Open carry or concealed?

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I try to not stand out in public. I am unremarkable in dress and manner save for the odd possibility of being noticed for having busy eyes. I like to be left alone while out and about. Carrying a firearm openly would spoil that for me. It's not a tactical decision to carry concealed, it's an emotional one.
 
My thoughts about open carry:

There are plenty of irrational people in public - drunk, drugged, and mentals - who don't react as a rational person would. Open carry may actually attract them to you. (If you're forced to confront such a person at gunpoint their mental state may cloud their ability to appreciate the danger to themselves.)

In addition there are gangbangers who'll harass, taunt and menace you just for kicks and giggles (I've personally witnessed this as an LEO) - knowing full well that, as a law abiding citizen, you're going to play by the rules and be at a disadvantage when they mock you, goad you into possibly over-reacting and set you up for arrest, or "bravely" force an openly armed person to run away to increase their own reputation and stature.

When you carry concealed the OODA Loop is in YOUR favor. The bad guy has the expectation that HE controls the situation but he does not. When reality does not match his expectations (he expects you to be unarmed and vulnerable) then he is surprised and falls behind mentally and physically in reacting to any tactically appropriate fast transient maneuver you perform, which allows you to get inside his OODA loop and quickly defeat him.
 
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As debated here over the past several days, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages for either mode of carry. So much depends on the circumstances surrounding any potential BG encounter, so we should give consideration to whether to CC or OC according to our expected activities and environment. As far as which mode is best...well, most of us here can cite theoretical and anecdotal situations to support our own preferences. It just depends too much on circumstance, skill set and yes, personal preference.

As a general principle I tend to side with CC, but would like the option to OC when I think circumstances so warrant. Most of the time I figure I would benefit more from the element of surprise (i.e., CC) than deterrence or speed (i.e., OC). Although I live in one of the handful of states that prohibit OC, I probably wouldn't do it very much anyway. My personal preference is for only my family to know when I'm carrying (which is almost all the time).

Still, if my plans for the day would put me in situations where I want to OC, I would like the option--though my reasons for doing so would be partly political, partly tactical. I think that if more gun owners carried openly more often, it would tend to soften the general public's view of gun owners, but perhaps more importantly, if the BGs see enough folks carrying openly, they might have fewer opportunities to earn a dishonest living. Those reasons would be sufficient induce me to OC sometimes.
 
i would perfer to cc about 95+% of the time but i do see that in certain circumstances oc would be a nice option. i will say that i like being the only one who knows im carrying, it just gives me more options if i find myself in an undesirable situation. in ohio it is legal to open carry but if someone calls the police on you, the police will still come & often detain you untill they can verify you are a citizen in good standing. which is another reason to just cc & avoid the hassle altogether. personally i just like to blend in with the walls & not draw attention to myself from anybody, which is why i cc.
 
Conceal in the open, I carry my HK in the diaper bag sometimes, people never notice. Cute baby I guess.
 

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I agree that open carry makes you a more likely target, than someone who is carrying concealed. That being said I still envy the fact that you have that right in your state. While Texas is one of the more friendly gun states we do not have that option here, I'd be happy if they would just relax on the "printing" regulations.
 
It's funny to read those going on about the dangers of open carry. It's important to keep in mind that open carry is legal in many states and all this doom, gloom and danger doesn't actually happen in those states. The reality is that those open carrying do not experience a higher rate of crimes being committed against them, nor do they get involved in incidents more often. For every anecdote about an open carrier having some issue, there is a matching story about some concealed carrier having an issue.

Statistically speaking however, open carry does not change the day to day danger of just being out in the world.

That's as bad as the anti's claiming blood will flow in the streets if 20 round magazines are sold in stores. The statistics simply don't agree with that.

I would be almost 100% open carry if I had the option. Open carry is more comfortable and easier to do. Therefore I am more likely to have a gun on me.

Rule #1 of a gunfight, bring a gun.
 
Texas Knight said:
I agree that open carry makes you a more likely target, than someone who is carrying concealed.

It is amazing how many stories we see on the news or read about of open carriers who are attacked/shot/robbed by criminals every year. Especially considering how much danger we are in because of our gun.
 
I've lived in the Denver metro area since 1977. This is an open carry state except for the socialist capital city. In all of those years, I've never seen a single person carrying openly without being accompanied by a uniform or a badge. In all of those years, I've frequently been at all points of the compass in this metro area, but I've seen nothing. This isn't a commentary, just an observation.
 
Both...concealed (no retention) when I can but in the warm season when wearing a cover would "mark" me anyway I carry openly (with retention). Fortunately I live where open carry is not all that uncommon and in the years of doing so have not once received any negative feedback. Hmm..why do you suppose that is?

