Open Carry - A simple code of rules we should all follow

Open Carry - A simple code of rules we should all follow

This is a discussion on Open Carry - A simple code of rules we should all follow within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Recently there have been several threads touching on open carry and how we present ourselves when doing so. I could not help but to notice ...

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Thread: Open Carry - A simple code of rules we should all follow

  1. #1
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    Open Carry - A simple code of rules we should all follow

    Recently there have been several threads touching on open carry and how we present ourselves when doing so. I could not help but to notice a dearth of guidance on one very important issue in both threads, and so I thought I should start a new thread that squarely addressed this important issue.

    The issue open carry dress code, which, for the uninitiated (and it appears there are many that frequent this forum that fall into this category) is simply a set of well recognized rules that govern what holster and handguns combinations may be worn together, the seasonality of the same, and in what setting.

    I do not profess to be a “pistolero.” Indeed, many a member here possess a skill at arms that far exceed what I even hope to acquire. On subjects such as gunfighting and self defense, trust their sage advice. I do, however, know something about attire, and so if you want to look good while shooting straight, commit the follow simple rules to memory and follow them accordingly.

    Let us begin with some basic terms: formal attire, business attire, business casual, and casual/street wear:

    Formal attire: Black tie/Evening gown, also known as “Evening wear”

    Business attire: Suit & Tie/Business Dress/Suit, also known as “International Business attire”

    Business casual: Khakis, button down shirts, polo shirts

    Casual/Street wear: Jeans, t-shirt, shorts, etc.

    Now that we have these commonly understood categories defined, let us turn to appropriate outside the waistband (OWB) and shoulder holster (SH) attire and handgun combinations.

    We’ll dispense with the easy category first - casual dress. In general, for casual dress, any handgun and holster combination is acceptable. Pancake, yaqui, polymer, leather – it does not matter. In situations in which casual attire is acceptable, you may walk in confidence with any choice of holster and handgun combination.

    The open carry dress code really begins at the business casual level and carries through the formal attire level. Thus, to begin, let us turn to handgun attire by categories:

    HOLSTER TYPES/POSITION:
    For formal attire, the entire barrel should be shrouded, and the holster should have a forward cant. There is no minimum cant angle, but according to Emily Post “The cant angle should be of such degree that those unskilled at arms can readily discern that the barrel is not perpendicular to the floor.”

    There is no required cant angle for business attire and business casual.

    For men, a holster may be worn anywhere from 2:00 to 5:00 in formal attire, business attire and business casual. For formal attire, cross draw is unacceptable.

    For women, there is no cross draw restriction on formal attire. It is, however, not acceptable for a woman to wear OWB at 3:00 in formal attire. Shoulder holsters are not acceptable for women when wearing formal attire.

    For business attire and business casual, the barrel may be unshrouded (e.g., “Yaqui” holsters are acceptable).

    For formal attire and business attire, only belt-looped OWB holsters are acceptable. Pancake holsters and other “clip on” holster styles may be worn with business casual.

    HANDGUN FRAME:

    In general, polymer frame handguns are acceptable for open carry in business casual ONLY. For business attire, the handgun should have an alloy frame, and preferably a steel frame. For formal attire, a steel frame handgun is the only acceptable handgun for open carry.

    Furthermore, for formal attire, only a BLUED steel handgun is acceptable. This applies to both revolvers and autoloaders. There is one exception to this rule – a 1911 with a Parkerized finish may be worn IF it is of genuine Colt manufacture.

    BARREL LENGTH:
    A barrel of LESS than five inches is acceptable for OWB carry in both formal attire and business attire. If the barrel is over five inches, a shoulder holster should be worn.
    There is no barrel length rule for business casual.

    LIGHT RAIL:
    This has been the source of some controversy. The long accepted rule is that a light rail is NOT acceptable for formal attire. However, many do carry a handgun equipped with a light rail when wearing formal attire on the premise that the handgun barrel is shrouded. However, in the rare situation that you may be required to present your weapon during an event that requires formal attire, the presence of the light rail may lead to an embarrassing faux pas and be quite offensive to the host, even if the shoot is justified.

