Depending upon where you live the practice of open carrying may or may not be legal. Always make sure you understand the laws before carry openly or concealed. Some states like Ohio allow open carry without a license, in Tennessee you need a license, and in Florida it’s illegal completely. Laws do change also so always double check.
Most talk these days is around Concealed Carry since all states have a licensing process for it but you need to be informed on the reasons for open carry.
Benefits to Concealed Carry
- Allows you to carry under the radar to criminals, the general public, and anti-gunners
- You can use holster with level zero retention
- Since you are carrying concealed if you are caught in a violent attack you can pick the moment you expose your firearm and engage the criminal
Downsides to Concealed Carry
- Slower draw since your firearm is concealed under some layer of clothing
- Criminals do not have a visual deterrent in not committing their crime.
- Depending upon your carry method you may find yourself carrying a smaller size gun with smaller ammunition capacity
Benefits to Open Carry
- It is visible to everyone around you deterring crime and also potentially being a conversation stater to educate the public on open carry
- Faster draw since you will not need to clear any clothing before drawing (But will need a retention holster)
Downsides to Open Carry
- Your firearm is visible to anyone around you which could potentially make you a target for a criminal to steal it or targeted by an anti-gun person creating a scene (yes, even if it’s an anti-gun person they can call 911 and report a man with a gun to law enforcement and you’ll need to deal with their questions)
- Your conversation with someone on the fence about guns will all depend on how receptive they are to the discussion and may end up turning them off depending upon their political mood
- Your firearm needs to be in a retention holster (level 1,2,3)
- Additional training is necessary in weapon retention since the criminal could try to grab your firearm before you realize it
- Since the criminal can close the distance between you and them you also need to train in open hand skills to fight them back before drawing your firearm
A video from the Personal Defense Network and some articles supporting that Open Carry can be difficult even for these police officers which do it regularly for their job.
Although Open Carry may be appropriate while hunting in the woods when you are around the general public Concealed Carry is more appropriate and more likely to be of use to you.