Off-duty police officers and plain clothes detectives, as well as lawfully carrying civilians really need to pay heed to this. When you openly carry a firearm everyone knows that you have it. Like it or not your firearm will be the elephant in the room. It will get noticed. This is bad for a number of reasons reasons, and isn’t good for any reason.
You Lose The Initiative:
A bad guy is going to blend in until it is time not to blend in. They will attack at a time and place of their choosing. You won’t have much time to see them coming, if any at all. They know what they are going to do before you know what they are going to do. When you are openly carrying a firearm in plain sight you have given away any tactical advantage that you might have had if you were carrying concealed. The crook knows that you have a gun, but you don’t know that they do. Who is more dangerous? It ain’t you! You have lost the initiative before the fight has even begun.
An openly carried firearm screams “SHOOT ME”. Scenario: a violent bank robber attempts to rob a bank where inside a uniformed police officer and two civilians are conducting business. Who is going to get shot at first? Look at the photo at the top of this post. If you were a bad guy committing a felony in that grocery store then that woman would be the first one that you would shoot. If she had the same firearm concealed, then you would see her as just another middle aged woman shopping at the grocery store and probably wouldn’t even give her consideration. If she were carrying concealed then she would pose a legitimate threat to you as a criminal, but when she openly carries she helps prioritize who gets shot first. Her.
If I Can See It Then I Can Take It From You:
Holsters that are employed by uniformed law enforcement have some level of retention. This means that they are designed to make it harder for a perpetrator to snatch the cop’s firearm from their holster and use it on them. There is usually some type of special technique, or a button or lever to operate to remove the firearm, rather than simply pull it straight out. Police officers wear their firearms out in the open. Everyone knows that they have it. That makes the weapon a target for bad guys that don’t want to go to jail. The officer’s first defense against a gun snatch should be vigilance, but the mechanical retention of the holster is a close second place defense should they cop lose situation awareness, or end up in a physical altercation that exceeds their technical and physical capabilities (getting their asses kicked).
If you are going to openly carry then you should use some type of holster with retention. The problem is that most “civilian” holsters are made for concealed carry and don’t feature any type of retention other than friction or maybe a thumb snap. Without a retention device it is just too damn easy to take someone’s gun from them. If anyone has pursued post-graduate education in any of our nation’s finer penal institutions, or has taken some Krav Maga classes at their local dojo then they are plenty capable of taking your gun away from you. If you think that they can’t then you are foolish.
There are a number of times in my 10 years as a citizen of Savannah that I have witnessed SCMPD plain clothes detectives out at lunch, in the mall, or on the street with their badges hanging around their neck or on their belt, and their Glock hanging on their belt in a cheesy Fobus or Blackhawk holster. I’ve seen them with their backs to the door, bent over a basket full of sandwich and fries, with $500 worth Austrian built, Chatham County Tuppaware sticking out for anyone to grab. I have been amazed at the lack of situational awareness, lack of technique, and poor choice of equipment employed for open carry by our local police. I have been amazed that upper level management would allow the practice. I suspect that they don’t know any better themselves. If a detective in NYC, Chicago, or Los Angeles openly carried without a retention holster they would get themselves hurt. I’m not being judgmental; I’m just making an observation.
Open Carry Firearms Draws A Lot Of Negative Attention:
Open carry draws a lot of attention. Like I said earlier, that magnum on your hip is the elephant in the room. No one will miss it.
“Is she a cop? Is he about to rob the joint? Why do they need a gun anyway? I hate guns. What a redneck. Buffy, call the police.”
I assume that because you are reading this that you are not scared of firearms, are pro 2nd Amendment, and value your right to carry. Like it or not, a great percentage of the population does not like guns, doesn’t think that you should have a gun, and would like nothing more than for Glorious Leader to over-exercise his executive privilege and turn you into a felon by the stroke of his pen. If you open carry then you make the average anti-gun sheeple nervous and give them fuel for their anti-gun agenda. Don’t give the pricks the satisfaction. You don’t want the local cops to be unnecessarily dispatched to deal with the confusion regarding your lawfully carried gun when they are needed elsewhere to deal with real criminals. If you keep your weapon concealed then the anti-gun “sheeple”, the “sheepdog” cops, and most importantly the wolves will never know that you are carrying.
So what is the lesson?
If you are going to use a holster without retention, then be sure to cover it with your t-shirt or jacket. If they don’t know that you have it, they can’t take it. If they don’t know that you have it then they can’t get pissed off about it. If you insist on open carry, use some type of retention holster, maintain situational awareness at all times, be ready to fight to keep your gun should the poop hit the fan, and expect to be the first one to get shot.