listing. A servant of the state, just another statist trying to shut down citizens.

    • Aerindel, please read the rest of the article. Even though I don’t agree with the author’s conclusions, it isn’t anything like what you seem to think it is. Nowhere did I read him calling for government intervention in the individual RKBA. I didn’t perceive anything particularly “statist” in it; which was a surprise because I’m usually hypersensitive to statism and expected it given his background from the article.

  54. These are the same old, tired arguments.

    1. Retention. 750k officers, carrying openly every day, in situations that have far greater likelihood than the average person to encounter someone wanting to try to take your firearm. Even so, very, very few are ever disarmed.

    2. Ambushing. We don’t live in a war zone. Criminals fear armed victims more than they fear police*. Open carry deters crime*, which lessens the likelihood of engagement, thereby decreasing the need for “ambush”.

    3. Drawing attention. So what. It is a lawful exercise of a natural right. Freedom is messy, but there is no right not to feel uncomfortable, nor is there a right to have your irrational fears assuaged by denying others the freedom to exercise rights.

    How about we leave the open carriers alone, and focus our energy on the people trying to disarm us?

    (*Citations available upon request.)

    • I would only add, regarding “ambushing”–even guys who ARE in a war zone carry openly. In fact, that whole “ambushing” thing kind of gave me pause; it sounds like something the action-deprived “moms” would come up with: “open-carriers want to intimidate people; concealed-carriers want to ambush people”. Like I said, the best course is not to be involved in an ambush at all.

  55. Here in South Dakota the main difference is OC has been legal and accepted for many years now, and the view is pretty much criminals conceal their guns honest citizens do not, I carry mine with a type two or three retention holster, even city police support OC, how do I know? I asked them. I’m just as easy going and friendly when I open carrying and mostly ignored anyway. Their are risks in everything we do and the odds of something happening have to be considered, so do what you think is best and I will do what I think is best and open carry

  56. I am not sure where the “ideological” argument against OC is supposed to appear in the piece. Some are tactical suggestions. Others are more “art of politics” suggestions. As such all can be argued over by pro-2A people. But nowhere here is he calling the fundamental right to OC in question, so what’s the ideological objection?

    • Very good point. Maybe the ideological statements made are that he supports the right to bear arms, openly or concealed. But there doesn’t seem to be any real expansion upon that; no argument. I agree, this article is mostly tactical with some political.

      Except for the author asserting that he is pro-2A, the article is really neutral on the 2A. It doesn’t really make a statement that touches on the purpose and spirit of the Second Amendment. There’s no ideological argument made on that subject either.

      • But I don’t see how it was neutral, either.

        Your complaint seems to be that he said he was all for the 2A, but he didn’t go on to explain why the second amendment was passed in the first place.

        I don’t believe it’s a requirement to explain the 2A’s history and purpose every time you say you are in favor of it, in order not to be “neutral” about it. Such a requirement would surely suck when the purpose of your article has nothing to do with explaining those things.

        It would be somewhat like having to give a short synopsis of the contents of “Evidence that Demands a verdict” every time one mentions one is a Christian. You might want to do so while talking to an atheist about whether Christianity is true, because such would be on-topic, but you are no less a Christian if you don’t do it while talking to other Christians about (say) what Christlike behavior is because the topic isn’t whether Christianity is true but more along the lines of how best to practice it.

        • No, he made the statement that he is pro-2A but only discussed reasons to not open carry that didn’t really have much to do with the 2A. Open carry for ordinary self defense isn’t really at the core of the Second Amendment. Open carry for political reasons is more of a First Amendment thing.

          What’s the purpose of these articles? Isn’t the purpose to convince POTG to consider certain ways, times, places of open carry? If that’s the case, then an author should at least give a cursory nod at one of the most important reasons to open carry. Otherwise, these articles simply serve to further support the notion that the 2A is outdated or not as relevant today.

          Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not harshly criticizing the author. I think he wrote a pretty good article. I would just like to see some of these articles address something more relevant to the Second Amendment if they are going to try to dissuade people from everyday/everywhere open carry. Even if OC made someone more likely to get shot, lose their firearm, and scare voters into supporting gun control laws; that still doesn’t remove what I and some others perceive as a necessary deterrent to tyranny (which is something the 2A is about).

        • It would be somewhat like that, except 2A is a guaranteed right and Christianity is a baseless rumor.

  57. Well said. I’m one of those lefty – leaning folks. Someone like you made their point as you did and I always conceal carry. I especially avoid scaring my friends who, for some good reasons, fear guns (having only seen the bodies in the ER). Whenever possible I mention that some of those bodies were actively trying to hurt other people when they were killed. And I add that when seconds count, in Detroit, the police are only 45 minutes away, if they arrive at all. Most all of my close friends now remind me to carry my weapon, especially when I’m doing yard work, that’s a major shift of viewpoint for them.

