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Open Carry vs Concealed Carry – 9 Things CCW Owners Want to Know About Safety

By Maria Paiz October 23, 2023

Open Carry vs concealed carry

*This post contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but it never influences our product selection process.

Table of Contents

Introduction

According to the Violence Policy Center, at least 2,240 deaths have been recorded due to a concealed weapons permit. Most of these incidents occur when permit holders carrying concealed weapons draw a gun from the holster or when they put it back.

You should put just as much thought and attention into drawing a concealed firearm as you did when you first bought it. In comparing open carry vs. concealed carry, the latter may be harder to master. However, the following safety tips and tricks can make you an expert on holstering your weapon in no time!

Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry

Open Carry Image Concealed Carry Image

The major difference between open and concealed carry is the level of concealment of a firearm and the associated laws that govern each method of carrying a gun. Under concealed carry, the firearm is not visible to the public. In different states, federal laws regarding open and concealed firearms vary. Understanding federal and state laws before you consider carrying a gun is essential.

The following are some of the main differences that can help you navigate your purchase;

Factor

Open Carry

Conceal Carry

Impression on Others

Open carry is much more apparent and draws attention to your firearm. Depending on the situation, this can save you from a potential attack or make you more susceptible to it.

A concealed weapon is not visible to the public. This means you do not have to deal with bias during interactions. You can also have the upper hand in an attack.

Federal Law

Not all US states allow open carry. In some states, it may be permitted. However, in others, open carry is restricted in some or all areas. Some people may be able to carry it along with a license.

Conceal carry is permitted in all states across the US. However, some states may require you to present a permit.

Personal Comfort

This is slightly more comfortable to carry as it doesn’t require hiding a holster underneath your clothing.

Concealed weapons can get uncomfortable if you don’t get the right holster.

Reachability

It is easier to draw.

A concealed weapon is easy to draw if you know the proper techniques. Your holster should be comfortable and in the right spot for easy access.

Holsters

OWB holsters
Chest and leg holsters

IWB holsters
Ankle holsters

 

Where Is Concealed Carry Permitted?

As of May 2023, concealed firearms were allowed in all states across the US. However, concealed carry laws differed across those states. While some required concealed carry permits, others did not.

Here’s all you need to know about concealed carry permits in the USA (state-wise list);

 

State

Permit Required

AK

🗶       

ME

🗶       

VT

🗶       

NH

🗶       

WA

✔     

ID

🗶       

MT

🗶       

ND

🗶       

MN

✔     

IL

✔     

WI

✔     

MI

✔     

NY

✔     

RI

✔     

MA

✔     

OR

✔     

NV

✔     

WY

🗶       

SD

🗶       

IA

🗶       

IN

🗶       

OH

🗶       

PA

✔     

NJ

✔     

CT

✔     

CA

✔     

UT

🗶       

CO

✔     

NE

🗶       

MO

🗶       

KY

🗶       

WV

🗶       

VA

✔     

MD

✔     

DE

✔     

AZ

🗶       

NM

✔     

KS

🗶       

AR

🗶       

TN

🗶       

NC

✔     

SC

✔     

OK

🗶       

LA

✔     

MS

🗶       

AL

🗶       

GA

🗶       

HI

✔     

TX

●       

FL

●       

 

Remember that laws allowing you to carry firearms openly may differ from state to state. If you want to carry firearms openly, look up specific state gun regulations for more information.

 

9 Things You Need to Know About Concealed Carry Safety

Concealed Carry Safety

Here are some essential facts you need to know about concealed carry safety;

1.    Know Your State and Local Laws

Open carry vs. concealed carry laws may differ from one state to the next. Regulations allowing people to carry concealed weapons may vary within a state. Research the state's requirements before opting for concealed carry weapons.

Does your state require a permit for concealed carry? Even if your state does not require a permit, if you are a frequent traveler, get one anyway. As a permit holder, you can carry your weapon across the country.

In some states, citizens openly carrying firearms, like semi-automatic guns, categorized as assault weapons, may be fined or subjected to worse consequences. Gun-free zones also exist, so it is important to read up to avoid any trouble with the authorities.

