open carrying, drinking, and other things... in progress


C_Carson and I have had another opportunity to carry our self defense tools openly among the public these past few days. We usually carry openly on private property as much as we are allowed to. When we're in a state that doesn't prohibit carrying openly, we take that opportunity to carry our primary tools openly and our backups openly or concealed.

I've been wearing around my 1911 in a Blackhawk SERPA on the hip and sometimes on a Blackhawk drop leg attachment. I usually wear my BUG (Sig 238) on my ankle. If I'm wearing pants, its concealed, if I'm wearing shorts, its not. I usually throw an extra mag for my primary in one of my pockets.

C_Carson has mainly been wearing her 1911 in a Blackhwak SERPA on her hip with an extra mag in a mag holder.

Anyway, the following is for people interested in experiences on how carrying openly and/or concealed is accepted in states other than SC. We'll post where we've been once we're done with our little excursion:

On our way to our destination we didn't stop much except for gas and food. At the rest areas, restaurants, and gas stations no one gave my dropleg holstered 1911 a second glance; the same with C_Carson's 1911.

After settling in for a day at our destination we went out on a double date in an artsy college town. I'm talking dreadlocks, all natural women that don't shave, everyone smells like they haven't had a bath in 10 days, and Mary J all around kind of college town.

We pulled up and parked in front of a nice little hippie restaurant about a hundred yards from the college. As we went inside the restaurant to get a table some of the more situationally aware patrons glanced at our self defense tools but they give us a second glance or seem to care. We ended getting a table out in the courtyard they had.

C_Carson had a beer with her meal. At no point did she stand up, un-holster her openly carried 1911, and start doing stupid stuff with it. Responsible drinking and carrying a self defense tool can be done, regardless of what the bed wetters in the SC legislature want you to think. The staff nor the patrons cared that anyone was openly carrying a self defense tool and drinking a beer. It was a non issue, just like the many other times we've carried and drank alcoholic drinks. The whole restaurant experience was a none issue, as usual.

After that we walked around the town site seeing and going to a little shop here and there. Everyone treated us like they treated everyone else. It was getting cooler out and we wanted to get back to our son, so we head back to the house.

To be continued...


New Member
Hi Guys,

Well, I think your experiment is very interesting and may be ultimately very rich in information, but...

In the highly unlikely chance that somehow a problem came to your door, and any sort of action on your part was required, I really think any drinking at all will become a liability. I'm sure you guys are responsible grown ups, and a beer with a meal won't impair you, but a simple eye-witness account of someone else stating that you were drinking could really create more drama than you could ever conceive of. I have no doubt that an expert witness could be produced to overstate the effect of a single beer has on one's motor skills or judgement.

Now, I don't know you guys, and you don't know me, but please accept my opinion as coming from a place of friendship. From what I can tell, you guys are a nice young couple with a baby, and a whole world of opportunity to look forward too. In a similar vein, I just discovered one of my best friends, who is a hunting machine, likes to get a little baked before he goes out. Needless to say, I believe he can handle it, but I certainly wish he wouldn't do it. In short, the potential costs, while very slight, outweigh the benefits.

Again, I appreciate ya'll sharing your experience, and commend you guys for doing that. However, in the "post Zimmerman" world we live in, I now see how fast a self defense situation can spiral out of control and become a national hellstorm.

I would hate to see a headline go from:
"Married couple fends off thugs in college area"
"Armed couple brandishes guns after drinking in local tavern".

I realize I'm being a worry wart, but I hope you don't mind me sharing my thoughts.


New Member
Nice thoughts on what the public thinks about drinking.

I would be more worried about having a gun to close to a is 200 yards in this state ( i think you said you were a 100 yds away)...or is my law out of date or not applied in this state.

I do agree that one beer or drink will not impair you, but it is the one individual that brands you as drinking....Coming from a guy who owns liquor stores in Mt. P, it is healthier to drink one or two drinks a day than none at all...according to most physicians...and ADSAP instructors. Just to clear up, i get alot of different clientele in my stores.



New Member
Torontogosh, I do appreciate your concern, and your insight. The concern you posed is certainly reasonable, and something we consider every time we venture out. I guess my answer is; I chose not to live in fear of the "what if" and deny myself certain things just because of what might happen. It's a personal choice everyone must make, and I fault no one for choosing differently than I do. I will say that we drink in public very rarely, and when we do, we try to maintain a higher level of situational awareness than normal.

Now on to yesterday's adventures...

