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Arizona – ( Over the past decade, there have been two reports of open carriers being attacked. In one case, the attacker tried to grab the openly carried pistol; in the other case, the reason for the attack is unknown. Both attacks failed. There have been two other reports of open carriers having their firearm stolen. One of those cases was in an area where an openly carried firearm was required to be unloaded. Bottom line . . .

It is more likely for concealed carriers to be attacked, because the attackers do not know that they are armed. The vast majority of criminals do not want to attack an armed person. Sometimes the attacks fail, sometimes they succeed.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both concealed carry and open carry; it is foolish to claim that one or the other is “best” all the time.  I carry both ways, as the purpose and circumstances seem best to me. I like to keep options. Here is the latest likely instance of a concealed carrier being attacked and his gun stolen.

On 12 April, 2015, there was another attack on an likely concealed carrier. It occurred at the Whitehall Carry Out in Whitehall, Ohio. A man who had a firearm in a holster was robbed at gunpoint by two men who had asked him for change before he entered a store to buy lottery tickets. When he exited the store, they accosted him at gunpoint.

It seems unlikely that the pistol was carried openly, as there is no report of the robbers telling the man to disarm during the robbery; and it is reported that during a struggle, the pistol fell out of the holster. From

The man told police he was walking to the store to buy lottery tickets when two men asked him for change. The man said he had none and went inside the store.

After exiting, one of the men pointed a gun at him and said, “Don’t get shot over change.”

The victim, armed with his own gun, fought the man, reports said.

During the struggle, the victim’s pistol fell from its holster, police said.

Reports said the two men took the victim’s gun and his lottery tickets and fled in a vehicle.

It is clear that the robbers were reluctant to shoot, or that the firearm that they used was either non-functional or a fake. A significant percentage of criminals’ guns are non-functional.

While no mention was made of a concealed carry weapons permit, it seems likely that the pistol was being carried concealed.   It is rare to see an open carrier that does not have a retention system on their holsters, while it is common for concealed carriers to carry inside the waistband holsters with no retention system.

The report reinforces the wisdom of having a retention system of some sort on a firearm holster, if simply for retaining the pistol during a fall or violent movements, such as may occur in an accident or during exercise. Retention during a fight is even more important.


(c)2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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    • I agree with your sentiment but civilian life isn’t a combat-zone. No matter how much situational awareness someone has no one will be highly aware 100% of the time.

      • You can train yourself to be more aware of your surroundings when you’re out and about, it simply takes practice.

        • Agreed. Situational awareness does not equal paranoia. Don’t be an easy target, regardless of carry method.

        • More people understand the concept of situational awareness then actually know how to achieve it. It has become sort of buzz word in self defense community. How intense you focus is a function of the density of he environment and the potential threats you might face. In a sparse environment, where you can see threats a long way off takes a lot less focus than it does walking in crowded urban center with your daily receipts on the way to the bank. One of the most important aspects of maintaining SA is establishing a baseline for your location if possible and focusing on the abnormal.

          Let’s face it in general we are not threatened by SPETNAZ or mafia hitmen. The threats we face are pretty obvious if we notice them. Case in point. I was standing at the margin of a park last night and saw three approach “youths” with glowing cigarettes in their mouths just after dark. I immediately became more alert because it wasn’t normal to see that where I was. Not every anomaly is threat but most every threat is going to be an anomaly for the environment.

        • As a police officer in a fully marked patrol car and in full uniform, I can demonstrate a lack of situational awareness every day – even with CCW holders. No one is 100% aware 100% of the time, myself included.

          Just posting on TTAG reduces situational awareness. Fatigue, workload, stress, wives, girlfriends, keyboards, text messages, going #2, sleeping, Facebook, cell phones, football games, 2 year olds, etc. all reduce or eliminate situational awareness.

          Some people’s “well you I’m just gonna be aware all the time” attitude is vexing. Have a plan – a lot of plans, actually – if you are caught by surprise.

