Dumb Arguments Against Open Carry

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 9 months ago

Dan Reedy at Ammoland.

Recently while I was at Petco, a man walked in, and he was quite a sight to see. This man was in his late 50’s to early 60’s, in decent shape. He wore green Condor BDU pants bloused on his black 511 Tactical boots, a black 2A moto tee was tucked into his BDU pants. On his hip was an openly carried Springfield XDS, with extended magazine, jammed into a Serpa holster. He was buying some dog food.

Immediately after paying, his head dives into his smartphone like his neck is a wet noodle. I watch him as he exits, and he remains like this all the way until he gets into his new Chevy Colorado. The man is almost is (sic) struck by two vehicles on his way through the parking lot, with him completely oblivious to the world around him. Bad gun, bad holster, bad outfit, bad mindset. Classic. I’ve seen guys like him dozens of times and it’s always something painfully similar to this.

… open carry is often a sign of incompetence, and I almost exclusively advise people against the practice. I’ve never seen anyone publicly open carry with good equipment, nor with any serious amount of awareness or training.

[ … ]

Open carry doesn’t deter people from attacking cops, and they actually have some level of training to defend against that on top of holsters designed to defeat a gun grab. In addition to training and quality retention holsters, police can call for backup in a jam. I doubt many of you, if any, can say the same thing.

[ … ]

Open carry also presents issues outside of the gunfight. Now you’re alerting everyone to the presence of your firearm, threat or not. This means it is automatically in play in any defensive encounter, not something you can choose to reveal or continue hiding based on the situation at hand. With the gun openly displayed, you are now someone who can be dealt with quickly, instead of you waiting for your moment to counterattack.

[ … ]

Go get good training, read quality resources, and buy good equipment. If you don’t take my word for it, trust people like Greg Ellifritz, who has an awesome piece compiling over 60 recent examples of open carriers losing their guns or being killed due to carrying openly. He then goes on to link dozens of other articles where various experts like Massad Ayoob, Jeff Gonzales, and others give their opinions on the subject.

Dan has made about every mistake you can make in this article.  It’s difficult to know where to begin.

First of all, he displays a very off-putting and bigoted objection to the man’s chosen weapon, a Springfield Armory pistol.  I do not have a SA pistol, but I once did.  I traded it because I wanted a non-striker fired gun.  I only shoot hammer fired pistols.  But while I had it, it was reliable, accurate, trustworthy, and virtually indestructible.  You could have beaten it with a sledgehammer and it wouldn’t have changed a thing about its performance.  It would still be accurate and reliable.  I never had a failure in thousands of rounds.  His bigotry doesn’t do his argument any favors.  I hate it when others lampoon the possessions of others, whether weapons or something else.  I hate it.  He literally lost me with that statement.

Next, “open carry is often a sign of incompetence.”  He doesn’t really know that.  He just made it up.  This isn’t analysis, journalism, or anything else of value.

Next, he makes a hero out of cops who have had all of this “training.”  My wife and I were eating a dinner recently when we saw a cop directing traffic in the adjacent road.  She had to ask me, “How did he pass the test to qualify as a cop, and how does he even move, much less run?”  Of course, he doesn’t.  He probably weighed 350 pounds.  I’ve had a police captain from a major city in the U.S. tell me that most carriers – concealed or open – can shoot better than cops.  Cops normally qualify once a year and never get range time in between.  I’ve had another police sergeant tell me that they shoot striker fired guns because he would never trust his people to de-cock a hammer.

Give me a break with all the super-cop talk.

Next, he cites “examples” of open carriers who have had their weapons taken from them.  Well, then get a retention holster and do better at situational awareness.  There are also downsides to concealed carry, from being slower to presentation, to sweating your weapon (there are many more not listed here).  It’s all just a choice.

Besides, as many instances of both open and concealed carry that happen in America every day, I doubt that this number of situations where a person has had their weapon taken from them even moves the needle in terms of a statistical analysis.  Put another way, this small number of instances would constitute a statistically insignificant metric and I’m not the least impressed by it.

Next, I object to the notion that as a Christian man, I have some sort of duty to be the last one shot at because I want to plan my attack while I see women and children gunned down.  That’s obscene.

Finally, he cites Massad Ayoob.  Yea, he also advises talking to cops without the presence of an attorney.  I do not read anything he has to say.

But I will remark that this guy gets my vote (if I was a citizen in Florida).

An Escambia County man running for a commissioner seat was arrested on July 4 after officers found him openly carrying a prohibited gun and waving at people on a street corner, according to officials with the Pensacola Police Department.

