With South Carolina now an Open Carry state, a lot of people ask, whether they should or not.
Within this article, we will cover five key topics that normally come up in our conversations. Readiness, tactical advantage, comfort, security, and the public eye (Public Reactions). While having a concealed firearm is keeping it hidden from those around you, open carry is keeping it outside any and all articles of clothing, though it must still be secured on your person so nothing happens to it until needed. As a resident or non-resident of South Carolina, you must possess a South Carolina permit or a permit from a reciprocal state to carry; and no, the permits you print at home by watching a video do not count.
When thinking of readiness, some think about emergencies (like earthquakes) and how best to quickly deal with the situation. With a self defense shooting, it is the same concept. What are the steps you need to take in order to keep your family safe, and how fast can you perform them while maintaining your safety. When dealing with a threat you need to remember you are always reacting to the situation. While you can not be ready for every situation, you must be in a ready state of mind, just in case. With open carry, the time it takes to pull your firearm from your holster and get sights on your threat, are greatly reduced. Concealed carry on the other hand can cause your reaction time to be increased due to clothing, holster placement, and the size of the firearm you are carrying. Yes, smaller firearms are harder to grab and acquire your sights.
Concealed carry, by design, is your tactical advantage. Though there is a reduction in readiness, you gain in not being a target of opportunity. If you think about it in a realistic scenario: By open carrying a firearm, though you might not be an initial target for an active shooter situation…you can become the initial target. Concealed carrying gives you the upper hand by staying a non-immediate target, while allowing you to draw your firearm when you have the best angle of defense. Though you may have an extra second of drawing time, you gain more in having the art of surprise.
Comfort is probably the most over looked aspect in daily carry when you first get your permit. The first holster everyone normally goes for is the most inexpensive top of the line holster that fits inside the waistband, and often made by unknown company that does not stand by their brand. Before purchasing a holster take a look at your daily activities. Are you working in an office where you are sitting all day? Do you work outside doing construction? Do you work in retail and you are on your feet all day?
Each type of work will have you rethinking wanting to carry if you are uncomfortable. First, think about the actions you are performing during the day and the type of clothing you are wearing. Working indoors in air conditioning allows for the wearing of a holster outside the waistband and a loose fitting shirt or sweater. This allows you to sit and stand without the firearm/holster pinching your gut or causing hip issues. This would not be the case if you are working with a tighter fitting shirt like you would while wearing a uniform. In this case, an inside the waistband hard plastic holster may be the better choice. If your employer allows it, you may want to use an outside the waistband holster, as they allow for more movement.
Regardless of your daily activities take comfort into consideration as it can effect your desire and consistency to carry long term.
With the changes in South Carolina law public open carry is no longer prohibited, provided you have a valid CWP. Since some of you will want to open carry, please ensure your firearm is secured in your holster well enough that someone will not have immediate access.
WEAR A GOOD THICK BELT. Many have asked why this is so important. Lets highlight four reasons:
Ah, yes, the public. There are South Carolinians who don’t know we are able to carry, wether openly or concealed. Those individuals, if they see your firearm, could be the first to call 911 and give the dispatcher an over-exaggerated explanation of why you should be thrown in jail because their safe space was violated. While emergency dispatchers are trained to question the actions of the callers, there are times that they must dispatch law enforcement officers. If this happens to you, be respectful, do not make any sudden moves, and get the names of everyone involved. We are also a fan of ensuring you have legal representation BEFORE a situation happens (Click here). This is ultimately why concealed carry wins the argument over open carry in our opinion. What the general public can’t see, will not hurt them or cause a reaction.
You see, in the end it all comes down to training, muscle memory, and personal preference. We encourage everyone who is legally allowed to carry, to do so. Exercise your rights, but do it safely!