Hand-Picked Daily GUN DEALS, and Exclusive Coupons Codes >>>

Open Carry vs Concealed Carry [Pros & Cons]

Carry curious? We go deep into the pros & cons of open carry vs concealed carry so you know what's the best for your situation.

Open carry versus concealed carry is an unending debate on social media, in gun forums, and in real life.

EMP Alien Gear Holster
EMP Alien Gear Holster, Concealed

The concealed carry (CC) guys tend to see the die-hard open carriers as arrogant boys with toys who don’t take self-defense seriously.

The open carry (OC) guys tend to think concealed carry somehow diminishes the Second Amendment and defeats the entire purpose of having a gun (deterring bad guys, right?).

Emotional Support Firearm
And then there’s these people…

In the end it is not exactly a black-and-white issue, though.

There are pros and cons to both OC and CC, a time and place for each, and things you should know before running your mouth against one or the other.

If you’re carry-curious, you came to the right place.

Table of Contents


Second Amendment

Maybe this seems an unlikely spot to begin a discussion over carry methods but it’s actually fairly logical. For your refresher, here’s the text of the Second Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Notice it doesn’t say “hey, we, the founding fathers, grant you the right to have a gun.”

Virginia rallies


The right to bear arms is inherent, not granted. The Second Amendment simply reinforces it in writing–and a good thing too considering how hard the anti-gun side has pushed to take it away.

In addition, it does not say “the right of the people to keep and bear arms if they open-carry/conceal/sling an AR in Walmart.” The Second Amendment doesn’t care how you carry. It simply is.

But wait, there’s more.

Taking off your CCW be like…

Flashback Time

Full disclosure: I have always preferred concealed carry.

Even as a brand-new handgun owner it never occurred to me to wander around with my handgun out in the open on my belt. This might be because my formative years were spent with trainers like Marty Hayes and Mas Ayoob, which effectively drew the line in the sand for self-defense.

Open carrying my SIG P226 Legion for a Massad Ayoob Group class.

Or it might be because I entered the gun culture myself. I did not grow up in it, was not influenced by outside sources, and did not hang out on gun forums. Whatever the case I do CC a lot.

Do I ever OC?

Oh, absolutely.

Here’s why.

Open Carry

Open carrying is the term used in the gun world to describe gun owners who carry their firearm in plain sight. It might be a handgun holstered outside their clothing for all to see or it could be a rifle slung over their shoulder.

virginia gun rally fail
Or, y’know, whatever this guy is doing.

The point is, you see it. Some guys who OC are, indeed, the stereotypical swaggering dudes who picture themselves as John Wayne, only in sneakers and Oakleys. But not all of them are.

The times I am most likely to be seen open carrying are around my home–because, comfort–at gun rights rallies, and while hunting. As with any carry method, you must know the laws where you’re carrying.

Not all locations are the same, so do your homework.

When I OC it is for comfort and/or convenience. On a recent cross-country move, I did a lot of OC to keep the gun from digging into my body through dozens of hours of driving. I did keep a hoodie handy as a cover garment when necessary.

A loose, untucked shirt can be used to cover an OWB holster as long as it’s large enough. In this case, the holster is also slightly further forward on my belt for more comfortable carry on a long road trip.

When I hunt I carry a handgun nine times out of ten.

Not all areas allow you to carry a handgun while you’re hunting but in most states, it is permitted during rifle season or if you have a carry permit–or both.

As for rallies, I’ve attended more than a few gun rights rallies in various cities and fall somewhere in the middle between the guys who show up totally unarmed and the rabid ones with the most outrageous gear and gun possible on display. 

Demonstrators stand outside a security zone before a pro gun rally, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Here’s the reality of open carry. It can be done respectfully and responsibly. It does not have to be a look-at-me display in Walmart. Quite a few trainers I know and respect OC on a semi-regular basis.

They are also the quintessential Gray Man: they blend in, they do nothing to attract attention to themselves, and they are well-trained. They don’t OC for attention or fun they do it for convenience, comfort, or out of long habit (such as a past in border patrol or LE).

Y’all, this is what our image search for “gray man” turned up.

Sometimes it’s just easier to flow from teaching a class to going to the grocery store without changing up your holster or gun. 

On the flip side are the guys whose egos precede them. They carry openly “cuz muh rights” and purposefully flaunt their firearms.

These are the people you spot on street corners, in the grocery store, and basically anywhere heavily populated doing what I think of us the gun version of cramming their lifestyle down the opposition’s throat.

Fast food and fast guns--the American Way
Fast food and fast guns–the American Way

If you are going to OC, do it right.

Understand it can paint a target on your back. The guys who claim it’s ludicrous to believe OC draws the eyes of criminals are just as foolish as the ones saying it’s a powerful deterrent. There are no absolutes.