    STAINLESS/NICKEL:
    For formal attire and business attire, Stainless or Nickel should only be worn between Easter and Labor Day. Blued steel or other dark finishes may be worn year round. This rule does not officially apply to business casual, although it has been the subject of heated debate.

    HANDGUN GRIPS:
    This is easy. Wood grips are the only acceptable grips for formal attire and business attire. Rubber grips and other synthetic grips may be worn with business casual.

    HANDGUN SIZE:
    For Men: For formal attire, the minimum acceptable handgun size to carry OWB is a “J-frame” revolver or a “Compact” semi automatic. Anything smaller should be pocket carried. Revolvers of N frame size should be carried in a shoulder holster. Semi-automatics of compact size or larger may be carried OWB or shoulder holster.
    There are no carry size restrictions for business attire or business casual.

    For Women: For formal attire, the only acceptable handgun size to carry OWB is a “J-frame” revolver or a “Compact” semi automatic. Note this limits a woman’s choice, as shoulder holsters are not acceptable options for formal attire.


    Well, there you have it. This is not a complete list of Open Carry attire rules, but it covers about 95% of all situations. If you follow these simple rules, “You’ll look good when shooting straight.”

    Best,
    PEF
    OnePlink, WC145 and Guyute like this.
    -PEF, a Framer with a Steelie...
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array NONAME762's Avatar
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    That was a mouthfull.

    I CC exclusively. Wouldn't OC on a bet.
    My style of attire is working stiff Logger/trucker. Cargo's with Five Brother Hickory shirt or loggers and Codet flannel shirt and boots. Nothing to see here. Move along.
    I'm just a spoke in the wheel but not a big deal.
    America...a Constitutional Republic. NOT a democracy as the liberals would have us believe.
    Give me Liberty or give me BACON!!!
    You know that look women give you when they want some sugar? Me neither

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NONAME762 View Post
    That was a mouthfull.

    I CC exclusively. Wouldn't OC on a bet.
    My style of attire is working stiff Logger/trucker. Cargo's with Five Brother Hickory shirt or loggers and Codet flannel shirt and boots. Nothing to see here. Move along.
    You can't rush style, Noname762. Now elbows off the table, please.
    Badey likes this.
    -PEF, a Framer with a Steelie...
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

  4. #4
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    Dear Abby,

    Is a Glock 19 in a snap on leather scabbard appropriate to wear openly with greasy pants and T shirt when I go to the auto parts store to get a part I'm missing?

    Sincerely,
    In a hurry, and on a creeper
    NONAME762 likes this.
    I prefer to live dangerously free than safely caged!

    "Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun. And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son." Josh Thompson "Way Out Here"

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array NONAME762's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    You can't rush style, Noname762. Now elbows off the table, please.
    You gave me a good chuckle and guffaw PEF. I salute you.
    DontTreadOnI likes this.
    I'm just a spoke in the wheel but not a big deal.
    America...a Constitutional Republic. NOT a democracy as the liberals would have us believe.
    Give me Liberty or give me BACON!!!
    You know that look women give you when they want some sugar? Me neither

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array DontTreadOnI's Avatar
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    Bloomberg, is that you?
    If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array kapnketel's Avatar
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    My wife Would never wear a strapless formal dress with a shoulder holster-we are not cretins...
    I'd rather be lucky than good any day

    There's nothing that will change someone's moral outlook quicker than cash in large sums.

    Majority rule only works if you're also considering individual rights. Because you can't have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper.

  8. #8
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    I'm with you brother. Jeans, boots and a flannel. I CC only but if I did OC (I would never, even though its legal in PA) the only rules that I would apply would be those required by the State in which I'm carrying. Like I said I don't OC and don't follow the in's and out's of it. It goes 7 o'clock or on the ankle. I'm no fasionista.
    Quote Originally Posted by NONAME762 View Post
    That was a mouthful.