Officers said Stanley McDaniels, 39, was standing on the corner of Baylen Street and Main Street waving at people for just over five hours. When officers approached McDaniels, they saw that he had a black gun in the waistband of his pants. Officials told McDaniels open carry was not allowed in the state of Florida and asked if he had any identification. McDaniels then pulled out his Florida Conceal Carry Permit and showed officers.

Officers noticed that McDaniels was holding a pamphlet and, when asked what it was, McDaniels told officers it was the Constitution. One officer said while he was having a casual conversation with McDaniels, he talked about all the work he had done within the community. McDaniels also had a camera set up on a tripod filming and he allegedly said he was going to take it to the Supreme Court.

McDaniels is running as a Republican for the Escambia County Commissioner District 4 seat, according to the county’s website.

Officers ran McDaniels criminal history and it came up with no results. An officer then removed the gun from McDaniels waistband which turned out to be a Beretta M9 with nine rounds in the clip and one in the chamber. All of the gun-related items were turned into the property management as evidence.

I admire his courage to challenge the idiotic law against open carry in Florida.

As for whether you carry openly or conceal your firearms, I couldn’t care less.  Make your own choice.  Unlike the author at Ammoland, I wouldn’t presume to know your situation or try to tell you what to do.

The gun community has its controllers too, and I object to controllers.


  1. On July 14, 2022 at 11:07 pm, George 1 said:

    “A sign of incompetence.” I occasionally shoot with a guy older than me, there aren’t too many of those around, HA HA! I would like Dan to watch my friend shoot his Colt 1911. He is not incompetent. He can handle and shoot that weapon like a Boss. He mostly open carries

  2. On July 15, 2022 at 12:19 am, Archer said:

    Dan Reedy comes off as an elitist bigot, doesn’t he?

    As a guy who carries a Springfield Armory pistol, has for years, and has never had a failure to fire or feed, I take offense to the statement that a SA gun is unworthy. They’re built to be working service guns, not safe queens.

    And there are lots of reasons to not use a Serpa holster, but it IS a retention holster, ostensibly designed to make “gun grabs” significantly harder.

    The rest of the criticism — other than the guy being immersed in his phone, which is the only legit gripe — is more equipment/gear elitism. I’m going to hazard a guess, Dan Reedy’s “professional” opinion is that if you can’t afford to drop at least $1,500 on a upper-tier SIG or HK, another $200 on a Safariland holster, another $100 on a Galco belt, another $150 on 5.11 tactical pants to go with those boots, and drive a Humvee instead of that Chevy, you don’t deserve to have the tools to defend your life.

    He can take that opinion and shove it. How many kids does he have? I’m betting not many, or not any. Some of us have budgets. That doesn’t make our lives worth less, let alone worthless.

    All in all, the open carrier in question sounds to me like a normal gun shop employee. Around here, they all dress like that. I’m not sure why, but they do. Maybe they’re just dressing how they think customers expect. Who knows?

    As for the guy buying dog food, Reedy can shove his opinion on that, as well. Gun shop employees have dogs, too. Heck, at my favorite local gun shop, the dog comes to work, barks when someone comes in, and his command to stop barking is, “Cease fire”.

  3. On July 15, 2022 at 7:15 am, Fred said:

    “immediately after paying, his head dives into his smartphone like his neck is a wet noodle. I watch him as he exits, and he remains like this all the way until he gets into his new Chevy Colorado.”

    Funny that, just yesterday, I say a law enforcement agent do this exact same thing. The author perfectly described the female officer I saw at a dollar general store, except it was a patrol vehicle.

  4. On July 15, 2022 at 7:51 am, June J said:

    Dan Reedy is the friend we tolerant but laugh at the misguided opinions he spouts.

  5. On July 15, 2022 at 8:00 am, Don't mind me said:

    When “journalists” use improper nomenclature in their articles, I ignore them and move on.

    Open carry should be encouraged and supported completely by everyone in the gun owning community. It is the single most important tool we have to convert hoplophobes and get all the public used to firearms.

  6. On July 15, 2022 at 10:26 am, Levi Garrett said:


    “How many kids does he have? I’m betting not many, or not any.”

    Well, I took a peek at his profile on http://www.ammoland.com, and he is described as a “dog dad”, among other things. Does that count?

  7. On July 15, 2022 at 10:47 am, Latigo Morgan said:

    I start reading articles like that and just start seeing, “Hurr durr I is a professional! Everyone else has to take a course hurrrr durrrrr to be a professional, too!”

