First things first, yes, it is your constitutional right to carry; no one in this office is in any way suggesting you shouldn’t open carry in the means to take away that right. You do whatever is legal in your state. This is just a list of best practices, depending on the situation you’re in. And the common arguments given for open carry vs. concealed carry.
Concealed Carry vs. Open Carry
Some of you will lose your mind at the idea that anyone suggests concealed carry when open carry is your “God-given, freedom holding, American right!” But, hear me out.
Hide, don’t hide, as some people like to say, it’s up to you and the legal obligations to which you’re held to in your state. Think of it this way, it’s legal to drive a car if you have a license. But how fast you drive depends on laws and regulations. Sometimes it’s smart to go 70 because you’re on the interstate. Other times it’s wise to go 25 because you’re in a school zone or because you’re on a winding backroad. No one is saying you can’t drive your car, but how you drive it depends on several things. Go 80 on a backroad if you want (illegal, most likely), but know there could be consequences. You might hit a kid, you might have someone call the cops on you, you might wreck, kill yourself or someone else.
Just the same, no one is making you carry concealed vs. open (depending on your state’s requirements and laws), and if you have the option to use one over the other, go for it. Just consider that there may be a time and place for the different carry methods, just as there is a time and place to go 70mph and 25mph.
Below is a list of the common arguments you might hear, both for and against concealed carry and open carry. Personally, I am pro-concealed carry (in most situations), so this article will be slightly biased in that manner. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t present the counter-arguments to my own opinions.
Arguments for Concealed Carry
You’ve probably heard them all, especially if you’re pro-concealed carry. Below are some of the typical arguments, in no particular order, for concealed carry over open carry, and their counter-arguments.
Conceal Carry to Avoid the Karens of the World
I conceal carry almost everywhere I go; it’s my preference. Why, because I don’t need a Karen freaking out.
What’s nice about concealed carry is the fact that no one knows you’re carrying. That means no unwanted questions, finger-pointing, explanations, etc. Sometimes you just want to walk into the store, get your items, and leave. Concealed carry lets you do that without the cashier asking what kind of weapon you have, do you always carry, have you always carried, etc. Sometimes, it’s just nice to go about your day without all the extra conversation.
It’s also nice to not have to argue with a random person about your constitutional rights, which you might have to do if you carry openly. If you’re prepared for that, cool, have fun arguing in the middle of aisle 4.
Counter Argument: Who Cares about Karen
If you’re carrying a weapon, you should be prepared to tell people why you carry. Open carry allows you the opportunity to educate others. Someone in the store sees you carrying, confronts you about it, and now you can unhinge all that constitutional knowledge.
Conceal Carry so you can ‘take him out first’
Now there’s going to be two arguments to this statement. There’s the guy in the back yelling, “Hell yeah! I’m taking him out first! Always be prepared!” and then there’s the other guy behind him yelling, “That guy’s going to be too concerned about his task at hand or what he’s stealing to be worried about another person with a gun. I mean, what are the chances?” That’s like saying, don’t get dental insurance because you can take care of your own teeth; I mean, what are the chances of needing a dentist anyway? You have excellent dental hygiene! Just because the risk is minimal doesn’t mean you should take the risk.
Personally, I’d rather be concealed; that way, I have the advantage. Yes, there’s a chance you’ll go unnoticed by the bad guy if you open carry. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t risking the possibility of someone with bad intentions taking you out first. Why, because he knew you had a gun, but you didn’t know that he did. He came in with the advantage over you, instead of the other way around. Yes, there’s a chance the adversary will be too distracted, too high, insane, etc. to even notice the gun on your hip, but what if he isn’t?
Concealed Carry Draws less Attention
You don’t look “cool” walking into a busy department store with your Glock strapped to your hip, for everyone to see. Despite having the freedom to carry, guns do make some people uncomfortable.
Now, before you start losing it, yes, some of this fear could be alleviated by educating people when they’re kids and familiarizing them with firearms. Unfortunately, not everyone is afforded this opportunity.
There’s also a group of people who’ve personally had bad experiences with guns. I’m not saying that you have to succumb to everyone’s sensitivities. But what does open carry give you that concealed doesn’t, in a situation like this? Why is it so important to let Karen know you’re carrying, other than to make a statement that it’s your right as a free-living American citizen? Are you gaining something by scaring innocent people? No, you’re not. The only thing you’re gaining is unwanted attention.
Next thing you know, the cashier has hit her duress button, the cops are on their way, and the store has discreetly been evacuated. But you were only practicing your constitutional rights. Of course, when the cops do show up and discover that you were only practicing your rights, it should all be cleared up. But, who wants to add that unnecessary attention. You could have been home drinking a cold beer and grilling up steaks by now.
Counter Argument: It’s your Constitutional Right to Open Carry
It’s your right to carry openly for others to see. It’s your right to own a gun, so how you carry shouldn’t matter. You shouldn’t have to alter your look to make others feel comfortable. You shouldn’t have to hide that you’re carrying just because it scares others. Maybe they should go educate themselves. That’s like saying, you shouldn’t ride a motorcycle in public because motorcycles make some people uncomfortable.