If you live in a state that doesn’t require a permit, you can carry an open or concealed firearm without getting a permit and wondering how to get a concealed carry permit for all states? All you need to do is fill out an application, take a course, and prove proficiency!

Remember, carrying a firearm isn’t prohibited if you do it safely and with a permit when required. Police officers will not object to your carrying a gun openly if you can prove that you have the license to do so!

2.    Your Holster Matters

 Holsters are important, especially if you want to carry concealed weapons. Concealed handguns are one of the most popular weapons for self-defense and the easiest to keep hidden. However, concealment can get tricky. There are several different kinds of holsters with various pros and cons.

When choosing a holster, ask yourself if it provides you optimal concealment (does it bulge in unusual places?), accessibility (is it reachable in situations requiring immediate self-defense?), protection (does it increase your gun’s durability?), and comfort (do you have to move it around often?).

The more comfortable your holster, the less you need to fidget with it. Regular adjusting may pose a hazard, as a wrong move can unintentionally cause the gun to fire.

If you decide to carry a gun openly, you may need a different holster. Open carrying is only possible where local laws permit you to carry a gun in plain sight legally. For this, you must buy an open-carry holster that aligns with the rules and regulations of your state.

3.    Certain Guns Are Best

Choosing between concealed and open carry first is essential when deciding which gun to buy or the type of firearm you want to invest in. If you carry concealed weapons, find one that offers maximum comfort.

Do your research to determine the types of concealed weapons you can choose from and the ammunition. Get a gun that aligns with your goals. For example, if your goal is self-defense, shop for a compact weapon that can be easily hidden and removed instantly.

Spend some time holding the gun and getting a feel of the weight and size. Ask yourself if you can control the gun and maneuver it with ease. Ask the experts to help you and take a class to get comfortable with the idea. Never invest in a firearm for surface attraction, such as price or how it looks!

 

4.    Carry Extra Ammunition

According to the NRA, you should keep your gun unloaded until it is ready for use. However, some states allow you to carry a loaded weapon. This issue has often been debated in various settings, which has led to the emergence of varying arguments.

If you want to carry an unloaded weapon or need extra ammunition, you may need a pouch or a firearm-carrying box to store it efficiently. You must also practice loading your weapon multiple times to prepare you for self-defense in the real world.

The desire to carry extra ammunition in a special pouch is rooted in a worthwhile cause. A magazine can often fall out, and ammunition can disappear into your pocket. However, with special pouches, you can easily access your ammunition.

5.    Wear the Right Outfit

The right outfit matters for several reasons. For one, it can increase accessibility. Wearing tighter clothing restricting your movement can reduce the time it takes to draw your weapon—the more comfortable the clothing, the less the reaction period.

Moreover, the right outfit can also prevent printing. Often, concealed weapons may press against your clothing, which leads to printing. This is whereby your weapon’s outline is visible, defeating the purpose of concealment. However, concealed carry is optimized when you wear loose clothing. Choose your outfits, keeping your concealed carry firearms in mind!

6.    Get Appropriate Training

Whenever you have time, consider visiting a shooting range. This can make it easier for you to get your concealed weapon license and carry concealed weapons without endangering yourself or anyone else in close proximity.

Even the most experienced owners may find it challenging to handle their concealed handguns from time to time. Concealed weapons can get caught in uncomfortable clothing or fire unexpectedly if improperly placed.

However, visiting the shooting range a couple of times a week initially can help you learn self-defense techniques fast. It can increase your comfort, especially when drawing a weapon. When you are comfortable enough, consider decreasing your visits to the range to once every month or two.

7.    Invest in Insurance

A CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) Policy can provide gun owners with a lot of protection against criminal and civil liability. Guns are dangerous, and it is vital to take them seriously. Concealed and open carry can lead to accidents that CCW insurance might handle more efficiently.

The legal ramifications of self-defense are complicated and expensive. People caught in a legal battle related to such complications may need insurance to compensate for the legal fees and criminal accusations. CCW insurance can help cover costs and guide you throughout the procedure.

Ensure you get CCW insurance covering criminal and civil liability, legal fees, lost wages, firearm damage, and medical expenses. Anything else is just a bonus!

