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Michael in GA posted the following in the comment section . . .

Is it counterintuitive to open carry a sub compact pistol? I was at a restaurant for my wife’s birthday with her and her mother. A man one table over stood up and had a Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield on his hip.

I nudged my wife and gestured with my eyes toward the gun. She looked and said, “That’s great!” I said no, it isn’t.

If you are going to open carry, carry a full-size. The Shield is designed for concealment. By open carrying it, you have just removed the most important advantage of a sub compact and ignored all the advantages of a full-size gun.

She said I shouldn’t criticize a fellow gun carrier. My point is, once you join the armed citizenry, why not do what makes the most sense? Why limit capacity, accuracy, reliability, power for the ability to conceal and then open carry?

I would rather conceal a full-size than open carry a sub-compact.

A couple of reasons come immediately to mind.

Michael says he’d rather conceal a full-size handgun than open carry a subcompact, but that’s hardly a universally held viewpoint. If you’re going to own just one pistol, lots of gun owners would rather have one they can effectively conceal when open carry isn’t an option.

For a lot of people, carrying a full-size M&P, even under a cover garment is about as discreet as Sherman marching through Georgia.

Or maybe the carrier has smaller hands and doesn’t feel as comfortable with a full-size pistol, or doesn’t shoot them as well as they do a smaller gun.

But we’re sure you can come up with some reasons yourself. Let Michael know your thoughts in the comments below.

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  1. One should carry the most powerful firearm one can within the circumstances. So, if you open carry, carry a more powerful gun (in whatever way, more rounds, larger caliber, etc.). If concealing a firearm necessitates carrying a less powerful one, that’s fine, however, still carry the most powerful one you can.

    • Johhny LeBlanc,

      Your comment is very practical and wise advice.

      Keep in mind that some people may not be able to afford both a “small” pistol for concealed carry and a “large” pistol for open carry. If that is the case most people would opt for the “small” more concealable pistol.

      Friendly reminder on the total cost of ownership of semi-auto pistols:

      Conventional wisdom tells us to shoot at least 200 rounds through a new semi-auto pistol to break it in and ensure that it cycles reliably–including that its magazines work reliably. Conventional wisdom also tells us to shoot at least 200 rounds of the specific self-defense ammunition that you plan to carry to ensure that your specific self-defense ammunition cycles reliable in your pistol. At today’s prices, 200 rounds of target ammunition could easily cost about $60 and 200 rounds of self-defense ammunition could easily cost about $200. Thus, before you can sensibly rely on your new semi-automatic pistol for self-defense, you have to burn through an additional $260 on ammunition. In other words that increases the “cost of ownership” of your semi-auto pistol by another $260.

      When you realize that a second self-defense pistol could easily cost $400 PLUS another $260 for ammunition to break it in and have confidence that it will reliably cycle your self-defense ammunition, you can see where some people may not have that much extra cash laying around. Looking at it another way, it is one thing to shell out $640 for one reliable self-defense pistol–and it is another thing entirely to shell out $1280 for TWO reliable self-defense pistols.

        • Not necessarily true. My CZ RAMI is a PITA. No matter the type/make of ammo or any of several mags it’s a jammer. Have even sent it back to CZ once. Very disappointed.

    • I suggest everyone open carry your gun around your own home for a full day. Then you will see if the gun you have is too heavy to carry with you. Police do it for a living. You don’t. You may find your choosen firearm is to heavy for daily carry.
      Open or conceal.

      Perhaps that’s why this person is carrying a subcompact, much lighter gun.

      • Police also carry their full-size on a 2 1/4 inch belt with a holster designed for wear all day. IMO, a Shield in .40/.45 would be great for CC. The old joke that a porcupine os open carry while a skunk is concealed relates to this controversy. Open carry may be quicker but do you want to advertise that you are armed when confronted?

  2. Cause he damned-well wants to……… enough.

    A small pistol is still more convenient when carried in the open.

    Some people don’t like like having their pistol get in their way whe going about their life.

    Better to have a gun than not. And he want carry what he carries every day whether concealed or not.

    Don’t be offended that other people carry what THEY want, not what YOU want.

    • “Don’t be offended that other people carry what THEY want, not what YOU want.”

      Well, you triggered my PTSD. Your words are hate speech, thus constitute violence, which is a hate crime. Telling me what to do interferes with my natural, human, and civil right to not be made uncomfortable in pursuit of my rights. Busybodies are the bane of civilization, and evidence of a suppressed Napoleon complex.

      People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

      • Sorry there Sir, but your “civil right to not be made uncomfortable” is absolutely no concern of mine and most logical people. Deal with it.

        • “your “civil right to not be made uncomfortable” is absolutely no concern of mine and most logical people.”

