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Thread: Help create a "Best Practices Guide" (holsters - dress - manners) for open carry

  1. #1
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    I think it would be useful for users to share their thoughts on "best practices" for engaging in open carry in the following areas, so that the admins can create a FAQ, or "user guide" to open carry. For example, what do you think are the best practices in the following areas that reduce conflict with citizens, police, criminals, and those who might attempt a "grab" of an exposed handgun?
    1. Holsters.
    2. Clothing.
    3. Manners.
    4. Recommended answers to questions or challengesfrom citizens.
    5. Recommended answers to questions or challenges from police.
    I have my own opinions, but one person's opinion does not create a consensus. What do YOU think?

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    1. Holsters: Generally speaking, most of us use a strong-side OWB holster when OCing. With that in mind, I personally prefer to use a holster which is neither 'flashy' nor crude/cheap-looking. A retention system of some kind is a plus (thumb-break, SERPA, CARRY-LOK, etc...). Paddle or Pancake holsters are most comfortable, for me.

    2. Clothing: I try to not look like either a ragamuffin or a police-officer when I carry. Again, nothing 'flashy' nor crude/cheap-looking (ie: shirts with violent/cruel or gang-related material). I try to stick with plain shirts (sometimes with patriotic or pro-2Agraphics),and jeans or pants which are in good condition (and fit properly).

    3. Manners: Very important! Look people in the eye, smile (optional), and be non-confrontational. Keep the hands off of the gun, and out of the pockets as much as possible.

    4. Citizen Encounters: With the above manners in mind, just be polite and respond in a positive and reasoning (not condescending) manner.

    "The police can't be everywhere, so I take the responsibility of protecting myself very seriously."

    "It's no different than having a fire-extinguisher to protect ones-self from fires, or an air-bag to protect you in an accident... You never know what will come at you that might harm you, and it's best to be prepared."

    "As long as there are criminals in this world, there will always be victims... I refuse to be either"

    5. LEO Encounters: Similar to above... Andbesides, they should know better than anyone what criminals are capable of, and the force occasionally required to stop them. If I am within the law, I am fine... If the LEO knows the law, and is merely curious or conversational, GREAT! If the LEO does not know the law, I would try to politely educate them.

    molonlabetn

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    Great post from Molonlabe, and I can only suggest that ,if wearing a hat or cap, remove it with your weak side hand when addressed by citizens, cops and especially, ladies.I realise that this is somewhat outdated, but it is a courteous gesture nonetheless.

    It is a gesture which originated with the medieval armed knighthood of Europe, who removed their helmets upon meeting others, that their faces might be exposed, as a gesture of goodwill.

    I understand that this sounds rather whimsical, and less common, perhaps in the USA than in UK, but it goes down well here, especially with the ladies. It also shows us to be gentlemen.

    Sermon over!

    TrueBrit.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    I thought that the salute/ tip of the hat gesture with the right hand also had to do with showing that your hand was empty. Its very interesting how much chivalry and etiquette that still is carried on today has to do with self protection and prevention of harm.

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    Regular Member VAopencarry's Avatar
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    True Brit trying to class up us Americans.......

    Seriously, I do like the idea.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

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    Longwatch is correct when he says that a military salute shows that ones hand is empty of weaponry.

    You guys do not need me to class you up in any way, since Virginian gentlemen have predominantly Brit bloodlines and pedigrees anyway!

    Nonetheless, whatever one does,and whatever ones breeding,why not do it with a little bit of style!

    Here endeth the second lesson!

    TrueBrit.

