The “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of Open Carry Part I

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

A serious look at making the open carry operator as squared away as they can possible be.

I know there are people out there that believe that I am “anti-open carry.” This is not really the truth of the matter. What I am is “anti-ignorance” and I admit that I am very hard-core in this belief. For those that know and train with me, they know why I am like that. They know that I really care about their ability to be the very best they can be when it comes down to the ability to defend their lives and the lives of their loved ones. To me, this is the paramount reason that we carry and any other reason pales in comparison.

I do not carry for a political agenda, or because it is my right, or because I want to be a hero, or because I want the mere presence of the gun to stop a crime, or because of the coolness factor, or to educate people, or the stir up awareness. I carry for one reason and one reason only.

I carry to be the very best that I can be inside of a life threatening encounter involving myself or my loved ones!

Everyone can feel free to call that “one way” or “self centered” but the reality of the matter is that “me and mine” are more important than everyone else. That does not mean that I will not risk my life to help innocent people, heck I’ve done it before on a few occasions. What it does mean is that I want to have the choice whether I get involved or not. Open carry cuts down on my options.

Any attack on me is an attack on my loved ones. I am the one that keeps them in good neighborhoods. I am the one that keeps them in good schools, I am the one that keeps them from hanging out with the wrong people, I am the one that keeps them away from drugs, alcohol, crime, teenage pregnancies, and especially the violence that comes out of those issues. I am the one that instills “the three stupid rule” into them. You will be amazed how living with “the three stupid rule” as a guide will cut down on your violent encounters.

Do not go stupid places, with stupid people, and do stupid things.

The importance of a solid parental figure inside of the home can be the difference between life and death for the children inside of that home. That has been my reality! I lost my older sister at 28 years old due to the life style that we had led as children and young adults. Living outside of “the three stupid rule” as we did, for over thirteen years, cost her her life. She made decisions at thirteen years old that were not survivable. I spent thirteen years of my life protecting her and my family from the extremely violent world that she brought into our lives. Never underestimate the value of a strong parental figure inside of the home. As the parent, no matter how important that you think that you are, you are much more important than that. You can be the difference between your children living or dying……. and that is a fact!

IMHO, as a parent or future parent, you should have one mission that overrides all other missions. That mission is to go home and take care of your family. I do not need to be a hero, I do not need to push a political agenda, I do not need to educate anyone about their rights. All I need to do is go home and make sure that my family has everything that I can give them, to give them the ability to acquire the very best life that they can have. I did not fight my way out of the gutter to have my children need to do the very same thing.

This is why I am so vocal on the issue of being the very best that you can be inside of a life threatening encounter. This is why I risk being seen as an “anti-open carry” guy, even though I am not. All I want is for people to get the best information so that they can make the best choices for themselves and their love ones. All I care about is you fulfilling your paramount mission.

Now that people have some insight on “why I do what I do” how about we look at the things that will allow you to be the very best that you can be while open carrying.

The Gun is not a Talisman that wards off Evil

I think it is time for us all to agree, without having to call for links to prove it, the mere presence of a gun may stop a crime from ever being committed. On the flip side we need to agree that the presence of the gun may also be the catalyst of the crime that is committed. Yes, there are plenty of cases that show that people were targeted for their guns…… their homes and on their person. This is all well documented and backed by common sense. Once we understand this, it becomes very clear that carrying a gun (open or concealed) comes with certain responsibilities. If the gun is a deterrent, not having the teeth to use it efficiently and effectively is like bluffing while playing poker. If you carry (open or concealed) you need to know how to use it efficiently and effectively. You do not want to bluff while holding one ace! If I am concealed, I never have anyone “call” my bluff because I am not bluffing. But if I am open carrying I am always in the position to be “called.” This means that if you decide to open carry you may need a higher skill level than those that carry concealed. Since the gun is visible, you may be in the position where you are more likely forced to use it.

With concealed carry I have more of an option to get involved or to not get involved. Since no one knows that I am carrying, I will be less likely to have my hand force. I can make the rational decisions, on what to do based on “my mission.” I can watch the confrontation unfold and make the decision “when” or even “if” I go on the offensive. This is what people are talking about when they talk about “the tactical advantage.” This is all about the manipulation of the OODA loop, understanding “initiative” and the huge problems inside of “initiative deficit.” Once again this leads us to the point that open carry individuals may need a higher skill level and tactical understanding than those that carry concealed.

Simply put, action beats reaction! So many gun people do not understand this fact. Until you experience this firsthand you will not understand just how far behind you are most likely going to be. Open carry requires that you have your situational awareness tuned to a higher level, your “line in the sand” drawn clearer, your ability to work through the OODA loop quicker, and that your skill sets inside of the reactive gunfight at a higher level. You may be quicker getting your gun into play (depending on your mode of carry) due to not having a concealment garment, but that may not be even close to being good enough.

If the open carry gun deters the crime from ever taking place……great! But this is something that you cannot rely on. Crimes can also be deterred just by the way you carry yourself and how you handle yourself. There is one stat that will never be sure of, how many times is a crime deterred because of an open carry gun, compared to how many crimes are deterred due to being deselected due to the way you handle yourself and how you carry yourself.

You may also want to consider getting some information about the streets. There are certain neighborhoods in Las Vegas where open carry may be seen as a sign of disrespect to the criminal organization that controls those neighborhoods. I know we all want to “go where ever I want to go.” But, is it really smart to fly the one finger salute in the most dangerous neighborhoods in Vegas, to the most dangerous people in Vegas. Going to those areas cover the “going stupid places” which makes you “the stupid person, doing the stupid thing.” Open carry requires a little more discretion than concealed carry. Education about the streets can be had, if you know where to look.

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