The debate over open carry vs.concealed carry has raged on forever, and I’m sure it will continue for as long as people have preferences on the matter. Over the years, I have seen this debate erupt from a simple conversation to an outright shouting match between otherwise intelligent and responsible liberty-minded people.
I have my preference, but I can’t criticize others for having different opinions. The bottom line is that as long as you seek out the necessary training before you carry, and practice safe, responsible and lawful gun ownership whenever you do carry your firearm, that’s all that matters to me. We’re all exercising the same rights here, and we all have to face the same challenges when it comes to preserving those rights. So, in essence, we’re all on the same team, so to speak.
Those who choose to open-carry rather than concealed carry do so for legitimate reasons — ditto for concealed carriers. Your idea of which is better or worse is an opinion and nothing more.
Here in Nevada, we’re fortunate to be living in a state where we have a choice. Granted, to carry concealed, we still have to ask permission from the iron-fisted nanny state to exercise our inalienable rights for now, but, at least we still have the option. As a 15 year resident, I spent the first 12 years here in Nevada without a concealed carry permit as a protest against the requirement to take a class and pay a fee to the local constabulary before being granted permission to exercise my inalienable right to carry a concealed firearm. I have previously held CCWs in 5 other states where they accepted my military gun qualifications in place of the CCW class. Unfortunately, here in Nevada, that wasn’t the case. Nevada wouldn’t even consider my military record, unlike so many other states. When I decided it was time to start carrying concealed, I finally broke down and got my permit a few years ago. I can tell you first hand that the cost of entry in time, dollars, and unfair state laws undoubtedly keeps a lot of Nevadans from carrying concealed. Our local pro-firearms organization Nevada Firearms Coalition is working to remedy that situation.
Are You the Target or the Solution?
Those in support of concealed carry might say that if you should happen to find yourself in a crowd of people and are confronted by a villain hell-bent on shooting the place up, anyone with a visible firearm would become the number one target. Open-carriers would claim that openly displayed guns are a definite deterrent to crooks who might otherwise see an easy opportunity. I guess it would depend on the situation, but both arguments are valid in my humble opinion. Concealed carriers might not want to attract attention to themselves by carrying an openly displayed firearm in public. Perhaps they’re concerned about offending those who might not agree with the concept of guns in general, or they want to avoid conflict with anti-firearms types.
“…it’s less important how you choose to carry your gun as long as you’re doing it safely and lawfully. ”
Or perhaps they feel that the element of surprise is a better strategy if ever confronted by bad-guys. If you’re in a robbery situation and find yourself forced to the ground, it only takes a second of distraction for you to pull your concealed firearm and potentially turn the situation around. You might not have that opportunity if you’re spotted with an open gun and taken out before you even have a chance to defend yourself.
Some believe that open carry allows for a quicker draw since the firearm is on the hip and readily available, making it easy to pull without any obstruction.
Concealed carriers might have to reach into a bag, a purse, or clear their clothing in order to draw their weapon. This reality would depend on your situation, your level of skill, and the configuration of your gun/holster.
Having your weapon snatched by a bad guy is less of a problem with concealed carry because unless you’re printing nobody knows you’re carrying a gun. If they can’t see your firearm, it’s unlikely they’ll ever try to take it from you. However, if an openly carried firearm is not secured properly within your holster, it could invite a nut-job to try and grab it unexpectedly. A secure holster carried correctly would go a long way in remedying that scenario. We’ve all seen examples of people open carrying a firearm in a less than secure fashion. Either they’re not paying attention to the gun hanging precariously off their belt in a poorly fitting holster, or they’ve got they’re hands full of groceries or kids without having the firearm secured adequately. These are dangerous scenarios that defeat the purpose of carrying for self-defense in the first place and could invite real trouble.
There can also be social implications based on your chosen method of carrying. There are those whose preference is to carry concealed due to the nature of their business. As a business owner, you have to deal with clients of every political persuasion, the last thing you want to do is to alienate a customer by inviting a contentious debate on gun rights when you should be concentrating on earning a living. Unfortunately, nobody ever wins in that situation, and you wind up losing a customer over it. While it may be a noble cause, it’s not good business in a real-world scenario, in my opinion. I happen to know a lot of business owners who feel the same way about firearms who choose to conceal for that reason alone.
While some gun owners may decide to carry concealed to avoid offending customers and business associates, others might opt to open carry for that very reason. Undeterred by the threat of offending anti-gunners, some open-carriers invite debate on the topic as a means to educate lefty snowflakes as to the virtues of responsible, legal, and safe gun ownership. They will usually be happy to engage in a conversation regarding the constitutionally enshrined right of all citizens to carry firearms; however, they choose.
Concealed carriers often feel that it’s nobody’s business that they’re carrying a gun, and they would rather go about their day discreetly without causing a disturbance.
Open carriers might feel that it’s nobody’s business that they’re carrying a gun because it’s their constitutional right and would prefer to just go about their day without conflict. However there is a certain undeniable swagger to the open carrier; “If you don’t like the fact that I’m carrying a gun, that’s tough, get over it. It’s my right, and I’m not giving it up without a fight.” They’re proud to display their firearms and are ready to defend their lives if ever, and whenever the need should arise whether anyone else approves or not. “I’m here; I’m armed, I’m ready, so don’t even think about it…” That brand of American grit and independent resolve can be reassuring and comforting to those of us who respect the Constitution and the concept of liberty regardless of how we might choose to carry our self-defense weapons.
Any of the above examples are sound arguments and personal choices based on your own life experience and preferences. While I covered only a few examples here, there are so many more that I haven’t mentioned.
I guess my point is that it’s less important how you choose to carry your gun as long as you’re doing it safely and lawfully. And it’s even more important that we support one another in our pursuit of liberty and our rights to carry however we choose. We all make choices in life and that’s what makes us human. I know men and women on both sides of this issue, and we have a lot more in common than we have differences. I say, if you got it, carry it. But do it lawfully, responsibly, respectfully, safely, and for all the right reasons. Then, as gun owners, we all win. Carry on!