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Open Carry

I’ve been critical of open carry sorts in the past. Not because I don’t think their cause is good but, rather, it does have some tactical disadvantages and some of the proponents seem a bit too in your face about it. Anyway, I recently stopped to grab some milk at a convenience store in West Knoxville. I neglected to put my shirt over my Glock 30 and went the store. I was carrying four gallons of milk when I realized my weapon was exposed. Then I went to Walmart a few weeks later and I apparently had reached up on the top shelf to get something and my shirt came up over the gun again. And I didn’t notice for a while. Saw it and covered it. But I’d been up and down several aisles. So, do doubt, I was made.

And a funny thing happened: nothing. Not a single person in either crowded store freaked out or said anything. Not a word. Not even employees.

Seems to be a trend.

22 Responses to “Open Carry”

  1. Boyd Says:

    Come visit us in Virginia some time, Unc. We have frequent Open Carry outings all over the state, coordinated through the Virginia state forum on

    And there are a whole grunch of folks here who open carry all the time, even in heavily populated liberal-leaning areas, without a single “in your face” moment to be found.

    Unless, of course, it’s a GFW that gets in our face. But even that is exceedingly rare.

  2. _Jon Says:

    Anyone who saw you probably figured you were a cop.

    No one wants to challenge a cop – you might get hurt for some tramped up charge.

  3. HardCorps Says:

    When I was at a left coast university, a center of intolerance and hate, I carried daily. There were more than a few times where my concealed became ‘open’ but only one person ever said anything about it. I had people bump into it, girls would hug me and brush it, but I honestly believe most people can’t conceptualize it on their own with someone acting normally. It doesn’t fit their universe. The guy who did say something told me about it a year later! I just said naw dawg! you’re crazy I don’t carry a gun! hah – Lie, Lie, and deny.

  4. Pol Mordreth Says:

    I opne carry most of the time, Unc. I would respectfully disagree that there are any tactical disadvantages (other than the occasional hassle by police), but there are different reasons for each, and IMHO each are appropriate for different situations. And, I really don’t care how anyone carries, as long as they carry!


  5. Huck Says:

    I open carry quite a bit here in Wyoming Uncle. I’ve been doing so for over 2 years and I’ve had exactly 3 people comment about it, one asked if the gun was real, one asked what kind of gun I had, and the other wanted to know where I got my holster. And the LEOs dont even give a second look.

    And I agree with you Pol, it don’t matter how anyone carries, as long as they carry.

  6. Crucis Says:

    I had a somewhat similar incident last Fall. I carry a J-frame in a pocket holster and and speedloader in another pocket. I went out to lunch and when paying reached into my pocket for change and pulled out change, pocket knife and the speedloader. The cashier, an older lady with a strong Brit accent, looked at it and asked, “38?”

    I nodded and gave her the money. She gave me change on the same hand as I held the speedloader. She’s never said anything since and we’re now very good friends. I was a regular there anyway, but I’ve noticed that now some of the waitresses address me by name as I enter.

  7. Rabbit Says:

    Used to be, in the early days of the CHL here in Texas, if someone noticed I was printing and asked if it was a ‘gun’ (especially Mrs. Grundy-types) I’d just grin and say “Nope. Colostomy pouch”.

    That’d shut them up.


  8. Scott Says:

    Advertising you are armed (i.e. open carry) sets you at a tactical disadvantage against a motivated bad guy; however, I suspect it discourages the less motivated, opportunistic types.

  9. Pol Mordreth Says:

    That is a true risk, but since there are no verifiable incidents of it happening (ie, open carrier targeted for robbery / ‘shot first’ due to the openly carried firearm) I feel that the deterrance factor outweighs that risk. I really don’t want to ever have to pull my weapon and shoot someone. I am prepared to do so, if pressed, but would really rather not.

    Now, if I were aware of a specific threat to me or mine personally, (stalker, nutjob ex, etc) concealed mught be a little better in the regard that you might get the time to draw and use before the perp was prepared to escalate to violence. However, in absence of that specific threat, the brand of criminal most of us will ever encounter aren’t looking for a shootout. They will find a softer target.

    My having a visible weapon has (probably) prevented 2 convenience store robberies that I know of. I have no doubt that they thought I was a detective, but the final result was they decided not to rob that specific place because they saw me.


  10. JJR Says:

    I wear cargo shorts a lot and one time my speedloader slipped out of the pouch it was in as I was getting into the car; luckily I saw it on the pavement and snatched it up quickly; pretty sure nobody saw me. I was carrying my Taurus 651 in a nice leather IWB, which is my “anywhere” carry piece since it’s the easiest one to “grab & go” with in a hurry (it otherwise sits holstered but loaded in my nightstand top drawer). Otherwise I carry my Taurus PT111 9mm in a CTAC. When the Fall/Winter comes back to Texas, I may switch back to my heavier Glock 23 and Springfield XD compact alternatively.