    Only point of agreement: It doesn’t matter how you are carrying, burying your nose in a cell phone in public is just bad form.

    The finish was worn off the slide of my XD45 before I replaced it with a CZ75 P01. I prefer the hammer fired to the striker fired, as well.

  8. On July 15, 2022 at 10:52 am, Drake said:

    The lack of situational awareness is the only part of the story I agree with. Open carry, concealed carry, no carry – pay attention to your surroundings while in public.

  9. On July 15, 2022 at 12:32 pm, elysianfield said:

    Well, I have carried concealed for…over 50 years…everyday. I believe that those that carry open have emotional issues that the spectical of the equipment addresses.


  10. On July 15, 2022 at 1:30 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    You don’t have to be sorry. You can believe what you wish however baseless.

    But do note that this is a very American, 20th and 21st century thing. You’re a product of your times and culture. It was never like this before, and certainly not with the founders.

    Another way of saying it is this. I’ll discuss any issue you wish about this, as long as it is prefaced by the following admission by opponents of open carry: I am a product of the culture and times, that culture and times being created by cops and women as it pertains to the carry of weapons. I see things the way they want me to see them and live within the constraints they set.

  11. On July 15, 2022 at 3:10 pm, JFP said:

    Heh, does that include all cops elysianfield?

    I’ll take seriously the open vs concealed carry debate the second I’m in a state/nation that has constitutional carry and thus it can be a fair debate on preferences or scenarios. Until then, open carry is clearly and obviously superior because I don’t need to go get some permission slip by big non gender binary specific sibling government to carry concealed.

  12. On July 15, 2022 at 4:54 pm, elysianfield said:

    Mr. Smith,
    Well, I should clarify my statement to the effect that if there were clear options, and concealed carry was one of them, then I would opt for concealment. Further, I would qualify my statement to suggest that some, perhaps many, but not all, open carry individuals may have issues.

    Consider a scruffy, out of shape, tatted and camo wearing “hilljack” at a county fair. Citizens respond to them the same as if they were colors wearing bikers. I’ve seen it too many times to consider it a net positive.

    Yes, only one opinion. I would be a big fan of open carry if it were the only option…but it ain’t.

  13. On July 15, 2022 at 6:39 pm, Bill Buppert said:

    elysianfield: “I believe that those that carry open have emotional issues that the spectical of the equipment addresses.”


    Oh I see so all the folks who open carry by trade be they cops, military or private security have emotional issues? That a government imprimatur of permission to open carry for statist armed entities are not stricken by psychological issues? And all non-government subsidized open carriers have emotional issues?

    Good God, what a mess.

    And Miss Reedy did write a worthless screed.

    See Herschel’s comment, it appears that estrogen nation is renting space in your head as a woman of both sexes.

  14. On July 15, 2022 at 6:46 pm, Papa Sierra said:

    I think you might have missed some subtlety to Ayoob’s position on talking to police after a defensive encounter. If you call 911 then you’re talking to the police, and at that point you have an opportunity to establish yourself as the victim, which could be a very important. And once they are at the scene, you again have the chance to establish that you’re the victim, and you may be able to point to supporting evidence or witnesses that would otherwise be missed. Then you ask to speak to your lawyer and shut up.

    And ironically, George Zimmerman talked and talked and talked, and it helped him with his acquittal. Since there was little physical evidence and no eyewitnesses, his statements were entered into the court record via testimony of the police, allowing him to avoid having to testify himself.

  15. On July 15, 2022 at 7:31 pm, Fred said:

    That’s funny.

  16. On July 15, 2022 at 7:46 pm, George 1 said:

    All of the anti-open carry arguments are really just psy-ops to further the fear of guns and those who carry them.

  17. On July 16, 2022 at 12:10 pm, elysianfield said:

    Bill Buppert,

    Ya got me! A spelling error and then a comment impugning my manhood.

    Spent my youth as a police officer in…Oakland California…yeah, Mayberry….

    I will admit to my comments being less than direct. Let me rephrase;

    If you carry an exposed weapon as a fashion accessory, you have issues. You can discuss “Muh Freedoms”, and offer the canard that it strengthens the 2nd Amendment…but you know, in your black little heart, how you feel when you go out in public strapped…akin to leading an agressive pit bull on a leash…I may be old, shaped like a pear, with health issues, and my wife has lost interest…but I’m dangerous…manly even. I almost think I know you….

    Been a life member of the NRA since…1968.

    Again, sorry for being so direct….

  18. On July 16, 2022 at 12:24 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    So let’s continue to pull this thread. I’ve said before that I don’t like carrying anything on my body. I do wear rings, necklaces, jewelry of any kind, I hate even carrying my keys and phone in my pocket.

