Last week I saw my first OC in Tennessee (or anywhere else) and I did something I promised myself to do: Introduce myself and shake the hand of the person and thanking him for OCing. I believe the poor guy thought my bubble was off plumb, but he went along with it.

Today, I saw my second OC coming out of Kroger’s and now that the novelty is off, I have to point/ask something: No retention holsters, Is there a tactical/fashion reason for it? I don’t mean a top of the line Safariland, but at least something with a strap?

I will remain faithfully concealed, but it is nice to know that the option is there and I won’t be tasting pavement because an accidental display of the sidearm sent a Shannon into a panicked frenzy and called the cops.

OK, seriously at least some basic retention.

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By Miguel.GFZ

Semi-retired like Vito Corleone before the heart attack. Consiglieri to J.Kb and AWA. I lived in a Gun Control Paradise: It sucked and got people killed. I do believe that Freedom scares the political elites.

11 thoughts on “Being in Open Carry Country.”
  1. Depends on holster- my fobus has trigger guard retention. It works good but “rattles” as you walk.

    1. My Safariland has the newer ALS system. You can’t see the thumb lever from where you’re standing, but the retention is there.

      Of course, now that I live in FL, I only open carry when working around my own yard.

  2. My thinking on OC and the need for retention is, if sidearm safety (as in, making sure to not have someone take your sidearm, and or, making sure your pistol remains in your holster when doing handstands) was an issue, we would have heard about it each time it occurred….but we haven’t.

    So, all that is required in Tennessee or any other state with OC, is a holster which secures your sidearm—and makes necessary a very firm strong withdraw-motion in order to draw the weapon from the holster.

    If your sidearm doesn’t remain in the holster when turned upside down and shook vigorously, then either you need a better quality holster or the adjustment screw needs tightening. Also a forward cant holster limits the angles upon which a sidearm can be drawn, making access from the rear very difficult.

  3. When I was teaching the reasons were either that a quality retention holster was much more expensive, it was bulkier, or the idea of fighting for control of a weapon or the need to do so was never introduced to them. Unfortunately most of the time it came down to cost.

    Also something new I heard was a very real fear of being accused by commies of being a cop AND being accused of impersonating a cop by a cop. Can’t win for losing. In either event the problem could be solved by concealed carrying properly but eh.

    I believe at least one but perhaps several videos of someone snatching an open carrier’s weapon have been posted on this site and the one I’m thinking of the man was standing with his arms folded or full with not even an elbow positioned to block access. Fella ran up and snatched it with the sharp downwards and away yank that breaks so many plastic holsters and took off out the door.

    People who open carried or concealed carried with retention tended to come from a martial arts background involving grappling or were law enforcement with some salt on their uniforms. They were very comfortable protecting their weapon side and it was a game that almost turned in to a kind of dance to make them keep unconsciously shifting to keep their weapon side away from me.

    An aside with the intersection of the Brazilian jujitsu world and firearms cool guy training there are more non-credential restricted classes based on weapons retention and fighting to control a weapon. Larry Correia talked about one he attended recently. Mayhaps the trend is changing?

  4. I was once stopped by the police and after I informed him I was armed, he wanted to disarm me. I said ok and raised my arms so he could reach my holster (crossbreed iwb, strong side 4 o’clock ). After 3 hard tugs and no success, he asked if I could remove it. I laughed and said thats kind of pointless isn’t it? I was surprised by the amount of difference in retention even from a slightly different angle. Of course that is only one experience and may or may not reflect others experience.

    1. Some of those new Kydex holsters are like that. You can only draw from one direction or the gun jams in the holster. They honestly seem more secure than a thumb break.

  5. I’ve been carrying “cowboy” for almost 20 yrs, since I moved to maine. After a bit the leather conforms to the gun and you aren’t getting it out unless you pull it right. I ended up cutting off the strap because it interfered.
    Now Imake my own and never thought about retention, except on the shoulder rig. Of course, I’m talking revolvers and they’re easy. The 1911 doesn’t really do open carry too well Imostly use a little milt sparks IWB ( I think. It’s hard to read.) but it’s tilted the wrong way for the front. Or a shoulder rig.

  6. Retention is not necessarily a strap or locking device that is visible on the holster. Retention can be molded into the holster and is common with many Kydex holsters as user adjustable or molded in by the holster maker. The scale of resistance to removing a firearm from the holster can range from a two finger light draw to a full scale effort to rip it out by the firearm owner and that difference may not be visible while the holster is being worn. Cant of the firearm in the holster when the holster is molded closely to the features of the specific model of firearm will also assist with retention. The draw stroke must be at exactly the right angle or the entire holster will resist removal of the firearm from the holster in addition to the molded in retention features.

    Other features that help with retention include, a good quality belt, (a good foundation helps keep the firearm and holster in place if you have to fight for your firearm) belt loop configuration that keeps the firearm close to the body, (a firearm grip that hangs out in space away from the body leaves two handed access to the upper portion of the firearm/holster and gives leverage for ripping it away) location of the holster on the body, (3 o’clock and forward it is easier to be aware and if needed fight for your firearm than behind 3 o’clock where it is much more difficult to be aware that an attack might be coming and fight to keep the firearm in the holster and your possession).

  7. But an uncle mikes is like $20 and a good holster with retention is soooo much more! /sarc

    I will say being left handed and finding holsters that fit semi exotic firearms for the time was challenging 15 years ago, not really a problem now. Though i do think the $75+ lots of these companies charge for molded plastic sheet is a bit much.

  8. I typically OC in the warmer weather here in central NH. I would prefer a kydex for my S&W 39-2, but no one makes one. 8~( As Etrier noted, kydex does present drawing restrictions.

    Still, when I’m in a shop, I do not use my phone and I’m focused on who is near me. I will “casually” touch the frame with my elbow and I don’t stand in the same position for extended times.

    As Dave Doglass noted, there seem to have been very few cases of snatching from an open carrier (as there have very few OC shot first situations).

    I believe that OCing while doing normal things (e.g., shopping) helps to normalize the carrying of firearms. I’ve had some nice conversations and had a couple of people take my class because of said conversations.

    There have been people who thanked my for carrying as well.

    My $0.02.

  9. I will OC every now and again. Oftimes, I’m being lazy and just dont throw a cover garment over a normal CC holster. Occasionally I’ll have a big revolver that does not easily conceal, and say “heck with it.” But there is always retention of some sort.
    Retention is more than just a dingus or strap on the holster though. As others have pointed out, I too tend to do the gun-side-shuffle, semi-unconsciously keeping my holster and my back away from anyone else. Too, I tend to reach for things with my off hand, keeping my strong side hand available to slam down on top of the holstered handgun in case of an attempted grab (never happened, not yet at least, but still). I tend to do these things both concealed and open carry as well.
    There is a local short-haul trucker I have seen around many times who regularly open carries. He has a Hi Poiny in a cheap Uncle Mikes gun sock holster with flimsy strap (it may have been all he could afford). But he too tends to position himself around others for active gun retention, even though his holster sucks. I may criticize his choice of gear, but I have no issues with his situational awareness.
    Gun retention is an active sport, and I believe it shoulf be treated as such. Anyone who belts on a pistol like a cell phone holder and promptly forgets about it except to bang their elbow every now and again is making a critical error, one which thankfully most will never get called on for in a “hot” situation.
    Quality gear is important, yes, but at least as much so are an actively attentive mindset aandpractices. If the bacon grease hits the fire, it’s the second that can save your asterisk. Gear only can do so much.

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