I received my Minnesota carry permit in May, 2009, and initially started carrying my G22 concealed. The purpose of concealing my handgun was to avoid confrontation and general perceived panic by other citizens. Overall, I found this to be fairly uncomfortable with a full-sized weapon, and troublesome to dress for.
Approximately 8 months ago, I began to simply wear my weapon in a Blackhawk Serpa 2 holster, in an open, or semi-concealed manner. I didn't put any effort into concealing, but if I had a sweat shirt on, would pull it down, mostly covering my pistol. Now that summer is here, sweat shirts are not part of the general attire, and my Glock is often basking in the sunlight.
Since I began mostly open-carrying my gun, I have not once had a bad experience, or any sort of confrontation. I've not had anyone call the police to report a man with a gun, and I've not been thrown to the ground by an overzealous police officer. I have carried my gun into Target, Cabela's, the movie theatre, Best Buy, the park near my son's school, on my motorcycle going down the road, and out on my boat.
I would be lying if I said people didn't notice, many do. Some stare at my gun with wide eyes until I'm out of view, some look at it, look at me, and continue with their business. A dozen or so times, people have asked me various questions about why I am carrying a gun. I have a high and tight hair cut, with a mustache that doesn't go below the corners of my mouth, so I look sort of like a typical cop (I think) and some just assume 'something' and ask if I'm a cop. I tell them 'no' and may need to answer that I carry because I can. Most ask me what kind of gun it is, how I like it, etc. Some ask me if I'm nervous about carrying it around. Nearly every conversation I've had involves the other party to admit they've been considering getting their own weapon.
I don't know if more citizens are simply aware of carry law in Minnesota than other places, or if it has something to do with how I carry myself as a citizen, but I've never had an issue as others describe.
If I was asked, and could provide any advice based upon my experience, I'd say the following:
- Carry yourself in a respectable, confident manner.
- Don't create any 'scenes' or other such incidents.
- Be respectful and polite to others.
- People judge books by their covers, and judge other people similarly. Present a nice cover. :)
- Be approachable. People who openly carry a firearm are a sort of billboard for 2A rights. You don't need to go too into depth, but be willing to answer questions.
- Follow rules, postings, or directions in accordance with the law. If a landowner or a business asks you to not carry, respect their rights as you want yours. You always have the right to leave.