My mom and sister wanted me to accompany them to get their hair cut at a friend's house 8 miles away. (If you're still wondering about which college town, this may or may not help you guess :) ) I drove since my mom doesn't have full use of her arms anymore, and my sister is only 12. Well, we realized the fuel gauge was dipping below "E" after we'd passed the gas stations, so we were committed to finishing the drive to the hair appointment, out in the country. It was one of the more stressful situations I've been in, because I knew that I could walk however far it would take to fetch gas if we ran out, but my mom couldn't, and I absolutely refused to entertain the idea of leaving my mom and little sister stranded in the car without any means of protection.

Once we reached our destination, I asked my mom's friend if she knew where the closest gas station was. She said it was 10 miles down the road, and it was hills most of the way so if I coasted, I'd conserve enough gas to get there. She gave me directions, and I took off. I felt more comfortable handling the situation alone while my mom and sister where in a house with someone they knew, especially since her husband would be home any moment.

I made it to the gas station on fumes, and saw a sign that said "Pay inside first" so I walked into the store, and an older gentleman came out of the store room to assist me. He looked at my face first, then his eyes flickered down to my hip. He returned his gaze to meet mine, and seemed a slight bit unsettled, but still friendly. He told me I could pay at the pump, so I wished him a good day and went back outside.

Several folks were filling up at the pumps around me, so I kept an alert eye on everyone. I think that's what took me so long to notice it. While I was pumping gas, I happened to glance at a little sticker that said "Fuel meets all regulations required by Maryland."
After about half a second I mentally said "Oh shit!", hung up the nozzle, grabbed my receipt and slid into the car as quickly as I could.

Despite my instincts to peel out of there, I drove normally, maintaining the speed limit. I had no idea I had crossed over into Maryland! I knew we were close to the border, but I'd been keeping my eye out for a sign that would tell me I'd crossed state lines. I never saw one, and since I wasn't familiar with the area, I didn't beat myself up too too badly. I did check a few license plates on some parked cars as I drove past, and that pretty much confirmed it for sure.

Since I wasn't familiar with the area, I assumed once I drove over the canal and passed the river, that I'd be back in a "free state". I relaxed a little, but still paid close attention to the road, because it's a bit like driving a mine cart on a roller coaster here.

Anyways, I got back to the friend's house, with a full tank of gas, and jokingly told my mom "Thanks for making me a criminal for a few minutes by sending me into Maryland!" and they all looked at me and said "Honey, you're still in Maryland!" Apparently the state border is just outside the college town, so I was still 6 miles from freedom. My mom's friend wanted to know why I was a criminal, and I explained I was not permitted to carry a gun in Maryland. She said "Oh, do you have it in your trunk or something?"
My mom and I exchanged a glance, and she said "Nooo, she's wearing it on her hip!" I angled myself so she could see my stainless Kimber riding comfortably next to my spare magazine. Her eyes got wide and she said "Oh..." then finished cutting my mom's hair. When we left, I noticed her checking out my gun, but she didn't seem upset or scared, just a bit startled.

We drove back into WV without incident, but made a stop at a little tea shop in the college town. I wanted to buy some lavender tisane, and one of their tea pot sets.
While I was waiting for them to find the tea set that I wanted, two guys in their 20's came in. I'm not sure if they worked there or just frequented the shop a lot; they and the staff knew each other by name. They were obviously there to pick something up, and while they were waiting, one of them turned to me and said "Nice piece."
Me: "Thanks!"
Guy: "what brand is it?"
Me : "Kimber."
Guy: "Nice, I have a Sig that I really like."
Me: "Yeah? What kind?"
Guy: "Oh, just a basic 9mm. I also have a Beretta that I really like shooting."
Me: "Yeah? I'd really like to go shooting, but the ranges here are soo expensive!"
Guy: "Yeah, especially if you don't bring your own ammo!"

Then the employee brought me my tea set to inspect, and the guys moved away. It was a great encounter, and aside from that conversation, no one else noticed or reacted to my gun. Good times!!! :)


Torontogosh said:
Hi Guys,

Well, I think your experiment is very interesting and may be ultimately very rich in information, but...
Thanks for giving your input.

This isn't an experiment, though. This is about our family and "how we do things". We just thought we would share our carrying experiences so others can see how things are outside of SC concerning the carrying of tools and how these tools are excepted in other states.

We do everything and go everywhere with our self defense tools on us. The only time they might not be on us is when we're in the bed or taking a shower, but then there only an arms reach away or less.