Sorry I am old school and I guess unfashionable. I don't go around with my shirt outside my trousers just to conceal a firearm..not my style.
 
I have always had to open carry because I'm not yet old enough for a CC permit and I am not yet old enough to purchase a handgun from a dealer. There have been times where being concealed would have been nice, but I fail to see much of the defensive bonus of having a gun hidden that takes additional time to take out. I remember the element of surprise being an offensive tactic used to overwhelm your target. Also, if carrying a gun is meant to keep you safer and your gun is well hidden, then how does that deter crime? To a criminal, you look just like everybody else and they could target anyone on that block thinking that nobody has the means to stop them. If you open carry, then the criminal plainly sees that you are armed and that trying anything would be a bad call. The visible gun is a kind of deterrent and definitely raises criminal awareness that their potential victims could very well be hard targets. In a way, it sends a grim message. I am very aware that everything has its drawbacks and the tactical penalties to open carry are that you may very well end up being the first target or that someone who is desperate may accost you for your gun. No system is perfect and every style has its unique holes. These can be addressed by paying more attention to your surroundings and having a hidden backup weapon. Openly carrying raises firearms awareness in society and is a way of doing good PR work for gun rights by demonstrating that you are a normal, responsible, sane person who just decides that carrying a gun is their best option. If the gun is hidden, then how do you raise positive awareness of RKBA? Gun rights will not improve unless the public and the politicians are strongly convinced that guns are normal and beneficial to society.
 
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I have always had to open carry because I'm not yet old enough for a CC permit and I am not yet old enough to purchase a handgun from a dealer. There have been times where being concealed would have been nice, but I fail to see much of the defensive bonus of having a gun hidden that takes additional time to take out. I remember the element of surprise being an offensive tactic used to overwhelm your target. Also, if carrying a gun is meant to keep you safer and your gun is well hidden, then how does that deter crime? To a criminal, you look just like everybody else and they could target anyone on that block thinking that nobody has the means to stop them. If you open carry, then the criminal plainly sees that you are armed and that trying anything would be a bad call. The visible gun is a kind of deterrent and definitely raises criminal awareness that their potential victims could very well be hard targets. In a way, it sends a grim message. I am very aware that everything has its drawbacks and the tactical penalties to open carry are that you may very well end up being the first target or that someone who is desperate may accost you for your gun. No system is perfect and every style has its unique holes. These can be addressed by paying more attention to your surroundings and having a hidden backup weapon. Openly carrying raises firearms awareness in society and is a way of doing good PR work for gun rights by demonstrating that you are a normal, responsible, sane person who just decides that carrying a gun is their best option. If the gun is hidden, then how do you raise positive awareness of RKBA? Gun rights will not improve unless the public and the politicians are strongly convinced that guns are normal and beneficial to society.

mortablunt, I think I agree with everything you've said here, but I still prefer to carry concealed. (Not that I have any choice anyway in South Carolina, one of only a handful of states to completely ban OC unless on private property.) Even if I had the choice, I would almost always carry concealed anyway. Yes, OC can be good PR for gun rights, but that's not my primary reason for carrying. Same thing for deterrence. I would like the freedom to choose between OC or CC since there may be some circumstances in which OC would be more appropriate, and as a free citizen I should have option. But to be honest, PR and deterrence are probably the strongest reasons I would have for OC, and I need a little more than that. Just my personal preference though, and I don't judge others for their preferences.

The main deterrent effect for CC is that criminals KNOW some people carry, but they almost never know WHO we are. Violent crime has even decreased in D.C and Chicago over the past couple years, and those places still don't have THAT many more weapons than before SCOTUS took an interest in their restrictive gun laws. Also, the issue for those places isn't even CC or OC, but just owning operable weapons to be kept at home for self dfense, and yet crime is still decreasing. The point is, it doesn't take that many legal weapons in society to have a positive effect. See http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/09/30/media-silence-is-deafening-about-important-gun-news/ for more on falling crime rates in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

It's true that there is no "defensive bonus" in the additional time needed to draw from CC, but I'm not a gunfighter; I'm a citizen willing to defend myself and others with deadly force if it should come to it. It's the last resort for when only deadly force can prevent serious harm to the innocent. While it does take a little longer to draw from concealed, you can become pretty good at it with practice--SAFE PRACTICE. If you're aware of your situation, drawing from concealed should be possible in time to counter the threat.

But ultimately, all of that just leads me to what I consider the most important factors regarding CC vs. OC: 1) WHY do I carry at all? and 2) Whatever my choice, can I do it properly every day? Fundamentally, CC just answers these questions better than OC.

(Besides, as noted above, OC is still illegal in South Carolina, but that's a topic for another thread.)
 
