It’s one of the more hotly debated topics among gun owners who carry a gun for protection on a regular basis: open carry or concealed carry? Yes, some states have specific rules that make the decision for the gun owner, but there are plenty of states where the choice is up to the potential shooter. So what do you do, OC or CC?
Years ago – more than I care to admit – my first self-defense instructor leaned on the bench of the shooting lane beside mine and gave me a bit of advice: “If you carry your gun openly, you’re making yourself a target.” It was, he said, basic logic. The guy carrying a gun was going to be singled out by a nervous assailant or thief. Convenience store robbery? Thugs would take out the most obvious threat first, or at least that was his theory. Of course, this particular instructor is well known for his experience and skill in these matters, which makes me tend to believe he knows precisely what he’s talking about.
Some gun owners feel OC serves as a warning to would-be troublemakers. The theory is those delinquents will spot the openly displayed firearm, assume its owner is a crack shot under pressure, and run away rather than fight. And that just might be true in many situations.
There are other factors to consider, though. For one thing there are a multitude of holster styles out there offering different levels of retention, coming with and without thumb break, and so on. Then there’s the skill, or lack thereof, of the person carrying the firearm. Do they pay attention to their surroundings – and their gun – closely or simply wander along in their own world? Have they been trained in firearm retention, as well as what to do if they were to lose control of their gun?
Even those who CC have responsibilities to use a proper holster and train accordingly. After all, just because you’re covering up your gun doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train. That’s assuming the gun is even properly concealed. More than occasionally people go out with their CC weapon in a glaringly obvious position whether it’s a big gun-shaped lump, an exposed holster, or a shirt that rides up and shows off said gun to the world. Bottom line: if you’re going to CC, make sure it’s actually concealed.
What do you think? Is OC just asking for trouble whether it’s asking for your gun to be taken or painting a target on your back? Is CC the only way to go? And if you do CC, does it absolve you from training thoroughly for things like firearms retention?
In the gun world there are always multiple factors to consider, and although you might find it frustrating, that’s what a responsible gun owner does: he considers every aspect and prepares accordingly. Guns may be fun to shoot – believe me, I get a real thrill from trigger time with my favorites, .338 lapua magnum and any .50 cal – but they are not toys. Carrying a gun is a serious responsibility and should be treated as such, with all necessary considerations.