          • Accur81- I get what you are saying. As a wildland firefighter, SA is crucial to my survival. It is also true that different environments call for varying levels of SA. From a CCW perspective, I think identifying risk in a given environment is part of the balance we try to strive for. I can’t always be ‘on’, but I should at least recognize when the potential for danger changes and adjust accordingly, despite how I feel.

        • Frosty,

          Much respect of your are a wildland “hell jumper” firefighter. That’s takes some brass balls. I pretty much just shut down the roads when that happens.

      • Ok, not 100% of the time, but how about just those times subsequent to two sketchy characters asking you for money?

        It’s well known that many criminals assess the situation, or obtain situational awareness, prior to attacking. This can include casing a potential burglary target, or “interviewing” potential robbery candidates.

        One way or another, such a criminal will gather information about the targer, often by observation, but sometimes by direct interaction, too. It can all happen extremely quickly, or possibly play out over minutes or more time. Howsoever, one can tune into such behavior and detect it. That countermeasure alone is often sufficient to deter an attack, but it at least gives you time to prepare should one come.

        Nobody’s claiming you can detect and repel every would-be attack, only that maintaining situational awareness goes a long way toward that goal.

    • So according to the article, there were two attacks on open carriers, and both failed.

      Except that there were two more attacks, which were successful, and seem to make that first statement dishonest.

      Plus one more attack that may or may not have involved an openly carried firearm, but was included, in detail, for no good reason.


      • People who do not want others to open carry make the argument that open carriers will be attacked without warning, that they will “be shot first”, that they lose the element of surprise.

        That is why I differentiated between “attacks” where the open carrier was physically attacked, and the two robberies, where the robber used a threat to gain compliance and complete the robbery.

        Even though the robbers knew the open carriers where armed, in the two robberies, they did not shoot the open carrier to obtain the firearm.

    • Exactly. While I believe that Dean is correct, the story he uses to illustrate the point is a situational-awareness fail. Two dudes coming up to you, asking you for “change” (or a light, etc.) should always raise flags.

  1. “The report reinforces the wisdom of having a retention system of some sort on a firearm holster”

    My retention system is the same as for hundreds, maybe thousands of years, try to take my weapon and I will kill you. What are you guys thinking? The best “retention system” is to leave your gun at home in the safe, unloaded. You carry to protect your life, and the lives of those dear to you, not to protect your firearm.

    • I don’t disagree but have you ever ran with your carry gun in your carry holster? Depending on a lot of factors just the simple act of up and down from running can cause it to move. That is why holster based retention is so important.

  2. I think your sample size might be too small to draw these types of conclusions. A subset of Americans carries guns at all, so you’re likely to find that people carrying guns are less likely to be attacked than those who don’t, simply by virtue of the fact that most people aren’t carrying. A subset of that subset is people who carry their firearms openly vs those who carry concealed. The vast majority (as I understand) of people who carry firearms regularly do so concealed. So, your article is based on an observation of a subset of a subset, of a subset. Without an actual statistical analysis and a large enough sample size of open carriers versus concealed, I have to call shenanigans.

    • Correct. We need the RATE of attacks on each type of gun carrier to have a meaningful comparison, and to get that, we’d have to know how many folks carry openly vs concealed. Based on the fact that you can’t hide the info that you are carrying openly, and many states outright prohibit open carry, concealed carry is FAR more common, and that alone could account for the large known amount of CCW folks being attacked. But it says nothing about the RATE of each kind of attack.

      I think comparing the two types of carry is just too much apples and oranges. CCW carriers can (and probably often are) attacked not BECAUSE they are carrying, but because their carry status is unknown to the attacker. That cannot be said of a person who willingly attacks someone carrying openly. The attacked CCW carrier can still opt to do nothing, or even briefly wait for more favorable conditions before acting, in some cases; open carriers will never have those options. For them, it’s “immediately use it, or lose it” along with everything else you will be losing.