I conceal it, but I don't go through great lengths. If you look hard enough, you can see it. If I bend over, it prints real fine, if the wind blows, it shows.

Instead of using my pistol to speak for me, I speak for myself. I don't look like the guy you want to mess with either, I don't have any problems and I am seldom, if ever, approached. I like it that way.

Maybe it's the beard, boonie, and frown that does it, I don't know. Being 6'+ and over 220 helps too.

A lot of people do open carry here though. Especially at Starbucks (it is an activism thing to draw more awareness --folks who open carry are tired of getting the cops called on them by people who don't understand the law, including the cops that show up). In the crowds and pictures I've seen, the ONLY problem I have with any of them is that some don't have any retention and carry 4o'clock. Waaaaay too easy to disarm these people. For open carry, a level 2 or 3 is a must, in my opinion. Preferably one of those puzzle type holsters the cops use that you have to use the old nintendo code to get it out! But the Serpa would suffice.

Just don't open carry, please, in a leather IWB holter, even a nice one.
 
I carry a gun whenever I legally can (mostly when I visit Arizona or Nevada). I generally prefer to carry concealed. I find it more convenient, and I am well practices in drawing from concealment. I have carried openly on fairly rare occasions.

mortablunt said:
...Openly carrying raises firearms awareness in society and is a way of doing good PR work for gun rights by demonstrating that you are a normal, responsible, sane person who just decides that carrying a gun is their best option....
I've seen this frequently stated, in various ways, but I've seen no evidence that it is true. We don't know what people think of us when we are openly carrying a gun. We don't know if they perceive us as normal, sane and responsible. There are probably people who will, simply because we're carrying a gun, see us as not normal, sane or responsible, no matter how well we may be dressed or otherwise deporting ourselves.
 
When I'm in my neighborhood, where people at least know my face if not my name, I open carry. Especially when with my family. If I venture further out, I'll conceal it. The only reason I do so is because I quickly grew tired of the hassle of getting MWAG'd. The only people in my neighborhood that pay any mind to it are the parents of the lippy kids that live in the apartment building nearby who have a penchant for vandalizing and thievery.
 
One argument for open carry is that the gun can be a full sized service gun. I *can* conceal a M9. But it looks mighty funny.
Whereas open carrying one, most people would think I'm an off duty Army Officer or Cop. Strange, that.

My point is that while we keep discussing the "criminal might attack you first" or "might be detered" you very much CAN carry a big and easy to shoot gun.
 
Concealed Carry... always. If I were a bad guy, open carry would not deter me from anything. I would simply alter my tactics to take you out first... and possibly gain more firepower. You are giving up the element of suprise, and automatically drawing attention to yourself. I believe that what deters crime is the possiblity that not only one, but multiple people may be concealed carry(ing).
I have seen multiple people Open Carry(ing) hassled by store managers, cops, concerned mothers, etc, etc etc. To me, it is just not worth it. If you live in a neighborhood that is that bad... consider moving.
This is just my opinion... and I am not trying to pass it off as fact.
 
USAMP1980 said:
Concealed Carry... always. If I were a bad guy, open carry would not deter me from anything. I would simply alter my tactics to take you out first... and possibly gain more firepower.
If I was hoping to get robbed so that I could shoot someone, I would carry concealed. Then I’d look like I was unarmed and maybe some punk would feel lucky, then I could kill him and be a hero. The police and the prosecutor’s office would thank me, his family would thank me, and maybe the city would throw a parade for me. Oh yeah, concealed is the only way. :rolleyes:
USAMP1980 said:
You are giving up the element of surprise….
You don’t have the ‘element of surprise’, because that was the tactic the bad guy used on you. What you are erroneously calling ‘surprise’ is better described as damage control.
USAMP1980 said:
I have seen multiple people Open Carry(ing) hassled by store managers, cops, concerned mothers, etc, etc etc. To me, it is just not worth it.
Yeah, man what a lot of drama. You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fist, or if you hassle me just a little.
USAMP1980 said:
This is just my opinion... and I am not trying to pass it off as fact.
Do you want to know how a guy with a resume that wouldn’t qualify him to manage a McDonalds restaurant is sitting in the Whitehouse? It’s because people form opinions based on sound bites. They don’t employ critical thinking skills to really reason things out in their own heads, they just believe the first thing they hear and consider themselves informed. For example, you say if you were a bad guy (first quote) you would ‘alter your tactics to take out [the open carry person] first’. If you applied some simple thought and research, you would find that every study ever done indicates that criminals will avoid an obviously armed person/household. Not some of them or most of them, every single one. You would also realize that ‘surprise’ is an offensive maneuver, not a defensive one.