    I CC exclusively. Wouldn't OC on a bet.
    My style of attire is working stiff Logger/trucker. Cargo's with Five Brother Hickory shirt or loggers and Codet flannel shirt and boots. Nothing to see here. Move along.
    S&W M&P 9c
    S&W 1911
    Glock 20
    Kel-Tec P-11
    Stag Arms 2T
    Benelli m2

    "Your freedom to be you includes my freedom to be free from you"
    "CAPITALISM IS BOSS"  Andrew Wilkow

  9. #9
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    Even if I believed in this, there is know way I would have the stones to post it.
    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    Recently there have been several threads touching on open carry and how we present ourselves when doing so. I could not help but to notice a dearth of guidance on one very important issue in both threads, and so I thought I should start a new thread that squarely addressed this important issue.

    The issue open carry dress code, which, for the uninitiated (and it appears there are many that frequent this forum that fall into this category) is simply a set of well recognized rules that govern what holster and handguns combinations may be worn together, the seasonality of the same, and in what setting.

    I do not profess to be a “pistolero.” Indeed, many a member here possess a skill at arms that far exceed what I even hope to acquire. On subjects such as gunfighting and self defense, trust their sage advice. I do, however, know something about attire, and so if you want to look good while shooting straight, commit the follow simple rules to memory and follow them accordingly.

    Let us begin with some basic terms: formal attire, business attire, business casual, and casual/street wear:

    Formal attire: Black tie/Evening gown, also known as “Evening wear”

    Business attire: Suit & Tie/Business Dress/Suit, also known as “International Business attire”

    Business casual: Khakis, button down shirts, polo shirts

    Casual/Street wear: Jeans, t-shirt, shorts, etc.

    Now that we have these commonly understood categories defined, let us turn to appropriate outside the waistband (OWB) and shoulder holster (SH) attire and handgun combinations.

    We’ll dispense with the easy category first - casual dress. In general, for casual dress, any handgun and holster combination is acceptable. Pancake, yaqui, polymer, leather – it does not matter. In situations in which casual attire is acceptable, you may walk in confidence with any choice of holster and handgun combination.

    The open carry dress code really begins at the business casual level and carries through the formal attire level. Thus, to begin, let us turn to handgun attire by categories:

    HOLSTER TYPES/POSITION:
    For formal attire, the entire barrel should be shrouded, and the holster should have a forward cant. There is no minimum cant angle, but according to Emily Post “The cant angle should be of such degree that those unskilled at arms can readily discern that the barrel is not perpendicular to the floor.”

    There is no required cant angle for business attire and business casual.

    For men, a holster may be worn anywhere from 2:00 to 5:00 in formal attire, business attire and business casual. For formal attire, cross draw is unacceptable.

    For women, there is no cross draw restriction on formal attire. It is, however, not acceptable for a woman to wear OWB at 3:00 in formal attire. Shoulder holsters are not acceptable for women when wearing formal attire.

    For business attire and business casual, the barrel may be unshrouded (e.g., “Yaqui” holsters are acceptable).

    For formal attire and business attire, only belt-looped OWB holsters are acceptable. Pancake holsters and other “clip on” holster styles may be worn with business casual.

    HANDGUN FRAME:

    In general, polymer frame handguns are acceptable for open carry in business casual ONLY. For business attire, the handgun should have an alloy frame, and preferably a steel frame. For formal attire, a steel frame handgun is the only acceptable handgun for open carry.

    Furthermore, for formal attire, only a BLUED steel handgun is acceptable. This applies to both revolvers and autoloaders. There is one exception to this rule – a 1911 with a Parkerized finish may be worn IF it is of genuine Colt manufacture.

    BARREL LENGTH:
    A barrel of LESS than five inches is acceptable for OWB carry in both formal attire and business attire. If the barrel is over five inches, a shoulder holster should be worn.
    There is no barrel length rule for business casual.

