With open carry becoming increasingly popular, a lot of people are asking which carry method is the best. The truth of the matter is, we don't carry for comfort... We carry to defend ourselves and people we love.
With that being said, should you open carry or concealed carry?
I have compiled a list of pros and cons addressing both of these carry styles along with different holster options.
Open Carry Pros:
Open carrying does have a nice list of pros if I do say so myself.
- Typical OWB holsters are either full kydex or leather. I highly suggest at least a level 2 retention OWB holster if you are going to carry this way.
- You have quick, easy access to your firearm.
- Open carrying can also serve as a potential deterrent, a good friend of mine has first hand experience with this. One evening he was leaving a store, Glock 17 on his hip. He noticed a suspicious male in a hoodie rapidly approaching him. As a precaution, he turned strong side towards the potential assailant and rested his hand on his pistol. The suspicious male immediately made a u-turn and hoofed it to a waiting vehicle and sped off. This leads me to my next point
- Carrying OWB allowed him to carry his full size 9mm in a more comfortable manner than having to carry that full size pistol IWB.
Open Carry Cons:
This is where things start to get controversial. So, we're going to approach this carefully and sensibly:
- Though open carry has a strong list of pros, these could easily be turned into cons. Starting things off, advertising that you have a gun by open carrying can potentially turn you or your firearm into a target. This is very dangerous, considering most people that carry a pistol open or concealed typically do not train in weapon retention or any hand to hand combat. “But I have a gun! Why is this important?” My answer is simple... Do you want to get shot with your own gun?
- Moving on, the majority of the population are not familiar with current gun laws. Average Joe might see your pistol, and being the concerned citizen that he is, he may call the police. This can be an issue if it is not handled properly, there are multiple cases of law abiding citizens being shot by police because of poor communication.
Concealed Carry Pros:
- There are multiple ways to conceal carry. The most popular ways are typically a full kydex holster, an ankle holster, or my personal favorite... The Hybrid Holster! I'm going to focus on the Hybrid Holsters due to them being the most comfortable carry option for IWB (in my opinion).
- You still have quick and easy access to your firearm, along with the added benefit of stealth giving you the ability to engage your target when the right opportunity presents itself.
- The leather backing allows for comfortable all day carry and the kydex shell aids in one handed reholstering.
- Both the full kydex and Hybrid Holsters can accommodate larger pistols and offer deeper concealment as well.
Concealed Carry Cons:
- The cons depend on how you carry. If you appendix carry, you may not be able to draw your pistol from a seated position.
- If you're carrying at the 3 or 4 o'clock position, your gun may print or show a little if you have to bend over to pick up something or reach up to grab something.
- If you're wearing a “deep concealment” type holster, you may have issues drawing from a seated position or while being bent over behind cover.
Whether you're carrying concealed or open, ultimately what it comes down to is being comfortable with how you're carrying. If you are wanting to open carry, first check your state's carry laws to make sure that you are allowed to.
I personally feel that you should carry for the situation, whatever it may be. If you're out in public, go concealed so you do not bring extra attention to yourself. If you're out hiking, camping, or even lounging at home, then open carry would be my choice.
Regardless of how you carry, make sure to spend the money on a quality holster. It could save your life.