          Recommend standing up when you re-read my comment. ‘Fraid it sailed completely over your head. Sometimes happens to new readers on TTAG.

    • as of right now, your comment has not been let out of quarantine.
      most of mine eventually surface.

  3. yes, there is only one correct way to do it, everything else is wrong. if you have a 10″ blackhawk you can cut the tip off of your front pocket and scratch your leg if it gets itchy. and you have to mexican carry the davis. the curve goes in your wife’s purse. one point slings. belly bands.

  4. the open vs concealed carry debate is a fools errand
    just like the ar vs ak debate
    theres just no convincing the ak people
    despite the overwhelming amount of evidence
    that the ar platform is clearly better
    so lets not even get into it ok

    • AK is Alaska
      AR is Arkansas.
      Bigger is better, plus you never know where your AK is hiding, somtimes it might be between Florida and Cuba other times it hovers off the coast of California.
      With an AK you never have to hide your gunm in a lake.
      And if you do you can pull it up, shake the minnows out and start shutting. Cant do that with an ARkansas15.
      Plus after you’ve emptied the gunm trying to hit the barn you can wing the AK mag at it and if you miss it comes back like a boomerang.
      Americans are a funny bunch, the AR is the reason America lost the Wars in every country its been used in. Well except Kuwait and the only reason for that was America was still using the 1911.

    • Because it weighs less. Nobody in their right mind would want to carry a lighter weapon 24/7 ! It is known that if your carry weapon doesn’t weigh at least 3 lbs, there’s no point in carrying it!

  5. Better than carrying one of those stupid cell phones that looks like a pistol. I’ve actually seen this a couple times.

  6. My father recently purchased an M&P9 Shield EZ because he is having trouble lately racking the slide on full-size semi-auto pistols. Thus, if my father carried openly, it would probably be that pistol.

    (I showed him superior body mechanics for racking slides a few times and he seems to forget how to do that in short order.)

    • Has he gotten the finger pinch yet? I have one, and while it’s easy to rack the trigger pinches my finger on the release every shot. I don’t shoot it much for that reason.

      • gunnygene,

        Not yet–because he has not shot it yet. I actually ran it through its paces for him to ensure that it is reliable. (My mom has significant health deficits which make it effectively impossible for my dad to go out shooting.)

        So, we have to hope for the best if he ever has to use it for self-defense.

        • Ok. If he objects to the finger pinch, you might consider a different model with an optics cut for a red dot. That can be used to make racking easier. I have a Holosun SCS on my Glock 34, and they have started making flush fit dots for several other models – no adapter plate needed. Or you could get a Handi-Racker for the price of a couple Happy Meals. 😉

          handiracker dot com

    • I give a lot of credit to S&W for the Shield EZ line as it opens up options to the elderly beyond revolvers but learning a new manual of arms can be the territory of diminishing returns depending on age and ability. May your father never need it but happy it works for him.

      • Have multiple Shield EZ for the female members of the family. The tipup barrel pistols are an innovative solution to the rack issue. Though most use a round that is less than optimal. .380ACP being the largest I’m aware of.

        • “The tipup barrel pistols are an innovative solution to the rack issue.”

          Thinking the extra time needed for full reload would prove unhelpful.

          If the need follows the 3X3X3 rule, reload would be unnecessary.

  7. The commenter, Michael, is a 2nd amendment Karen (or Ken). Do it my way or the highway.
    Nobody likes a busybody and especially a holier-than-thou busybody. Your wife is way smarter than you.

    The open carrier doesn’t need your input nor are they required to follow it. You do you and leave others alone.

    • “Do it my way or the highway.”

      And this is something that bothers you? There is a right way, a wrong way, and some other way. It is the latter two who bristle at doing things the right way. If you don’t do as I say, then you are just evil, wicked, mean, bad, and nasty. So there.

      Oh, did I mention dumb?

      iViva Zapata!
      iViva Max!
      iViva Las Vegas!

    • Not firearm related, but certainly fits the “holier than thou” meme. I can post this because I live in MS, and can bear witness to similar events. 🙂

  8. I believe that “Michael in GA” was on the right track with the wrong delivery.

    What Michael in GA said was factually correct from a purely ballistic perspective. Of course life demands that we consider additional perspectives. Thus, even though that open carrier’s choice was “wrong” from a ballistic perspective, it may have been “right” from other perspectives.

    Rather than railing on someone’s choice of handgun and carry method, I believe it is much more constructive to consider the pros-and-cons of someone’s choice. That enables everyone within earshot to learn something–or at the very least to reinforce what they have previously learned. And it may just enable someone to reevaluate their choices and choose a “better” approach.