    • You are correct. The sample size is much to small for a scientific result. However, anecdotal evidence is thrown at open carriers all the time. Each one of those four incidents has been published all over the gun culture media as “proving” that open carry is a bad idea. No one else seems to be publishing the more common incidents of concealed carriers being attacked. It is not considered “news”. The purpose of the article is to show that both systems have advantages and disadvantages.

      I do not have any problem with people carrying concealed weapons; but some people have a real problem with others carrying openly.

  3. Being ask for change on the way in AND the same guys still outside on your way out should be a BIG RED FLAG! It sounds like the victim was oblivious of the obvious!

    • +1, anyone asking for change or cigarettes should be viewed with suspicion.

      • Quite true, but most Walgreens in my city have one conman attached to them, and they’re harmless though scary. I go to CVS, or to the one Walgreens that doesnt have beggars. I also do not allow strange men to approach me at my car. Bad experience taught me that one.

        • “I also do not allow strange men to approach me at my car.”


          Do you not pull into parking lots where there is anyone standing outside?

          I’m not trying to be obtuse, here…

    • If you encounter beggars outside a store, tell them “I’ll get store security to assist you.” That usually clears them out. If not, take photos.

  4. “There are advantages and disadvantages to both concealed carry and open carry; it is foolish to claim that one or the other is “best” all the time.”

    This is self evident, however many would disagree because they either don’t believe in the right to bear arms and/or are uncomfortable exercising the right to carry openly. When open carry is so common that most everyone knows about it and doesn’t really care, the battle will be as won as possible. When guns are demanded to be kept in the closet, as in SC and FL, the battle will rage. (The battle is lost in NY, NJ, CA).

  5. Sorry don’t want to Monday night quater back, but the guy in this story is a dummy. I carry every day and I always train myself mentally “its not worth fighting for if its a material object.” I reckon if he would have just given them some change, he’d still have his gun and dignity. If it went sideways from there then game on, but I dont see the point in a struggle or possibly having to take a life (even if justified) over some money or any other material object. Just my 2 cents

    • … so your idea of dignity is to essentially submit to robbery whenever there is so much as an implied threat?

      • If your goal is to live, the solution is not to start fights every time. If starting the fight is suicidal, then losing a little money is definitely preferable.

        • Vs. the criminals’ iron-clad guarantee that you will not be harmed if you just comply, right?

          Because that has worked SO well for victims in the past…

      • So what would you do then in this situation tough guy?? The bad guy already has the advantage on him, he’s already pointing a gun at him. What would you do tough guy?? Pull your gun out and get taken out over a few bucks?? My point is you need to learn to pick and choose your battles. There’s a time to fight and theres a time to stand down and asses the situation. I rather not kill someone over some material object if I dont have to. The second I feel my life or the life of others are in immediate danger I wont hesitate to kill them.

        • Well, he is pointing a gun at you and is threatening your life with a lethal weapon.

          The other point is that you say material objects aren’t worth risking your life protecting, but the predator pointing a gun at you thinks so little for your life he’s willing to kill you for those objects.

          What is your freedom worth? Your life. Because the only price that you can pay to be free is the willingness to give your blood or your life. No money, no material object can buy your freedom, only your commitment to give your life to be free.

          And in that moment, that tyrant isn’t stealing material objects, he is stealing your freedom, that most precious of objects. He is making you a slave, even for a moment, which moment will be with you for the rest of you life.

          Because I guarantee, that moment will be fresh in your mind, even if it happened thirty years before, as the day, the moment it happened.

          So you can surrender to that tyrant, and give him what he wants, but don’t kid yourself as to what he is stealing. He is stealing your dignity, your freedom, he is making you a slave, a piece of property to be owned. and killed, on his whim.

          So in that moment, you may choose to give the twenty dollars in your wallet, but know you are also acknowledging this predator as your master, and you as his slave.

        • M9A1MAN, you present a false choice based on a flawed understanding of the dynamics of this type of situation. It is NOT an either/or; the BG can take your money and STILL KILL YOU, or rape your wife/daughter, or do whatever else he wants. It happens quite regularly, and yet people still act surprised when they hear about it. If you do not challenge him, he has all the power, and you will have no further input on how he wields it.

