Over the last week, I have been down in Myrtle Beach visiting friends and seeing the various sights there are down in the southeast part of the country. Every time I head down to the boardwalk or any other touristy place around the area, I started thinking about the pros and cons of carrying when there’s a ton of people around. For new carriers, carrying in a crowded area can be extremely stressful just on the fact there are so many eyes that potentially could see your firearm. This is typically a fairly common fear among new conceal carriers, but crowds aren’t always your enemy. Let’s take a deeper look at carrying in crowded areas.
The Benefits of Busy
When thinking about walking around in a heavily crowded mall or shopping district, most people who carry a gun will say “no, thank you” and avoid the area. I don’t necessarily agree with that thought process and in certain situations, crowds can be your ally for sure. When there’s an area completely filled with people, many younger carriers become overwhelmed because they don’t know what to look for when scanning. What many concealed carriers don’t think about is the level of organized chaos going on at one time. People are laughing, talking and moving about so it’s really difficult to see someone’s firearm if your shirt rides up too high when you bend over.
There’s a level of overstimulation when walking around a large group of people so even if your shirt has a small print mark, you will have a better chance of going along with your day and not being seen. Having a bunch of people walking around who aren’t paying attention will be an advantage to you if you’re keeping a low profile and going on with your day. Keeping a low profile and staying under the radar will give you a huge advantage if something ever happened where you need to defend yourself.
Considerations To Have
Carrying in a crowd is really only an advantage if you carry concealed. Open carrying and even off-body carry can be incredibly stressful since that element of anonymity is gone. Open carry tells everyone that you have a firearm in your possession. There have been a number of known cases where people have grabbed a gun off an open carrier and robbed them with their own gun. This recently happened in Detroit where a man was open carrying and his weapon was stolen and then he was robbed with his own handgun. I can’t think of a more embarrassing way to be robbed than with my own handgun. In a large crowd, it’s best to avoid open carrying since there are so many people around you. In the end, you’ll only bring more attention to yourself and that advantage of blending into the crowd will be completely lost.
Off-body carrying presents its own set of issues because it’s so vulnerable out in public. For women, carrying in a purse is putting your firearm in a bag that is typically associated with a monetary value. It’s never a good idea to mix the two, and carrying in a backpack or large messenger bag offers more vulnerabilities than advantages. Both are slow to draw compared to carrying a handgun on your body and stealing a bag from your body is much easier than if a handgun was on your body. There’s plenty of variations to carry when it comes to on-body carry, so I would always say carry on your body if possible rather than off body just to be safe.
The Art Of Blending
The last big thing to consider when carrying in busy crowded areas is to try and blend into the area. So many people fall into the trap of wearing pro 2A shirts with funny sayings on them. It’s important to try and just seem like an everyday person. There’s no reason to bring unwanted attention to yourself so anything neutral color or clothing everyday people wear is the best route to go. I like to wear button-up shirts that a hipster from Oregon might wear or a small-town farmer in the midwest. The less information you give out to other people while carrying in a large area the better you will be in the long run.
For some, carrying in a busy crowded area can be a bit stressful, but there’s nothing to worry about and sometimes it can be a benefit for carrying in a busy area if you have the right mentality. It’s never a bad thing to be aware of threats and look out for them, but sometimes I think certain individuals almost become concerned with threats around and avoid crowds entirely. If you are one of those people, I would say to try out going into crowds more and seeing the benefits all the busy crowds give concealed carriers. Let me know what you guys think in the comments below. Are crowds a positive thing for concealed carriers or are they a high-risk area? Let me know in the comments below. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoeprator. Stay safe out there.