Open carry attire and perception

Open carry attire and perception

This is a discussion on Open carry attire and perception within the Open Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; In such an image conscious society that we live in, obviously attire makes a difference in how people treat us. I know that if I ...

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Thread: Open carry attire and perception

  1. #1
    Member Array Biomortis's Avatar
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    Open carry attire and perception

    In such an image conscious society that we live in, obviously attire makes a difference in how people treat us. I know that if I have two people walk into my store and one is in a suit and well groomed and the other is all thug'ed out and a mess, I'm going to keep my eye on the thug, but I know for a fact that both are equally capable and likely to rob me. I also consider giving me a bad check robbing me with a smile.

    Anyways, I was wondering how do the regular open carriers here feel about their physical appearance in relationship to their carrying? Obviously there aren't any laws regarding that as far as I know, but sometimes you just have to use common sense don't you? I wouldn't drive around drinking out of a Budweiser bottle that I had filled with water if you get my meaning. Yeah its harmless but if a cop sees me I damn well know I'm getting pulled over.

    Just curious of your opinions.


  2. #2
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    Is your purpose surprise self-defense or creating a visual threat? Both could have their time and place. Only you USING common sense could dictate what the situation calls for...OMO.
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  3. #3
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    My dress doesn't change. OC or CC I'm usually in jeans and a polo/t-shirt. It's what I'm comfortable wearing and what I work in as well.

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    VIP Member Array varob's Avatar
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    Ones looks are often all we have to go by. We OC and CCers tend to have a more keen eye for the details of one who is simply OCing or a thug.

    Example: If the OCer has a nice gun belt and holster than I not as worried as the same person with a gun hanging out of there pants mexican style.
    Don't believe what you hear and only half of what you see!
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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varob View Post
    Ones looks are often all we have to go by. We OC and CCers tend to have a more keen eye for the details of one who is simply OCing or a thug.

    Example: If the OCer has a nice gun belt and holster than I not as worried as the same person with a gun hanging out of there pants mexican style.
    I almost never carry OC, but if I were to do so, and dressed like a biker with tatoos all over me and flaunting colors, I would expect to be singled out. I sure would be cautious if I were to encounter someone who dressed like a thug.

    Dress and appearance is not unimportant, and many of us make a first judgment based upon appearance. Sometimes it is not correct, but that is a fact of life.

    Regards,
    Jerry

  6. #6
    Member Array Jetpilot007's Avatar
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    Common Sense prevails to attire.

  7. #7
    Member Array Ssmo's Avatar
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    I usually wear cargo shorts and a nice shirt with a collar. I hardly ever wear pants except at work or hunting. I tuck my shirt in when OCing so I don't look like I am trying to hide my gun.

    Just look clean and neat and your good to go. Also facial expression is key. Dont look like a deer stuck in high beams when someone notices your piece.

  8. #8
    Member Array coriantan's Avatar
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    I typically CC, partly because I usually look blue collar (cause I am blue collar) in dirty work clothes, partly because what the boss don't know, he can't make rules about.
    When I do OC, I am wearing nice jeans or slacks with a tucked in button up casual to dress shirt. The only reason I OC is to make a 2A statement, so when I want to make a statement I think the statement goes over better when you look and act like a knowledgeable and upstanding citizen.
    ~Coriantan~

    "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away." * "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight."

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    I worried more when I first started OC'ing. Used to alway tuck in my shirt and make sure I looked nice. It's not so important to me know. I've OC'd after cutting the grass, still in the grimy yard clothes. It's legal either way. I think your demeanor is just as important. I usually just VA tuck it now. So many people don't even notice the firearm anyway.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    I OC'ed Thursday after coming back from court (the thread is here: http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...rprise-az.html). I was wearing a suit that day, and took the coat off and OCed strong side in my Galco OWB.

    I had no problems all day. Maybe the shirt and tie said "not a thug" or whatever, but I had no issues.
    "...whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36)
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Array justherenow's Avatar
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    I dont change the way I dress. Either jean shorts or jeans, t-shirt or sweat shirt, sometimes a sweater or polo style. I dont dress up, I work in a warehouse, and the nicest pair of pants I have, if they even fit anymore is a pair of khakis. So far, as far as I can tell, in my last 2 weeks of open carrying (combined with cc), I have had nobody notice, or if they did, they did not give a second look, and I live in an area where nobody really OC's so it not the norm.
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  12. #12
    Member Array Biomortis's Avatar
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    While the Georgia firearms license covers both open and CCW, open carry in this area is pretty rare. I've noticed only 3 at my store and don't think I have seen any out and about.

