A trip to the range offers a reminder why I don't open carry

On the way to the range, I spotted a neighbor who had wanted to buy something I had not been ready to sell, so I stopped to give him the first chance at it now that I was ready. We chatted a while, and i returned to my truck where I had to wait for a curiously hesitant driver slowly coming up behind me. What turned out to be a police car then passed, halted, moved on, started to turn one way at the corner, stopped again, and then shifted, and went the other. The oddness of it got my attention.

The neighbor knew me, we had chatted before, but his wife did NOT know me, and I had failed to cover my carry gun in the heat as i was not planning any stops on my way to the practice range and I was comfortable with this neighbor. We live in an open carry state, but I never open carry unless the reason for doing so is obvious, say, being at the range. His wife had quietly gone inside and closed the front door.

I do not know if the two things were connected, but I certainly knew they could have been. People who open carry make even ME a little nervous. If only because it seems a little brazen given how we all know some people feel. And that was the reminder, - that a lot of people, even sometimes friends who know you got your permit, are still made uncomfortable by the display or sight of a gun being carried.

It may not seem right to many, but I put a lot of effort into making my concealed carry truly “concealed”. Not because I would be breaking any laws if someone happened to notice it, but because it makes a number of people, understandably I think, uncomfortable. While I know I didn’t do anything “wrong” In a legal sense, still I chose to consider it a mistake not to be repeated. Even around friends. It seems that even people who know you, and are fine with the fact that you carry, still can get uncomfortable if they actually see it.

I expect to be chided a bit, and fairly so, but other experiences or comments would be welcome.

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I started open carrying to the range, specifically from conversations here. Personally, I Grey Man as much as feasible. But sometimes coming back from the range I may have bagfuls of guns to carry which got me to thinking what a tempting target I must make.

So I changed my habit to I only carried what I could carry in my left hand and arm or slung around my neck while leaving my right hand free and with my .45 OC.

I, personally, don’t OC very often. But I think those who want to, know how to use good retention holsters when they do it, should. A right not used is one easily targeted to be eliminated.

I think the public needs reminding that CCW permit holders are not the problem. There’s 18,000,000 or more of us. That we are probably the MOST law abiding portion of Society. There is a study on the USCCA site about that exact point.

So if the sight of my lawfully carried gun sends someone into palpations, so be it. One last thing…

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I open carry daily for the simple fact, I carry full sized firearms and being 5’8" and around 148lbs , concealing really isn’t an option.

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In most places, people are not permitted to open carry. If they were, and if they did; there would not be so many people uncomfortable with it. It is weird now only because it is still rare.

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Why do people freak when they see a gun? What has changed the mindset? Media? Mass shootings? Lots of ideas and can be debated for years. I might consider an experiment going to wally world or grocery store. Ill make a holster for my favorite 3/8 impact gun or screw gun, open carry. A tool is a tool! I have told this story before, when we were in Cody, WY., last year and years before, there is more open carry than we have seen in ANY of our travels. Same in Cheyenne, WY. As a gun owner I look at these other open carry people and think to myself “good for them”! Almost want to shake their hand and congratulate! I drift back to my high schools days in Montana, during hunting season, almost every pickup in the parking lot had a gun the the gun rack. Kids would bring guns to school to work on stocks in woodshop. What happened to those days?

FLIP SIDE…Concealed is concealed…nobody knows! We trained an instructor a few years ago, that had martial arts training, and demonstrated how he could take a gun away from a person in a very short moment. Even take it out of a persons holster, and point it at that person! Of course he had training to accomplish this.

Bottom line…concealed is concealed, nobody knows, and nobody needs to know. Sad. I wish for a day for open carry, or a week of all to open carry. Sad. Will not happen!

EYE OPENER…attend a youth trap shoot meet, and see hundreds of youths carry shotguns! All feet are moving and action open, most carrying loaded shells. Freaked out? No.

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I think that simply shows you’re a responsible gun owner who is empathetic towards others :+1:

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I have never seen the need to open carry. And although it isn’t allowed in Florida except when Hunting, Fishing, Camping or at a Range which are obvious I wouldn’t do it anyway. Why, because it troubles some people, and only serves to make you a target in my opinion. Besides, if the SHTF so to speak, I would prefer the element of surprise.

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Very good idea, I hadn’t thought about that before, though I also CC after I leave the range, but OC would make it easier.

There was a self-defense story I had read a year or so ago. A young woman stopped at a gas station at night and went into the convenience store. When she came out and began walking to her vehicle, a perp put a gun to her neck. She pulled her firearm that she had OC and shot him. In that instance, it was probably better for her that it was easily utilized. I don’t recall if he died, but she neutralized the threat. Just because you know it is there, does not mean everyone else does.