    I’m pretty paranoid about not “printing”, though I tend to slightly relax my standards after sundown, especially if wearing a dark t-shirt. If Texas had OC, I would probably still carry concealed, but I wouldn’t have to plan/think about it as hard each time I went out.

  11. straightarrow Says:

    Open carry if it accomplishes nothing else provides a great service to all carriers. It desensitizes the public to the sight and/or thought that some people carry arms. That is a good thing.

  12. FatWhiteMan Says:

    I generally don’t open carry either for the same reasons you mention. However, I also don’t sweat it if the WalMart entrance blower throws my shirt up either. I usually do not cover while I am travelling when it is Africa-hot like it is this week. If I stop for gas, I don’t cover but do usually pay at the pump.

  13. Paladin Says:

    I think the more people that open carry the better. As Striaghtarrow said, it “desensitizes” the public to other citizens carrying firearms. I’m happy to see so many communities across the country organizing “Open Carry” events like picnics and the like.

    Let’s all do more in that area.

    I’m a CCW holder too and carry mostly concealed but am trying to remember to “open up” whenever the situation or circumstances make sense.

    The proudest damn Right-Wing Extremist, mob member and astroturf dude.

  14. Paladin Says:

    Sorry for posting twice in a row but I forgot to tell:

    I open carried (Kimber Ultra Carry, .45ACP) when I went out to my mailbox/post to staple 3 Lipton Teabags to it and only 2 neighbors ran into their houses.

    Just kiddin’ about the neighbors.

  15. Dave R. Says:

    That’s exactly why I’m in favor of open carry. It makes it normal. We’ve spent a lot of time holding the line against new infringements, necessarily so, but there’s also room to retake some of the ground we’ve lost since kids used to carry rifles to school.

    _Jon, above, does have a point; if you’re nervous about it, coming close to the general dress and demeanor of a detective isn’t a bad way to start open carry. At the very least, look respectable.

    I agree combative, argumentative open carriers aren’t doing us any favors, but I truly haven’t seen any locally, or many in news reports nationally.

  16. Rich Says:

    “Nope. Colostomy pouch”.

    Love it. I’ll have to remember that one.

    I have a CCW here in Massachusetts and regularly carry a S&W 642.

    To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never been made. One of the advantages of carrying in a place like Mass is that if someone sees an odd bulge, they just can’t imagine that it is a gun.

  17. Peter Says:

    Back when paddle holsters were a Brand New Thing I was going to a very liberal university for one of the continuing education classes my department required. The grips on my shootin’ iron caught on the back of the chair and my Model 19 Smith fell out, holster and all and rolled down the aisle, clunk, thump, thump, thump.

    There was an appropriate amount of eeks and gasps. And a couple of ugly words from me. It was close to twenty years before I tried another paddle holster.

  18. carrier Says:

    “Advertising you are armed (i.e. open carry) sets you at a tactical disadvantage against a motivated bad guy …”

    I have yet to read a single news item concerning someone open-carrying who was attacked by a bad guy.

    Open-carry dissuades most motivated bad guys. It’s simply too easy to walk to a college or university killzone or other “no carry zone” to find disarmed victims.

  19. Jim Says:

    My problem with open carry is that it neutralizes one of the advantages of concealed carry laws: that a potential criminal has no idea who is and who is not armed. Concealed carry laws provide a disincentive to victimize citizens,and the protection thus conferred is to the benefit of the armed and the unarmed alike.

  20. Thomas Says:

    My wife open carries while biking. After two incidents where she was followed/harassed she was fearful of going back out. After gun safety and shooting classes she now wears a s&w lightweight hammerless .38. She’s pretty confident that she’s safe now. I think that most crimes by strangers on women are crimes of opportunity and the visible presence of a gun is a definite deterrent.

  21. Marc Malone Says:

    Open carry serves a greater purpose. You serve as a militiaman. There is this ignorance of what the term militia in the 2nd amendment means/meant. The militia referred to the armed Citizenry, those who kept us safe. They guarded our towns, our highways, and our streets (and our country, of course). Any man was capable of being the local policeman and intervening where necessary. Citizen’s arrest was common.

    Openly carrying a gun is being a good Citizen. It does prevent crime. Not many criminals around when every fifth or tenth honest citizen is openly packing. Guns don’t kill people. Guns protect people. It’s the lack of guns which kills people.

  22. mac Says:

    Well done, all. The more good citizens carrying openly, the better. Most criminals are cowards at heart; if they weren’t, they would face up to the difficulties of working for a living. They’ll attack the young, old, weak and helpless, but usually on an opportunistic basis. If they see someone who might fight back on behalf of their intended victim, they’ll generally go elsewhere. As in the rest of their generally worthless lives, they want something tangible for little or no effort. If they have to fight for what they want, it’s usually not worth it to them.