This means choosing a good retention holster–no, not a SERPA–and the proper carry position on your body.  You do not need to use only Level Three retention holsters for OC, they just need to be good quality.

They should also keep your gun as protected as possible, avoid muzzling your fellow man–shoulder holsters tend to be no bueno–and facilitate a smooth drawstroke. If you do not understand the value of solid retention, take your preferred OC holster to a force-on-force class.

Not today, sir!

You’d be amazed how many guns I can steal from grown men who are much larger than me if I am willing to make certain sacrifices like allowing them to control one of my arms or using my weight to throw them off balance.

Revo Twist Test, Urban Carry
Revo Twist Test, Urban Carry

The type of holster, its fit to your handgun, and where on your waist you carry it are factors that must work together for successful OC. And if you OC, be on alert.

head on swivel
Head on a swivel.

It doesn’t matter if you believe criminals see your visible firearm. That’s like saying you don’t believe in the government because it’s a faceless entity.

Guess what, the government and its taxes and regulation believe in you. Criminals see you. Act accordingly.

Concealed Carry

First things first: we are not wandering off into the weeds about AIWB versus IWB versus five o’clock versus Levis versus Wranglers.

This is about concealed carry in general, not specifically where on your body you do it.

Any references I make to position are meant only to illustrate my point not to tell you what to do. We can save that for another time (I’m always happy to tell you what to do with firearms).

Can you conceal a handgun in skinny jeans and a tanktop? Why, yes you can. (Pictured: Glock 48 in a CrossBreed SuperTuck.)

In some ways, CC is what being the Gray Man is about. It gives you anonymity, allows you to retain the element of surprise, and keeps private matters private.


If you’re concerned CC limits the sizes of handguns you can carry, don’t be.

If I can conceal a full-sized 1911 or a Glock 17, so can you. It’s all a matter of finding the right holster, using a proper belt, and making necessary concessions in your wardrobe.

(Want to learn more about concealed carry holsters? Check out our hands-on review of the Best CCW holsters!)

Hidden Hybrid Holsters Assortment
Hidden Hybrid Holsters Assortment

When I first began carrying I did it AIWB in what I can only describe as a sloppy holster. Today I still carry AIWB on a regular basis–but in a stellar holster–but I’ve also learned to be somewhat flexible. Different days and activities work best with specific guns and holsters.

Would you guess that there’s an appendix carry under here?

If you’re thinking you only own one handgun so it is not an option, well, you can have one handgun and multiple holsters. In fact, it is smarter to invest money into quality training and gear for your one handgun than it is to buy a second handgun without proper training or good holsters and belts.

Using a CrossBreed Reckoning to CC a Glock 43X.

I cannot stress this enough: know how to run your gun–and that includes drawing from your EDC holster.

Concealed carry does not negate your responsibility to train and use quality gear.

The right holster and belt can make or break carry; I’ve lost track of the number of people I’ve heard claim they cannot carry one way or another when it’s really a matter of finding a proper holster (or wearing a gun belt that actually holds up your gear).

Concealed Carry Expectations vs. Reality.

That does not mean everyone out there can or should carry AIWB, by the way. I can hear the comments on that topic before you even type them out.

It just means every successful concealed carry guy has a box–or an entire closet, ahem–full of discarded holsters. We all have a learning curve and our bodies are different. Our needs are different.

Can’t decide whether to carry openly or concealed Why try not both at the same time! But don’t really
Can’t decide whether to carry openly or concealed Why not try both at the same time? But don’t really…

Learn to dress around your gun according to your needs not the preaching of some dude on Facebook.

Does CC slow your draw?

Sort of.

Yes, it is technically slightly slower than an OC draw, but you can train for significant speed. I’ve seen half-ass, lousy drawstrokes from OWB, IWB, and AIWB holsters. It isn’t about the holster, it’s about you and the work you put into your skills.

How about printing, is that a serious problem? Yes and no. From a legal standpoint, the significance of printing depends on where you live.

What Gun Printing
Printing–easier than you think.

From a professional and responsible standpoint, you should do your best not to print. It kind of ruins the point of CC if the outline of a gun is clearly visible. 


Pros of OC include the gun being more readily accessible and greater comfort than having a gun inside your waistband. Cons of OC include the gun being visible for anyone and everyone to see which does make it easier and faster for a criminal to grab it (or target you). 

And, of course, being featured on the news while you completely fail at your sling.

Pros of CC include the obvious–concealment–giving you privacy, the element of surprise, and subtlety in unfriendly environments. Cons of CC include that it does take some getting used to, you may need to adjust your wardrobe to make it work, and it fractionally slows draw time.

