The Top Five Concealed Carry Guns article has been done to death by every single gun publication on earth one hundred times over. Please stop beating that horse; it’s been dead for some time. I humbly submit a slightly different approach. Only five states, California, Florida, Illinois New York, and South Carolina, as well as the District of Columbia, prohibit the open carrying of handguns in public places. This means the majority of the country is still somewhat free. Why don’t we do a Top Five Open Carry rundown? While there is much seething debate on the merits of open carry as a whole, we’ll save that argument for another post. We took a poll at the Defender Outdoors Shooting Center, and here are the results.
- CZ 75 SP-01
- Smith and Wesson M&P
- Smith and Wesson 686
- GLOCK 17
- Any Well Manufactured 1911
The slightly tacticool variant of the traditional CZ 75, the SP-01 has a lot to bring to the open carry table. Outfitted with an accessory rail, rubber grip panels, an extended beavertail, and flawless reliability. CZ designed the SP-01 as a military and law enforcement duty gun. With an impressive 18 round magazine capacity, a great trigger and night sights, the SP-01 was a favorite on our poll. You can even get the CZ 75 SP-01 chambered in .40 S&W for a little extra oomph.
Whether you go with a .45, .40 or 9mm, you could do a lot worse than a full size M&P. There’s a reason why these things are so popular. Interchangeable grips make your freakishly large or small hands feel right at home. The 2.0 line sports an improved trigger with a shorter, audible reset, and ambi controls make this option a dream to shoot. Perhaps the best thing about S&W’s design is the bore axis. The combination of the low bore axis and the long grip tang make it easy to get your first shot on target while keeping the recoil manageable for follow-up shots.
Some call it a “modern classic.” This L frame wheelgun has been around since 1980, and boasts an impressive resume. The trigger and hammer are made of case hardened steel. The stainless steel finish is shiny, but not ridiculous. Revolvers are about as reliable as guns get, so your open carry choice is practical. Not to mention the outstanding trigger this thing has. Backed by the versatile stopping power of the .357 Magnum and .38 Special, the S&W 686 is pretty much the sum of what a revolver should be.
There’s value in popularity. Gaston’s gats have been a favorite for quite some time, and they’re not going anywhere. If I were to buy one firearm for everyone to own, it would probably be a GLOCK 17. (My steel gun sensibilities aside of course.) They’re light, accurate, and infinitely reliable. They put rounds where they count and when they count. The factory trigger is good enough, the factory sights aren’t fancy but they work, and the standard mag holds an impressive 17 rounds. Pick up some after market sights and a decent holster and you’ll be ready to rock your Glock.
You can’t argue the merits of the reigning champ. The venerable 1911 is accurate, dependable and the owners love them like they love their pets. The long sight radius makes for straight shooting and the short, light trigger breaks with a glorious crispness you have to experience to believe. This is one of the most common open carry options to boot. The Colt Rail Gun pictured here is a great choice, but most gun companies seem to have their version. From budget 1911s by ATI to high performance 1911s by Ed Brown and Dan Wesson, there’s a 1911 for every budget.