Open carry – really, for jackasses. Seriously, ask me what I think!

Do you have a right to open carry?  Sure, whether it’s legal or not, I’d say you have that right.  But there are two main reasons that you shouldn’t — really, really shouldn’t:

1) It harms the cause.  You look like an immature attention-seeking jackass.  Plus you frighten people.  We are trying to win people over, not scare them.  We are trying to appear reasonable, not stupid and dangerous.  See Andrew Branca’s argument along these lines here.

2) It’s counter-productive.  Look at this t-shirt:

karate t

This is a stupid thing to wear in public.  It makes you look like a jackass (see how easy it is to to that?), and it simply warns  anyone that has in mind to do you harm to start big.  Now look at this photo of another gun blogger who disagrees with me on this subject (his post where he published this photo of himself is here):


Even if this doesn’t raise alarm in his neck of the woods, it says “take this gun” to anyone wanting one.  Easy-peasy to do that.  Really, really easy.  Child-like easy.

Now, I have (very) occasionally open carried when I had a badge to wear next to the gun, but only under unusual circumstances and only briefly, and only when I was using a security holster (and I don’t mean just a thumb-break holster).  So sure, there are exceptions, but remember, when people saw my gun they also saw a badge, making it perfectly OK in their minds even here in Massachusetts.

There are those that argue that if we don’t exercise this right we will lose it.  More likely we will lose it in places where it is now legal and not gain it in places where it currently isn’t.

No one likes a jackass.  People like ladies and gentlemen.

Finally: I hit this point often and hard because it’s the part of self-defense that most people foolishly omit. If you carry a gun for self-defense, you have to know the law. Invest the money you’d spend on shaving a tenth of a second off your splits with Andrew Branca’s book or seminars — it’ll pay far greater dividends. Visit this link to learn more, and use the discount code “streetstandards” for a 10% discount.

17 thoughts on “Open carry – really, for jackasses. Seriously, ask me what I think!

  1. How much money are you losing because someone is not paying for a class to meet the requirements for a concealed carry permit? Or is there some other objective reason you have for disliking open carry? (I don’t know if you usually dress in 5.11 tactical pants and a shoot-me-first vest but if you did I would not call you a jackass.)

    I’d say the Jungle Jim hat and outfit are more jackass than open carrying.

    How are people going to learn that carrying a handgun is both legal and safe if you keep it covered up? Most of the comments/conversations I have are in the “Do you need a permit to do that?” range, quickly followed by “Really, you don’t need a permit? Wow!” and then maybe some questions about what kind of gun to get or where to get training. But most of the time nobody seems to notice, or if they do they don’t seem to care.

    Can you cite one documented instance of a gun grab from a person open carrying?

    Yes, I have a dog in the fight. I can’t let go of my cane to pull a cover garment away, but refuse to give up my right to self defense. I’m not thrusting my holstered hip at anybody or asking folks to take pictures of me. The gun is just there, like my wallet and my watch.

    stay safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Actually, there have been at least three documented cases of OCers being robbed of their firearms in the past year. I’m sure if you perform some due diligence, you can find them.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. How much money are you losing because someone is not paying for a class to meet the requirements for a concealed carry permit?


    (I don’t know if you usually dress in 5.11 tactical pants and a shoot-me-first vest but if you did I would not call you a jackass.)


    I can’t let go of my cane to pull a cover garment away, but refuse to give up my right to self defense.



    • One-handed drawing of an openly carried handgun from an OWB holster. The inability to stand without the assistance of a cane does not preclude the effective use of a handgun for self defense. The inability to stand without the assistance of a cane does not preclude the ability to shoot with sufficient precision. The inability to stand without the assistance of a cane does limit the ability to engage in some of the more athletic poses and courses of fire that are part of the current focus of training.

      I’m just an old fart who would prefer to get to and remain behind cover but realizes that home invasions and street encounters will not always allow for me to do that. I’d rather stay behind cover and defend the access to my location than engage in a battle shooting around corners, through windows, or even pie-ing a corner to see an attacker who is not directly in front of me. Differing life circumstances call for differing “tactics”.

      There are few enough trainers who adjust their services to meet the needs of the handicapped. I’m afraid to read what you might have to say about those with limited vision that must employ point shooting.

      stay safe.


  3. Wow you are a typical jack booted thug. I can do it you can’t. I live in a place with as little freedom as you can find in this great country and claim to know how people should act in places where the people are citizens and not subjects.

    You are a terrible human being and as you did OC you are a hypocrite. LEOs are notoriously easy to dissarm compared to the average OC’er. There are some OC’ers that don’t train and there are some cops who know how to retention fight. But your badge draws more people to try to get your gun then putting it in your pocket. You know so little its astounding.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Open carrying what? A handgun in a holster the color of one’s clothes is much less ‘open’ than a long gun slung over one’s back.’ Concealed’ means something is harder for most people to notice. Are there partial jackasses out there? I have heard of complete a——-s but cannot remember hearing about complete jackasses. .


  5. The OC debate is really NOT the place to discuss tactics. The OC debate is about POLITICS and tactics are about self-defense.

