Open Carry Gun Stolen Off Carrier’s Hip, And Prevention Tips

On December 22, just days before Christmas, a thief snatched an open carried gun right off a person's hip in a North Carolina Walmart. Clearly while our name is, we support all firearms rights, to include those of us who decide to brave the storm of carrying their guns out in the open for all to see. There are a different set of rules that one must follow when you make the decision to open carry your self-defense firearm because this is precisely what can happen when you don't do it the right way.

This article isn't meant to discuss whether or not we should conceal or open carry our guns, but more of a primer on how we should open carry if we decide to exercise that right. I have carried open before, but it was a few years ago and have since made the decision to stop. Let's go over some things that you need to know before you make the decision to carry where people can see your gun.

First, many people won't even notice that you're carrying and those aren't the people you need to worry about. Let me re-word this so I can actually make my point … Your situational awareness needs to be on point. You need to be aware of your surroundings at all times, even more so when you've got a gun open on your hip.

You should always try to pick up on who realizes that you've you got your gun on. Those are the ones who may try something. Here is a little back story. I'm friends with this guy from my time in the Marines. He lives in Texas, and though he was in the Marines, he's incredibly anti-gun. We don't talk much, and it's more of a “Flakebook” friendship than anything else. One time he made a post about what he wanted to do when he saw another open gun carrier after their open carry laws were passed, and how he'd rip the gun off their hip.

While the post caused such a commotion that he had to remove it, you can rest assured that he is actually looking for a gun on someone's hip–and so is any person wiling to steal a gun off of someone. If you're aware of your surroundings, you are less likely to actually have your gun stolen from you because you can see the people eyeing it up before it happens. If you suspect it, you have the option to get out of there or take another step to prevent it.

Your gear choice is also highly important. Seriously. You want a decent holster, anyway, but having a retention setup is a superior concern when you open carry, for this reason alone. The last thing you want is for someone to steal your gun off your hip. A better scenario would be to have someone attempt to steal it, and fail, because they couldn't manipulate your retention holster from behind you.

But, while having the right gear on is an utmost concern, it doesn't replace proper assessment of each situation you are in so it comes back to the first point. Truth is, retention holsters can be defeated with some minor studying. Furthermore, depending on your level of retention, getting your gun out of your holster yourself, in a defensive scenario, may not be an easy task if you're not yet proficient with it.

Therefore, here is what I recommend: Regardless of if you open carry or conceal your gun, you need to train with your chosen holster and practice constant situational awareness. You should be doing all of the above, anyway, but you must know who sees your firearm. Someone who doesn't notice it won't try to take it. Someone who has seen it and is either anti-gun or a criminal won't be able to take their eyes off it.

Of course, not everyone is a criminal or someone who hates guns but seeing these people could be the difference between having your gun stolen, or not.

Always train with your gear, and always be aware of your surroundings. It could be the difference between life and death. Have you ever open carried your gun before? If so, list out your holster for us, and how you prepare yourself to open carry in the comments below.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. Oscar Lee James III on December 27, 2017 at 6:02 am

    Thank you, Joshua, for a thoughtful article.

    I carried my Tanfoglio BTA90 concealed, in the waistband, from 2013 until 1 January, 2016, when the Texas open carry law took effect. On New Year’s Day, I switched to a thumb break outside the waistband holster. This was the best I could find to fit my pistol.

    I had done my due diligence, performed my risk analysis, taken stock of my abilities and condition, and concluded that carrying openly was my best way to protect myself and those for whom I am responsible.

    I also concluded that I wanted to carry a full size American made pistol having a round capacity of at least 15, for which I could find an automatic retention holster.

    After a year of research, I bought an S&W M&P Mod 2.0 9mm, 5inch. I carry it openly in a Safariland 7TS ALS, with Guard, on a Kore Essentials leather gun belt at 3:00 to 3:15.

    I spent over 34 years as an Army artilleryman. I’ve been certified as a Combat Lifesaver.

    This year alone, I have taken over 30 hours of handgun training and 16 hours of training on treating penetrating trauma during a gun fight. Today, I start a two day course to receive a Texas certification for confronting an active shooter in a school.

    Gear is important, and so is training. Mind set and situational awareness are paramount.

    In the two years since Texas enacted open carry, I have seen a report of only one person carrying openly having had their gun stolen. I can only remember one concealed carrier who has had their gun stolen in Texas this year. No matter which method you use, training and situational awareness are essential to your safety.

    As with most things in life, it comes down to which risks we are wiling to manage and which benefits matter most to us.

    Be safe and carry.

    O. Lee James, III
    Captain, US Army (retired 2012)
    Honorable Order of St Barbara

  2. Darkwing on December 27, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Sorry people, open carry is asking for trouble.It draws attention to you , the sheeple will call the Gestapo, you will have a lot of explaining to do. In North Carolina there is a 1843 court ruling and the Gestapo use it all the time, even it is not law. “Going armed in terror of the people”

    • william on October 9, 2020 at 10:08 am

      Yeah? How many concealed carriers had their gun stolen ? Any?
      OC is your right…but that doesnt make it smart.