If you are going to open carry, do it for the right reasons. Ego and shoving your gun rights down the opposing side’s throat are not reasons to open carry. Quite the opposite.

The Crossbreed Reckoning is a good, relatively low-profile AIWB holster.
The Crossbreed Reckoning is a good, relatively low-profile AIWB holster.

Of course, if you’re going to carry concealed, do it properly by minimizing printing and practicing your drawstroke from your chosen holster.

Both OC and CC have a time and place. I do fall on the side of believing CC is usually the correct method but there are certainly times OC works well.

Concealed carry diagram
Bonus points for the lady muzzling the dude behind her.

Find what works for you, know the laws in every area you intend to carry, and use good gear. That includes training.

Self-defense handgun skills are perishable and require work. Be a responsible gun owner and do the work. End of story.

We want to hear from you–do you prefer open or concealed carry? Have a favorite holster or position? Let us know about it in the comments below. If you want to learn more, check out our Best Holsters Guide.

The Best Gun Deals, Coupons and Finds

Subscribe to Pew Pew Tactical's sales and deals email.

45 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Terry L Gray

    I've never owned a handgun, but am thinking about getting one. I just like the Old West revolver-in-a-holster look.

    January 11, 2022 3:02 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    K. Howell

    I disagree with your point of view on shoulder holsters. I believe they have their place. For instance in a vehicle, especially with bucket seats the ability to reach the weapon under your arm rather than in your on your hip under your seatbelt, or in the small of your back seems preferable, as does not having to draw your weapon to put it wherever every time you get in, or having to holster it every time you get out without looking like you are concealing a weapon... seems preferable to me. Also regarding drawing the weapon... The only time I found it awkward was while wearing about 100 lbs of body armor and gear (not my usual day wear... call it a business trip to the Middle East).

    June 29, 2021 10:31 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Timmy Green

    Open carry or concealed carry? There are good arguments either way. It probably boils down to personal preference. I do know this. If you are a good guy with a gun up against crooked cops, like the ones I'm dealing with in Rutherford County, TN, open carry ensures the criminals with badges know what awaits their next kidnapping/murder attempt. Former Sheriff, Robert Arnold would be wise to heed my warnings. Extortion and intellectual property theft are federal crimes.

    February 24, 2021 2:42 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I carry in a open carry serpa level 2 retention cqc holster but conceal with a button up shirt or jacket.

    January 30, 2021 9:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    For me it really depends on the day. Sometimes I open carry and sometimes I conceal. I nearly always use the same owb holster but it's concealable with no noticeable print provided you dress properly.
    Today, for instance, I'm doing both. Inside the building I have my coat off and anyone and everyone can see my pistol. It's cold out, so I put on my coat when going out and now you can't see it. I don't intentionally have it concealed, it's just what it is.

    December 18, 2020 11:22 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Simon Allen

    I live in a rural Colorado town, so open carry is kind of a way of life. We have far more of the "cuz muh rights" crowd than I would prefer, but a few that take it more seriously, I.E. retention holsters and good positioning. Myself, I open carry. Why?

    1.Well because like your friend, I am the grey man. I typically look more like a goofy dad in shorts than tactical Ted, and I always try and position myself where if I'm looking at something in a store, my gun isn't on a side visable to a large part of the store. That's an aspect of any carry that your article didn't talk about much. Gunside awareness. LE and security practice it religiously. You are out among the public with a deadly weapon. You are responsible for said weapon. That means that it is your responsibility to prevent the capture or improper use of that weapon , i.e. getting shot in the goddamn head with your own gun. People who get shot with their own guns do not go to heaven.
    But seriously, this is the one thing I see that most gun owners do not practice. I see people with no retention open carrying oh, I see people giving up their gun side to anyone and everyone at the store, I even saw a lady with no retention holster holding a baby on her gun hand. Lunacy.
    It sounds stressful but after you practice it for a while it becomes second nature keep your gun safe.

    2. The other reason I choose to open carry rather than concealed is because I trust myself to be able to judiciously use my full frame 1911 to preserve life under high stress at a variety of ranges and situations. Everything about that gun is second nature to me, which means if I have to depend on it to save my life or the life of someone around me there is no other firearm I want in my hand. since that's the case I simply practice good gun side safety and invested in a good retention holster.

    June 16, 2020 9:47 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Simon Allen

      I should mention that while a government 1911 is concealable, I am unwilling to make the wardrobe concessions necessary to do so.

      June 16, 2020 10:18 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    David Sanchez

    I will openly carry all I want. I fought in Iraq, I'm not a criminal, I have no excuse to hide the fact that I am absolutely armed. When crackhead McGee draws down on me, the last thing I want to do is fight my t-shirt and/or jacket to reach my only line of defense. There's a reason LEO's and military don't tuck their weapons into their pants like gang bangers. Grow up people, guns are guns, and yes...I have one on my belt. Get over it.

