Open Carry Chronicles, Issue #11

2012/09/18: Both Knitebane and I were carrying openly at Golden Corral in Garner and as soon as we paid and started heading to the dining room area, we were addressed by an employee who said (light-heartedly) that there were cameras that would be keeping an eye on us. He wished us a good visit and went on his away.

Note that this is an exemplary way for an employee of an establishment to address someone carrying a gun if addressed about the gun at all. We were approached and addressed in a friendly manner. He was essentially checking us out. Though, once again, criminals don’t typically carry their guns openly in $50 – 100 holsters, but rather in their hands, hoodies or clumsily stuffed in their waistbands, most certainly if you address a criminal about his gun (even indirectly as was done in this case), they are not going to be all that comfortable about it. Might even shoot you. It’s possible he was putting us on notice, but by merely addressing us openly he set his own mind at ease that we weren’t there to cause trouble. He wasn’t rude and he didn’t kick us out. Good on him.

Later that night, we were discussing OC holsters and my slight frustration in not finding that one, silver bullet holster for carrying both openly and concealed. An excellent point that PDB made in the beginning of his OC holster review is this:

…keep in mind that a mechanical lock is no substitute for remaining aware of your surroundings and being mentally and physically prepared to fight for your gun. A locking holster will not on its own defeat a gun takeaway attempt, but rather buy you some time to defeat the person trying to take your gun away.

Like many, I used to carry my gun in a Serpa holster. I no longer use the Serpa, but not due to the sometimes scathing criticism it gets for increasing the risk of an ND. I think it is a training issue that is far overblown, as even Mr. Grebner here acknowledges (language warning):

As he explains in the original video here:

This was due largely to the fact that he had just gotten through training with the 5.11 Thumbdrive holster with his Glock. If the Serpa is all you use and train with, then the risk reduces to the noise level, in my opinion. However, it’s certainly not for everyone. Particularly if you, for example, are reviewing several holsters to write about them as PDB is right now.

All that said, Brigid’s lockup experience a few years back as well as lots of other documented cases have convinced me not to use the holster for carrying any longer. In fact, even if I thought the risk of shooting myself while using the holster was greater, these occurrences of lockup, to me are an even greater risk. As I said in Stay Dangerous, a better way to see off a soldier than “Be Careful” is “Good Hunting.” That’s not to say that we throw safety out the window, and, sure, I know we are not at war. Yet. But it is just an acknowledgement that life is dangerous. Liberty is fraught with risks. It’s all about tradeoffs. I don’t mind a relatively insignificant (in my opinion) and relatively easy to mitigate risk of an ND. But I do mind a well documented risk of my defensive weapon being completely disabled with no way to mitigate it, as was demonstrated in Brigid’s case (i.e.: there was no conclusion as to what actually caused the lockup).

On the OC holster issue, I’ll be reading PDB’s review series, but the bottom line for me is that when you take these three things into account:

  • PDB’s statement about equipment not being a substitute for situational awareness and mental and physical preparedness,
  • Brigid’s comment in the post referenced above that “Anything mechanical can fail”,
  • and the Good Hunting / Survival mentality as opposed to Be Careful mentality

I’m beginning to believe that active retention is not an absolute necessity for carrying openly. I’ll remain open to persuasion, but for now, I just may be switching back to my Blackhawk CQC holster for carrying openly.

In the practical sense, if you conceal with an OWB, then your concealment garment will slow down your draw. With IWB, it can be even more of an impediment because it’s often a tighter gripping holster so the simple act of pulling it out of the holster is slower. Carrying openly in an active retention holster means you have to release the retention before drawing, also slowing down your draw. So it’s hard to argue that any option is less of an impediment to a fast draw than carrying openly with only passive retention, with heightened situational awareness and preparedness.

Besides, I don’t just carry openly for practical defensive reasons. I also carry for political activism reasons. And I really don’t care what Pincus or Yeager think of that. I go by the positive results I’ve had in that area, not by the opinion of some tacticool instructors with big egos or a penchant for putting cameramen literally in the line of fire unnecessarily and then doubling down on stupid and defending it. I am not your ambassador and will not be until you send me a fat honkin’ check every month for my services.

Others are welcome to comment.

Stay Dangerous, My Friends

2 thoughts on “Open Carry Chronicles, Issue #11

  1. I have a Serpa for my G36 that I used in the training class. I no longer use it, it never failed to disengage but it did slow me down and I didn’t want to have any delay when seconds could count.

  2. You said it all right here:

    “That’s not to say that we throw safety out the window, and, sure, I know we are not at war. Yet. But it is just an acknowledgement that life is dangerous. Liberty is fraught with risks. It’s all about tradeoffs.”

    This is fact in regards to carrying a sidearm, and life in general.

    I found you over at Brock’s place. I like your style. You have been favorited.

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