Concealed Carry Versus Open Carry

This is guest post by John Pembertonccw check

Concealed Carry versus Open Carry

If you are carrying for personal defense, you should carry concealed.  As an average citizen, the benefits of carrying a firearm concealed far outweighs the benefits of carrying a handgun for the world to see.  

It allows you to blend in with everyone else
If no one knows that you have one, then no one can try and use it against you. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “I can handle myself against an armed attacker,” or “I have perfect situational awareness, no one is getting near my firearm,” and you might be right. However, you are more likely to run into people that you might get into an argument with in your daily life then you are to find yourself in a situation where you would be pulling out your firearm in a deadly force situation. You might run into the problem of someone claiming that you threatened to use your firearm on them during a road rage incident or you might run in to an anti-gun group member that wants to use you as a means of furthering their agenda.  There are plenty of scenarios that can happen when you open carry.

However, many of these situations can be avoided by simply concealing the pistol in the first place. Depending on the state, there is a good chance that you’re going to get harassed by the general public or even the overeager law enforcement officer at some point if you are open carrying.

One of things that I noticed when I worked at a local gun range in Indiana was that, everywhere I went, I always received comments about the fact I was open carrying. ” Are you a cop?” “Do you have license to carry that?” Or my favorite, while I was waiting to get a sub at Subway, “Hey, you better make this guy’s sandwich good or he’ll shoot you!” It was at that point that I said -the heck with this, I just want to enjoy my lunch in peace- and started to carry concealed every time I left the range.  So, even in a state like Indiana, where I see plenty of people open carry and they are silent on the issue of open vs. concealed, I would still hear comments about the fact that I was open carrying every time I went out into public.

Properly Conceal the Gun
Wear proper clothing to completely hide the gun in order to avoid what is called printing. Printing is essentially being able to see an outline or bulge from the pistol underneath the clothing. In order to help mitigate this issue, wear darker and looser fitting clothing as it allows you to better hide the pistol. Also, try to avoid wearing tactical or gun guy/ gal clothing. Nothing says “I’m carrying a gun” more than an NRA or [insert favorite gun company] shirt. If you look like a gun guy/gal, than there is a good chance that other people might assume that you’re carrying as well.
Holsters and the location of where you carry can make a big difference as well. I’m a huge fan of Kydex and Hybrid Holsters (Kydex with a leather back). If carrying outside of the waistband, try and get a holster that hugs the body.  Inside the waist band holsters tend to be easier to conceal, especially during the warmer months of the year.  While carrying in locations such as the small of the back, which might be a great place to conceal a gun, you lose the ability to retain the pistol if you were to get into a close quarters situation and need to draw it or prevent it from being taken.

Get Training
Take training. Take a class from a qualified instructor who can teach you how to use your concealed carry gun for personal defense. Gun safety and familiarization classes are great to start with, but don’t stop there. They only get you part of the way.  My company, Spartan Dynamics, prides itself in teaching not only the basics of gun handling, but also teaches our students how to defend themselves before, during, and after a conflict with and without a gun. So, if you’re in the Michiana (Michigan/Indiana) area, look us up. If you’re not and you’re unwilling to travel, look for an instructor who is qualified near you. Make sure they’re qualified, training can be expensive, and it can get even more expensive if you’ve wasted your time and hard earned cash with someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about.

While you may think self teaching might be a great way to learn how to properly conceal and learn how to use a gun for self defense, you might actually hurt yourself in the long run.  As my lead instructor says,” practice makes permanent,”  meaning you might get really good at doing the wrong thing.  You may have to unlearn the bad habits you’ve taught yourself in order to learn new ones . For more on this, check out the article “Difference Between Plinking, Practicing, and Training” written by William Smith III.

Open Carry is about making a statement
Finally, my personal opinion on open carry is that, unless your job or state requires you to open carry, the only reason you are open carrying is to make a statement. What I mean is- you’re exercising your right to do so. It’s your Second Amendment right or, in some cases, you’re just showing off the fact that you have a gun.  I’m not against open carry and you should have the right to do so. But, know that if you decide to open carry, it’s not exclusively because you’re carrying for personal defense.  Not to say that the weapon magically becomes useless if the need arises, but you have given up your tactical advantage of concealment.

John Pemberton
John is the Owner and Chief Instructor for Spartan Dynamics LLC, a company dedicated in providing realistic and practical personal protection in unarmed and armed defense. He is open-minded, and constantly evolving to more efficient and more effective methodologies for personal defense. John is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps in which he served as a team leader for signal intelligence and as a first degree black belt instructor for Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). John is also a graduate of several tactical and personal defense programs some of which include, MAG-40 with Massad Ayoob, Extreme Close Quarter Concepts (ECQC) and Edged Weapons Overview (EWO) with Shivworks’ Craig Douglas and Paul Sharp and is a NRA Instructor in multiple disciplines. For more information on John and Spartan Dynamics visit his website at http//

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