  7. #7
    Arizonatexan
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    This is a very good and very useful train of discussion. The way you carry yourself is of utmost importance. I became aware of this fact after I married my wife. She's a nice looking, petite woman - but she is also a Tae Kwon Do black belt. There is something in the way she carries herself that exudes confidence and self-control, and the fact that she will not be a victim. She's not showy or belligerent but by the way she walks and stands and looks folks in the eye - there is no doubt in anyone's mind that this little lady can take care of herself. I think its alsoimportant for us to promote the appearance that people who carry guns are just ordinary, good, upstanding members of society and not thugs or "nuts." I'm a West Texas country cowboy who was raised with manners and taught to say "yes ma'am" and "yes sir" and of course I tip my cowboy hat as a greeting. Especially when I'm OC'ing, I dress nicely and act like it's a common, everyday, thing to carry a gun - just like carrying a cell phone or pager. I typically carry strong side, open top, C&L, 1911 ready and accessible so there is no doubt I mean business. It's a grave responsibility that comes with carrying a firearm and I take that responsibility very seriously, but I don't flaunt it and don't make a big deal out of it either.

    Arizona-Texan

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    I agree with molonlabetn but would like to add that your attitude has a lot to do with how the public perceives you. If you are acting like it is a perfectly normal, every day thing for you to be carrying a firearm then people tend not to notice it. If you're furtive, unsure, or afraid to be carrying a firearm, people will pick up on that and notice the firearm.

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    Here I go again, and forgive me if I seem to be splitting hairs,or sound like a pedantic old fart!

    We old- time Brits are taught to tip, or raise,our hats to other GUYS, but to REMOVE them and keep them in our hand while speaking to ladies.

    Maybe this is overly formal , and I realise that when in Rome, etc, but it might be worthy of consideration.

    Like I said, when it comes to general deportment, you don't get much more antique than I tend to be, but blame it on my devout Catholic mother, who sent me off to kid's primary school with the Little Sisters of No Mercy. These ladies were female ecclesiastical skinheads!Couple that with a WASP yeoman for a Dad!Nuff said!:shock:

    TrueBrit.

  10. #10
    Arizonatexan
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    I spent my highschool years overseas in Belgium, and I know exactly what Truebrit is talking about. The Europeans and British do put more emphasis on formality and pomp and circumstance. Here in the States (or the Colonies) I think we've lost some of the common courtesies not to mention chivalry. I held the door for a woman the other day at work (as I always do) and she rather curtly, promptly informed me "you know that's not necessary!" There's a lot of things the youngsters of today's society have lost. That's OK. I'll continue to take the "high road." That's one of the privileges that come with being an old fart!

    Arizona-Texan

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    Texan, it is indeed deplorable that there are nowadays feminist harpies out there who do not appreciate courtesy as we know it. They are the losers by their attitude, however.

    BTW, welcome to the Old Fart's Club! It is an honourable institution, with a long apprenticeship.

    Seriously, the only way as I see it for open carry to become generally acceptable is for us to slay all we meet with courtesy and consideration. We should now refrain from hogging this thread, and maybe get some more input from the Virginians, if these bon vivants can be torn away from their up-market dining spots!Maybe we need to go up there, and show them how to use a knife and fork European-style!

    TrueBrit.(giving his warped sense of humour a spanking!)

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    Hi, TruBrit. I should have responded earlier. Actually, I was "born and raised" in Virginia and I wasthinking that you're a true Southron. These types of personal acknowledgements were taught to me at a young age (a REALLY long time ago). So, I'm definatelya well respected member of the Aged Flatulators:P. I always take great satisfaction in reading your articles.

  13. #13
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    Truebrit - my wife still marvels at how I'm able to balance peas on the back of my fork! I just thought that was the way you were supposed to eat!!

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    DoubleR, you could not have paid me a more handsome compliment, Sir! I am indebted to you.

    Texan, I guess you know what the Brits think is the reason for the southpaw fork only American scoop and carry style of eating?

    We reckon it goes back to frontier days, when the settlers would gig a chunk of meat with a fork, cut it up quickly, and fork it down . This left the right hand free to grab the rifle swiftly, should the Red Men descend, riding painted ponies!

    TrueBrit.

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    1) Holsters.

    Have some sort of retention device to prevent someone from grabbing your gun. That said, LEARN and PRACTICE how to stop a gun grab. Carry a folding knife in a pocket on the opposite side.

