Why CCW Is Better Than Open-Carry
When I was on patrol as a uniformed police officer, I of course had an open-carry firearm. The very first argument about open-carry vs. concealed carry is often, “If open carry is so bad, why do cops do it?” This question seems fair on the surface, but I submit it is a strawman argument that simply does not hold up.
As a police officer, I had advanced training that a basic pistol course or a CCW course does not give you. It is very true that you can, and should, pursue this kind of training if you’re going to carry a firearm, concealed or otherwise (our reason for starting Gunner University). However, as a general rule, cops are simply more tuned in to what was going on around them (situational awareness) than a normal civilian.
While on patrol I wore a level-3 retention holster—at the time the highest there was--and with the holster was a belt system that helped keep it in place. I practiced not only drawing from my holster, but I also practiced retention of my weapon. I cannot count how many times I have had fellow cops and family members swinging me around by my holstered gun (unloaded of course), so I could practice retaining my weapon. This is much different from a leather open-carry holster of today; many of which do not even have a simple thumb snap to secure the weapon. Add to this that the person wearing it has most likely never practiced retaining the gun from someone intent on getting it.
Don’t confuse what I am saying here about mindset with situational awareness. They do overlap. However, as a police officer with a gun strapped to your side, you simply have a different mindset. I was always mindful of my gun. I was always actively maneuvering myself in a manner to protect it. That meant placing my arm down on it while in line waiting for a burger, or actually moving and positioning my body to be sure that my gun was less accessible to others. This was part of my being; it was my job. I was charged with keeping people safe, and part of that charge was to keep my weapon secure. That is where my mindset started, unlike most civilians who have not been trained to think this way.
I totally believe in the 2nd amendment, and I fight for it. However, I do not believe that my rights, any of them, give me the right to scare other people, regardless of how easy that seems to be today. By carrying my gun in an open carry holster, people who are truly and possibly even willfully ignorant about guns can really get freaked out. Why would I want to do that, especially when I can conceal it and still achieve my goal of personal protection? No, it is not political correctness that I am serving here. It is just a respect for other people and their right to believe what they wish. While at the same time, I can exercise my rights to protect myself and them, if necessary. To me, that is a win-win.
Besides, advertising you have a gun is just a bad idea. You are telling the bad guys that you are the first threat that needs to be engaged. To me, that is like being the slowest guy in a foot race running from a bear. I don’t have to be quickest, just quicker than you. By open carrying, you have assured me that the bear will go after you first. I think many people think that the mere site of a gun will deter crime and thus open-carry makes sense. If the mere sight of a gun detered crime, then gun toting police officers everwhere would never be assaulted. That is simply not the case. Some bad people with really bad intent do not care about their personal safety enough to be influenced by the mere presence of a gun.
Below is a video that really illustrates what I am talking about. Thank God no one got shot or even hurt, but put yourself in the gun owner’s shoes. You want to be this guy? I don’t, and I will continue to conceal carry, thank you very much!