    April 11, 2020 10:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Eliel Alvelo

    What an amazing article. Well done lady! I must add, being born in Puerto Rico which (United State Territory) its known to be a 2nd amendment enemy and due to that all guns end up in the hands of the bad guys, in turn causing crime to raise and the loss of countless life. Open Carry is not effective and a hostile environment of that sort. It just makes you a target. I loved how you clearly touched on the "Element of Surprise" and that's the way to go PERIOD.

    February 8, 2020 5:43 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I'm more of a T.C. "Truck Carry" guy. If I'm out & about, in public, etc, I know it's very close. You never know these days with road rage & car jackings. If I need to dismount in a bad neighborhood on foot or whatnot, I'm glad my permit allows me to open carry (But will most likely C.C.). No, it's not the quickest for response time. But it works, & is better than not carrying at all.

    February 7, 2020 6:51 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Not being 6 foot 3 and weighing 150 lbs I have yet to find a CC option that I can do comfortably. TYes I can tighten the belt tight enough so my pants dont fall down but then its hard to breath. An open carry holster on the other hand is much more comfortable. I have a sneaky pete that I use and wear a long shirt that covers it. As to rational if you are going to carry you have to ask why dont cops CC? Its because they need quick access and you dont? Not open carrying so you dont scare the public is nonsense If people did it more often they would get use to it. Its the anti gun lobbies that want you treated like criminals. Some cops are just as bad.

    February 5, 2020 3:41 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Darrell Horton

    I would like to know your thoughts on the Sneaky Pete CC holsters. I’ve heard the arguments against - you might as well just OC because everybody knows what it is, and I’ve heard the arguments for - it’s a good compromise between OC & CC for old fat men who have tried IWB holsters and never could get used to them (hmmm, could I be talking about myself here?) What are your thoughts, please?

    February 3, 2020 2:34 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      My Sneaky Pete ("Freedom Series") holster hangs on my hip outside my belt for comfort/access yet is 100% concealed from the sight of others in conformance with FL law. I no longer make people nervous by printing. They can see a square box on my belt, not knowing it is holding a Kimber K6s. No fuss, no muss.

      April 4, 2020 7:27 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      My wife and I were is a UPS store and the owner saw my printed handgun and was quite nervous. Same thing with a guy in Wendy's - I ruined his meal. I don't want people to know I'm carrying so I bought the Sneaky Pete Freedom Series. Never had a problem of people staring at it or getting nervous, even when the wind puffs my shirt up and exposes the leather. I do not think the typical person has a clue what it is.

      April 4, 2020 7:33 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark Wynn

    One of the best and most useful Pew Pew articles ... high praise which means, of course, I agree completely with the writer's points, or the writer agrees with me, whichever.

    Would only add that the ego-driven, in your face in the mall posers cause more trouble for acceptance of the 2nd Amendment than even filthy-rich New York billionaires.

    February 2, 2020 8:42 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Two ideas that aren’t addressed by this article:
    1) exercising your rights, is a logical method to help protect your rights. Even more so in everyday life than at a rally. So a responsible OC “because we have the right to” is actually a good thing.
    2) it has been recently ruled in court that open carry IS an inherent right but concealed is NOT. They might try to regulate away CC and then hope public opinion takes away OC on its own.

    February 2, 2020 5:32 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jeff Price

      Recent events in Virginia show why we need Constitutional carry. If Ralph "BlackFace" Northam gets his way, he will have the concealed carry registry to start his gun seizures... If you didnt get a carry permit, you are not on any list in the state.

      If everyone carried, open carry wouldn't be as stupid. AS it is, you are scary/inflaming whiners AND giving away the element of surprise in an armed encounter. Tactically, OC is stupid. Defenders always operate from an initiative deficit because the bad guy gets to choose the time and place to launch an attack. SO, given that you start behind the curve, why let the potential attacker KNOW who is armed and where exactly his/her gun is located? Open carriers have been attacked for their firearms. In south american countries cops and armed guards get ambushed for their guns. But even in the US I have seen video of attacks.

