Concealed vs open carry

The Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit allows you to carry a handgun either concealed or in the open in Tennessee. Most people who carry a firearm for self-protection prefer to carry concealed. This manner of carry has several advantages. But first, let’s start with open carry.

Some Disadvantages of Open Carry

During my days as a law enforcement officer I responded to calls made to dispatch from citizens who were frightened to see a citizen with a gun. Those people had to be interviewed by a uniformed officer in a restaurant, in a store, or in some other public place. Additionally they had to present their ID and dispatch had to check for warrants. Besides the embarrassment some of these people felt, they had to take the time (hassle) to prove they were “legal.” I consider this aspect of open carry a disadvantage.

Another disadvantage of open carry has to do with safety. Many criminals like to con people, in part because it makes them feel superior to those they fool. Obviously they like what they get out of the con or outright theft. Some criminals see a person who carries openly as a competitive challenge. They study the gun, the holster, and the person. From there they determine what they need to do when they sneak up behind the unsuspecting citizen (after all, who would accost someone wearing a gun?), defeat the security measure built into the holster, and grab the gun. (A friend of mine actually did this in a Walmart store just to prove to the citizen how vulnerable he was.) Whether the time frame is immediate or after a while, only bad things can come if the bad guy gets your gun.

What I consider to be another disadvantage to open carry is what some people refer to as making yourself a target. If the bad guy enters the convenience store to rob it, and he sees you with your gun, you will probably be the first person he shoots. Do I think the presence of an armed citizen in the convenience store will cause the bad guy to turn around and leave? It might happen. However, I grew up near a big city where it was common for the street thug to shoot, and often kill, the victim after the victim complied with the thug’s demands. It’s just my opinion but I believe armed thugs, when caught in a tight situation, shoot first and then run away.

It is also a disadvantage to carry openly because there is no way to surprise the bad guy when you draw your weapon. He will start out having the drop on you. You might be able to draw your gun more rapidly from open carry compared to concealed carry. To be effective (namely to survive the situation), you would have to be able to draw your firearm from its holster and bring it to bear faster than he would be able to pull the trigger on his gun. In fact, if he had a knife and was even 10 feet away from you, he would likely be able to stab you before you could bring your gun to bear.

Some Advantages of Open Carry

I love to carry openly on my property. It is more comfortable to carry outside the waist band in a solidly built holster. The gun is easy to get to when nature calls.

At home, open carry might deter crime. On my property, I will see anyone coming toward me from a good distance and likewise I suspect he will see I am armed before he even gets close. I believe a bad actor will experience far less injury because he will likely come up with a meaningless story to explain his presence.

If I am on my own property, I won’t be hassled for open carry. No one coming onto my property is going to call 911 to say there is a man with a gun who needs to be checked out. No matter who they are, they will assume I own the property. It is extremely unlikely they will assume I have any intent to commit crime or any other dastardly deed. Personally they may object to firearms and be died in the wool anti gunners. Nevertheless they will know I am entitled to be armed at home.

The Advantages of Concealed Carry

The first advantage of concealed carry is obvious. If they can’t see your gun, the anti-gun people won’t be calling the police.

The second advantage is you will maintain the element of surprise. A person attempting to rob you will more easily be distracted by other sounds or the presence of other people giving you a chance to draw your weapon. For this to work in your favor, you will need to practice drawing your gun from different types of concealment whether those are shirts, jackets, dresses, sport coats, briefcases, purses, and so forth. Every time you leave your home, remind yourself through focused practice what you need to do to draw your weapon successfully in your current outfit.

Another advantage of concealed carry is your firearm will be protected from rain, snow, and any other element that travels through the air. Nevertheless, keep your gun clean and properly lubricated.

The Disadvantages of Concealed Carry

A disadvantage of concealed carry is that you have to ”dress around” the gun. You may want to just wear a t-shirt and shorts when you go to the company picnic. How will you conceal your weapon? Will you put on a jacket with a zipper or a shirt that buttons down the front? Will you buy a bellyband holster that does not require a belt? Will you buy a smaller gun that will fit in the pocket of your shorts, and the new pocket holster in which it will ride?

Drawing your firearm from concealed carry is not as straight forward as drawing from open carry. If you are wearing a sweatshirt, drawing you gun will be entirely different from when you are covering your gun with a jacket or an open shirt. Drawing your gun from a briefcase will be different from drawing it from an ankle holster. Depending on your lifestyle, you may need to become proficient at drawing your weapon from several different types of concealment.

And that takes us to another disadvantage of concealed carry, that is, if you don’t have lots of money. The type and size of your firearm may need to be different depending on how many ways you choose to carry concealed…so you may need to buy more than one gun. And if you buy more than one gun, you will need more than one holster. More guns means more practice to stay competent with each gun. More practice means more ammunition to buy. You get my point!

How about carrying concealed in cold weather? How hard will it be to draw your gun from under a coat and a sweatshirt? Should you use an ankle holster in cold weather so all you have to do is lift up your pant leg to draw your gun?

I am sure my preference shows through. To me, the greatest disadvantage to open carry is that this manner of carrying a gun increases your chances of becoming a victim. The greatest advantage of concealed carry, to me, is that this manner of carry increases your chances of winning a self-defense situation.

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