    I carry a gun because it’s the responsible thing to do. I hate carrying, but will under certain circumstances. I hate ankle carry a little less, but do it at times. I will carry openly when I can.

    Now. Let’s discuss the “issues.” You’ve made that remark a couple of times now.

    Explain “issues.” Exactly what? Be specific. Do your homework. Outline and discuss for grading purposes.

  19. On July 16, 2022 at 5:13 pm, elysianfield said:


    By “issues” I mean receiving an untoward thrill associatied with openly carrying a gun, more specifically an ego boost, or a sense of power associated with what a citizen might consider a vague threat. Hell’s Angels wear colors, are often unkempt and dangerous in appearance…they DO like the effect they have on the “straights”. Being dragged around by a feral pitbull on a leash in the Ghetto has the appeal to many. IF there is no other option, I myself would be at the head of the line to carry openly, but given the option, I will conceal carry.

    Carrying a gun IS the responsible thing to do, and I would encourage any and every decent citizen to do so, and I believe in this as fundmental right…and yes, carrying a weapon daily is a pain in the ass.

    Every one of us, and (I expect) you included, have seen people open carry that were not effective advertisement for the 2nd Amendment…and sometimes for the reasons I have outlined.

    On a final note…many departments require that their sworn personnel be armed at all times, on and off duty. However, an off duty cop wearing a weapon openly with civilian clothes would be considered a borderline mental case…he would be investigated, for…isssues….at least in my experience.

  20. On July 16, 2022 at 6:57 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    I assume when you were a LEO you also advocated for all LEOs to carry concealed? Because if you didn’t, your statements now make no sense and seem quite irrational to me.

    I still don’t think we’re driving to the real root of the problem.

    Perhaps the “issues” you’re having are with yourself, yes? You don’t know the state of mind of anyone you see on the street. I assume you’ve been in court and began to discuss what someone intended to do and the defense attorney objected that this goes to state of mind which is something you cannot know? And the judge ruled in favor of the defense.

    Projection is a very real psychological problem. Maybe you’re projecting your own bias and bigotry of open carriers onto them rather than dealing with the issue yourself and seeing it as related solely to your own views.

  21. On July 16, 2022 at 7:43 pm, elysianfield said:

    “Mr. Smith

    “I assume when you were a LEO you also advocated for all LEOs to carry concealed?”

    No. Departmental procedure required a uniform and dictated what would be worn with it. Never a question, nor an issue. I saw no issue.

    Projection? Maybe. I’m not a real fan of pop-psychology, however.

    Humans are complex, as are their motivations. Do you consider that ALL people open carry with the best of reasons/intentions? If you do, then we can only agree to disagree. If you believe otherwise, then we are in accord.

    Oh, and no offense, but no defense attorney ever had an easy time with me on the stand…never, not once…always an adversarial event…been to school, don’t you know….

  22. On July 16, 2022 at 7:52 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    I didn’t ask what dept procedure required. I asked if you were consistent in your approach to open carry with EVERYONE.

    You told me no.

    That’s the answer I expected to hear.

    Concerning your last answer, you informed me that you never brought up the issue of state of mind on the witness stand.

    This is a practice you should continue rather than trying to become what you don’t like, i.e., a pop-psychologist.

  23. On July 16, 2022 at 8:25 pm, Chris Mallory said:

    Well, my state has had no permit open carry for over 200 years. Concealed carry, permit or not, has only been here 25 or so. I open carry because that is how I am most comfortable. I do scan the waists of everyone I pass in a store, see quite a few others doing open carry too. All ignored by the public at large, if they even notice to begin with.

    I guess I have to answer the “incompetence” and “thrill” arguments with “An honest man has no need to conceal his weapons. That is the practice of highwaymen and outlaws.” (paraphrased from a 1816 KY court case)
    Aren’t gross generalizations fun!

  24. On July 16, 2022 at 9:14 pm, Ditchcritter said:

    Here in NE Oregon open carry isn’t very unusual. Stop in a diner outside of the largest towns, and you can expect somebody to be open carrying. And several more concealed that you don’t see. It’s our duty as men and patriots to go about armed, and the manlets that write tripe insinuating otherwise need to read the good book and a bit about our founding fathers, too.

  25. On July 16, 2022 at 11:34 pm, George 1 said:

    Idaho has constitutional carry. Many people exercise that right. I have literally never seen anyone open carry around here that appeared to have the “issues” you describe. I have not taken a survey however the vast majority of open carriers here appear to be in better physical conditional than the average person. This applies to men and women. I see many women and men open carrying that look like your typical “Gem Rats”.