  3. Lex The Lion on January 8, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I love open carry. I love concealed carry. I love being strapped period. Ever since I was a little man in my single digit years watching movies with guns, I can remember thinking ” When I grow up I wanna carry guns like cops WITHOUT becoming a cop “. Now my dream has come true after all these years. And guess what… I MUST report to you that…. First off let me say that I do not think you will like this report. I find that all companies selling guns and gun products are extreme supporters of the Blue Line and Blue Privilege and it’s disgusting. Now I’m not trying to dis you all as I have no reason to but I am willing to bet you are supporters as well. I have been carrying openly since the law started Jan 2016 virtually everyday on a routine basis and I have had my gun stolen once along with extra mags and other property, I was kidnapped once and violated to the fullest and with extreme prejudice during many multiple contacts with these criminals. Who are the criminals responsible for this? Law Enforcement. All for, as you so eloquently put it, exercising my rights and doing absolutely nothing wrong. The cherry on top would include security rentacops and private gun hating citizens too. Turns out private criminals are not the one’s I gotta worry about. After 2 complaints I have put into record, it turns out police investigated themselves and found they did nothing wrong, despite clear evidence and multiple CCTV cameras capturing the incidents and my camera as well for one of those complaints. What of the 2nd one? Clear evidence as well but they are past due for the investigation and have not reported to me yet, or they sent that response to the wrong address like the first response, how convenient, and I did not receive the letter. So now I have to continue my investigation but chances are they found they did nothing wrong as well. We’re talkin Blue Privilage here. If they can get away with a plethura of unjustified murder etc., which there is tons of documentation on the internet for, then my situation is of equal matter. If you care to see some truth, you can visit my channel and see for yourself however there are still many people who continue to turn a blind eye. Don’t forget to comment and likely dislike the content. You say you support all firearms rights. Ask yourself how you feel about my vids and keep in mind it’s just a tip of the iceberg. I’m sure you have your reasons for stopping open carry yourself, but on a larger scale you are hiding your support for all firearms rights while your at it, no offense. Additionally, let me put a cherry on top myself and hopefully you will be willing to see the extent of this truth in other realms that are just as equal in reality. So you may see more of how ” good cops ” behave.

    • Jacob Paulsen on January 8, 2018 at 11:41 am

      Lex, thanks for your comment. Curious what you saw on our site that leads you to believe we are “stopping open carry” or “hiding our support for all firearms rights.”

      • Lex The Lion on January 8, 2018 at 8:38 pm

        The article is written in a way that makes it seem scary. ” Brave the storm ” ” different set of rules ” and then followed by ” i open carried before and since made the decision to stop “. This speaks to me in a way that, like most people, become scared of the ” unwanted attention ” ultimately giving up open carry and forfeiting the choice to stand beside all the other open carriers and especially in a time when we need everyone on board exercising this right across the nation. So by making this choice, it’s a personal one that takes only yourself out of the equation leaving it to others like myself to endure the hardship that may come along with open carry despite I have been kidnapped and violated with no justice served yet I still open carry because it’s what needs to continue to happen regardless on a grander scale where people are constantly talking crap and police harassing and collecting over open carry. But it’s not just open carry, it’s all gun rights intertwined along with it. I’m in TX by the way. And so that is why I said ” hiding “. We need the numbers. To give you some perspective, Imagine if I was the only one to open carry in TX and everyone else was against it? Now imagine 90% of TX open carrying and exercising this right. Which do you think will go farther in producing positive change vs. Oppressive behavior from a society that does not like it, regardless if it’s your right. At 90%, there would be no braving the storm I can tell you. As for the gun being jacked by criminals well, lightning and robberies of any kind will continue no matter what. Thank you for posting the comment afterall. Oh and talking about open carry is one thing, doing it is another when talking about supporting rights.

  4. Ed on September 13, 2022 at 1:16 am

    Open carrying a gun scares some people and most children. I think a concealed gun is a better option. I’m sure society understands how some gun owners feel about their rights and all….we get it. But to display the fact that you have a gun by showing it just attracts the wrong kind of attention. Just my opinion

  5. RobertSanders on May 5, 2023 at 3:52 pm

    Ruger SR1911 in Safariland 6285-53 level 2 SLS low ride duty holster with Model 6002 Hood Guard & Sentry-Self Locking System making this a level 3+ retension holster.
    Additional prep is a good quality ratcheting gun belt with rigid core, concealed 357 snubnose in front pocket opposite the SR1911, fixed blade TDI knife midline front, and a cannister of Sabre Red. Only time I open carry is on my property doing yardwork. Otherwise the SR1911 is concealed (where legal to do so) in a pancake holster from Simply Rugged under a cover garment but all other additional prep remains the same. Regardless of open vs concealed, I try my best to be situationally aware within reason.

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