Last week, I went into the gas station to pick up some orange juice and a stick of gum. While I was waiting in line to check out, there was a gentleman in front of me who was exercising his right to open carry. I think it’s awesome when people want to exercise their right to carry in public spaces but this gentleman had a Hi-Point C9 in an Uncle Mike’s holster strapped on a leather belt.
It may seem like a pretty normal budget set up but the man was wearing gym shorts and a leather belt around him like an old-style western. It may have been unconventional but I figured he was on a budget and dismissed it right up until I saw him get into a newer style Lexus. After processing it for a while, I came to the conclusion there are right and wrong ways to do things no matter what your budget is. There’s always a good and bad approach to carrying. Let’s take a critical look at open carrying and ways to make yourself look more approachable.
Presentation Is Key
When you decide to open carry instead of carrying a concealed firearm, presentation and how you display yourself to others is one of the most important aspects to consider. The most important part is distinguishing yourself from a threat if the police show up. Making a bad choice whether in a holster or firearm can be boiled down to budget or lack of knowledge, but having both of those with a questionable choice of clothing can make you look like a suspect rather than someone willing to help.
Now I know some of you will jump and say “Matt, that’s a blanket statement and you’re making predetermined assumptions on people.” My response to that, it’s not my personal beliefs but that’s the reality of a police officer or first responder coming onto the scene. They come into the situation with little to no information most times and if they see someone with a questionable gun, holster and clothing they might make a mistake and focus on you rather than a threat.
This can be an argument for carrying concealed over open carrying. Having a gun concealed won’t make others uncomfortable or suspicious when you’re around them while doing daily tasks. Being able to conceal a firearm and not bring attention to yourself is one of the biggest perks of carrying a firearm. The element of surprise is on your hands with a concealed firearm where you may bring attention to yourself from bystanders and threats alike. In some states, there’s quite a process to acquire a concealed pistol license where open carrying is legal in most areas without any type of permit required.
The Texas Approach
Probably one of the best displays of how to open carry is the guys and gals from Texas. First of all, I want to make it clear I have nothing but respect for Texans and their outright ability to carry while looking like a million bucks. When you imagine something like a Texas Ranger you think of having a pressed shirt with the Bolo Tie and a properly fitting pair of slacks. Usually, this is companied with a sturdy leather holster and classic 1911 or Glock that’s tight to the body.
This doesn’t have to be replicated to a tee because most people in the northeast would look somewhat out of place with a Bolo Tie but you get my point. Having a clean and professional look when open carrying is key to presenting yourself as a good guy rather than the threat when the police show up to a high-stress situation. Wearing a nice polo tucked in with a cheap pair of slacks will make all the difference when presenting yourself to the public when society has been on edge for the last few months.
I will always be a supporter of carrying concealed over open carrying strictly for the fact you stay completely under the radar and don’t raise suspicions when going about your day. Open carrying tends to bring a lot of unwanted attention, but if done correctly you can lessen the attention by dressing in a professional manner and being a great example of what a responsible gun owner looks like. There has been so much division and gun rights are a topic that people love to debate. Dressing appropriately and looking professional only strengthens our look as a community and shows a positive representation of what gun owners stand for as a whole.
I know some of you won’t agree with me and that’s completely fine. America is all about having different views and opinions on topics so I encourage you to jump in the comments below and share your thoughts on open carrying. I may not always reply to comments but I love reading what you guys have to say so let me know what you think in the comments below. If you have questions, feel free to contact me on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.