Apr 20

Open Carry: Act Like You’ve Been There

I remember being stationed in Germany, a wide eyed 19 year old who lived in a new country with endless possibilities.  Coming out of high school I was never much of a “party animal” and had mainly stuck to sports, JROTC and work.  Yet there I was in a land where 18 year olds could get into clubs and even drink alcohol, stationed with a crop of Alpha Males with something to prove and more muscle than sense.  I was the new guy until the next new guy came in, at which point I would be ushered into the salty old vet frat and would ridicule other new guys for not getting with the program.  You might be wondering where I’m going with this so here it is: the worst thing I could have done while with my group (to mess with their flow) would have been to act unnatural, especially in the club where young Fraulein’s lurked.  I would often hear this while walking into a discotek: “Hey PJ, just be cool man and act like you’ve been there before…”

My experiences in the late 90’s in Germany really have nothing to do with Open Carry, but the message that my buddies were trying to impart most certainly does.  While carrying concealed many of us act naturally because the weapon is concealed and most people could look right at us and never even know a piece was on our hip.  Yet the game tends to change when going open carry because we know AND everyone else knows that we are armed.  While not a huge deal at the range or in a gun store what about when we are out amongst the sheeple?  This bleating flock who quite possibly could squeal and run from their own shadow, must less someone with a *gasp* loaded firearm.

Here’s the thing, I think open carry and concealed carry both have their advantages and disadvantages.  I’m fortunate to live in an open carry state but probably only do so 20% of the time.  For the most part I suppose that I like to fly under the radar and draw less attention to myself but there are times when open carry is simply more convenient or even necessary and I don’t shy away from it when that’s the case.

Hike from 2 weeks ago

Hike from 2 weeks ago

This past weekend my wife and I went hiking with our dog, when we do so I like to carry my Bugout Bag just to stay in tune with the weight and how it feels when moving over uneven terrain.  The way the bag is set up the waist strap makes it impractical to use a traditional belt holster so I tend to opt for a drop leg rig.  I use a Safariland rig with a hood and primarily carry for three reasons while out there:

1- Because I can

2- Wild Animals

3- Lots of meth heads in the area and you never know…

So here’s how this went down.  When we pulled into the parking lot at the trailhead there was a Boy Scout troop on site getting ready to go fishing, some dudes in mossy oak gear and a few other people just milling around.  I got out of my vehicle with my drop leg in full view and just proceeded on normally.  Strap my pack on, get my dog ready, make sure my wife had her gear and off we go.  Say hi to the Boy Scout kids on the way out and wave to the other folks. Act like you’ve been there before and most people will assume you are good to go.  l even ran into a few folks on the trail and we stopped to talk, my rig in plain sight and never a glance down.  Maybe they saw it and maybe they didn’t, either way my demeanor was calm and collected with nothing to hide.  It’s been the same when I’m carrying openly and on my way to the range and I had to make a stop for gas or anything else.  Usually I’ll be sporting a Raven Concealment OWB holster and a couple spare mags on the other side, just look people in the eye and carry on normally…things never seem to be an issue.

I suppose it wouldn’t be a complete article if I didn’t list out how things can go badly, or the opposite of acting like you’ve been there before.  Constantly touching your weapon when it’s in the holster (open carry), acting nervous or twitchy, slinking around like some sort of weirdo, mumbling incoherently or showing open anger/frustration.  Any of those behaviors will most definitely catch the attention of the sheeple and have them reaching for the phone and 911.  So with that in mind, keep up the training and resolve to remain as cool as a cucumber in public when carrying in the open, act like you’ve been there before!


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    • Echo5Charlie on April 20, 2014 at 9:42 PM
    • Reply

    Lucky you living in an open carry state. I live in one as well, but I live in the city and none of the cities or municipalities around allow open carry. There have been people open carrying on YouTube around here. Well, they are on YouTube because they sat roadside with the police for an hour after being talked in at gun point. They were not charged, but it sure is a risk going that route. To me that’s not a good idea, I’m surprised none of the police have used the “I thought the camera was a gun” excuse.

    Tactically, I think it is a huge disadvantage to let the world know your armed. On a hike it makes sense to me, but not at the grocery store.

    The only open carry I will do is in the woods. I’m not to concerned with tactics of the wildlife around here.

      • PJ on April 21, 2014 at 8:03 AM
      • Reply

      I definitely agree that there is a time and a place for OC, sometimes it is more trouble than it’s worth because of overzealous LEOs or freaked out sheeple.

  1. I wish I lived in a state that allowed open carry. How can Texas not be open carry? I really can’t wrap my head around that…

      • PJ on April 21, 2014 at 8:01 AM
      • Reply

      Looks like everything isn’t better in texas? 🙂

      1. Haha, no, everything is NOT better in Texas. 🙂

      • Sapper on May 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM
      • Reply

      Texas IS open carry on long guns. Only handguns are concealed carry…..with a license. Rifles and shotguns can be carried openly as long as you do not “carry in a manner calculated to cause alarm”.

      The problem is that if a sheeple calls the cops they use that call to indicate you were causing alarm. The defense to that idiotic argument in court is that the law says CALCULATED. In other words if I had no intent to cause anyone alarm then I have not violated the law. In most areas this is interpreted as…unless you are pointing the damned thing at someone or otherwise obviously intending to scare people or recklessly endangering people then you are legal.

      There is a massive push to make open carry of handguns legal too. Probably will be with a license at first but eventually we will succeed in turning Texas into a truly open carry state.

      I got my CHL a bit over a year ago and have carried 24/7 since with two exceptions. While asleep and even then my pistol is never more than arms reach away as trained by the Army. The other is at work where it is a condition of employment. I could not be charged with violating the law by carrying at work but I could get fired with no recourse. I leave my pistol in the truck and put it back in the holster where it belongs when I get back to my truck.

    • Steve on April 21, 2014 at 8:09 AM
    • Reply

    I live in a small town (pop. 3,000) in an open carry state. I carried open in our town almost exclusively for a couple of years with only a few comments from others.

    One was while I was standing in line at the hardware store. There was a couple behind me that were probably out-of-state camp owners in town for the weekend. I heard the man gasp, “Oh my —” and then something like, “What’s the world coming to?” to the woman with him – more or less under his breath. All other comments were positive.

    I pastored a church at the time and carried open there except when in the pulpit. Since the last election i decided to drop back down below the radar for the time being. It was overall a good experience and I look forward to more. And you are absolutely correct in your advice. Personal confidence and a decent attitude go a long way toward acceptance.

      • PJ on April 21, 2014 at 9:19 PM
      • Reply

      What’s the world coming to when people feel like they should be able to defend themselves! Hilarious at best, some are just unbelievable.

  2. In practice, open carry is rarely noticed, let alone cause alarm. Most people never notice, those that do notice either don’t care or are pleasantly curious. And yes, act like you’ve been there before. No smart comments, loitering, etc. Just go about your business like you know what you are doing.

    • Echo5Charlie on April 21, 2014 at 9:21 PM
    • Reply

    It’s just bigger in Texas, not better.

    • Gary Belcher on May 18, 2014 at 12:06 PM
    • Reply

    The only time I open carry is on walks in the boonies. Out here, no one seems to care. By contrast, cities tend to attract people who are convinced the police will be there to protect us when and if the need arises.

    Its kind of funny though, most concealed carry is not too difficult to spot. To that end I suppose it isn’t really concealed.

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