What is The Difference Between Open Carry and Concealed Carry?

Posted by Marian Yaun on Aug 20th 2021

What is The Difference Between Open Carry and Concealed Carry?

Open carry is the right to bear a firearm and visibly carry it in plain sight. Concealed carry is the practice of carrying a gun by hiding or concealing the weapon from the public eye.

With constitutional carry, it gives the people the right to carry a firearm without any restriction by the government. However, each state has its own regulations towards constitutional carry. Some states do not require a permit for open or concealed carry. Other states also have a restriction where open carry may be legal without a permit, but concealed carry may be required with a permit. Either way, it still gives the people the freedom to exercise their rights to protect themselves and the people around them with a firearm.

The choice to carry depends on your preferences and the laws in the state where you live. You must be knowledgeable about the laws governing the areas where you live, work, and visit. Especially when you are traveling to a state where they still require a permit to open or concealed carry your firearms.

Open Carry

  1. One of the benefits of an open carry firearm is that it is accessible, even in times of emergency. Having quick access to your gun can be a lifesaver, whether you are out hunting, hiking, or going out and about with your day. Open carry also prevents criminals from targeting you as they are aware that you are armed, most criminals avoid armed persons and gunfights. With a concealed firearm there is a draw time that you might need to practice. Generally, it is faster to draw from an open carry holster when needed. Open carry also gives its owners comfort and convenience by having the gun away from your body since it is in a holster. Having your gun in a holster minimizes the scratches or snags as you move about your day with your firearm.

Open Carry

  gun holster, by gmsjs90 licensed under Pixabay

5 Best Handguns for Open Carry

  1. SIG Sauer P220 Elite: This single action has a manual safety and is an easy to shoot gun. It is chambered in 9mm, making this gun a perfect gun for self-defense.
  2. S&W TRR8: It has a large frame that holds 8 rounds of .357 magnum. Lightweight and easy to carry, with top and bottom removable rails which makes it an easy gun for conceal carry.
  3. SIG Sauer X-Five Classic: One of the best shooting guns out there. It is a single action automatic with a safety selector.
  4. S&W m627: A solid stainless steel gun with a 5 inch barrel that is very accurate and has a great trigger. It is excellent for open-carry on a day to day basis.
  5. Wilson Combat Beretta 92G Brigadier Tactical: This option has double and single action with no manual safety. Upgrade to this gun for top of the line performance with a high-precision trigger that slides like butter. It holds a 15+1 rounds of 9mm. This option will give you excellent accuracy.

Concealed Carry

concealed carry is also a great way to carry your firearms with you but without it being visible to the public eye. It can be somewhat a hassle as you have to conceal your gun in a way that is subtle and looks like you don’t have a firearm at hand. This option can also come at the cost of comfort and accessibility. With concealed carry, the majority of the owners have to carry their guns with direct contact to their skin. This can cause discomfort. A firearm stored in a backpack or purse doesn’t give you easy access to draw your firearm in times of emergency.

concealed carry still has great advantages to it. If there are any threats you encounter, you can protect yourself without others knowing you are carrying a weapon. This also minimizes the risk that any thieves may take it from you before you can draw it.

Concealed Carry

pistol , by MikeGunner licensed under Pixabay

5 Best Handguns for Concealed Carry

  1. Glock 43X: About as small as the G43 and has four extra rounds of 9mm. It is slightly wider but hardly noticeable.
  2. Glock 48: It has a slim width that makes concealed carry a breeze. Manageable and lightweight, it will give you an easy full grip of the handgun.
  3. Sig P365: Smaller than a Glock, but has an extended magazine that adds two more rounds for a total of 12+1. It is one of the best 9mm pistols for concealed carry.
  4. Sig P365 XLL: One of the best-concealed carry guns in the market upgraded with an X-Series flat trigger, this gun has a tall grip with an extended magazine. It also has an 0.6 inches longer extended barrel that will give you better accuracy.
  5. S&W M&P Shield M2.0: A small pistol yet ergonomically made and has an upgraded stippling. Options include an extended magazine and it is known for reliability.

Open Carry Pros and Cons

Open carry allows one person to be accessible to their firearms. Especially in times of need and can serve as a deterrent for criminals. It also brings the awareness of the criminals that you are armed and it keeps them from committing their crimes as they avoid armed people. Carrying your firearm openly is also convenient to people that are not afraid to hide their guns and protect themselves at anytime. However, due to it being open to the public's eye it is subject to negative public perception and makes other people uncomfortable.

Concealed Carry Pros and Cons

Concealed carry is legal in all 50 states with or without a permit (depending on your jurisdiction). Having your guns concealed avoids harassment from law enforcement or unwanted conversation about the way you carry your firearms. On the other hand, concealed carry can lead to slower draw times if the gun is immediately needed. Unpacking your backpack and trying to get your firearms is a bit time-consuming and on the occasion of an emergency, every second counts. It will also not deter potential criminals because the gun is not visible. One might also need to adjust his/her everyday attire to conceal carry their firearm for it not be noticeable in the public.

Concealed Carry Pros and Cons

ammunition, by WorldSpectrum licensed under Pixabay

Safe Gun Handling Rules

  • Always use proper Ammunition to avoid any damage, injury, or unexpected accidents.
  • Be sure that the barrel is clear of any obstructions before loading and shooting your firearm.
  • If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, hold your shooting position for several seconds, then with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, carefully unload the gun.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when handling your firearm. Avoids tripping or losing balance and accidentally pointing or firing the gun in a dangerous direction.
  • Learn and practice the mechanical and handling characteristics of the gun you are using.


Open carry and concealed carry both give the people the right to carry a firearm, whether it is visible to the public eye, or hidden. It will all depend on the law of the states you are in and which type of carrier you are most comfortable with. Being able to have options on how to carry your firearm is a great privilege and that we all should take that responsibility seriously. 

Regardless of how or where you carry, having a good storage case also helps keep your family and loved ones safe. At Cedar Mill Fine Firearms, we specialize in safe and secure firearms storage, check out our best selling line of pistol cases and TSA locks.