The Open Carry Experience, Part 5: Comfort and concealment

I have to say one thing for open carry – it’s a lot easier to carry a full size pistol openly than it is to conceal it. But is that comfort really worth the increased risk, public awareness, and potential for negative attention?


The more I do this, the more I think the answer to that question is “no,” especially if you’re so fortunate to live in a state with good CCW laws. I’ll use a couple of different examples: in South Dakota, where I live now, there is no permit needed to carry openly. You can just tie on your gun, and stroll about, and it’s all perfectly legal. But getting a CCW permit in this state essentially amounts to telling the processor that no, you haven’t kilt anyone, and yes, you promise to be a good boy. Then you pay your 10 bucks, and they issue you a temporary permit until your for realsizes permit is approved. In fact, it’s so easy to get a permit here that Constitutional Carry failed to pass, because the Governor essentially said “what’s the point, it’s already crazy easy to carry here.”

Now, there are other states where it’s more burdensome to get a carry permit, and OC is the only option for law abiding citizens, or your state may have weird rules that prevent you from CCing in normal locations. A good example was Virginia, which for the longest time had an asinine rule about not being able to conceal in restaurants.

But even after OCing here for a bit, I’m not seeing why anyone would choose this as their primary method of carry if a CCW permit was available to them. I’m not talking about occasional OC, we’ve all done there. Get out of the car, don’t want to put your Hawaiian shirt on, so you just pump gas while open carrying. NBD. I’m talking about using OC as a primary method of carry.

The problem is that as I think this through, I can’t really come up with any real reason to choose OC as your primary method of carry. While it is certainly more comfortable, it’s more dangerous, there’s even more responsibility than concealed carry, and of course there’s the very real chance to get to meet your local police department in an unfriendly manner.

Drilling down into even more, the most attractive part of OC for me is fundamentally based around laziness. Concealing a gun larger than a pocket pistol requires me to engage my brain just a little bit when I select clothes and holsters. If I OC, I can avoid that entirely. But laziness isn’t really a good reason to make choices.

I am committed to these articles, and so I’ll keep Open Carrying for now. But I can’t shake the thought process that anyone who would choose OC as their primary method of carry, barring certain circumstances, is either doing it for the attention or out of laziness.


  1. How do you think your opinion on the comfort would change if you were somewhere hotter, like the southeastern US? The temperature is the biggest complaint people have when trying to actually conceal a full-size pistol here.

    1. I live in AZ, It’s a wee bit hotter here that Florida, not as humid, but DEFINITELY Hotter.

      We have OC, CC with a Permit and even CC WITHOUT a Permit, it is in the Constitution now.

      I CC!! Every day, Everywhere!!


      I don’t want to give up my Tactical Advantage!!

      I don’t want to become a target.

      If TSHTF, guess who becomes the first target?? YUP, the guy with the gun!!

      I agree with Caleb 100% here!! Most OC people I have seen are just looking for attention or Lazy!!

      Yes, the guy with the Crappy Gun, on the Crappy/Floppy/Loose Nylon Gun Show Special Holster on a REALLY Crappy belt. The guy that you know that has NEVER practiced drawing his pistol form this POS Holster and it flops around while he walks!!

      Not me!! CC and VERY Aware of my surroundings!!

      1. I open carry about half the time. I am not lazy or a attention whore. I like making people around me aware of the fact that it is OK to open carry and I have noticed more and more people have started OC in my area. Now when I am at work I CC so as to be PC around customers. I do agree with your point of crappy holster and belt. I only have good quality belts and ether kydex, nylon, or leather holsters fitted for my weapon +28

        1. That is the beauty of my work, I can OC if I wanted, 99.9% of my clients are in the shooting Industry.

          And you know how to OC, good belt, good Holster and I bet you know how to draw that pistol from the holster too!!.

          Regretfully enough, not every OC guy out there does what you do

          1. Practiced untill is was second nature. But I believe if you are going to do something ether do it the best you can or don’t. There is no middle ground.

  2. As a Central Florida resident, and AIWB carrier of a duty size pistol, it’s hot from March to mid-November no matter how one chooses to carry. 6’1, 225lbs. Golf shirt over tee shirt and cargo shorts.

