Like many disagreements, the internet has allowed for some truly great myths to become reality to some individuals. From which caliber is best “9×19 or .50bmg” to which guns are best for self-defense and combat “Glock, S&W MP, FN 509, Steyr M9 or the venerable Colt Pocket from 1849” the debate rages onward.
When it comes to personal carry of firearms and knives with the intent to have these tools available for judicious use of force applications, or self-defense with the intent to stop a threat, there are two basic ways to carry.
Concealed carry which can be done in any number of ways and open carry, which can also be done in any number of ways.
In addressing carry of these tools the primary things to consider are location and need. Carrying any tool in the open in an urban environment, for instance, is a virtual guarantee to get attention, and attention for someone who truly understands the responsibility behind self-defense is the opposite of what is wanted.
Of course, carrying in a concealed manner while hiking in the mountains or backwoods may, in fact, hinder your easy ability to access the tools you need when you need them. Access being something that is simply a manner of training regardless.
My approach has not always been a gray man approach, with the tempering effects of age comes wisdom and the desire to not get into ruckuses as I heal at a much slower pace these days and simply do not have time to peacock my way through life. This being said, I always carry in some way and some form of a tool specifically designed to allow me added benefit when fighting for my life and that of those I care about.
You will also need to ensure that the local laws allow carry in many cases, and how this carried is allowed to occur. Some states do not have concealed carry or easy access to concealed carry, other states have varying laws and approaches in each municipality and county or area within them.
I would never openly suggest breaking the law, however, it is important to note that I am someone who believes in my own and my families personal safety regardless of others attempt to legislate that. This being said I have legally carried concealed for almost 20 years now and grew up carrying a handgun or rifle while hiking around.
I also travel quite a bit, which means that I train carrying concealed and openly depending on the location where I may be at any given moment in time.
Make sure you know local laws!
And make sure that you know local law enforcement opinions on these laws. For instance in Tucson Arizona we have a police chief and city attorney who have openly signed on to the Anytown anti-gun agenda.
While legally they have no ability to prevent my carrying either openly or in a concealed manner because they are in charge of our local police department, this means that should something occur the initial response will be per policy as put in place by this anti-gun police chief and the attorney which means for legal carrying individuals could end badly.
While there have been a couple recent events these two individuals are thankfully not held in the highest regard by many and their attempts to change Arizona law on a local level have failed, if only because in Arizona state law supersedes local in these types of things.
Concealed carry for myself is the best approach in the largest amount of possible scenarios. It allows a rather short man with a cane to not appear to be a threat worthy of a challenge at any given moment and in fact, makes it quite easy for me to simply watch others with impunity.
As I have also trained quite hard over the past two decades and continue to do so, it is also what I am most comfortable with. When looking to avoid being assaulted it is important to understand what assault actually is!
I am most comfortable with carrying in a manner that allows me to be an unseen threat to evildoers and to take advantage of their hyper-focus should an event occur.
When a person attacks another physiologically they will hyper-focus on the target, this allows for a much easier engagement if the target is not me or in my direction.
Judicious use of force is a highly debated segment of criminal law these days. Be sure you know what your local laws are and study a few self-defense related cases that have occurred locally, I do not mean read a newspaper article, I mean read every single court document for several of them!
I have personally studied over 100 in the past few years alone, and what I teach and write about is an amalgamation of that learning and additional classes taken.
Here in Arizona, we have had people go to prison for judicious use of force applications because they did not understand nor did they train to understand the law as it applies to the use of force.
Additionally, these individuals made the unfortunate mistake of trusting investigating officers and instead of asking for council they chose to defend themselves which resulted in multiple “versions” being told of the event, which sadly is normal with humans. If a story never changes, it is a lie, not the reverse.
Assault may have slightly varying definitions in different areas, however, it can most easily be seen as being “an intentional act of putting a person in imminent fear of a harmful physical act”. The actual act of “intentional physical contact without consent resulting in bodily harm” being the harmful physical act or battery.
In the United States you are able to defend your life when you are in, “immediate otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm to yourself or other innocent persons”, it should be noted that if there is the slightest doubt, simply do not shoot.
What is reasonable is most important legally, meaning in New York City what is reasonable may well be having to be beaten half to death, while in Tennessee or Arizona what is reasonable is obvious furtive* movements or unimpeded physical access to oneself or another by someone who verbally or physically intends to do you grave immediate bodily harm or cause your death.
Furtive movement is movement consistent with the potential perpetrator reaching for a weapon and is not reasonably consistent with any other movement. Remember, most self-defense cases will at least end up in front of a prosecutor and many will end up in front of a jury, these are individuals who are not your peers.
In fact, unless you live in rural Tennessee, Arizona or Wyoming it is highly likely they will be quite anti-gun!
So which is better, concealed carry or open carry. This is entirely up to you and your local laws. I prefer concealed carry because I prefer to always maintain both a yellow mindset to my surroundings while also always appearing to be a gray man.
I am disabled (walking with a cane), I am short (5’4” -5’6”), and fat (243lbs currently though I have lost over 20 lbs in the past few months).
I carry concealed in a well-made Kydex holster (see the one I use on Amazon.com) that sits on between 1 and 3 on my hip depending on the situation. I still train several hours every month and have been teaching people for over a decade to defend themselves. The height variations depend on my spine at the moment, and yes is legitimate, my doctors laugh with me.
Be smart, always remember that in many cases even if you are legally right to do so, it may, in fact, appear to be peacocking (showing off for the sake of showing off) to others and in today’s climate will likely cause some individual regardless political affiliation to call the police, who are sworn to respond and when the word “gun” is mentioned tend to show up in force and with their own firearms drawn.
While this is sad and extremely disagreeable it is a current reality. This may help you decide to carry with more discretion. Regardless always use well-made holsters when carrying be smart, be safe and please remember your family and your personal safety is worth training for!
To know me in person is to know that I jest in many things especially when it comes to these pointless debates. For those who have read what I have written over the past decade and more from politics through product reviews, facts and pure data are extremely important to me. The articles I write here will always reflect verifiable evidence to the best of my abilities. This is the first of what I hope becomes a long line of articles that offer some help to those who may need it with regards to the use of life-saving approaches. I do have multiple certificates/degrees and over a decade of experience training in firearms with many different people from many walks of life.
Free the mind and the body will follow…