          Personally, anyone who threatens me with deadly force and does not bother to cover their face or otherwise hide their identity is telling me they are not concerned about witnesses to a felony, and that’s all I need to know about how the situation might turn out for me.

          I’ll say it again, because it bears repeating: giving in to the criminal’s demands does not provide ANY guarantee of safety, and if you allow the BG to take your gun vs using it, even under less-than-ideal circumstances (at the point of his gun), you have made your situation worse, not better. It’s not about toughness, it’s about understanding the relationship between the criminal and his target; and you are not getting it — at all.

          And the first hint you have that “my life or the life of others are in immediate danger” may be his bullets entering your body, and at that point, you are in a far worse situation than trying to draw into his already-aimed gun.

      • There is another issue. If someone is pointing a gun at you and you pull yours, it better be loaded and ready to fire when the trigger is pulled.

  6. Well I can’t open carry in Illinois. Guess I’ll have to take my chances,,,

  7. If I can’t run without my pistol bouncing up and down in my holster, I don’t use that holster.

  8. This is an interesting article. There seems to be basically zero (okay, four as Mr. Weingarten stated) attacks on open carriers in the last 5 to 10 years. That said, there seems to be almost zero attacks on concealed carriers as well.

    I have to wonder … there seems to be far fewer open carriers than concealed carriers. Do the almost non-existent attacks on open carriers simply reflect the ratio of open carriers to concealed carriers? Saying it another way, I can easily picture that concealed carriers outnumber open carriers by a factor of 100 to 1 — and that seems to be roughly the ratio of attacks on concealed carriers versus open carriers.

    • If we accept the premise that there are 1-2 million DGUs per year, as numerous studies have found, the fact that there have only been 4 reported attacks on open carriers in the last 10 years is what makes this bit of data interesting and potentially significant. Even if concealed carriers outnumber open carriers 100,000 to 1, this would seem to indicate open carriers are less likely to be attacked than concealed carriers are. That doesn’t mean concealed is a worse choice, but it is something worth considering.

      • Exactly what I was thinking. Let’s challenge that “no concealed carriers attacked” assertion, using some numbers (admittedly pulled out of thin air, so feel free to correct):

        Let’s go with the lower estimates, and assume 200,000 DGUs per year.

        Let’s then assume that 90% of them happen in the home. That leaves 20,000 that happen outside the home per year, or about 55 DGUs per day.

        According to John Lott, there are about 12,000,000 concealed carriers. Let’s assume that there are 1% of that number who open carry. That gives 120,000 open carriers. (I think that number is woefully low, but we’ll run with it.)

        Let’s assume that 10% of both groups carry daily. That gives 1,200,000 daily concealed carriers, and 12,000 daily open carriers.

        If all four known attacks on open carriers happened in the same year (20,000/year):

        4 attacks / 12,000 open carriers = 0.03%
        19,996 attacks / 1,200,000 concealed carriers = 1.67%

        If all four known attacks on open carriers happened in the same month (1,667/month):

        4 attacks / 12,000 open carriers = 0.03%
        1,663 attacks / 1,200,000 concealed carriers = 0.14%

        Even if all four known attacks on open carriers happened in the same week (385/week):

        4 attacks / 12,000 open carriers = 0.03%
        381 attacks / 1,200,000 concealed carriers = 0.03%

        So, even using very conservative estimates, there would have to be 4 open carriers attacked every week in order for open carriers to be attacked as frequently as concealed carriers.

        Again, I admit that these numbers are pulled out of thin air. So, anyone with better/more accurate estimates/assumptions is welcome to correct them.

        • Nah, stick with made up numbers. They work better to support an unsupported narrative.

  9. Well Dean, you’ve outdone yourself on this one. Thanks for offering the rest of us a glimpse of how someone totally consumed and obsessed with all things open carry perceives their reality while demonstrating a whole new level of creativity and desperation to rationalize and justify an inherent lack of common sense and need to be the center of attention.