    1. I really should buy some more golf shirts. The Nike golf shirts are basically the perfect Extra Smedium.

  3. I also live in AZ, though in Tucson, the most liberal city in the state, have a CCW (which isn’t needed), and OC every chance I get, especially when I’m with my kids. I’m kind and polite and feel that my behavior stands out and normalizes guns in the public eye, even though I’m giving up a tactical advantage. I’ve been open carrying for 4 years, and haven’t yet had a single negative encounter with another citizen or police. I open carry in Galco Gunleather burgundy holsters with a belt designed for the weight of a gun. I see others OC nearly every day, and while I’ve read a story or two of people playing the role of jackass while OC, I’ve never seen it in person.

      1. The only thing these Asshats are accomplishing is giving more reasons to hate us to those who already hate us!!

      2. Lol. Sorry, I should have put a smiley in there. I’m very much of the opinion that rabid OC’ers are the 2nd Amendment’s Westboro Baptist Church…

        1. I am glad to know how you think of me comparing me to the low scum of the earth Westboro Baptist Church. I open carry a handgun in N.C. not a rifle. I think open carry of longarms is rather stupid because it does scare people. I believe open carry of a handgun is perfectly fine. But that is just me.

          1. Like I said, you seem to have your shit together when you OC, you don’t act like a DICK!!

            You should watch Jerry Miculeks Video on Open Carry!!

  4. Yeah, I see open carry as just a facilitator for half-ass concealed carry. get that comfy retention holster and throw on a hawaiian over your Tshirt, and if someone sees it, (they probably won’t, because nobody in this society notices anything that isn’t waving in front of their faces anymore) NBD.

  5. niccolo machiavelli —

    Caleb carries for the same reason most of us do — because Bad Guys do NOT phone ahead and make an appointment to attack you, generally speaking. (If they DO, and you actually show up, you’re an idiot. 😀 )

    The reason he carries a HANDGUN is the same reason the rest of us (including cops) does. Becuase he doesn;t think it is LIKELY that he will need a gun THIS PARTICULAR DAY. If we KNOW we are likely to need a gun on a particular trip, um, we don’t go go there if at all possible — and if we simply HAVE to go, we take a rifle or shotgun. . . and 30-40 of our closest friends with rifles, GPMGs, and CAS & DIVARTY on priority. {chuckle}

    I have a first aid kit in my car that includes stuff for severe trauma. I don’t think I’m going to NEED it any particular day (I’m not living in a Real World Grand Theft Auto game), but if I ever DO need it, I’ll need it REALLY BADLY. Doesn’t mean I think I’m a battlefield medic or an ER doc.

    I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen, one by my furnace, and one when I go camping. Doesn’t mean I think I’ll NEED one any particular day (I’ve NEVER had to deal with an interior fire that couldn’t be ended by putting the lid on the pan), but if I ever DO need it, I’ll need it REALLY BADLY. Doesn’t mean I think I’m a firefighter.

    Guns are simply really useful tools for specific purposes – such as (according to FBI stats) being the ABSOLUTE BEST WAY to reduce your odds of being injured or killed if attacked (*especially* rape).

  6. I do a mix of both OC and CC I personally believe they have there time and place. I devote 80% of carrying to CC and the other 20% to OC. If im driving long distance through a gun friendly state I’ll OC with my shoulder holster instead of my EDC Leather Kydex IWB holster that I usually wear on my 4 o’clock (highly unconfortable for a slim long distance driver). If I find a situation when I do OC, I weigh my options and make the choice which is the awesome benefit of having a right you can choose how to exercise it. Open carry of rifles to advance a political goal can work if the indviduals organizing plans it better. I’m not going to go into the woulda coulda shouda’s, but we really dont need to demonize the primary OC’ers or the organizations that represent them because they like all of us believe that our natrual rights are important the infighting between OC’ers and CC’ers needs to stop lets focus on brushing ourselves off and moving forward and a law abiding & gun owning community.

    1. *as a law abiding & gun owning community.

      Damn I didnt notice till after i hit enter……….

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