Retaining Your Weapon
When open carrying, you must always be aware of the possibility of someone trying to steal the your weapon. Despite the fact that it hardly ever happens (counter example), you must always be prepared. So, what are some steps that you should take in order to ensure you are prepared to protect yourself and your firearm while open carrying? Let's take a look:
Use a good holster!
It is very important that you use a holster with a substantial level of retention in order to prevent unauthorized access. We recommend at least Level II retention, which means there are at least two separate mechanisms in place that will keep the firearm in the holster until they are disengaged. A good holster isn‘t cheap, but it‘s worth it. For more details on retention levels or to find a holster, check out Safariland holsters.
Carry a backup weapon.
It is a great idea to carry a second weapon (usually concealed) on your person while open carrying. Typically, this will be a knife or a smaller handgun (or both). As far as knives go, the Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife is a great choice if you're not sure where to start.
Consider your body position.
Despite the fact that your gun should be in a good holster (as discussed above), it‘s important to keep your weapon out of reach of those around you whenever possible. You can do this by keeping the firearm-side of your body angled slightly away from nearby individuals. Distance is another thing to consider. It is amazing how quickly a determined individual is able to cover a short stretch of distance, so keep that in mind.
This should go without saying, but it is always good to be reminded of the need for continual alertness and awareness of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for individuals who exhibit suspicious behavior (unnatural fidgeting, staring at your weapon, etc.) and be wary of them. Also, it‘s important to have a mental picture of the general layout of your present location at all times (where are the exits, where could you take cover, etc.).
This article may also prove to be a valuable resource when considering the important responsibility you have to maintain control of your weapon. If you can, find a friend whom you can practice with (never use a loaded firearm—use a blue training gun if possible). Also, we find it very valuable to spend a bit of time every so often thinking through possible scenarios and trying to determine what your course of action would be—this will help you to be prepared to make quicker decisions if you ever encounter a dangerous situation. Finally, never allow yourself to reach the point where you become overconfident and think of yourself as invincible. Let us know if you have any suggestions for this article!