  58. I fully support Open Carry, it is just not for me to walk around with a pistol in plain view…

    I want to be like the old man at the internet cafe from the video. I prefer to just blend in. I live in TX and have long traded in my GLOCK, SIG, and Bushmaster apparel for UT, Texas Tech, Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers, and Stars gear. I don’t think I have ever seen half those teams play and I really do not even like hockey, baseball, or college football. I just want to be your average gray man… If the SHTF, I want to have every tactical advantage I can to ensure I survive. Situational awareness and all concerned, I certainly do not want to risk missing something and all of a sudden be the first target of a criminal thus giving them the opportunity of a battlefield pickup of another firearm.

    That being said, the benefits that I see for OC is that:
    1 – Goes to further restore the 2nd Amendment towards the way it was originally written (The only real reason I need since to me this is most important)
    2 – For CC people like myself, it makes being caught “printing” no longer a concern on the rare occasion I am at Walmart bending over to get the less expensive corn flakes and some Gun Demonizing Idiot goes crazy about a “Man with a gun” when at most they saw something bulge on my side (maybe an irrational fear on my part, but during my CC classes they drilled this into us pretty hard core)
    3 – For those inclined to OC, it allows them to individually express themselves.

    So I say bring OC on…. Everyone benefits.

  59. Chris,

    Punk cops in Florida have been known to arrest people for open carry because of their cloths being pulled up inadvertently. The law was modified to exempt accidental exposure or printing, but it is still a problem. Not all LEO are pro-2A, even in TX and FL.

  60. Few issues with the article:

    1. The author listed 3 examples, not separate points. The negative point of open carry has been that, and will always be, is that it potentially gives you less time to respond. The three examples provided show how open carry can reduce your time to respond to certain situation.

    Its a bit misleading to represent three examples for the same point as three separate reasons. It really distracts from the conversation by dulling the focus of what the problem really is and how to address it.

    2. Retention holsters are really only viable if the other person does not know the trick to remove the weapon. If they do, its a moot point. Think of it as key. If everyone uses the same key, what good does a lock do?

    3. Problem solving is a 5 step process. The first step is to identify the problem. The author allows the reader to assume what the problem is. That’s a great way to have miscommunication. Granted, I’m approaching this more from a problem solving/policy process than an opinion piece. And my style my not have been the authors goal.

    Finally, I guess I should say I don’t support 2A rights. I support human rights . The whole being armed is just part of the packaged deal. (I’m weary of the quibble I see that stems from such statements, it shows a blindness to the people around you. Your thoughts and actions should stand on their own merit regardless of how you or others paint yourself. All you do is create a cage for you to live in and try to force others to live in that cage with you. We should all have the integrity to reach beyond the limitations that we place on our selves and encourage others to do so as well)


  61. One cannot be a supporter of the Second Amendment and an opponent of #OpenCarry. There are only two ways to carry a handgun, openly or concealed and only one of those two ways is constitutional – Open Carry.

    Concealed carry is of no use to me, I don’t carry a purse. Besides, Open Carry is the right guaranteed by the Constitution, concealed carry can be banned.

    “{A] right to carry arms openly: “This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.”” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2809

    “[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms (art. 2) is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons…” Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 US 275 – Supreme Court (1897) at 282.

    “In Nunn v. State, 1 Ga. 243, 251 (1846), the Georgia Supreme Court construed the Second Amendment as protecting the “natural right of self-defence” and therefore struck down a ban on carrying pistols openly. Its opinion perfectly captured the way in which the operative clause of the Second Amendment furthers the purpose announced in the prefatory clause, in continuity with the English right…Likewise, in State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann. 489, 490 (1850), the Louisiana Supreme Court held that citizens had a right to carry arms openly: “This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.”” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2809

    “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152-153; Abbott 333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489-490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251…” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2816

  62. I think your article is complete bullshit for the most part. It’s the same old tired arguments against open carry we’ve heard time and time again.

    Retention is a problem? Well where are all the gun grabs that happen to people open carrying? I personally carry in a retention holster, so it’s not an issue, but most thugs aren’t going to try and grab a gun from an armed citizen anyway.

    On your second point, an open carrier might be targeted by an active shooter, but most thugs will avoid an obviously armed person. Active shooter situations are extremely rare, and an armed individual is much more likely to encounter a thug looking to rob, rape, or assault a person than an active shooter.. In these situations the deterrent effect probably outways the element of surprise.

    On your final point of open carry drawing unwanted attention, I haven’t seen it personally. I have always open carried for the last two years. Most people don’t notice, and those who do generally don’t say anything. Open carry has been an overall positive and convenient solution for me personally.

    All that said, I live in Oklahoma, where guns are generally accepted and the hot humid summers dictate light clothing. I support people’s right to not carry, carry concealed, or open carry. It’s not my place to judge others or their decisions, I do what’s best for me and my family, I’d suggest you do the same.

  63. Great piece.
    I am 100% supportive of OC, but I think it causes just as many problems as it solves, if not more.
    I would never want to ban OC, but much prefer CC and think its the better option for keeping the peace, and protecting people.


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