I don’t know about you, but lately, I have seen an increase of people who open carry. Let me say that I am not against open carry. I do practice open carry, but only in a few places. I prefer concealed carry for two reasons- one, there are too many hoplophobes- a person who has an irrational fear of firearms. Second, the shock and awe effect it has on a perpetrator.
There are some serious safety issues that need to be addressed regarding open carry. The biggest concern is the open visual of the firearm for everyone to see. First, there is a possibility of a firearm grab. This could be innocent- someone who's trying to be funny or who wants to play a joke, or it could be something more nefarious- a person who wants to steal your gun. I would say do like what cops do when they are in public. Keep your arm down at your side and have it up against the gun, this way you can always feel your gun.
Next, keep your eyes open and scan for anyone who might be staring at you or your gun. If a cop notices someone looking at his gun, he will give them the meanest look in the world, just in case a person is thinking about going for his gun, and that is how you should be if you choose to open carry.
Here are some do’s and don’ts so you can safely open carry.
It is important to purchase high-quality equipment if you are going to open carry. I would invest in a sturdy belt- not just any belt like from Walmart, but a belt from 5.11 Tactical or Tru-Spec. The belt I use is from 5.11. It is a 1 ¼ inch wide with velcro attachment for the tongue web belt.
The next piece of equipment is the holster for your firearm. Many of you probably have a holster for concealed carry, but that holster is probably an open top holster without retention devices. For open carry, it's important to have a holster with a good retention device on it, so no one can come up behind you and take your gun. It's important to purchase a high-quality holster. Cheaper holsters can be easily ripped off, and they won't hold up over time. In the end, you'll end up spending more to replace those of poor quality.
The holster manufacturers that make holsters for police officers are a great place to start looking. Now I can tell you, I have more holsters than guns, and many I thought were comfortable turned out to be big pains. However, I can say I like the Blackhawk SERPA holster for me, it fits nice, and is comfortable for all day carry.
Attitude is just as important as the equipment; it would make no sense that you have good equipment, but not the right attitude for open carry. Now I don’t mean to be a total jerk, but have a confident, I am ready to defend myself if you start something attitude. Watch an off-duty police officer. They are sheepdogs always watching the flock. They're not looking to start trouble, but they have a confidence that communicates a willingness to do what it takes to protect those around them.
When open carrying, never carry the badge that looks like a police officer's, but reads "weapons permit." The last thing you want is for someone to believe that you are impersonating a police officer. It's illegal in most states. Additionally, since Obama's war on cops, there may be people who decide to make you a target, believing that you are law enforcement.
Like I said before I have seen more people carrying openly and if you choose to open carry it is your responsibility to keep your firearm safe and under control at all times. Good luck! Never forget, the best weapon you have is knowledge.
A Second Amendment Advocate
Feature Photo Credit: Eric Gay/ AP