    Just out of curiosity, how many participants in this analysis do their grocery shopping sporting an on-safari outfit complete with color coordinated pith helmet and holster?

    Too funny!

  10. There’s not a whole lot of mugging going around in my neck of the woods, but I’ve always figured the best response is to feign compliance while pulling out your gat instead of your wallet.

    Personally I like concealed because even a couple of percent of the people carrying concealed makes the criminals think twice about attacking the other 98%. That and the psycho killers always target the guy with the gun first. Better to be mugged than shot to death.

    • Watch out now, any dissension or deviation from the talking points of the Nutty Buckeye, Chip, or the rest of the open carry obsessed regulars who bird dog this site is not tolerated, appreciated, and often ends with a troll accusation.

      Speaking of the Nutty Buckeye, haven’t heard any of his frequent threats of armed insurrection in the last week or so, sure hope he’s okay, maybe he’s just been busy preparing for the liberty loving revolution he dreams of.

      • At least one person commenting on this thread seems to be obsessed. You might catch a glimpse of him if you look in the mirror.

      • “Watch out now, any dissension or deviation from the talking points of the Nutty Buckeye, Chip, or the rest of the open carry obsessed regulars who bird dog this site is not tolerated, appreciated, and often ends with a troll accusation.”

        Lighten up, Francis.

        Excuse me, ‘Officer Francis’…

      • Well Ted Unlis. Do I think your being a “troll”in your derogatory and demeaning depiction of thise that choose to OC as being “obsessed”, wanting to be the “center of attention” ” and with an “inherent lack of comon sense” ?


        Buy I do believe you, in the use generalizations, bigotry, intolerance, insults and demeaning depictions of those that choose differently than yourself as saying more about your own lack of character, a lack of humanity, than those that you are dehumanizing.

        You use the same tactics as the statists, the freedom haters that attack and dehumanize all of those that choose to practice their right of self-defense in ways that they disagree with.

        So if that is the company you prefer to associate yourself with, have at it.

        Me, I’ll continue to practice my rights as I see fit, and won’t judge others for their choices, even if it’s different than my own.

      • Watch out now, any dissension or deviation from the talking points of the Nutty Buckeye, Chip, or the rest of the open carry obsessed regulars who bird dog this site is not tolerated, appreciated, and often ends with a troll accusation.

        You really are an obtuse son-of-a-gun, aren’t you?

        For the umpteenth time, I carry concealed. The difference between you and me is that I don’t let my carry choice influence my opinion regarding others’ right to carry in the manner they see fit.

  11. I never carry open, except at the range. Why advertise? The less a stranger knows about you, the better!

  12. Wow, what a factually inaccurate opinion piece. Hey Dean, care to mention why you left out:
    William Coleman III
    The april incident in Yakima
    The april incident at the Kangaroo Express
    The june 2010 incident in MILWAUKEE

    In 5 minutes I found these 4 incidents of open carriers being attacked/robbed of their guns.

    • The April incident in Yakima, if that was the man with his three kids in Walmart being attacked by a guy with a bat, the story says he used his CONCEALED WEAPON to subdue him.

      So you have two other incidents this april, and one from over five years before.

      Ummm, some how I think you are proving a Deans point.

      • Somehow I know you didn’t bother to look for the Yakima incident. Don’t let the blinders get in the way of your hard charging attention seeking mission.

    • I mentioned four incidents in the article. You found four incidents.

      William Coleman III was required to have his pistol unloaded. He was robbed.

      The Yakima incident was one of the attacks. We do not know the motive of the attacker. He never tried to grab the pistol.

      The Milwaukee incident was the other case of the open carrier being robbed.

      I do not count having a handgun sitting on the console of your car as “open carry”. If a burglar takes a handgun that is in a dresser drawer, is that “concealed carry”? The operative word is “carry”. I think Bob Owens is stretching the definition to the breaking point when he calls having a firearm visible in your vehicle “open carry”.