  9. I’ll take $300 because he wanted to Alex.

    Damn reason enough. Maybe he likes carrying a light pistol open. Maybe he thinks its purdy. Maybe he believes theres not a silly rule book that says what you can and cant carry open

  10. Not really seeing the relevance here.

    I’m much more inclined to carry concealed regardless. But that’s just me.

    Relax and carry on.

  11. I frequently open carry. I am a big believer in minding my own business but there are a couple things a person can do to make us gun owners look a little better. First, don’t carry a cowboy 45 in a 50 year old worn out leather holster. Second, if you are covered in tattoos and or generally dress like a bum don’t open carry.

    • Nope, it’s engaged properly… unlike the picture a few articles back.
      I believe it’s also a full sized carried by J Dub.

  12. Since it sounds like the M&P is not being fired/exercised…Clean it, lube it and leave the slide locked open for a couple of weeks…unloaded. After that with no mag make your dad practice racking, firing. Next proceed with mag and rack to slide lock to slide release to firing, repeat. I know it’s difficult when a loved one needs attention but find a way to take him to a range, etc.

  13. My guess, Hubby got a little chubby during football season and his favorite carry piece didn’t fit inside his trousers, along with his gut.

  14. Why? Weight could be one reason. I have a friend that carries a 43X because of a previous back injury. Anything heavier has him in misery by the end of the day.

  15. Why open carry a compact pistol, it’s small and has low capacity?

    Why carry a 1911, it has low capacity?

    Why carry a 380, it isn’t powerful enough?

    Why carry a revolver, it has low capacity?

    This can go on an on and on… he’s carrying. Focus on getting the people who aren’t carrying to carry if ya want to do something useful instead of Karen over their firearm choices.

  16. Why is it any of your business Karen? Man can carry what he wants cause 🇺🇸
    Maybe he ain’t compensating. Bet ya didn’t say nothing to him did ya?

  17. “I would rather conceal a full-size than open carry a subcompact.”

    @Michael in GA, what makes you think that man was not concealing a full-size?

  18. One other possibility, that may have been the only gat he owned!

    Where I live concealed seems the best choice, fortunately I have a choice of several pistols depending on how hot it is and my destination. The closer to Atlanta, the bigger the gun.

  19. I prefer to open carry a pair of Desert Eagles chambered in .50 AE in a twin shoulder holster rig just like Brendan Frasier in THE MUMMY. My preference would be to have a dozen reload magazines on me. I’d also prefer to have Rachel Weis as my co star.

    Since I can’t have everything that I want, I carry what is practical to carry.

  20. I carry a smaller one now after a motorcycle injury messed up my arm and the weight of my old duty weapon was a little too much! Been to the range and hit as well as I used to with the lighter one! Former cop and retired Military! I won’t miss!

  21. Bullets don’t care if its open or concealed carry full sized or compact. If you can reliably put bullets in the bad guy threat if you absolutely need to do so and those bullets are effective at stopping the bad guy threat, does it really mater to you at that point if someone was not satisfied with your choice of carry and wants to nit pic ?

  22. Perhaps because that’s the weapon he trains the most with. I.e., he mostly carries concealed, but on occasion OC’s, and when he does he prefers to carry the weapon he’s most used to.

    I have lots of different guns but for EDC I try and stick to the same one (and train, train, train with that). It’s a tool, not a fashion accessory.

    • I remember when 007 switched from a 25 acp to a 32 acp. ‘E wanted more stopping power!

      I agree a smallish open carry works where open is legal – throw on a low-hanging shirt, you are automatically in concealed mode…

      • haha, Sub Compact, not mouse-gun, there’s the whole category of micro-compact in between. I doubt anyone here supporting subcompact open carry would dare to hand a Beretta 418 on their hip for all to see.

        The only exception I could see is the NAA belt buckle

    • My 2cents? None of yer business! Just got back from Range USA after purchasing a Taurus G3x. Full size grip,15rds with 3.25″ barrel. No safety lever. Wife can easily shoot it(she ain’t no girly girl). And I don’t give an eff what anyone thinks!🙄😀

  23. I think you should carry what makes sense to you for your situation, which may easily be different from someone else’s.

  24. Anyone, other than a uniformed police officer, is an idiot for carrying any gun in the open for self-defense in public. By making people aware that you are carrying a gun, you have given up a key tactical advantage of having a gun on you. Bad guys don’t make appointments. You won’t know when they will strike. When it comes, it will happen in an instant. They usually observe their victims beforehand to ascertain vulnerability. They may avoid you if they see a gun, but you can also be the first one they shoot. Don’t give them an advantage over you. Be discreet when CCW, the life you save may be your own.

    • Probably an old wive’s tale unsupported by evidence. I would suppose instead that most bad guys looking to score would shy away from a MWG. They want an easy target, not a gun fight. People get hurt, even killed in gun fights. Attack fast, totally dominate the scene, grab the goods and scoot.