    Early-on, I too objected to OC on the “jack-ass” line-of-reasoning. I saw the light. It’s not that I no longer see the “jack-ass” argument; it is STILL a VALID argument. Yet, it can be OVERCOME.

    We are in a civil-rights fight. It is very much akin to those that came before us: Gay-Rights; Pot-Rights; (Black) Civil-Rights; 18-year-old Suffrage; Prohibition; Women’s Suffrage; (Chinese) Civil-Rights; States-Rights vs. Reconstruction; Abolition; Alien and Sedition Acts; and so forth. Unquestionably, the “jack-ass” argument arose in its unique form in every case. Think of Carrie Nation and her hatchet smashing-open barrels of adult beverages.

    Why should we believe that the “jack-ass” argument is peculiar to guns? Isn’t that pretty silly of us; who fancy themselves serious students of history.

    I’ll concede that Gunzzzzz ARE different. And, we are in a unique place in history; 2015 is not 1965. Having a Black person sitting on the adjacent stool at the Woolworth’s lunch counter is distinct from an OFWG standing in line – OCing – at Starbucks. But just exactly how different in magnitude is it? Was the “lady” in Woolworth’s clutching her pearls less tightly than the “woman” in Starbucks? Or, does the woman in Starbucks have better rhetoric and PR skills?

    The big question for Gun-Rights is: What are we, the PotG, going to do about it? Those of us who are driven exclusively by the “jack-ass” argument would have us all crawl back to the closet of our gun-ranges and hunting grounds where no one sees us. When, in the history of civil-rights fights, did retreat to the closet prove to be an effective tactic?

    I’m now convinced that we need to learn whatever we can from all of our experiences with OC and Carry-On with ever-improved tactics.

    Image is everything. We have to do our very best never to let the Antis or MSM capture an image that is inflammatory and crops-out a mitigating component. A couple of OFWG in camp OCing modern-sporting-rifles MUST have a mother-&-child between them; or a young girl with a pink BB gun. You get the idea.

    Americans will tolerate just-about-anything if it is a political demonstration. Just think about the abortion demonstrations. Both sides: Pro-Choice; and, Pro-Life displayed the most incendiary images imaginable. The public did not object to the tastelessness of the images. The issue is important. The images are germane. It’s part of the sacred freedom of speech and assembly.

    IF we can OC in demonstrations, protests, rallies in ways that make it unmistakeable that the message is political then our Gunzzzzzz! will be acceptable. Costumes (cowboy, Revolutionary-War . . . WW-II uniforms, professional and tradesmen garb) will both create a flamboyant aspect and a normalization aspect. Women, children, grand-parents all normalize and bring-forth the message that guns in polite society are about protecting the vulnerable.

    Such demonstrations are essential to “prepare the battlefield” before we actually practice OC as a normal activity. I do NOT advocate that intrepid individuals begin the OC campaign by individually walking down the street in a precinct NOT YET prepared. First, it’s important to raise awareness in the community that this is a POLITICAL issue, not just some individual “jack-ass”.

    Once it’s clear that the community is well briefed by repeated demonstrations, then OC can be practiced by individuals within a frame that this is ONE INDIVIDUAL practicing his civil rights, an established political issue. Think of a different context; the Woolworth’s lunch counter. Had a single Black person had the temerity to sit alone at the lunch counter he would have been accused of being an “uppity Negro” who didn’t know his place; i.e., he was a jack-ass. But first, a group of young Black people gathered together and made the event a demonstration of a call for their civil rights. Thereafter, individual Blacks could practice de-segregation as part of this political statement.

    However possible, the initial efforts ought to be made tempered by some additional aspect. A mother OCing with child is obviously ideal. Elderly or physically challenged people. Grandfathers or fathers with children. Men waring a bit of cowboy attire (cowboy boots, a vest, hat); assuming that this is tasteful garb in the precinct. Suit and tie, not camo.

    Movement across geography is important. The TX campaign went more smoothly than it would have gone in – e.g., Delaware. People were surprised by TX – NOT because there was OC in Texas! – RATHER because they were surprised that OC of handguns wasn’t already LEGAL and COMMON in Texas of all places. In January, 2016, there will be no pearl-clutching anywhere in Texas when suddenly OC is seen regularly throughout the State. This will be completely accepted as part of a political celebration.

    Now, move that phenomena into adjacent OK, and KS and MO, and so forth, precinct by precinct always taking care to move into the next bordering precinct after OC has been established in the previous bordering precinct. People travel around their local area, from town to town, county to county, State to State. An Oklahoman will be well-aware of what’s go’n on down in Texas and wouldn’t be surprised to see OK emerge in his home state. Once in OK, Kansan’s won’t be surprised; and so forth. Similarly, now that MI and OH have some experience with OC, IN and PA shouldn’t be shocked to see OC demonstrations in their States.