      February 7, 2020 4:35 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Chance Gowan

    I'm 60 years old and have carried a firearm my entire life. I can clearly remember going to High School, during hunting season, and most of the pickups in the parking lot had a rifle or shotgun (often both) in a gun rack, in the back window where they were clearly visible. We never locked our trucks. Of course, this was a rural location and crime was something we'd heard of, maybe, but nobody I knew had ever actually seen it.
    Today, I still live in a very remote portion of Idaho. I open carry about 1/2 the time and carry concealed the rest of the time. Although I don't go out of my way to really hide my weapon when I CC. Fortunately, where I live, people walk around with weapons all of the time and nobody even gives it a second look. Yep, Boise is being over-run by those escaping from California (et. al.,) and they are doing their best to impose their politics upon arrival. So, I'm a little more mindful of open carry, just so I don't stir the pot too much.
    My point is, if you're going to carry, you should carry in a way that keeps your weapon accessible. Yes, if you train a lot, you can have a well concealed weapon and access it relatively quickly - as long as everything goes right and you remain composed. I've never had to draw my weapon in a "split seconds count" situation, but I have drawn my weapon in a couple of occasions when it was warranted (though I've never had to fire in those situations).
    I tend to believe that most people should carry open or nearly open. Lets face it. We carry to protect ourselves or, in some instances, other innocents. I've been in more than a few hand-to-hand altercations and I can tell you things go from zero to very bad in a split second. I can't imagine it's better when somebody is pulling a weapon on you. You have to be able to respond quickly, competently, and with intention. If you're fumbling around, trying to lift your shirt, reach behind your hip, disentangle your weapon from your outer clothing, and engage in a hurry - chances are, something is going to go wrong.
    I know it's not in vogue anymore, but I carry in a cross-draw rig or a shoulder holster. Due to past damage to my body, my shoulders and elbows don't bend as well as some people's. It's difficult for me to reach behind my hip, move clothing, and remain smooth and competent.
    I love a cross-draw rig. They're easily accessible, even when sitting and quick to bring into battery from nearly any position.
    I know, common wisdom says "well, when you cross draw, your muzzle crosses your other arm and you can shoot yourself in an accidental discharge." Yet, the same people fawn over appendix carry. Except, isn't the muzzle of your weapon pointing at far more vital parts, for a longer period of time when it's pointing at your groin? I'm just a country boy, but that logic seems to escape me.
    In summary, like every expert has ever taught me. Practice, practice, practice. Carry in a way that works for you and a way that is safe for others (see above diagram of the lady with her pistol in a shoulder pack, aimed squarely at the guy behind her - how accessible is THAT in an emergency - not to mention the poor guy behind her)? Cross-draw and shoulder rigs work well for me.
    And, I can tell you, I've nearly certainly spent more time in very remote outdoors than 99% of the people reading this. I was a researcher in some of the most densely populated bear country in the world - usually alone. A cross draw rig keeps the firearm out of the way and accessible - when things go wrong, they go wrong fast and you don't want to have to fumble around clearing clothing when you have precious few seconds to save yourself.

    February 2, 2020 1:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Eve Waites

    Brief background, for reference: I am a university professor (philosophy), lately repatriated after nearly 30 years living, studying, and working overseas. When I returned to the US (Summer 2019) I established residence in Texas, preferring the Lone Star State to my ancestral Massachusetts. (O' would but that I escaped Soviet Massachusestan earlier.)

    The author's tone strikes me as balanced, and her partisan perspective as moderate; and I am in full agreement with her: both shock-value carriage and ego- or image-driven carriage are liabilities -- to the pro2A community, and to attempts to accommodate divergent views with a spirit of amity. This is to be acknowledged and applauded.

    Like the author, I OC at home and on my property, and in most environments I split the difference: OWB holster, but covered with a blazer or photojournalist-style vest. My default style setting makes concealment of a large frame handgun easy, so my OC tends to be CC.

    The comments surprised me, I must say. You can count me among the "from my cold dead hands" contingent; but in my opinion there is little merit to adopting (conscientiously) a provocative approach to OC, and neither sense nor honor in justifying that approach with reference to the 2A.

    My algorithm (so to speak) is this. The hammerless .38 Special in my jacket pocket, or the DB9 in my waistcoat pocket (depending on what I'm wearing), is thoroughly concealed, and is *exactly* what I want should a threat-to-self be close and immanent. Accessibility of either would not be improved by OC, and it may in some cases be to my tactical advantage to present publicly as a slim egghead in tweed.

    In contrast, the full-sized handgun in my OWB is there for - Zeus forbid - the nightmare in extremis situation in which it would be reasonable and safe (and morally obligatory?) to intervene when not only my life but the lives of those within my immediate environment are at equal risk. That firearm, too, is carried openly in a belt holster, but is not immediately visible; it is sufficiently concealed so as not to ruffle public feathers pointlessly, or diminish my capacity respond to a threat when it would be prudent to attempt to do so.

    In Texas, I may (if I choose) go about my every affair with a big iron on my hip. Were I not in urban/suburban DFW, perhaps I would. But public optics *is*, I believe, among the variables EDC types need to consider, even if - when trade-off time comes - one is not wrong for choosing speed of safe access over furrowing the brows of our ideological opponents.