I believe we tend to be more aware because we carry, even when we are not actually carrying. Carry as one wishes as long as it is legal.

[Edit 06/19/2020] In reference to our awareness: Before I went to the store yesterday - a rare event now-a-days, I asked my wife if she noticed anything. She looked me up and down, and asked “What?” I then pulled my shirt up and said, “This (my CC firearm).” She replied “No.” I asked her because my shirt was a bit snugger than typical and in the mirror I noticed that when I turned, I could tell that there was something under my shirt. She also stated that she still did not notice it after I put my shirt back down. So, even though I noticed it, even my wife was unaware. I usually use her if I change concealment garb, as I would expect that she would be more likely to notice a difference in my body shape than a stranger.

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Having MS, I need EVERY advantage I can get. Concealing is not a viable option other than in the winter when I wear zip up hoodies or at church when I’m wearing my sports coat.

I look at it this way, do police conceal carry? Not typically, and the odds on someone grabbing your weapon are slim to none IF you have situational awareness.

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Everybody’s situation, and location are different. I think if I was in a spot like yours, I’d work it out to do the same If I felt i needed too, people in my small circles would get used to it, or just stay away I suppose. come to think of it, there was a guy in a wheel chair who open carried, and you know, few people i saw really thought much of it unless they were just being jerks. I think concealed is an advantage for all the good people, I like that the criminals don’t get to automatically know where all the power to oppose them might be!

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Thanks for the replies, I was pretty interested to see what other CC people would have for thoughts.

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I live in a pretty liberal area. I go to great lengths to ensure when i take my bags to the car it doesnt look like I am hauling a small arsenal specifically because I dont want to spook the neighbors.

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I back my car in if I am taking anything other than range back in for that reason.

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I open carry around the house and if I have to make a quick run to the store or some other nearby location, and if I head to town I may put a covering shirt over but not worried about deep concealment.
If I go to town and plan on being there and interacting with those I do not know I will conceal and usually do so anyway.
Open carry around where I am is not often noticed, as it is a mix of people who grew up around firearms and those who simply remain in condition white and do not notice anything.

I have encountered one of those people who say ‘holding onto your guns and your God’… but it was nothing to worry about, only proof some are there, and they had no clue I was armed.

Yes, I will hold onto my gun and God…

If it is legal to open carry, you should not worry about it, going to the range, going fishing, or a quick trip to the store for something … but that is of course an individual choice.

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I don’t open carry either. As long as I can legally carry concealed, I will do so. I know that legally, in so many states, that you can open carry. But, there are times when even though you can do something, doesn’t mean you should… In fact, it is more prudent not to! :100:

I think the Apostle Paul said it best “all things are lawful for me, but not all things are expedient…” :fire::muscle:t5:

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@Zavier_D @Harvey… I do the same thing. I have at least 1 nosey neighbor and I have no idea where he stands on firearms. Honestly though, I’m not trying to broadcast what I’m doing. Plus, it’s really nobody’s business what you’re doing. I’ll tell them… THAT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. :v:t5:

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The history of carrying firearms is pretty fascinating. When our nation was first developing, open carry was not only common, it was expected to some degree and was very acceptable. In fact, it was assumed that if someone was concealing a weapon, they were up to no good. Below is a link to a brief history of open v. concealed carry. It is from wikipedia, but it is relatively accurate and is accurate with respect to the evolution of open carry to concealed carry.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_concealed_carry_in_the_U.S.

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Your experience mirrors mine.
All my friends and I trust my enemies
know that I carry.But prefer not to
see it.Once at work one of the
drivers reported me to the
police.When they came
I showed my permit
but not my gun and
told them to get out
of my office to the great
delight of my office mates
who had never seen a cop
treated with such disdain.

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DS-1, personally I’m not a fan of open carry, and rarely do so. It’s just a personal preference for me. I’m 50+ years old and need every advantage I can get in a confrontation, including the element of surprise. That being said, I don’t have a problem at all when those around me do open carry.

IMO, I think anyone who open carries should have a level 2 or level 3 retention on their holster.

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Mine was once spotted on a public bus.
We soon found our vehicle surrounded
and a cop came aboard to question me.
The police in Corrupticut where I live
don’t like anyone except them to
have one.Luckily for me I dropped
a Top Cop’s name and he was on duty
and we were allowed to go on-they
even held the bus for me,so I got
to work on time.If my friend was
not on duty they would have used
some lie or pretext to arrest me.

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