    Maybe it is different in Idaho. I have not seen any open carriers who I would judge to have psychological issues. I have not seen anyone here open carrying who appeared to have “bad intentions” for open carrying. In my experience most people of the type you describe with bad motivations/intentions carry concealed.

    If you are looking for bad intentions/motivations in people just for open carrying then maybe you are a controller. Most police who I have spoken to are not in favor of open carry and they feel the same as you do.

    As for the benefits of concealed carry, I can usually spot a concealed carrier. Many are hard to spot but if you watch them you can usually tell.

  26. On July 17, 2022 at 1:33 pm, Ned said:

    OC is common here in central AZ, where one can carry discreetly without a permission slip if one chooses. Never occurred to me that any of the people I see carrying have issues.

  27. On July 17, 2022 at 6:16 pm, Tennessee Budd said:

    I did see evidence of incompetence in the man Reedy described; his head and all contents within being entirely in his phone, with no situational awareness at all. I see those people sometimes, & I despise them all.
    Other than that, Reedy’s article was an enormous “look what a judgmental asshole I am” screed.

  28. On July 17, 2022 at 9:27 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Incompetence is not a justification for denial of rights. It’s a justification for more training.

  29. On July 18, 2022 at 12:06 pm, Latigo Morgan said:

    If you see me, you know there’s a firearm present. Maybe you see it on my hip, maybe you don’t see it at all, but it is there. I put a firearm on every day just as I do my pants, and leaving the house without one on is like leaving without any pants on. It’s been that way for the past 20 years, but even more strictly since a friend of mine was murdered at the gas station a mile from my house in my rural community by city punks who drove out here for an easy score. I heard the gun shots that evening.

    That said, open carry opponents come up with the same lame arguments every time. They’ll go on about statistically improbable “what if” scenarios to try to make their point. Then, failing that, they go for the “mentally challenged” arguments which are the arguments of all our enemies and a very dangerous track to choose to go down.

    I get as much “thrill” from wearing a pistol open carry as I get from wearing my Leatherman. When I do choose to carry openly, it is because that is the best mode of carry for what I’m carrying, and doing that particular day, nothing else.

  30. On July 19, 2022 at 8:51 am, GWB said:

    Cops normally qualify once a year and never get range time in between.
    Egad, this. Absolutely this.
    Also, watching a lot of videos of various police stops in the last couple of years, it is evident many police NEVER develop any sort of tactical mindset that would put them in at least Condition Yellow during an interaction with a potential criminal. Don’t get me started on percentage of hits on target in so many publicized cases. And, no, some of them don’t know how to direct traffic, either.

    The one thing I will say the Ammoland guy got right is the complaint about the guy being head down in his phone. When you’re carrying – no matter how – you need to be engaged in the world, head up, on a swivel. Of course – as evidenced by his walking in front of cars – this guy probably needs to do that better even when he is NOT carrying.

  31. On July 19, 2022 at 8:53 am, GWB said:

    On July 18, 2022 at 12:06 pm, Latigo Morgan said:

    When I do choose to carry openly…
    I’m curious if you could give examples of reasons to make that choice? I haven’t found a good reason for me to do so, yet, so would appreciate inputs to that thought process.

  32. On July 19, 2022 at 9:14 am, Herschel Smith said:


    I can supply reasons. It’s legal in my state. Let’s say it’s summer and I sweat my weapon when I carry IWB. Let’s say that it’s not prohibited by the store I want to walk into, or let’s say I’m walking my dog with potential Coyotes around, or let’s say I’m hunting or hiking.

    Any number of reasons.

  33. On July 19, 2022 at 11:42 am, GWB said:

    Thank you, Mr Smith. I can see the dog-walking.
    The hunting was kind of odd to me because I don’t think of hunting as “open carry” for the purposes of argumentation. Many people, I think, assume “going to church and the grocery store and the office” when we’re debating open vs concealed carry. But it’s an excellent point.
    As to the sweating, I understand, but I think my own thought processes work toward mitigation of the sweat rather than switching to open carry. Most likely from a mindset that says concealed carry is “better”, at least for me.

    I think one of the issues is your locale – do you live/work/travel/move in suburbs, city, rural, rural suburbs (like me – little housing developments out of old farm land, set well away from any sort of real urban to be sub- to), or a mixture. Also, what sort of people you live around.

    Thanks again for the info.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns,Second Amendment and was published July 14th, 2022 by Herschel Smith.

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