    "I can, therefore I shall," however, is neither a convincing nor grown-up argument. Those who are indignant about the author's polite suggestion that civilian operators pause to ask themselves "Why this rig, at this time, in this environment?" are precisely the individuals who *should* ask themselves such questions.

    "...From my cold, dead hands," aye. And hopeful it never comes to that, I do not intend to raise the temperature of the debate unless subtlety on my part betrays my principles or compromised my safety.

    February 2, 2020 9:41 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    John in Ohio

    Oh, please! You make it out to be more than it is. What a load of rubbish. I open carry 99% of the time and conceal 1% of the time. Just carry as you see fit and stop letting the snowflakes on all sides dictate your life.

    February 1, 2020 6:56 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Joe C

    My observation on long gun open carry is, it started in jurisdictions that didn't/don't allow handgun open carry. It has since become a thing in jurisdictions that do allow handgun open carry. My take on the two in the civilian world are- a long gun is for offensive work, a handgun is for defensive work.

    As a Virginian, I was seriously annoyed at the out of staters that felt the need to carry a rifle in downtown Richmond. We eliminated mountain lions and wolves a long time ago. It was unnecessary, and in my view, only played into the hands of the socialists that have taken over the DNC.

    I've been a member of VCDL damn near since day one. We have always held lobby day while armed as unlicensed loaded open carry has always been legal here. But we never had long guns show up. I have open carried for about 15 years. I did a solid six months of research on the subject before doing so, mostly about the laws. For me, it does what is intended, people leave me alone. When the less than desirable crowd notices it, they suddenly act like part of the human race rather than like they are praying upon it, and it has made quite a few people around me more comfortable when someone walks into a shop that refuses to take off their motorcycle helmet, that's a big no-no(I own bikes too). The only exceptions have been a few conversations with people that wanted more information as they want to open carry themselves. I've even had a few cops tell me they wished everyone carried, but I've also had a couple cops visibly disapproving of it but said and did nothing. Most people just go about their business without a concern.

    I don't care that you only want to conceal, but in my time, and in five different states, my tactical advantage has been I get left alone and people that would act up suddenly act proper when they notice.. and it has never made me, or anyone else I can find, a target. Meaning I'm far less likely to need to draw. Thats the last thing any of us should want, or even need to do. Even liberals that don't approve wait til I walk away before expressing their disgust. But, you MUST pay attention to your surroundings, much more so than if you carry concealed IMO. I've seen too many people that were obviously CCing get into condition white(Hint, don't dress in 5.11, or any other "tactical" gear). In my opinion, that's far more dangerous than OCing.

    February 1, 2020 6:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Joe C

      that was typed out in a couple paragraphs, was a lot easier to read that way

      February 1, 2020 6:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Frankie G

    “If you are going to open carry, do it for the right reasons. Ego and shoving your gun rights down the opposing side’s throat are not reasons to open carry. Quite the opposite.” It takes a pretty big ego to make such a claim, and to mock people who exercise their rights by carrying a rifle on their back. If open carrying a rifle is shoving my rights down someone’s throat, then some one not carrying a rifle does the same to me. The only reason I need to carry my rifle is because it’s my right. My rights are the “right reasons” to carry openly.

    January 31, 2020 7:02 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John in Ohio

      Exactly, Frankie G. Thank you.

      February 1, 2020 6:57 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kevin Jackson

    I see off-duty cops open carry often, usually in Wal-Mart, they don't appear to share any of your concerns.
    Why should I?

    January 31, 2020 11:58 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Peter Mullin

    Submarines were originally thought of as a fleet of miscreant pirates who struck surface ships without warning and thus without honor. Now they rules the seas because their potential targets never really know if they're there or not. (I'm qualified, I would know.)
    So to say that concealed carry is still considered dishonorable because of something your dad probably told you 30 years ago when you were a kid is way off the mark today. And by way off, I mean the kinda range shooter who shoots 12 round of 45 and only hits the target once vs the 9mm guy/gal who is consistently grouping entire mags worth of double-stack ammo within the size of a fist at 25 feet.
    I also agree with Kat in that people who open carry do it for attention, whereas people who conceal carry do it for protection. Why? Because there's a big difference these days between "the fight to restore civility" and flat-out scaring the life out of the mother of two behind you at the grocery store check-out lane.
    More often than not, the less those around you know that you're carrying, the better for you and how you likely want to be treated.

    January 31, 2020 11:06 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I am ot new to guns,but new to cc. I am looking for a good holster (IWB or AIWB) for a XD9 sub compact. I also plan to add a rail mounted laser sight. Any suggests would be appreciated. By the way, I am 5' 7", about 150-166 lbs.

