Today we were coming back from the range and decided we wanted ice cream, because gosh darnit, after a few hours at the range in the Southwest it gets hot and you want ice cream. I had not brought an IWB holster, though, and it was way too hot to throw on a windbreaker. I considered disarming. However, I don't like downloading a handgun in the car unless necessary (gun manipulations in a crowded car with no safe backstop = bad idea). We were also in a not-so-nice part of town. And even though the specific shopping area we were in wasn't that bad, there's been a string of crimes including broad-daylight defensive shootings, carjackings, and kidnappings of middle class people with no obvious connections to drugs and gangs. So it isn't paranoid to be aware of a possible threat.
We were thinking about hitting up the Sonic drivethrough to be low profile but then I said, "heck, why not open carry." Of course, DW snarked back that the worst that would happen is that the cops would gun me down (a reasonable fear here, perhaps) but then again, they're publicly bitching about cutting their presence due to budget cuts and layoffs (which have yet to actually occur, mind you) so I figured maybe things are safer for us law abiding citizens these days.
To make a long story short, we carried in a mom & pop frozen yogurt place and I got offered the 10% mil/LEO discount. Also had a nice conversation with the manager. Zero issues.
I also OC'd into Target. I walked right past the rent-a-cop who was in condition white browsing the cosmetics. She did not even notice the sidearm even though DW and I hung out picking up shampoo and such on the aisle right in front of her. Totally oblivious. Nobody else seemed to notice until I got to the checkout line, when the lady behind me in line seemed to be eyeing the gun, a bit unsure. I just kept talking with my wife, and we resisted the temptation to get a candy bar on the way out. We also had a nice conversation with the checkout clerk who welcomed us to LV.
On the way out of the Target the rent a cop -- now back at her post in the front of the store by the shopping carts -- noticed me walking out and her eyes bugged out of her head. I just made eye contact back, smiled and kept walking out.
I am normally wary of the whole OC thing and prefer CCW for a lot of reasons in an urban environment. However, it is nice to have the option to OC, especially when it is really fricking hot out. It is hard to conceal even a compact M&P in this heat. And while it can hurt the cause by "scaring the horses," if you are presented neatly (I had pressed "tactical" shorts and a button up collared shirt, and was with my family) I think it can help "normalize" carry to some degree.
DW was a bit jealous as she forgot her OWB holster. She is now ordering a nice Dragonworks Leather custom holster so that she can OC and show off the nice leather.