    We also NEED to develop our rhetoric to justify OC. No one has any legitimate claim to the last-word on tactics. No matter how convinced you are that OC is poor tactics, OPEN YOUR MIND and SHUT YOUR MOUTH. Adopt some pretext that you can use in good faith to justify OC. E.g., a person in a wheel-chair is really very vulnerable to an attack. A criminal looking for a vulnerable target will think twice about choosing an invalid who is open-carrying. There, you have it. Something you can say to justify OC in some rare circumstance. Now, everybody else is OCing to pave the political way for those who have a tactical need to OC.

    I really doubt that we will see 25% of the carrying population regularly practicing OC. That’s not required. We just need 1% – 5% to practice OC regularly. Once the population gets adjusted to the fact that they see a couple of OCiers on every outing to the public square, the terror of guns in polite society will be put to rest. We just need to keep this up indefinitely.

    To those of you who are irrevocably committed to the “jack-ass” meme; how do you propose to make guns normal in polite society? Do you have any better ideas? If so, let’s hear them.


    • Thank you for your fashion statement. Cuts right to the core of the issue like a hot knife through butter.

      Similarly profound statements might be made concerning:
      – hemlines;
      – the display of cleavage;
      – the display of boxers above the belt-line;
      – the display of bra straps outside the blouse;
      – faces behind the burka;
      – and on and on.

      I’m glad that you are stepping up to the plate now that Joan Rivers has gone to her reward. Someone needs to fill her chair of the fashion police.

      You are, apparently, unaware that in the 19th century it was de regure to ware your arms openly “in a manly way”. To carry concealed was harshly criticized as unethical and suspicious of criminal intent.

      Personally, I take great comfort in seeing who among me is armed. Am I “no one”?


  6. I share your feelings on OC. When I was an LEO I, like you, only open carried with a badge next to the belt, (As it was explained to me, “If you show iron, you show tin.”), and only for short periods (usually only until I could get my jacket on).
    I also noticed the same thing you did about the situational awareness of OCers. I live in an open-carry state, but in a populous part of it, and I have only seen three OCers in the past two years. One, who was dressed in a t-shirt and torn-off shorts, was carrying a Ruger SP101 in a cheap nylon holster that probably cost less than the soda he was paying for at the local stop-and-rob when I saw him. The second was dressed in clean jeans and a polo shirt and was carrying a Ruger LCR in an open-top holster. The third, who was carrying what appeared to be a Bersa .380 in another cheap nylon holster, was in the process of wrestling a load of material into the bed of a pickup in the parking lot of a home-improvement store. All of these people were so distracted by what they were doing that anyone could have disarmed with no trouble at all. If they had been carrying concealed, nobody would have even known they were armed.


    • OK, we have trigger-discipline, muzzle-discipline. Clearly, we need holster-discipline; and, with the rise of the practice of OC, we need OC-discipline.

      I strongly advocate OC – under carefully designed introduction protocols in each precinct. My motivation is exclusively to achieve normalization of guns in polite society. That goal can be achieved and maintained without the universal practice of OC. It would be sufficient – in the long run – if just enough people practice OC to ensure that everyone is apt to see a couple of OCiers on each excursion to the public square.Once such a modest goal is achieved and maintained, there is no reason to ramp-up the percentage of people who OC.

      Now, then, for whoever OCs we need to publish (and continuously refine) the state-of-the-art of best-practice for OC. If you are going out dressed so casually as to make a poor representative of the cause then CC that day. OC when you are dressed at or preferably above the standards for good dress and grooming as per community standards.

      If you are OCing, do so with a retention holster.

      If you expect to be distracted by activities (such as loading freight) then CC that day.

      If you insist on your God-given right to OC in such a way as to discredit the cause of promoting Gun-Rights then your fellow PotG don’t need your help. We have Shannon for that.


  7. Lot of, “if you don’t do it my way, your a jackass, here.” That sure is an elite point of view, anywhere, about most things.

    Now I am new at this game, only been shooting for 61 years, and did not start carrying for business until 1966. Was in my first firefight in 1967, and used a sidearm in a firefight for the first time that same year. Later worked for my home town Sheriff office and later Florida DOC. I still shoot competitively, although I am no longer competitive for medical reasons, and being a certified old Fart.

    I chose to live in Arizona, the best, or one of the best pro gun states in our country. How I carry my CCW/EDC weapon is entirely my business.

    I most often carry concealed for purely my own convenience reasons. I OC when it suits me. I do not let elitists like the author of this article dictate in his abusive manner to me. I have fought for freedom, and I will hang on to it, as much as I can for as long as I can.

    I will fight to the death, to defend your right to wrong, even an elitist.

    Go figure.



  8. I’ll bet the anti-gunners are popping a pup tent to see this infighting amongst us.

    My own two kopecks: I don’t do it, but if you want to, have at it. I’d feel silly and monsterously self-conscious open carrying, like I was trying to make up for a self-perceived shortcoming, so it’s not for me. Others may not see it that way.

    Not to open a can of worms, it’s far too late for that, but has anyone noticed certain body type for open carriers, such as short, tall, average, skinny, portly? The few OCers I’ve seen, with, to be honest, more than one exception, seemed to be on the scrawny side, much like me. Just wondering.


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