  25. So the degenerate looking to rob the next person walking to the parking lot will have second thoughts about approaching someone with a firearm on their hip.

  26. You might consider that it is a symbolic gesture of support for the right to bear arms, while avoiding the inconvenience and negativity that are the common bystander reactions to exposing a full-sized pistol. I support carrying a full-sized pistol in unpopulated situations. However, I would not particulate in a gunfight in a room full of people. Rather, if a person started shooting, I’d go after them physically. If I get shot or killed trying to protect innocent people, in that situation, I’m fine with that. So I open carry a small pistol, just to let people know that I believe we all have the right to.

  27. You wont see many concealed handgunms at a nudists camp.
    Concealed handgunms have the element of surprise however they are slower to bring into action.
    In today’s world one should assume everyone is armed, therefore getting your gunm out of the holstein faster then the other guy would be beneficial.
    Small gunms are harder to grab in a hurry. Pulling up your shirt or reaching around your back might be the milliseconds you needed to save your life, unless of course the element of surprise offsets the speed of the draw.
    Carry what you like, how you like, and practice.

  28. The size of your open carry doesn’t matter. What matters are you being safe doing so? Are you using the proper holster? And a proper gun belt?

  29. Carrying a subcompact also gives the owner more carry options without going to a different gun.

    When open carry is comfortable and desirable, carry open. If you’re gong into a venue where concealment is desirable, carry your compact pistol concealed.

    I’m with LKB on this one — I’m also a proponent of a single carry weapon with which you are familiar and comfortable.

  30. “You are using it wrong.”

    Does this guy work for Apple?

    It’s your gun. As long as you are following the 4 rules and not commiting a crime while in possession who the hell cares this much about how someone else is using their own property?

    Paging Karen your mom is on the line and wants you to come home right away for dinner.

  31. I personally prefer full sized sidearms and open carry. But, when going into more populated areas, I do switch out to a smaller sized, more easily concealed weapon. More to keep the faint of heart and busy bodies/Karens from over reacting. If someone wants to open carry a small frame, or subcompact weapon, their choice. None of my business or concern.

  32. I guess Nobody knew he had a bomb in his shoe
    And they Watch his hands making twitching motions.
    The heels click three times
    And the alarm clock chimes
    Because Theres no place called home
    When your guts are blown
    All over Kansas

  33. I learned years ago when I was in to photography that the small camera you have with you takes much better photos that you left at home because it was too big and heavy to have with you all the time.
    Same principle applies with guns. I would much rather carry my 18oz Boberg than a 40 oz full size brick.

    • But Karens just can’t do that. And just like Fudds the firearms community is rife with them.

  34. Contrary view: if he shoots that particular gun well and maybe even has a light and optic for it because he usually carries concealed, but now has a chance to open carry it, why not?

  35. post bait but off hand, weight or lack there of, convenience, unobtrusive and doesn’t get in the way or hung up on something or klunk. into something. A long time gun and knife merchant once told me he sold ten times more small knives and guns than large knives and full size guns.

  36. Great question! Here’s an even better one. Why would anyone open carry ANY handgun if they’re serious about maintaining a tactical advantage in just about all defensive use of a firearm scenarios likely to be encountered?

    • “Why would anyone open carry ANY handgun if they’re serious about maintaining a tactical advantage…”

      Counter-threat warning?

  37. Consider the possible symbolism and affirmation of any open carry. We live in society where many people are afraid to express their views, because of the nasty media reaction, especially the liberal media. There are a certain percentage of gun rights supporters who need to know that they are not alone. I saw a statement, from a reputable source, that a majority of USA households are armed. But that important, but admittedly alleged, fact, seems to have gotten no other media coverage. When someone appears in public, with a gun, even a mouse gun, it says to other gun rights supporters, “I’m with you”. And it says to anti-gun crowd, “What are you worried about”. Many people, in our free society, wear symbols of their beliefs, be it religions, patriotism, or even abortion questions. I am reminded of a poet’s reflection when seeing a grand profile, seemingly of a male face, extending from a rocky cliff in New Hampshire.
    “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades: Shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers monster watch; a dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the mountains of New Hampshire, God almighty has hung out a sign to show that there he makes men.” Daniel Webster. Gerry

  38. I have 2 handguns. A 43x and a TP9 Elite SC. I carry both, but never openly. When training at the range, I will occasionally do open carry draw practice. That is the only time they aren’t concealed.

  39. What I really like about my G19’s is I can carry them concealed or open. I prefer the open carry option.

  40. It is possible that the M&P Shield was his only pistol and he can’t carry concealed. Carry what you have. Any gun on you is better than one at home.

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