Self defense is a fundamental human right. Unfortunately, some states have failed to recognize this over time. In order to legally carry a firearm in the United States, one must navigate the patchwork of local, state, and national laws concerning the carry and use of a firearm. Carrying a firearm is a deeply personal and important choice, and the method of carry is a pivotal part of the process.
Gruntpa was gracious enough to allow me to explain my view of the opposite point on the open versus concealed carry debate - concealed carry. I've not a writer by trade, and have never written a blog post before, so please excuse my formatting here.
I believe that open carry has a few purposes. Occupationally, as a Police Officer, Soldier, Rancher, etc, it would be silly to try to conceal a firearm. Making a political statement, for example the rally in Virginia earlier this year, is another great reason to open carry. Though I don't participate in these, open carrying a firearm to a peaceful rally is a great purpose. In some more rural areas of the country, open carry is a cultural norm. Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to live in those areas, so I choose concealed carry.
It can also be argued that a criminal will be able to do a "cost/benefit" analysis, and choose a target that doesn't have a firearm. Unfortunately, there is not enough data to categorically determine that open carry increases or decreases your likelihood to be the victim of interpersonal crime.
Why I choose to conceal my firearm -
1) The "Gray Man" appeal
In every day life, I find myself in diverse places, among people who may or may not be amenable to my choice to carry a firearm. When I stop for coffee in the morning, I have no desire to engage in discourse about why I'm carrying a firearm with people who do not want me to have it, nor do I particularly want to engage in conversation with more friendly people asking about my choice in firearms. I'd like to get my coffee, and go about my day.
In 2020, widespread "protests" turn violent quickly. The choice to carry concealed lends you critical time to decide how, or if you are going to respond to potential threats. By open carrying, your proverbial hand is already played. A potential aggressor can make a move for your firearm, and leave you in physical, or legal, trouble. I've linked to a post from American Partisan below. The video has made it's way through the internet, and the story is worth a read about the multi-pronged surviellance and attack on a group of guys who anyone should consider experienced.
The situation those men were put in is an incredibly different one. We can talk about a lack of situational awareness to place yourself in a position for that to happen in the first place, but the fact remains that even for experienced men, it can happen. Gray man goes significantly beyond concealed carry, if you are wearing a "VetBros" T-shirt, and wearing a Multicam flag hat, everyone knows.
In many states, to include mine, open carry is a felony, with few exceptions. Concealed carry, however, is perfectly legal, even if printing, or if the firearm is accidently exposed, so long as it is not brandished.
In a past life, as a local Police Officer, I was dispatched to a man fishing on private property. In my state, open carry while fishing is legal, doing so on private property that isn't yours however, is not. The property was poorly marked, and vacant, and a normal local hangout for bored kids. As I arrived, I recognized a holster on the man's hip. He was in his 60's, and the worst thing he had done in his entire life was speeding. The man had no idea that this was private property, due to poorly posted signage and its common use by local youth. I advised him that he was on private property, and therefore committing a felony by open carrying, used some discretion, and sent him on his way home. Had the man been carrying concealed, he would have been under no obligation to advise me that he was armed, and I wouldn't have had felony probable cause for his arrest. On a different day, with a different Officer, that senior citizen may have gone to jail on felony charges over what he believed to be perfectly legal.
3) Pistol retainability
By showcasing to the world that you are carrying a firearm, you open the door of being disarmed. I've linked a few cases below, however a quick google search turns up more. While these are statistically insignificant occurrences, the odds of getting into a gunfight on American streets are also very low if you aren't a gang member. Drawing on a drawn gun is a poor idea, and by carrying concealed, the risk of being robbed for your firearm because a criminal sees it are diminished greatly.
The Negatives of concealed carry, and why they aren't as bad as you think
1) Comfort - One of the main complaints I hear about concealed carry is that it is not comfortable. Carrying a firearm is not supposed to be comfortable. It is a tool that is meant to save your, or your families lives. If comfort is a major concern to you, there are many incredibly reliable polymer wonderguns that hold 10+ rounds that are approximately the size of your wallet or phone.
2) Climate and Wardrobe - Work takes me primarily overseas for long periods of time, however when stateside, my primary residence is in Florida. A t-shirt and shorts conceals a full size gun with a weapon mounted light with ease when wearing the correct belt and holster combination. I'll shy away from gear suggestions here, however there are many knowledgeable persons who can help guide you in the correct direction. If you spend your days wearing less clothing than a t-shirt and shorts, i'm incredibly envious of you.
3) Slower drawstroke - the difference in a well practiced drawstroke from concealment is typically marginally slower than that from open carry. This is an issue that can be significantly reduced by training the the correct equipment.
4) Paying for your rights - Some states require a permit for concealed carry, and therefore a fee to the state, while allowing open carry. I agree that it's absurd to have to pay for a card that allows you to use your God given rights, however, i'd prefer to pay another 100 dollar tax every six years than commit a felony everywhere, or be forced to open carry. If "no more taxes" is the hill that you want to die on for this purpose, I commend you for it. However, I believe that the risk / reward matrix makes this a no brainer.
The choice to carry a firearm, and the method that a person uses to do so, are deeply personal choices. There is a time and a place for everything, however I believe that concealed carry has many more applications than open carry. No matter how you choose to carry, continue to train, and do so safely. Thanks to Gruntpa for allowing me a post for a rebuttal to his article, "Why I Open Carry", which I have linked below.
I'm always open for debate, or opinions on the topic or post. You can reach me on Twitter, at SamuelColt556.