Can We Stop Arguing About Concealed vs. Open Carry?

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Other than maybe the perpetual caliber wars, one of the most dependable points of argument amongst The People of the Gun: the concealed carry vs. open carry…well, “debate” doesn’t really cover it. It’s almost like getting into a discussion with an evangelical vegan. They’re fully invested in the choice they made and they absolutely can’t wait to tell those who disagree with them how wrong they are.

The rationalizations are then introduced and, soon after, the whole thing devolves into name-calling calling, all-caps shouting and far too many exclamation points.

As in so many internet discussions, it ultimately gets down to those on both sides making the carefully-considered, nuanced point that “You’re wrong because you don’t like the thing I like.” And this happens all the time.

Concealed carry (courtesy

As most of us know, concealed carry is good because a pistol held in a concealed carry holster and kept out of view won’t offend people who are afraid of guns or otherwise uncomfortable around them.

Arguably they shouldn’t be, and no one should really have a problem with someone carrying openly, but as with anything else in life there’s what should be and there’s what actually is.

Open carry is good because the gun is right there if we need it. Also — and not insignificantly — carrying a handgun in a quality OWB or a drop-leg holster is darn comfortable.

Not that there aren’t plenty of good, well-designed concealed carry holsters that are pleny comfortable, too (he said, vainly trying to head off the inevitable “But what about MY particular ultra-comfy hybrid IWB rig?” in the comments below).

Concealed carry IWB
Courtesy Bravo Concealment

Concealed carry affords you the element of surprise. No one knows you’re packing unless and until you choose to reveal your sidearm. That can be a tactical advantage, depending on the situation you find yourself in.

Seen at NRA convention (Dan Z. for TTAG)

Many argue that open carry is a deterrent to bad actors. That they’re less likely to pull something if they know someone in the immediate area is armed. But it’s not like there are really a good ways to quantitatively prove that assertion.

Occasionally you’ll find an instance or two where an open carrier was targeted and relieved of their gun, but such instances are exceedingly rare. Oh, and there’s also the argument that open carry normalizes the presence of firearms for those who don’t or won’t carry. 

open carry i vote gun in holster
(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

In the end, the truth is simple. Both concealed and open carry have their places for different individuals in their particular situations. Each method has its own merits and drawbacks. Neither is “better” than the other. It all comes down to the individual’s circumstances and preference. 

So, all of that said . . . which one do you practice and prefer and why?


Sam Hoober is a contributing editor at Alien Gear Holsters and Bigfoot Gun Belts. He also contributes regularly to Ammoland, Daily Caller and USA Carry.

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