Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry - A Question of Tactics

A very common question or debate is concerning the right to open carry firearms. Here in Ohio, it is legal. Texas just passed a law allowing open carry. Internet forums about firearms dedicate entire threads to the topic of open carry.

My opinion begins with: open carry is not a right, it is a tactic. The 2nd Amendment covers my rights and to me it is very clear that I have the right to keep and bear arms.

For the sake of the debate, let's assume you can carry concealed or open carry legally. Which do you choose? Now tell me why.

The answer should be rooted in the tactics, and NOT because you wish to make a statement or be more comfortable, both of which are invalid reasons.

I am not against open carry. I fully support it, and I have openly carried on several occasions. I had reason to, just like I have reasons to carry concealed. These are tactical decisions where the pros out weigh the cons and I have a clear understanding of the mission.

For example...

Mission 1, go to local coffee shop in suburban Ohio and obtain a cup of coffee. The mission is clear and the threat level is very low, so I carry concealed. The environment is friendly, and my biggest concern is being present during a robbery or someone trying to harm me while in transit. I choose to carry concealed because I want to be the "grey man". I want to blend in. I want to be like Clark Kent. I should be no concern to anyone until I have to be.

Mission 2, Long term Disaster or Unrest. Remember Hurricane Katrina? The L.A. Riots? Citizens were seen standing guard outside of neighborhoods and on the roofs of grocery stores. This is a GREAT time for open carry. The environment has changed drastically. The predatory criminal is lurking and they want nothing to do with hard targets. Posturing by slinging up a long gun and having a pistol visible on your hip is a good thing. When things return to normal, your tactics should change again.

Tactics, much like use of force, need to escalate and deescalate according to the mission and environment. With tactics, techniques, procedures and equipment, you need to know the "why" behind it for it to work, and so you know what kind of obstacles you may encounter if you have no other options.

Andrew Blubaugh is a firearms Instructor and owner of Apex Shooting and Tactics LLC.

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