Arguments for Open Carry
I open carry, sometimes, such as when I’m on my personal property. If someone is coming onto my land unannounced, chances are they’re lost, or they’re so stupid as to think they won’t be met with a pistol, shotgun, or rifle.
If someone is uncomfortable with my decision to open carry on my own property, then, frankly speaking, they shouldn’t be there.
Other cases where people open carry, is when hunting, camping, or in general on open territory. You don’t have to worry too much about people running scared to the cops about your “intentions,” and you’re on open land. Who cares? It’s your right unless you’re on federal land (that might get you in some hot water if you don’t have the credentials to carry there). Plus, you’re probably carrying to defend yourself against wild animals, and I’m pretty sure they don’t have opinions on how you carry.
Open Carry is a Deterrent
Another argument people often present is that you openly carrying acts as a deterrent. Basically, the bad guy walks in, sees you, and turns around to go rob some other joint. Yes, that may be true; there’s always the chance that you’ve presented a deterrent by being seen. Maybe he goes elsewhere, maybe he comes back at another time. But, the place you’re at, in this moment, has just gone unharmed.
Counter Argument: Open Carry is not a Deterrent
People are fascinating creatures. When we get a mind to do something, we find it quite challenging to let it go. With that in mind, If someone walks into any place with the intention of shooting a bunch of people or robbing it, they’re likely to follow-through. Some people come in with a mindset that they’re willing to take anyone out who gets in their way; your “bad boy” look won’t work.
A lot (not all) of people who make a choice to rob places at gunpoint are often on drugs, mentally ill, or in a desperate situation. They aren’t concerned with how you look, and there’s a chance they don’t mind dying. They also might think they’re above getting taken out. You can hope to be a deterrent, and to some, you might. But what about the ones that don’t care?
Open Carry Allows a Quick Draw
A common argument for open carry is that it’s much easier and quicker to draw your weapon. This is because there aren’t clothes getting in the way; you can get directly to your holster and draw the gun out quickly. There’s nothing to slow you down.
Counter Argument: Someone Else Can Easily Take my Weapon
Okay, maybe you can draw your weapon quickly when you carry openly. It might be quicker and easier for you to remove, but guess what, it’s also a lot easier for someone else to do the same with YOUR weapon.
Counter Argument to the Counter Argument: Get a Better Holster
Just because it’s easy for you to get to doesn’t mean anyone can just walk up and take the gun. Get a better holster, such as a level III retention holster. Unless someone knows that holster and can get it off your belt loop, ain’t no one gaining access to the weapon except the wearer.
Concealed Carry is Difficult
Why could concealed carry be a bad idea? An argument some might make would be, what you’re wearing gets in the way of you safely and effectively drawing your weapon. Yes, there could be situations where your clothes get in the way. For instance, is it -10 degrees outside and you’re wearing three layers of clothes? If so, attempting to draw a weapon from your holster under a coat, sweater and t-shirt could be cumbersome.
Counter Argument: Practice More
Practice more! If you can’t draw your weapon for the situation you’re in, you’re ineffective. If you don’t feel comfortable drawing from underneath your clothes, you become a safety hazard. In any condition, you must be both prepared and comfortable drawing your firearm. If you’re not there, practice more. Practice drawing from a concealed holster more, and it won’t be so difficult.
No Matter how you Carry…
Practice with your Carry Method
No matter how you carry, you should practice shooting in that same manner. If you’re carrying concealed, you should practice drawing and re-holstering from that configuration. When winter arrives, and you find yourself layering up, then you should start training with those layers on, too.
If you happen to be against concealed carry, well guess what, you should also be practicing your draw from the open carry position.
Unfortunately, and I’ve seen it a lot, people forget that in the case of real-world applications, they won’t be on a range at the ready-fire position. You have to practice from point one, holstered! Part of what takes time to get on target is getting your weapon out of the holster. And if part of your argument is, it takes too long, and you waste precious seconds by having to draw from a concealed position, then you aren’t practicing enough.
No matter your carry choice, open or concealed, practice! If we can’t agree on anything else in this article, let’s at least be on the same page with the need for safety. Because if you can’t safely draw from your chosen carry method, then you probably shouldn’t carry; you’re only creating more of a safety concern for yourself and those around you.
Are you prepared to take a human life?
Too often, people carry for protection, but they never consider the fact that they might have to use it. Are you prepared to pull the trigger? Are you prepared to take the life of another living, breathing, human being? Are you prepared for the legal ramifications? Are you ready for the media coverage? Are you prepared to live with yourself after you’ve pulled that trigger? If you answer no, then you shouldn’t carry at all. If you can’t fathom taking the breath from someone, killing someone’s daughter, son, husband, wife, etc. then carrying a weapon isn’t for you. You have to be both physically and mentally prepared to use your weapon, and the aftermath of what comes with its employment. If you’re not, don’t carry, concealed or openly.
Disclaimer: We aren’t lawyers. Make sure you reference local laws about concealed and open carry options before you accidentally do anything illegal.
Did we miss anything? Do you have further recommendations? What are some arguments you’ve heard? Please, comment below. We love hearing from our readers!
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