    Debug your holster. This means lots of practice drawing your weapon AND reholstering. Attend a training course with it; this is the fastest path to a debugged holster.


    2) Clothing.

    Nice pants, collared shirt. Matching accessories. Do not look like Hollyweird's vision of a criminal.


    3) Manners.

    Be nice. Don't be argumentative about your OCing.


    4) Recommended answers to questions or challenges from citizens.

    If someone gives you a hard time, say something like:

    "I made my choice and you made yours. I do not wish to speak with you any more."

    Leave it at that. If they argue, respond with:

    "My behavior will not change because of anything you have to say. I am now asking you to stop harassing me. If you continue, I will call the police and press charges."

    If they're dumb enough to continue, then call the cops!


    5) Recommended answers to questions or challenges from police.

    "Here is my ID and concealed carry permit. I will answer no further questions without the presence of my attorney. Am I free to go?"

    If you are asked to leave by the owner of the property, then do so immediately. If you are in a restaurant, pay the bill. Keep enough cash available to cover the bill.

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    As the guy who had the unfortunate experience with the Henrico County Police Officer several months back (later resolved - in my favor), I have some strong opinions about how to properly handle encountering law enforcement officers who are unaware of (or who disagree with) Virginia law (the officers name, incidentally, was John Hamilton Waters)

    First and foremost, it is essential that you are polite, alert to every action of the officer in order to faithfully and correctly write a detailed summary of your experience,able to immediately follow the instructions of an ignorant law enforcement officer even though you know he is wrong,and prepared to combine politeness andfirmness ("That is my personal business, sir" - after being repeatedly questioned "Why do you have a gun" in a rude manner). You also need to be able to calmly, quickly and politelycomply with somewhat humiliating instructions ("spread your legs. No, spread them further", etc). In my case, although I was unlawfully detained, and although an internal affairs investigation found that the officers actions were "...inappropriate, and not up to the expectations of the Division...", everything was resolved in my favor because I was 1.) following the rules 2.) submitted to all of the officers instructions 3.) spoke to his supervisor a couple hours later that same night 4.) filed a report with internal affairs the next morning 5.) wrote a detailed, fact-based narrative of my experience that avoided politics, lawsuit threats, pro-second amendment language, etc. Perhaps it helped that while in graduate school Iinterned at the JamesMadison University Police Department and provided legal research for the department for two years.

    Of course, I alwaysdress nicely while open carrying, never touch or look at my firearm while open carrying, and try to be my usual, polite self. Still, after open carrying for awhile, it can be a bit of a shock to encounter a clearly threatened, nervous police officer.I heard himradio in that hewas arresting a 10-32 (armed subject) - soI knew he was ignorant of the law. Luckily,someone in one of the four police cruisers that responded must have cleared things up for him, as I wasn't cuffed (just detained). I also filed a complaint with the commonwealths attorneys office in addition to internal affairs, which seemed to up the ante tremendously for the department.

    Truthfully, if he had apoligized for the inconvenience (it was my birthday, I was held for 20 minutes on the street at a busy intersection, etc), I would have let everything go and forgot about it. Instead, he told me to expect this everytime I open carry.

    Anyway, my point is to be prepared for the possibility that you will encounter such an officer, and be ready to react appropriately. If I had been rude, or if I had used the situation to make political points, perhaps the situation would not have been resolved in my favor even though the officer was in the wrong.

    One more thing - make mental notes ofEVERYTHING that happens. As it turns out, one of themost significant mistakes the officer made went unnoticed by me intially, and I should have noticed having previously provided legal research and training to police officers. The officer removed my handgun without my permission - and ran a check to see if it was stolen. This turned out to be an unlawful search sincethis wasa terry stop and my weapon was not a hidden threat - but a legally openly carried piece of my property. Thankfully, the officer had moved me to in front of his cruiser, and everything was caught on tape. Internal Affairs first noticed this issue and asked me to confirm that the officer did not get my permission to remove my weapon (if he had asked, I would have said yes, incidentally).