I love the quote on this website (which doesn’t advocate open carry whatsoever):
Self defense is predicated on the fact that you are in a very bad place to begin with. Things have already gone to hell in a hand basket. As such, self defense is making sure the situation doesn't get any worse -- it is damage control, pure and simple. However, no damage control is EVER as good as preventing the problem in the first place. That's personal safety...
By your line of reasoning it is better to get in a fight, then try to get out of it successfully, rather than not get in the fight to begin with. You are advocating self-defense over personal safety.

If you prefer concealed carry, that’s fine. We all benefit when the good guys are armed. But don’t employ sound bite thinking to discredit open carry. There are a few of us with years of actual experience who may disagree with you.
 
Concealed carry presumes it is better to wait until the opponent has drawn his knife or gun and then try to ‘fix’ the situation. It’s seems a bit foolish to promote the idea that it’s better to attempt to stop a violent crime in the fourth stage when you could instead prevent it in the second.

I don’t want to be a victim that fought back successfully and triumphed; I prefer to not be victimized at all. I recognize that there are some people who (think they) want to be victimized so they can whip out their concealed firearm and ‘surprise’ the mugger...

Whenever you are placed in a defensive situation, you will always lose; it’s only the degree of loss that’s negotiable. Regardless of how skilled you are at drawing your weapon, you are going to lose. It may be only a minor loss, like being very shaken up and not sleeping well for a few days, or it may be a major loss, like becoming fertilizer, or (most likely) it may be somewhere in-between, but you always lose. Your life will not be the same even if you prevail.

Imagine you’re walking along the sidewalk when two gangsta looking teenagers suddenly appear at the corner coming in the opposite direction. You have only seconds to react if their intent is to victimize you. Do you draw your concealed firearm now or wait until there’s an actual visible threat? If they are just on their way to church and you pull a gun on them, you are the criminal and you will likely forever lose your firearms rights for such a foolish action. If you don’t draw and they pull a knife or pistol when they’re just a couple steps away, your only options are draw (if you think you can) or comply. Imagine staring at the shiny blade of a knife being held by a very nervous and violent mugger, three inches from your or your wife’s throat and having to decide whether or not you have time to draw from concealment. The element of surprise may not do you any good; in fact the only surprising thing that might happen is that your concealed carry pistol gets taken along with your wallet. The thug will later get a good chuckle with his buddies about how you brought a gun to a knife fight. The simple truth is that while surprise is a monumentally superior tactical maneuver, it is exclusively an offensive action, not a defensive one. What many internet commandos call ‘defensive surprise’ is nothing more than damage control, a last ditch effort to fight your way back out of a dangerous situation.


That's alot of words which only say: I'm hoping the image of the gun on my hip deters crime instead of making the the focal point.

Also, this assumes that the only option to preventing it is having a gun on your hip when something like eye contact may do as well or better.
 
BBQLS1 said:
That's alot of words which only say: I'm hoping the image of the gun on my hip deters crime instead of making the the focal point.
Hope has nothing to do with it, so your argument fails right there. All evidence says it deters crime. All the studies say that criminals avoid an obviously armed person or home. My personal experience says it deterred at least one crime against me, and after several years of daily open carry, has never made me the focal point of crime. Hope is what we do when we carry concealed; we hope the bad guy gives us enough time to draw from concealment, we hope we don't have to prove we can draw from concealment without fumbling and dropping our gun. I also carry concealed at times, so I'm no stranger to concealed carry. I hope I will never need my sidearm, for me the most practical way of realizing that is to deter, not challenge the criminals.

BBQLS1 said:
Also, this assumes that the only option to preventing it is having a gun on your hip when something like eye contact may do as well or better.
You have made a false assumption, thus your argument fails here as well. I use all the same avoidance techniques as you (collective you) do to avoid violent crime. At no point in any of my posts in favor of open carry, or in anyone else's post, do I see us making the claim you've assumed. If you can point to where any of us has made the claim that open carry is our only option or anti-crime technique maybe I can see where you've made your error.
 
If this turns into another one of those acerbic open vs. concealed carry arguments instead of a simple discussion among friends, I'm closing it. Play nice or else...

lpl
 
^^^Was this directed at me? I thought I was playing nice, and didn't try to insult anyone. This is odd.
 
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^^^Was this directed at me? I though I was playing nice, and didn't try to insult anyone. This is odd.

Let's face it, you were handing the anti-OC crowd their butts, using unfair tactics such as logic, critical thinking skills, intelligent cogent positions and, worst of all, continually attacking the argument instead of the person.

:)

FWIW, I have your USACarry.com "Why OC?" (paraphrased) thread specifically bookmarked, I refer to it quite often; excellent treatise on the OC position, IMO.
 
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