I came across a picture of someone open carrying a handgun in an online gun forum. As you might guess, the people in the forum mercilessly ripped the person in the photo to shreds. It's no secret that I am not a fan of open carry. I've written a few posts for the reasons for my opinion. If you're interested in why I hold the opinion I do, here is a post that explains my position.
If you openly carry your gun, I'm not mad at you. I'm pretty sure we can disagree on this point and still live productive lives. What we see in this photo is not just a sub-optimal method of carrying a handgun. It really is reckless and dangerous to both the carrier and the public.
A Gun Alone Can't Protect You—
A while back, I wrote a post where I lay out reasons that anyone who carries should self-evaluate if carrying a handgun is right for them. The post used a brief video of an older man walking through a parking lot, and he happened to be carrying his gun openly. In the video, the man appears to have difficulty walking and negotiating curbs. Many people responded negatively to the article. Some said I was insensitive. Others thought he may walk like that as a decoy so someone would attack him and he could surprise them with a blazing fast draw. Still others thought that even proposing for consideration the idea that anyone who carries a gun should self examine their ability to retain and safely use the gun is anti Second Amendment. There are many more, but I think you get the idea.
Here is the thing: gun owners like to point out that guns don't kill people. They remind gun control supporters that people use guns to kill people. Yet, some of these people turn around and think that as long as they strap a gun to their hip, the gun will protect them. Clearly, guns do nothing without input from a person. And just like a gun won't kill anyone on its own, it won't save your life on its own. It is simply a tool you must know how to use. If you're going to carry it in public, you need to do it safely and know how to retain the gun, especially if you're going to carry it openly.
I don't know the person in this photo and don't think badly of them. In fact, I think it's commendable that they want to have a tool to defend themselves and child. However, just like my critique of the old man in the post I mentioned above, this person needs to evaluate if the gun they carry is a liability or a beneficial tool.
Some Critiques, Points to Learn From—
I'm not interested in making an exhaustive list. I'm sure most of you already see the issues in the photo. However, here are just a few major errors to consider:
- Cross draw is not ideal, especially when you're carrying a baby carrier in your dominant hand. There is just no easy way this person could quickly draw and use the gun without dropping the baby carrier. Swapping the baby carrier to the other hand would really obstruct access to the gun.
- The nylon belt's fastener is in the back. Anyone could easily unclip the buckle and take the gun before the person could react.
- The holster and belt combination allows the holster to slide easily on the belt. This complicates the draw stroke and makes defending against a disarm that much harder.
I hope what we get from this photo is more than just an opportunity to bash someone who wants to do right, but needs some instruction. There are abundant photos on the internet of people carrying in similarly bad ways. So this person isn't unique. Let's try to help people realize the important of training, mindset and the reality of a violent attack.
We've created a course called Holsters, Concealment and Carry Positions. The course is a fantastic resource that explores all the various holster styles and methods of carry. It includes all the traditional methods and some alternatives and presents the topics from both a male and female perspective. Learn how to select a holster that you will actually use and won't want to throw in the garbage. If you want to know more, click on the link above or the course photo.
Feel free to leave your comments below.