    January 31, 2020 10:44 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Shane Hallgren

      I love the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 for my full-size and sub compact XD9s. Don’t even know it’s there most of the time.

      February 2, 2020 8:37 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Glad to see your left handed, and thank you for your service.

    January 31, 2020 9:50 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I prefer CC as it is discrete and always figured the element of surprise is much better than being the first target. I OC in the house but technically it is still concealed to all but those I let in. G43 in a kydex we the people IWB holster, easy on and off and retains firearm well.

    January 31, 2020 5:46 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bill E. Klub

    When hunting either tasty, or potentially dangerous critters, an OC is the best; not to mention a CC holsters might make the conservation officers just a bit edgy and the 'game' more successful in escaping, or injuring you and others.
    When in an urban/populated areas, meaning retail stores, your neighborhood, restaurants, etc., the CC is the best method of carry. Why advertise what should be a surprise! Finding a proper fitting CC holster for the weapon and your 'body type', and proper sized clothing, can be a trial/error experience. Stick with what 'works safely', yet still has access/availability to your weapon.
    Many 'gun stores' have CC holsters on display to try, if you ask... but make certain YOUR FIREARM HAS AN EMPTY CHAMBER AND MAGAZINE before you enter the store to try these items on/off. The last thing you and others want to happen is a negligent discharge, which by the way, will fuel the opposition. SAFETY IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE!
    In summary, first find the proper firearm that suits your purpose. You don't need a .44 mag to buy a gallon of milk t the convenience store. Find/wear the proper fitting clothing, even if it is 1-2 times larger than the size you normally wear. Take a friend with, if necessary, to comment/observe the concealability.
    Find a holster, whether CC, or OC, that carries the firearm in a safe, (locked in place manner), so it cannot be stripped from you, or fall out of your pants, boots, or waistband. The 'bad guys' don't need another 'free gun', floating around the streets. Practice, practice, practice with your selection!
    As a retired LEO, I have a plethora of various holsters that suited my purposes for each assignment. Some duty holsters were in the 3 digit costs, but once you buy the right holster(s), whether OC/CC you'll never have to buy another. Obviously, I have carried OC and CC, but the quality of the holster is of primary importance not only for your safety, but the safety of others. Your reaction time to defeat an attempt is not as important as the safety of others.
    See DeeDee's comments for those times you need to relive yourself in public places! Juggling a loose firearm and taking care of bodily needs can also cause problems!

    January 30, 2020 7:31 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dee Dee

    I live in Florida so OC is not an option. I think if OC were an option I would still prefer CC but would appreciate the comfort of OWB with a loose shirt conceal.
    I am a short woman. When I go to Mass I wear long skirts and my SP101 in a Sticky holster strapped just below my knee with a Sticky Anklebiter.
    When I’m not in a long skirt I carry in a Can Can Concealment belly band. Yes, I carry my SP101 in a belly band. I also have a can can band for my Beretta Pico. I do have a Bond Arms driving holster which is nice.

    Why all my other holsters are in a drawer:
    My Can Can bands are so comfortable and keep the firearm snug. For a woman in pants, that is important to me when responding to “nature’s call”.

    Similar with carrying just below my knee under a long skirt. The gun is strapped to my body.

    I would never carry off-body.

    January 30, 2020 6:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kevin Bond

    Oh, it's black and white in my book. I carry concealed and that's all, that's it! Not a fan of attention...from would-be bad folks, police or anyone else.

    January 30, 2020 5:35 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    john schroeck

    nice article and I totally believe in discrett CC and do so with a p320x compact in a tier1 conceal aiwb rig comfortably every day.Oh and a spare mag in a snagmag in left front pocket.

    January 30, 2020 4:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Real Winner

    Open carry on the farm; concealed carry everywhere else.

    January 30, 2020 4:30 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kurt S

    You ask which carry option the readers prefer. OK, for me it is a Texas Cross draw. I can go OWB or IWB. My personal preference is a Tagua T-4 OWB cross draw. This particular holster offers the choice of SOB, IWB, OWB and Cross draw. MY EDC is a Bersa Thunder Plus. Some will poo-poo the .380, but with 15+1, IF I have to engage, someone will get stung/know they've been kissed. Don't get me wrong, I do not carry every day, but there are areas that I go into where it is a good idea to be prepared.

    January 30, 2020 4:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Please make an article on what to wear when carrying and what holsters for what situation! That “closet full of discarded holsters” hit wayyy too close to home haha

    Also... what’s up with the “tap here to continue reading the blog”? So annoying :(

    January 30, 2020 3:34 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John A Bird

      Check out Berne CC vests and jackets.

