The first thing I want to make absolutely clear is this: Open carrying a pistol does not mean you are asking for trouble. However, there are a few things you need be aware of, if you decide to carry openly.
First, I want to ask a silly, but perhaps obvious question: in a bank robbery who is the first person either shot or assaulted (and disarmed)? The security guard who likely has a pistol or a taser. This may be a silly question because most concealed carry holders are not likely to be at a bank during a robbery—but we train should ever a situation arise that we need to protect ourselves.
The security guard is seen by a bad guy as a threat because he or she is openly a representative of protection. Unfortunately, that makes them automatically a target for a bad guy—which means if you carry your pistol openly, you are too. But again, I am not saying that you are asking for trouble.
Second, if you decide to open carry, you need to be aware that you need additional training. For what? Well, if you ask a police officer, they will tell you—for protecting your firearm. If a bad guy can see that you have a gun, they will likely try to disarm you, which means you need to train to keep that from happening. Your open carry holster will help with that, but if you have to keep a bad guy from unholstering your gun, there’s likely going to be some pain involved. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to train yourself to combat that as well.
Third, another thing you need to be aware of is you are going to have to field questions by law enforcement and even civilians about why you are carrying. “Because I want to” is probably not going to cut it. Think critically why you are choosing to open carry.
So, what about concealed carry?
Well first of all, if you’re wearing the right clothes to conceal your weapon, no one is going to know that you are armed. This means if you’re sitting at your favorite diner, and a bad guy comes in, they’re not immediately going to try to disarm you. You will have the opportunity to evaluate a situation and determine if the bad guy has threatening intentions. In contrast, some bad guys might be discouraged if they walk into the same diner and see that a person is openly carrying—but it also could enrage them.
Personally, I don’t want the bad guys to know that I have a weapon. But if they threaten me or mine, I will defend myself.
Second, no one is going to feel threatened by me—law enforcement, civilians, etc.—if I am concealed carrying. Again, because no one will know that I am.
I understand that there are times when it might be more convenient to open carry—and according to the law, that is your right just as it is my right to concealed carry. One thing that I’m going to suggest is for everyone—regardless of which opinion they have—to keep themselves updated on the law. A good place to start is www.handgunlaw.us, which provides several different links, maps, &etc. which you can follow and verify (as suggested on the site) yourself. I also strongly suggest verifying the information you find.
Why do you open carry/conceal carry? Do you have an affinity for one over the other?