Open Carry Safety
Safety and the exposed gun:
Open carry is a wonderful right to have available to us, but does it offer us more risk than rewards? If open carry of a handgun is the only way to take the gun with you, it makes the decision clear. With this as an ultimate goal, you must determine if the potential dangers are worth the risk.
Public and police:
Some of the issues with wearing a firearm exposed are that it can inflame people against you and create a feeling of danger in others. Many people are not used to seeing someone carrying an exposed firearm that is not a police officer (and even then people can get nervous). This can cause people to act differently toward you, to include seeing you as a potential threat. You may have a law enforcement encounter based simply on the fact that someone saw you as a danger to the public.
Look up the Erik Scott case in Las Vegas. He was open carrying and was told he wasn't allowed to carry in the store at which he was shopping. The police were notified, and somehow, an evacuation was initiated. During his contact with the police, he was shot and killed. It would appear that there was no direct and deadly threat posed by Scott, but this is an extreme case of negative outcomes in the carry world. A link to the most recent case information is HERE.
The criminal element is also a big concern. Some criminals steal firearms to enhance the success of their criminal activities, while others just see it as a payday. While a few criminals may be deterred from committing crimes based on the presence of an armed citizen, the gun can also increase your risk of being targeted. It could cause a criminal to alter their tactics to a pure ambush style attack as well.
Use a good holster and know how to defend your gun. This is for the safety of the carrier. If you do not know and practice defensive techniques to retain your firearm if someone tries to disarm you, please consider getting that training. I personally recommend Craig Douglass of Shivworks as a trainer that specializes in close contact defense. His Extreme Close Quarters Concepts class is excellent when learning how to effectively control an attacker and employ a firearm. Courses from Craig can be found HERE.
Finally, be safe and aware of how you are affecting your environment. Open carry can be useful, but ensure that the risks are addressed.