      January 30, 2020 5:51 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Robert the Bruce

    I conceal in NH.. I can open carry , but see it as.. just because I can do something doesn’t always mean I should.. open carry raises alarm in non gun people creating possible interactions with police that can easily go bad... i also feel you give up the element of surprise with open carry... I carry to protect myself and my family, not to make some type of political or social statement

    January 30, 2020 3:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I believe the proper line is drawn constitutionally by the explicit verbiage of the 2nd Amendment as you have provided above. No where the verbiage of the 2nd Amendment is there mentioned a restriction (aka "infringement") on how one's keeping and bearing should be regulated. Constitutional Carry has no discriminate on whether that carry is "concealed" or "open"... it's simply "Constitutional Carry".

    January 30, 2020 3:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mr. Untactical

    It is a real journey! My wife and I decided to venture into the gun community a little over 2 years ago. This article hit A LOT of the points we encountered. In fact, she's STILL looking for the right carry system.

    We've settled on equipment (Me: Springfield XD Mod.2 subcompact; her: Glock 43X), holsters (me: On your 6 IWB for EDC; her: Clinger, purse (several), OWB, IWB... sigh). And yes, we have "the drawer" for all the "other" holsters.

    We range train and dry fire train at home, but this year are taking it to the next level with courses at our local range for shooting on the move, from behind barricades, etc. It's likely we'll be (or at least I will) taking their 8-week church security course as well.

    My thoughts? I would love to open carry everywhere, but I desire to be the gray man and not let people see me coming.

    January 30, 2020 3:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The 2nd Amendment makes open carry a apparent right. There has never been any change to that amendment. It absolutely needs to be federally upheld, politicians that violate the constitution risk no blow back at all.

    Moving past the Politics. Practically speaking, in public areas for self defense it's generally inadvisable. In gun friendly areas like ranges I'm confused why open carry is not allowed more often. No I don't mean, holster work, I mean having your carry piece on your hip in a range situation like you would in a hunting scenario, backpacking, or other similar situation.

    I live in a state with NO open carry law. If you are identified with a weapon on public land, unless their is a special exemption, even if the weapon is concealed, you risk a felony. We also don't have castle laws, we also don't allow NFA items, we also require special permits to even touch a gun in a gun store.

    I would be Concealing right now if it was legal, but the permit really doesn't do anything in this state other than make transportation of munitions with guns easier.

    January 30, 2020 12:44 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Thanks for the tank top skinny Jean's thing that's my wifes go to spring n summer attire. I'm always trying to convince her she can carry and not be printing and be some what comfortable. I'll have to show her this article. Is their am iwb holster with a thumb release for that setup? My wifes biggest fear is carrying the kids and one of them grabbing for it.

    January 29, 2020 5:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    "If you are going to open carry, do it for the right reasons. Ego and shoving your gun rights down the opposing side’s throat are not reasons to open carry. Quite the opposite."

    THANK YOU - using your gun as a prop or publicity stunt is counter-productive.

    January 29, 2020 4:32 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      This works for me and my curcumstance as I see them.

      Open Carry' for the Commander/BHP size pistols is actually concealed carry when covered by a untucked shirt tail. The OC Holster has a retention thumb release. I also have a little sharp pointy something on my off side that would distract someone going for a gun grab.

      The rest of the time it's IWB or a small single stack 9 in an accessable pocket.

      Open carry of a firearm being carried by someone who has not given much thought to or had retention training does not make sense.

      February 3, 2020 11:05 pm
Join the community! Log in
Please provide a valid email address.
Password is required.
Please provide a valid display name.
Please provide a valid email address.
The password should contain at least 8 characters with at least one number or special character.
Please accept in order to continue.
Trouble logging in?
Type your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.
Please provide a valid email.
Type your new password and hit button below to confirm it.
Field is required.
Account already exists
We already have an account registered for email address () which is linked to your Facebook account.
To log in type your Pew Pew Meter password below.
Field is required.
Account already exists
We noticed that you have previously logged in with your Account which is linked to the same email address () - we can link both of your accounts together.
In order to link your accounts, hit button below and log in to your Account with the same email as above.

Account in Pew Pew Meter means more

Check what do you get by creating an account
Check and save your reviews!
Bookmark and compare your favorite firearms
Manage your newsletter subscription
pew pew tactical logo

new here?

Personalize your experience.
Select what level shooter you are!

pew pew tactical logo

level up your gun knowledge

Thanks! We'll send you the latest guides and training tips geared towards your level.

pew pew tactical logo


You'll now receive newsletters of our best articles on techniques, guns & gear.

$47 value

yours free!

targets targets

practice targets

printer icon printable

our 9 favorite targets and drills


practice targets

printer icon printable

enter your email to download

We'll only use the information provided according to our privacy policy.

success icon

Ready to Download

Click below to begin your download

download pdf