We do do a little risk management from time to time, but mostly practice civil disobedience. Life is too short to worry about the government or what others might say or do. We have plans on how to handle tyrants and sheeple along our journey in life.

Although we mostly practice civil disobedience by disregarding stupid laws, regulations, and social norms, we do participate in "the system" to try and change the government to a more freedom oriented government.


New Member
Carson Family,

I'm so glad that my comments were appreciated in the tone that I intended. I have really enjoyed the reporting on your experiences, and I certainly find it very educational. I'm personally looking for more in depth discussions about the shooting world, and posts like yours really hit the spot.

Michael Hogan


Love the travelog of you experiences.

I would expect the most resistance would come from the folks who are ignorant of their own state laws.

I really wanted to open carry in North Carolina but was warned that while it is open carry in the state, each city has its own rules. Since I could not find city ordinance rules easily, I didn't carry in the open.

It is odd though that after crossing the SC line into NC, you have to pull your firearm out of the glove box and place it in the open. In a vehicle, SC requires it to be in a closed area, NC requires that it not be concealed.


New Member
Went out to a medical appointment with my mom today. Her therapist has seen me carry before, and keeps a gun in his office, so open carrying did not bother him in the slightest. It was my first time meeting his staff though, and one of his employees noticed my fire arm, and I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head! She wasn't frightened, just surprised. She asked me why I carried, and I explained it was for self defense, as well as exercising a right. She was very accepting of my reasons, and seemed to think that everything I said made sense.

After our appointment was over, we went to a little sandwich shop for lunch. We ordered, sat and ate all without incident. Then, as we were finishing our meal, I noticed three men, dressed gang banger style, approaching the shop. I noticed them peering through the side windows, like they were looking at the people inside. They hung around the outside for several minutes, not coming in, and not showing any signs of walking by. One of the guys was on his phone, and he hung further back then the other two, who entered the first set of doors and stood in the entry way. Occasionally the taller one would survey the restaurant, then grab a menu and look at it. I think the shorter guy was just talking to him; his body was partially obscured by sunlight reflecting through the glass.

Now, it could be that these were just some fashion conscious friends out for lunch, and maybe they just got done helping little old grannies across the street, but I saw some behavior that struck me as out of place, and I felt uncomfortable. I told my mom in a quiet, firm voice, "We're leaving. NOW." and we grabbed our drinks, tossed our trash away, and walked out. I was a bit nervous because we had to walk in between the two guys to leave, but as we did, the tall one held the door for my mom. What struck me as odd was that they went completely silent as we approached, and kept their faces down like they were looking at their shoes. We passed the third guy, still outside on his cell phone, got in the car, and drove away.

I think they caught sight of my gun after I passed them, but did not see or hear a reaction, aside from a peripheral glimpse of the tall guy looking after me.
I think I mentioned the slippery edge around Mexico and how I stay away from it so I don't slip in. I treat the People's Rebulik of Mary Land the same way. I try to avoid at all cost any travel that might get me close enough that I might accidentally slip into that mess.

I'm glad it worked out. I assume you hosed off after you escaped that place :)

I cannot figure out how you managed to miss the drunken bloodbath that must have happened where there was a bottle of beer and a loaded gun within drunken bloodbath distance of each other??? It must not have been as bad as all the anti-gun terrorists have said it would be :)


Active Member
Carson's, you've piqued my interest with your comments regarding civil disobedience. Maybe you should start a new thread on that topic. If you have already done so, point me to the link.
Although we mostly practice civil disobedience by disregarding stupid laws
I've always told my post-teen son no matter how stupid a law seems, don't disregard it. You can't do to much to change the world from inside a jail cell.


New Member
bigfutz said:
Carson's, you've piqued my interest with your comments regarding civil disobedience. Maybe you should start a new thread on that topic. If you have already done so, point me to the link.
Although we mostly practice civil disobedience by disregarding stupid laws
I've always told my post-teen son no matter how stupid a law seems, don't disregard it. You can't do to much to change the world from inside a jail cell.
Do you mean start a thread about our personal civil disobedience, or just when we feel it is justified? It's an interesting idea...

The way we feel about it, is that legislation is only one tool in our arsenal (pun intended) to change the world, and civil disobedience is another. It's a little rougher on daily life, but can have a more powerful and immediate effect. I always think of Rosa Parks in those situations, and try to decide if what I believe in is worth the potential risks. Usually, for me, it is. YMMV.


