As the gun debate has heated up in the United States, the call for open carry has increased. With more and more citizens carrying their guns on their hip open for all to see, the question has come up, is it better to carry out in the open, or to get the proper license to carry your handgun concealed?
While open carry is a right in most states, it comes with its own set of issues, many of which preppers and survivalists would rather not be forced to answer. Think about it this way: do you want to be known as the guy that goes for walks with a gun on his hip, or as the nice, quiet guy that nobody will come to when the SHTF?
If you want to open carry, and it’s legal in your area, you should. Nobody should tell you what is right or wrong as long as you’re acting within local laws, but for the sake of conversation, here are three reasons why you may want to reconsider and start carrying concealed.
Author’s Note: When talking about the open carry/conceal carry debate, we’re not even bringing up the people that think it’s OK to open carry rifles in public. There’s no good reason for this practice other than to shock and trouble those around you. If I am in a restaurant and see someone walk in with an AK strapped to their back, I am immediately on guard and uncomfortable. If someone walks in with a handgun clearly showing on his or her hip, I generally feel the opposite and go about my business without a second thought.
1. Tactical Advantage
We could stop the list here and it would still be a good argument for concealed vs. open carry. When you carry your gun exposed you instantly lose the tactical advantage on any situation. The person coming at you knows what you have, where you are keeping it, and can visibly tell when you’re reaching for it. This means there’s a higher probability of an attacker stopping you from drawing or worse yet, coming at you from behind and taking your gun from you.
By keeping your gun concealed you gain the tactical advantage by not letting a possible attacker know you have a weapon until it’s too late. Whether you keep your handgun on the left, right, back, or even up front, your attacker will not expect a handgun and will definitely be thrown off of his attack by one appearing.
Sure, you could say that a possible attacker would steer clear of you if they see a gun and go for an easier target, but there are also those who, for some reason, will purposely engage someone with an open carry gun.
In the long-term, you don’t want your neighbors knowing you are the type of person that carries a handgun. This gives them the idea that you probably have more than just that one gun, which can drive people to you in time of emergency. Become a Grey Man and let everyone else go about their business, and give yourself the ultimate overall tactical advantage.
2. Open Carry Makes a Statement
Like it or not, openly carrying a gun makes a statement. Gun laws are hot news in the United States and practicing open carry puts you right in the center of that debate. Handguns are meant to protect you from someone that wishes to do you or someone else harm, not to be a springboard for an on-the-spot debate.
Unless you want to talk to people about gun ownership and gun laws, don’t open carry. Remember that by practicing open carry you make a statement whether you want to or not, so if making a statement is what you’re looking to do, then make it in style by doing something good while open carrying. Organize a cleanup crew and go clean a stretch of highway while open carrying, volunteer to do some gardening in a local park while wearing your handgun. Do things that people will impress people rather than scare them. This is how the fear of law-abiding citizens carrying handguns can be overcome.
3. Police Involvement
Speaking of laws, your chances of talking to a police officer or other law enforcement officer while open carrying is nearly 100 percent. If you are open carrying in a state and municipality that allows for open carry, you are breaking no laws. This doesn’t, however, stop random members of the community from calling the police to report a man (or woman) with a gun.
Most police forces will always send an officer to investigate these types of calls. That means if you’re just walking to the store while wearing your gun, someone that’s nervous about this can and probably will call the cops on you.
There are more than enough videos on YouTube showing open carry activists interacting with the police in these types of situations, and while the open carry activists are in the right, it still causes an interaction with law enforcement that doesn’t need to happen. You aren’t required to show ID or even give your name if you haven’t committed a crime, but it still causes tension, which is something we should all be focused on decreasing, not increasing.
In short, you should carry a handgun for personal protection and to help another person if they’re in danger, too. This can be accomplished very easily by acquiring a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Most states even require you to take a test to show you can safely use a handgun, which is even better.
Open carry is a right that you should not have taken away, but you can also choose to act in the smartest way possible to protect yourself and your family, and conceal carry is, in this case, a better option. If you want to open carry, you should, but if you believe that concealed carry is better, you should do that, too. Guns are a very personal thing, and the decision on how to interact with them should be your (educated) decision.