In this segment of
Concealed Open Carry Corner, we are going to dive down the rabbit hole of open carry. Many states actually allow for the open carry of firearms in public, but very few individuals do it because of social stigmas. I, personally, have been carrying since I turned 21. Still being a young guy at the age of 31 now, for 10 years I have been a concealed carry advocate… until recently. I have not had any life-changing event happen to me (fortunately), but where I live and work I have felt a growing urge to open carry. I want to feel protected doing bank deposits for my day job, moving firearms for work (I manage my family’s gun shop), and just generally have my mind at ease when we all hear so much negativity on the news.
So with all of that being said, for the last 3-4 months I have been utilizing open carry. These are some of the things I believe everyone should take into consideration if they fully embrace the idea of open carry.
open carry – firearm ambassador
By deciding to use open carry, you have made yourself an ambassador for firearms whether you like it or not. If people have questions in public, be polite, respond professionally, and courteously. You are a representation of all gun owners. Also, dress nice. When I state that, I am not implying you wear a suit everywhere. What I mean is wear clean clothes, have a belt to better secure your holster of choice, and do not wear tattered clothing. People judge you within 2-3 seconds of looking at you simply from appearance. So be polite, clean dressed (even if you are a construction worker), and understand that you are the firearms community. Represent all of us well!
open carry – “People who cry wolf”
If you open carry long enough, this is sadly going to happen. Someone is going to cry wolf on you. If you have someone hot and bothered in public and you are doing all of the right things, remain calm. It is best to diffuse the situation by politely removing yourself from it (Ex: you’re buying fuel at a gas station; pay and politely leave). If your scenario does not allow you to leave or you do not want to leave (your choice; we at TFB are simply a sounding board), then be polite if approached by law enforcement as a result of hot and bothered person. Always carry an ID and your permit (if your state or municipality requires one).
open carry – be hyper aware of your surroundings
Be hyper-aware of your surroundings. While 99% of the people in the world actually are nice, you might encounter the 1% of the population who are dumb enough to touch your firearm “for fun” or worse have a case of “little guy syndrome” and want to take it. Do not let your tool be used against you. Always be aware and vigilant in protecting yourself. The more hyper-aware that you become, the more you will notice how ignorant everyone is around you. Everyone is tied up in their phone screens, avoid eye contact, or if they acknowledge mentally that you have a firearm, they will give you the right-away and leave you alone.
open carry – clean your firearm regularly
When you are concealed carrying, your sidearm is protected and hidden under clothing. That also protects it from the elements like rain, water, dust, dirt, leaves, sticks, etc. While most concealed carry firearms have a thick layer of lint and dead skin particulate on them, they should still function if the need arises. If you consistently open carry, there is a higher likelihood for dirt and grime to accrue and you should be cleaning and function testing your firearm weekly, if not daily, as a result.
open carry – be pleasant
Imagine this… you walk into a bank and see someone open carrying a firearm. The bank allows for open carry because they are an open-minded enough establishment to know that it is to their benefit that their patrons carry (Woo-Hoo!!!). You are standing in line to deposit some cash. A dirty, older gentleman open carrying looks behind himself, sees you, glares, and then looks forward again while impatiently tapping his foot… Yikes! That is unpleasant, right?
Now re-run that scenario… A dirty, older gentleman open carrying looks behind himself, sees you, smiles, and then looks forward again… You feel fine. While both scenarios could be the same man on any given day a simple smile can go a long way when you have a gun on your hip. You do not need to run around and make friends with everyone you meet. Just be pleasant.
open carry – conclusion
All in all, most of what I stated is pretty obvious stuff, but many people do not put it into action. Knowing I am a firearms ambassador, I carry around some business cards for area people who give Permit to Carry classes if I get asked questions. I also have memorized scripts in my head to talk to people who strike up a conversation about the gun on my hip. I try to smile and be a pleasant guy. If someone is narrow-minded and gets hot and bothered by me, I am not going to alter their perspective with a gun on my hip. It just ain’t gonna happen. So I politely leave and pick to not fight that ideological battle. I make it a game now that everywhere I go to see if I can spot others who are open carrying or concealed carrying. It keeps me aware of who is in the room. I also clean or function test my gun daily when I come home. While most of us are not rolling around in a leaf pile, you just never know what kind of debris could have worked its way into or onto your sidearm.
In closing, be safe out there friends, and be good stewards of the firearms community! Is there anything you think that I missed? Or what do you believe to be the most important out of my checklist? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.