    Also, don't let the first person you speak with convince you that you are wrong. The seargeant I spoke to that night was very friendly and willing to hear what I had to say, and almost had me convinced I shouldn't pursue the issue and the officer did little wrong. In fact, if he had said he would speak to the officer about some of the concerns I raised, I would have let the whole thing go right there. But he didn't.

    I had never worked with a police officer who lied in two years with a police department, so when one of the Chiefs deputies told Philip van Cleave that there had been a call about a man with a gun that the officer was responding to, I believed it and also almost dropped everything there. That turned out to be untrue. I am glad I continued to puruse the issue.

    Sorry for the long post. I am sure I've left something out I'll wish I added later. But it's close to my bedtime!

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    Also, file Freedom of Information Act requests - I filed three within 72 hours of being detained. In two of the cases, I received valuable information. I went to the PD and obtained a copy of the officers mark-out report as well, for $5.00. This helped clear up some of what happened, and gave me the officers full name (police departments will generally only give you the officers initials and late name), as well as the codes he called in, the other officers who responded, etc.

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    Here's a photo of me in Del Ray (Alexandria, VA) the other day.

    On my right hip is a Springfield Armory XD-9 Sub-Compact in a Fobus holster.

    In my left hand are the remains of a medium frozen chocolate custard on a sugar cone.

    No problems encountered, except some chocolate custard which melted.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  19. #19
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    Very informative, SicSemperTyrannis.

    Thank you.

    Arizona-Texan


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    cREbralFIX wrote:
    5) Recommended answers to questions or challenges from police.

    "Here is my ID and concealed carry permit. I will answer no further questions without the presence of my attorney. Am I free to go?"
    Maybe it is just me, but if I were legally open carrying and were questioned by a police officer, I would not produce a CC permit. I feel that that would make me feel like I was having to defend my right to do something that I can do without a government issued permit.

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    Hahaha,

    Did y'all see the look on the face of that guy in the background? It seems to be another case of a father and husband who just realized that he is a pathetic, helpless man.

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    My permit had been issued that morning, but I did not know that. I received the letter two days after my experience with the officer. In fact, I told the officer I was in the process of obtaining a CHP, and he said "what's that?" in a way that indicated to me that he genuinely didn't know what a CHP is... which I found odd. Because I didn't have a CHP on me, after my initial statement "That's my personal business, sir" all I said was "Virginia is an open carry state" - then calmly repeated that several times as he repeatedly asked "why are you carrying that" (pointing to my gun).

    Generally, I think cooperation and a desire to inform and educate is the best route. Most LEO's are good guys, who are willing to work with people who are willing to work with them. Once a situation deteriates to the point where you are in custody (as mine did within 60 seconds), then you are better off saying very little. But before that, a calm effort to educate is probably best, as opposed to asserting ones rights (which is a perfectly legitimate choice for those so inclined, it's just not my style).

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    Do you have x-ray vision? Maybe he was concealed carrying, ha, ha! I don't know if he was or not.

    Let's not disparage people if they do not carry openly. Hopefully I set a good example that non-gun carriers (including women) will decide to emulate. In fact, I think more women should carry for their own self-defense. Us good guys cannot protect all of them!



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    XD Owner: You make a good point, and I agree wholeheartedly with the intent of your post. It is fun to poke at others from time to time, though, as long as it is done so in an appropriate manner. I'm sure VApatriot meant no malice by his comment, and personally, I thought it was amusing. I believe that all of us here are professional enough to never intentionally present a negative attitude to the public. We may, however have an occasional laugh at the expense of some when they aren't around.

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    XD Owner wrote:
    Do you have x-ray vision? Maybe he was concealed carrying, ha, ha! I don't know if he was or not.

    Let's not disparage people if they do not carry openly. Hopefully I set a good example that non-gun carriers (including women) will decide to emulate. In fact, I think more women should carry for their own self-defense. Us good guys cannot protect all of them!

    Well said.

    The guy just seems to havesuch a strange look on his face.

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