New Member
Well, we're finally back home from our trip, and I can write up our last few encounters.

On our way home, we stopped in Dublin, Virginia to spend the night. We checked into the hotel, rested for a little while, then went out to Fatz's to get some dinner. As we were seated, I noticed four older folks in a booth gawking at my side arm. One of the women in particular gave me a frigid, disapproving stare. I ignored her and played with our son while we waited for our meal.

Moments after we sat down, they got up and left. I shrugged and kept playing peek-a-boo. While we were eating, Andrew overheard a guy a few tables away saying that open carry was the surest and fastest way to get your gun taken away. We both just rolled our eyes and carried on. After we finished our meal, we walked out to our car, and passed the four older people who'd left in such a hurry. I don't know if they had been outside saying goodbye for thirty minutes, or if they'd just moved to a different part of the restaurant and were just now leaving. We just walked right on by, got in our car and drove over to the Wal-Mart to look for ammo for Shootzenfest. (the Wal-Mart in Simpsonville never seems to have any!)

We were chatting with the guy working the ammo case, about what kind of 1911 he wanted to get, and as he was ringing up our ammo, I asked him if needed to see I.D. He laughed and said "Well, I tell you what, if I didn't think you was over 21, I don't think you'd be carrying that pistol on your side either."
Andrew: "Actually you can do it at 18 here in Virginia."
Employee: "No, not really, 'cause you're not s'posed to be in possession of handgun unless you're 21 years of age."
Andrew: "You can if you're 18."
Employee: "18?"
Andrew: "Yeah."
Employee: "No, not in Virginia, I don't think so."
At this point another customer and his buddy walked up, and chimed into the conversation, saying "No, no, they're not supposed to."
Employee: "Because I know if you're not 21 you can't even buy handgun ammunition."
Andrew: "Right, but you can possess it."
Me: "Or if it's gifted to you."
Andrew: "You just can't buy a gun from a licensed dealer."
Employee: "Yeah, you can possess it, but I still don't think you're supposed to be able to carry it."
Me: "There's lot of states where you can."
Employee: "Well, I don't know the full law..."
Customer: "I'm a firefighter, and the only reason I got away with it is because I worked at the fire department."
Andrew: "Right."
Customer: "But if your under 18, or 18 and under, *mumble mumble something about ammunition* you'll go straight to jail."
Andrew: (politely but firmly) "I think you're wrong about that."
Customer's buddy: "What're you carrying? A 1911?"
Andrew answered questions about his gun, and general chit chat.
Employee: "I know there was a boy who came in, and he said he bought a pistol or revolver over at the fairgrounds or flea market, and he come in here to buy ammunition, and I wouldn't sell it to him. He was like 'What do you mean, I can buy a gun but I can't buy ammo?' and I said 'You're not s'posed to be buyin' a gun if you're not 21, not a handgun!"
Andrew: "You can do private transaction, or gift it, but you can't really do it from an FFL."
Employee: "Yeah, well I called the state trooper and told him about it, and he come over here and talked to me about it; he went to the fairgrounds. The trooper told me to call him if that boy ever came back, and he never did come back."
Customer: "Yeah, my uncle works at a pawn shop and he said 'Yeah, I can't even sell you a gun' and I said 'Well what if I got one already?' and he said 'You ain't s'posed to.' He was *mumble mumble*." (Guy didn't enunciate very well)
Employee: "Like I said, if it's gifted to ya, then I believe you can, but I don't think you can carry it."
Andrew: "As long as it's in the open..."
Me: "We tend to study the laws a lot because we travel through a lot of states, and if you look up the codes it will actually tell you that it is legal; a lot of cops don't like it, but it is legal."
Andrew: "I have some pamphlets, but they're out in the car. We're like those side walk lawyers you hear about."
Me: "It's good to know the law, because if someone wants to push it with you, it helps to know what your rights are."
Employee: "Yeah that is true."
me: "Have a nice day."

We walked out to the car, and debated running some pamphlets back in. Andrew decided to go ahead and pass some out, so he went back in, and as he walked up the counter, the two customers who had participated in the conversation immediately walked away and refused to make eye contact, like they didn't want to talk to him. The employee was nice, and said thanks. Andrew explained the content quickly, and left. We went back to our hotel and got our son ready for bed.

An interesting encounter, to say the least.

Now we're home and excited for Shootzenfest this weekend! Just gotta find some .45 ammo now...