    The first was by a gentleman dressed sharply with the suit pants and nice tie and had a spiffy black dress leather OWB holster and I had assumed he was an investigator/detective. After some casual chat I learned he was a lawyer and just liked to carry since he could. Still, his outward appearance just automatically made me assume that he was a high level cop. Outcome: normal transaction like any customer

    The second was all jeans and camo and I got the "been hunting" vibe from him although I have no clue if he actually had been or not. Outcome: normal transaction like any customer

    The third was straight out thug with his gun tucked into the front of his extremely low waistband, football jersey and bandana and opened the door rather quickly and forcfully. He only came in for a second but when he saw that we had no electronics, he turned around and left. (that happens alot since people mistakenly think we carry CD's and DJ gear) Still, my first thought was, "I was about to be robbed" Outcome: talked a hell of a lot back and forth with people in the store about it and then I changed my shorts

    All 3 of these events were before I started carrying CCW but I have really been thinking back on these events and wondered how my reactions to the "thug" person coming in like he did would differ now. Assuming he was legit, it was entirely inappropriate behavior IMO when you are openly carrying a firearm.

    Thoughts?

  13. #13
    Member Array theotherlis's Avatar
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    I also interact with customers at my business and have made the same kind of observations, Biomortis. Over years I have learned to make a "two-step first impression"

    We'll stick with your examples, because I think they're very good and fairly universal. I've certainly met an example of each of them at some point..

    If the lawyer had walked in, based on appearance I wouldn't have given him a second thought. Radar so far says "normal". But if he appeared nervous, rude, in a little bit too much of a rush, or too forceful.. I'd definitely have been nervous.

    Likewise, if the thug-type had walked in, based on initial appearance, my reaction would be "nervous..." Not necessarily expecting to get robbed, but kind of on edge to see what he's going to do next. And unfortunately for him, he's going to get more of my attention off the bat than the lawyer would have, based on appearanced alone.

    But if the thug had instead opened the door politely and calmly, rather than quickly and forcefully, and with a little chit chat showed himself to be polite and well-spoken, my radar would sink back towards "normal encounter".

    It probably helps in my car that I've meet people who fit both of those types. Well polished and looks good, but ends up being a thug in good shoes... and off-the-streets gang-y type who ends up being an extremely intelligent, polite person.

    Looks can be deceiving. And nobody should ever get a free ride just because they look nice... but they usually do. (at least until they give the people around them a reason to stop)

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array EvilMonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varob View Post
    Example: If the OCer has a nice gun belt and holster than I not as worried as the same person with a gun hanging out of there pants mexican style.
    Exactly!

    I generally dress in "disguise" while I CC. I come off as a sort of liberal/outdoors-man most times. This tends to make most people pass me up on the "Does he carry?" question...

    When I OC however, I try to present a finished image of intelligence and class. I still have a relaxed clothing style, but with some professional qualities (tucked shirt, belt up OVER my hindquarters, so on...).

    Ultimately, what I'm discovering is that if it looks like it belongs there, you are going to encounter much less grief. A casual attitude (in regards to their perception, not to your level of awareness) will put many at ease. I've seen wide eyes go back to normal quickly when I simply continue ordering my food, pumping my gas, or even give a simple smile and nod in a polite fashion.

    Clothing is important for the first glimpse yes, but your attitude, body language, and demeanor will carry a "bad hair experience", a post work sweat bath, or the ever-popular "Laundry Day" OC.
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  15. #15
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    Dress and appearance is a multi dimension continuum w/ many regional, life-style, cultural, and ethnic overtones/variables.

    CC, OC, and no carry are three separate states, which can be adjunct to (i,e,. something added to another thing but not an essential part of it) any point in that continuum.

    I don't vary my dress/appearance enough to cover much of the variation in that continuum. However, as retsupt99 said "Only you USING common sense could dictate what the situation calls for..."

    In my case, I always dress respectfully & get a beard trim/hair cut before lobbying the legislators, counter protesting an Anti event, public speaking, etc. Ditto taking my wife to some of her organizational affairs, to a "better" restaurant, etc. And in those situations I may CC or OC, as I think appropriate. OTOH, if nothing is on the calender, which "requires" more than jeans (or maybe slacks), I can go weeks w/o a beard trim/hair cut, dressing up, etc.

    The decision to OC vs. CC has more to do with how ish I expect the crowd to be, what kind of point I want to make (including how confrontational I want to be), how much attention I want to call to myself, etc. Friends of NRA nice attire & OC; OTOH one of my wife affairs at same location nice attire & CC. On campus to support a SCCC sponsored rally OC; protesting a "Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention" sponsored anti-gun event at the same location nice attire & CC.
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