      • I think Bob Owens is stretching the definition to the breaking point when he calls having a firearm visible in your vehicle “open carry”.

        in fact, in Ohio (where the OP story took place), a loaded firearm inside a vehicle is statutorily considered to be concealed. So, that gun on the dash? Ohio considered it to be concealed.

  13. Two things come to mind:

    1. Multiple anecdotes do not make data.
    2. Correlation does not equal causation.

  14. Everyone’s all over the “per capita” statistical argument, but while a couple of folks above have hinted at it, I didn’t see anyone who came out and say that in this particular instance, situational awareness includes not only trying to avoid businesses who always have beggars outside, but always if you have refused to make a “donation to the cause,” as it were, remain doubly on your guard. My wife has been targeted several times in this instance, and she has successfully let them know she was prepared by reaching for her concealed firearm, which sent a powerful message and sent them scurrying, including one instance in which a guy appeared to have a weapon of some sort (hand was gripping something inside his jacket pocket, so she didn’t know what).

  15. Author does not have data to make any real claims.

    If we are just tossing around ideas, consider that the typical CC person is highly aware of their potential to be a victim and by CC, they have already committed to a rather significant change in behavior to address this. It is probably they have other differences including better situational awareness, training, avoiding high risk locations, etc… So while having a firearm does give one a valuable tool, the mindset that goes along with that (OC or CC) is also going to have a big impact on being a victim or not compared to the general population.

  16. Did this study include LEO’s? I would imagine if someone had no qualms about attacking an OCing LEO they certainly wouldn’t have any fear of an OCing citizen.

  17. Dean, Dean, Dean… you simply must acquaint yourself with the concept of confirmation bias. Consider: most of the general public is unarmed. Now consider that any concealed carrier would’ve been attacked whether or not they were carrying, so it really has nothing to do with them having a gun or not. Now consider how SMALL that overlap might be! In my state of Michigan, only 1 in 40 or so people have a permit, and of those, only a fraction of those carry on a daily basis. So if you’re a mugger, your chances of running into a CCW are pretty slim.

    Open carriers, however, draw attention to themselves by both honest folks and bad guys. While I’m sure that a good number are deterred, we’ve seen several instances where carriers were attacked BECAUSE they were carrying. So, unlike the CCWs, the OC people WERE singled out because they had a gun. Huge difference.

    We know that police are shot with their own firearms far more often than CCWs or even civilians in general. Why? Because their guns are plainly visible, and retention can become an issue fast. As Grumpy says, the author cites no hard data, and for good reason IMO; it’s not there.

    • Excellent response that specifically refutes and exposes truck size holes in this latest nonsensical argument floated by the open carry obsessed.

  18. The overwhelming majority of open carriers are POLICE OFFICERS on duty.

    As a group, they get assaulted an average of 60,000 times* per year.

    So the entire premise of this article just went down the toilet. Epic fail.

    * Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

  19. The correct research question would be what are the percentages of open carrier attacks and concealed carrier attacks in a particular geographical region. I’ve noticed more open carry lately in places that do not and never have had much risk of violent crime to begin with.

    • Good point, Don. Might be in part because people who live in areas with a high number of felons don’t want to walk around looking like a one-punch-and-you-get-a-free-gun target.

      I also suspect people are more likely to conceal when they know they would arouse alarm by openly carrying, as in more liberal anti-gun areas. They want to avoid harassment by police who get man-with-gun calls from hysterical hoplophobes. Open carry probably is more common in rural areas with lower crime rates, where most of the locals don’t freak out at the sight of a gun on your hip.

  20. I CC and Open carry. Open carry is for the intimidation factor. it has a retention system. When CC I use a N82 Professional in the wast-band. It has a nice retention system that keeps the gun in the holster yet extremely easy to draw and present. the great thing besides the retention factor is it is very comfortable and protects the entire hand gun from Sweat. they also have a CC in the wast-band Mag carrier that is just as comfortable and protects the mag from sweat. Check them out at Made in the USA. I looked a long time for a holster that would keep sweat off the weapon and ammo.

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