Concealed Carry or Open Carry?

By Karen Hunter
Posted in #EDC
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Concealed Carry or Open Carry?

May 16th, 2019

3 minute read

If you’re an advocate of the Second Amendment, you’re certainly familiar with the sting of reality that there are those who desire to eliminate your right. With that pressure at an all-time high, it can also make us even more passionate and protective about our own differing opinions within the gun community.

One such point of contention is open vs. concealed carry of firearms.

Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry

On both sides of this long-debated topic, gun owners can be quite outspoken and forthright regarding their opinions. Both sides of this issue have valid pros and cons. The key element that needs to be considered is the time in which we live now, and which choice best helps our 2A cause. 

There was a time when guns were widely accepted, and it wasn’t unusual or unnerving to see someone walking in public having their sidearm exposed. This is one reason some feel we should freely exercise open carry where it is deemed legal.

Just because we can do something, however, doesn’t always mean we should. The stark reality is simple: open carry causes people to feel nervous.

Some people scoff at this and find it ridiculous, or they just don’t care – but they should. Just as law-abiding citizens have the option to open carry, so do non-law-abiding citizens.

When I see someone open carry, I’m not fearful of the gun, but instantly on guard of the person. I don’t know them or their intentions so they’re immediately on my radar and I’m now watching and paying close attention. We cannot see something like this and take on a mindset that we instantly connect with this person “for the cause.” It’s a stranger who is armed and you have no way of knowing whether they’re a possible threat.

Nervous from the Sight of a Gun

I believe we need to do our part as gun owners and try not to be so blatant for several reasons. This in no way should be considered catering to the anti-gun crowd. We have pro-gun advocates and, of course, anti-gun advocates. There is, however, an in-between group that seriously needs to be considered. These people aren’t necessarily “anti-gun,” they’re simply unfamiliar and fearful of what they do not understand. These people also make up a percentage of voters.

I believe through compassion and understanding we can educate this group to understand that even if they’re not an avid “gun person” the second amendment protects them as well. This is one step towards taking back ground for our 2A rights, reaching and educating a larger demographic that should not be deemed as “an enemy.”

Another reason to consider concealed carry over open carry is your own personal safety. You’re carrying a firearm to protect your life and the lives of your loved ones. Holding the element of surprise is a key factor to keep in your favor.

Pros and Cons

If you are in a threat situation you will always be the second one to know. The threat will always be the first, as it is their plan or intentions. If you’re open carrying, now they know. Open carry advocates believe the sight of their gun will thwart the threat causing them to think twice and not follow through. I believe there are cases where this isn’t the case. The threat sees the firearm and now has time to decide how they want to carry out their plan. One possibility is they take your gun. This is more possible than people think or even care to admit. All they need to do is watch, wait and catch you distracted and off guard. 

Others choose open carry over concealed because it is simply more comfortable. I honestly would have to agree, it is. Putting a holstered firearm on the outside of your attire is much easier than deep concealment within. Fortunately, with the advancements and ever-evolving concealment industry, we now have more comfortable and practical options that go beyond the traditional. This is especially true for women who want to carry a firearm concealed.

It truly comes down to how serious a person is about carrying and self-defense. A wise person once said to me, “It should be comforting over comfortable.”

We should be able to exercise our second amendment rights fully in every way. As firearm owners we also need to be able to step back and reasonably assess our own individual situations before we decide on how we carry. We need to fully understand the reasons why we carry and what carrying encompasses beyond the firearm. There is so much more to carrying than doing something just because we can.

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Karen Hunter

Karen Hunter

Karen Hunter is a regular contributor and columnist to several national print publications as well as various digital platforms. She holds a passion to reach and educate people in the gun community and beyond. In addition to being a published author, Karen is a certified firearms instructor. She holds certifications in defensive handgun and carbine through Forceoptions USA, where she is also the Senior Range Officer for all training classes. Karen teaches full classes as well as private instruction. A regular guest on a variety of podcasts, she is a vocal advocate for the 2nd amendment and personal protection. She is a knife lover and lifelong student currently pursuing the study of Japanese Swordsmanship. If she’s not on the range, writing about guns or playing with blades you can most definitely find her in a drive-thru somewhere enabling her addiction to iced coffee.

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