    LIGHT RAIL:
    This has been the source of some controversy. The long accepted rule is that a light rail is NOT acceptable for formal attire. However, many do carry a handgun equipped with a light rail when wearing formal attire on the premise that the handgun barrel is shrouded. However, in the rare situation that you may be required to present your weapon during an event that requires formal attire, the presence of the light rail may lead to an embarrassing faux pas and be quite offensive to the host, even if the shoot is justified.

    STAINLESS/NICKEL:
    For formal attire and business attire, Stainless or Nickel should only be worn between Easter and Labor Day. Blued steel or other dark finishes may be worn year round. This rule does not officially apply to business casual, although it has been the subject of heated debate.

    HANDGUN GRIPS:
    This is easy. Wood grips are the only acceptable grips for formal attire and business attire. Rubber grips and other synthetic grips may be worn with business casual.

    HANDGUN SIZE:
    For Men: For formal attire, the minimum acceptable handgun size to carry OWB is a “J-frame” revolver or a “Compact” semi automatic. Anything smaller should be pocket carried. Revolvers of N frame size should be carried in a shoulder holster. Semi-automatics of compact size or larger may be carried OWB or shoulder holster.
    There are no carry size restrictions for business attire or business casual.

    For Women: For formal attire, the only acceptable handgun size to carry OWB is a “J-frame” revolver or a “Compact” semi automatic. Note this limits a woman’s choice, as shoulder holsters are not acceptable options for formal attire.


    Well, there you have it. This is not a complete list of Open Carry attire rules, but it covers about 95% of all situations. If you follow these simple rules, “You’ll look good when shooting straight.”

    Best,
    PEF
    S&W M&P 9c
    S&W 1911
    Glock 20
    Kel-Tec P-11
    Stag Arms 2T
    Benelli m2

    "Your freedom to be you includes my freedom to be free from you"
    "CAPITALISM IS BOSS"  Andrew Wilkow

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array KyBill's Avatar
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    Dear Pef

    I am with you 100% on the holster "cant" but I was raised to believe a gentleman always does a fluff and buff on the barrel and feed ram for formal wear, and in defensive situations, allows the lady to shoot first. And I can never remember if the backup gun is placed on the same side as the IWB spare magazine holder, or in the same side garter or ankle holster. Please write soonest, I must attend a wedding in June.
    PEF likes this.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Ghost1958's Avatar
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    My wife will only wear a ankle holster in a thigh slit dress if it is jeweled and her firearm color matches her heels.
    " It is sad governments are chief'ed by the double tongues." quote Ten Bears Movie Outlaw Josie Wales

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array druryj's Avatar
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    Oh my, I may be guilty of a fashion faux paux; I have worn this Stainless PPK/S in an Alessi Pancake Holster at BOTH weddings AND funerals. Am I required to attend remedial fashion school or is correcting my errant ways going to adequately suffice? I am so happy to be a member here; one learns so much!

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    I open carried up through the 1960s when it went un-noticed and was accepted as normal. I currently only open carry at barbeques, weddings, and funerals where acceptable. I also open carry while hunting, but then who cares. I choose which gun to carry and which holster to wear to match the mood of the event and to accessorize with my attire.

    This is my favorite barbeque gun, a Dan Wesson Valor, with Sarge's Sonoran Sunset turquoise grips.




    in the DM Bullard Brown Tiger Shark holster and magazine carrier.

    I carry a gun, because a Cop is too heavy.

    U.S. Army, Retired
    NRA Patron Life Member.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapnketel View Post
    My wife Would never wear a strapless formal dress with a shoulder holster-we are not cretins...
    By that (bolded) I assume you wouldn't wear that either.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapnketel View Post
    My wife Would never wear a strapless formal dress with a shoulder holster-we are not cretins...
    By that (bolded) I assume you wouldn't wear that combo either.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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