Last week I shared my opinion on what most civilian gun owners who carry concealed should focus on and carry every day… I tried to frame my argument in terms of absolute needs as opposed to wants with the aim of preparing for the probable vs. the possible. I was gratified by the number of views of the blog and positive comments that I discovered in social media. I also noted one critical comment in particular, which has spurred me to write a follow-up to the original that is going to be more gear-centric and focused on preparing for the possible realities.
To reiterate, I wrote my original post for a reason, namely the fact that I suspect that the vast majority of people who carry a concealed firearm do so simply out of a legitimate desire to protect themselves and their families, and are not die hard enthusiasts that eat, sleep, and breathe guns and training. There is nothing wrong with being at either end of the spectrum, and as we all have a finite amount of time on this earth, how we spend our time is entirely up to us as individuals. Thus, my previous post was aimed at establishing minimums for those that take their self-defense seriously, but aren’t gun nuts!
The comment that I referenced above took me to task for my use of the words “need” and “average,” and specifically for downgrading some items as being optional. I think I am on safe ground when establishing my minimum guidelines, but I also personally carry more than I outlined in those minimums. So what follows is for the gun nuts, preppers, and die hard training junkies among us…
Today, the term EDC can mean anything ranging from “Every Day Carry” to “Every Day Carbine.” (With the latter suggesting that carrying around a carbine in your daily travels is a good idea… more on this later).
- Every day, I carry a pistol… I do this because the pistol is easily concealable and is the most capable weapon system that I can generally take with me everywhere I go. I do this because I believe that evil exists in the world, and while I may not go looking for trouble, trouble may find me despite my best attempts to avoid it!
- I carry a reload for that pistol because more ammo is always a good thing, I may need to fix a magazine related malfunction, and because I don’t want an empty gun after I’ve just been involved in a gunfight! Bad guys have battle buddies too! Statistically, I probably won’t need the spare magazine, but it gives me warm fuzzies to have it.
- The foundation of carrying the above weapon system is a sturdy belt. I gravitate towards the Wilderness Instructor belt, but there are any number of good and serviceable (and perhaps better) alternatives.
- I use a holster that is mounted on the above mentioned belt because carrying the handgun on the belt-line is the most readily accessible option during a reactive gunfight. I use a holster that is specifically designed for my preferred carry position, that is durable, concealable, and that offers adequate retention.
- I carry a folding knife both as a utility tool and as a secondary weapon. The use of the knife in self-defense is an area in which my education and experience is lacking, but it is on my to-do list. (I don’t prioritize this as much as some others, mainly because I view the use of the knife as largely intuitive. As a species, we have been using various sharpened edges as tools and weapons since the Paleolithic era. Knives are primitive yet elegant in their simplicity. Reacting to the knife, on the other hand, is a far more important area to study in my opinion.)
- I often carry a second fixed blade knife that is again carried on the belt-line, forward of the hips, to facilitate easy access with either hand in extremis conditions (in the clinch). A fixed blade is always going to be faster to deploy, simpler to use, and more robust than a folding knife.
- I carry a small powerful flashlight as a versatile tool in the self-defense toolbox and I use it frequently. Aside from a variety of mundane tasks, it can potentially blind and disorient an assailant, it can be used as an impromptu impact weapon, it can help to positively identify friend or foe, and so far, the flashlight can legally be carried virtually anywhere. Point a gun at someone in error and you may face criminal charges. Point a flashlight at them, even at a cop, and the most you’re likely to do is piss them off. I don’t leave home without one!
- I wear comfortable hiking boots virtually everywhere I go because I can walk, run, climb, kick, or do anything else required of my feet while wearing them. Try all of the above in sandals and see how it works out!
As the title of this post includes the word “should,” let’s look at some additional items that I (we) should be carrying or things I (we) should be doing…
- I (we) should probably carry some sort of OC spray as a less-lethal deterrent. I already have a Kimber Pepper Blaster II that I may utilize for this purpose. This is an area that I need to explore further.
- We should all probably carry an IFAK or at least a tourniquet somewhere on our person, although tourniquets are relatively easy to improvise. I think the ability to recognize life threatening extremity hemorrhage and the initiative to do something about it is far more important than the specific tools. For women or students, the tools are easy… You probably have a purse or backpack. For us guys that eschew the “murse,” load up the pockets or find a suitable belt pouch! As always, mission drives gear selection… the more remote or dangerous your travels, the higher the level of interventions you should carry. When I’m at the range or at a training class, the med kit is on my person. Out and about in my daily travels, it depends…
- Speaking of training, as is evident from the AARs posted here on the blog, both Robert and I take training seriously. I hope I never need any of the training that I have, but if I ever do, I’m sure I’ll be glad that I do have it! What are the holes in your game? What are your weaknesses? As uncomfortable as it is, focus on them! As I said earlier, we all have a finite amount of time… Spend it wisely!
- Those of us that carry a gun daily and are prepared to use it should probably invest in some sort of insurance or legal protection. The names that come to mind are the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, CCWSafe, and USCCA. There are others, and this is another area that I need to explore further. Right now, I suspect that I will invest in coverage under CCWSafe in the very near future.
Finally, let’s discuss the carbine version of EDC. Readers of this blog should realize that I have an innate affinity for carbines. Having said that, I am hard pressed to explain a situation where I might need one in my daily travels, but like the pistol reload, it gives me warm fuzzies. Carrying around a carbine, whether as a trunk gun or in a covert bag, brings a whole new realm of legal, ethical, and moral implications to the equation. I say this as someone who doesn’t have the luxury of a badge or military credentials and that lives in a state with highly restrictive gun laws. Realistically, I don’t carry around a carbine to respond to active shooter events, but I sometimes carry one around when I am traveling long distances away from my home and during times of potential civil unrest or natural disaster. Extraordinary circumstances may call for extraordinary measures.
So there are my thoughts on what, as civilian concealed carriers, we SHOULD carry. Let the melee of comments begin!