8.    Know Your Responsibilities 

 Here are some things you should keep in mind when you carry firearms openly or conceal carry for self-defense;

  • Despite being used for self-defense, each bullet from your gun assigns you legal and ethical responsibility. So, think twice before you shoot!
  • Concealed and open carry laws apply to you no matter where you go.
  • Keeping your guns locked in a safe is essential to prevent children and unauthorized adults from coming across firearms.
  • A lost gun is also your responsibility, so report it to the authorities immediately if lost.
  • If you decide to carry firearms openly, make sure you are thinking rationally. This means not being under the influence of drugs or alcoholic beverages!
  • Always assume that your gun is loaded, even when not. Forgetting is human error, but a misfire can’t be reversed.
  • Always keep the safety lock on or keep your gun unloaded. Hold the finger off the trigger when you have a gun in hand until your eyes are locked on your target.
  • Try to keep concealed carry firearms as a last-resort solution and try your best to de-escalate a situation so you don’t have to fire!
  • Keep your concealed carry firearms clean to avoid any safety concerns.

9.    Don’t Fiddle with Your Weapon

As discussed, constantly adjusting your weapon or fiddling with it can lead to dangerous situations. The more you fidget, the more likely your gun will fire while it is in your pocket.

Wear comfortable clothing and practice carrying your gun in your pocket at home. Try to holster or draw it to practice, and always holster your weapon so that the muzzle is not pointed at any body part!

How to Get a Concealed Carry Permit for All States

uscca logo

Wondering how to get a concealed carry permit for all states? Getting one permit that allows you to carry a weapon in many states may be possible.

You must meet specific federal requirements, such as the minimum age limit, to get a permit. You may also need proof of residency, undergo rigorous firearms training, submit a background check, and provide your fingerprints.

For many states in the USA, a permit is not required to carry a concealed weapon. However, in the states where a permit is needed, you can get one with the USCCA. This legal body provides concealed carry classes and an easy application process.

Even when you receive a license, staying current on gun laws and visiting a shooting range regularly for target practice is essential. Some bodies, such as the CCWUSA, offer multi-state permits to carry a concealed gun in over 30 states.

In some cases, states may agree to respect other concealed carry laws. For example, Texas, Arizona, and Florida allow permits from all states across the USA. However, other states like California and Illinois do not allow permits from other states. New York also does not honor other states’ concealed carry licenses. However, it does accept pistol licenses from New York City.

FAQ Guide (What Readers Want to Know)

1. What are the notable safety concerns associated with Concealed Carry?

Concerns arise mainly when drawing or re-holstering the concealed weapon, with accidents potentially occurring if not done carefully.

2. How do federal laws vary between Open Carry and Concealed Carry across states?

While Open Carry laws vary widely, Concealed Carry is permitted in all states as of May 2023, with some requiring permits.

3. What personal comfort considerations should be taken into account for Concealed Carry?

Choosing the right holster is crucial for comfort, especially since a concealed weapon is hidden underneath clothing.

4. How does the visibility of Open Carry impact interactions?

Open Carry can draw attention and may deter potential attackers or cause bias during interactions.

5. What types of holsters are typically used for Open and Concealed Carry?

Open Carry uses OWB, chest, and leg holsters, while Concealed Carry utilizes IWB and ankle holsters.

6. How does the concealment level of a firearm affect its reachability?

Open Carry allows easier drawing of the weapon, while concealed weapons require proper techniques for easy access.

Final Thoughts

With great power comes great responsibility, and a concealed carry weapon follows the same logic. You must always be aware of your concealed weapon, even when you don’t have your hand on it, as a misfire can damage you or others in the surroundings. 

It is essential to follow concealed gun laws. While some states may allow open carry, others may have stricter rules and regulations against it. Be sure to educate yourself on the safety tips and legal regulations or consequences of using a gun for self-defense to avoid getting caught up in legal trouble. 

Gun ownership is tricky, but it is manageable if you do it right away. Search the local rules for carrying a firearm and look for gun-free zones to avoid trouble with police officers. Always remember to keep your finger off the trigger to avoid any accidents!


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