It’s fine… you don’t need to put your gun on. You’re just going down the block to grab a gallon of milk and a pack of diapers for the baby. You’ll be gone 15, maybe 20 minutes tops. Get in, grab your stuff, and get home.
There’s a million and one excuses that any of us could think of to not carry our EDC equipment, but really, there aren’t any that make sense anymore. It’s 2017 – nearing 2018, and the times have changed. At the risk of sounding like an alarmist, we have to look at the facts and recent trends in violence: a quick trip to the grocery store can devolve into trying to survive a complex, terror-inspired killing spree. It would seem reasonable then that a person would at least give some consideration to keeping at least some resources on hand to deal with both daily tasks and surviving mayhem.
But how to we balance our actual needs for every day carry versus our daily restraints? That is to say: how do we know if we are carrying enough or too little, and how much will our local society tolerate?
Is a small flashlight and J-frame Smith & Wesson enough when we’re out on a run, or can we get away with a small knife? Can I carry a rifle openly here or will it be acceptable to have a long gun nearby, or will I look like the next UT tower shooter? On any given day, we have to balance our “mission requirements” with a sensible and reasonable amount of gear to carry.
The S&W J-Frame is a classic carry gun, but is it enough for 2017? That’s up for you to decide. (photo: VZ grips)
If I were to give you one bit of advice when trying to decide on what to carry, how much, and when, it would be this simple statement: carry what you’re comfortable getting into a deadly altercation with.
That simple principle applies to both defensive tools (most obviously firearms) and anything else you may need in the aftermath of said event, such as medical equipment, a cell phone, or even cash/documents.
For me, personally, I’d rarely be caught with less than at least a flashlight, small fixed blade knife, my phone and wallet, and the ability to create improvised medical supplies or equipment (often called “ditch medicine”). But more often than not, I’m carrying at least a compact handgun, Glock 19 or larger, a spare magazine, a small fixed blade, a handheld flashlight, and some sort of tourniquet.
This Colt Series 70 Level II and its “associates” are an example of a frequent EDC rig that I carry. Despite the size, I can usually conceal is under a tee-shirt and shorts (with the right holster!).
It’s not that I fear anything specifically, but rather if I carry a gun with the idea in mind that I may have to ever use it to defend myself or others, then I figure I should at least carry an appropriate amount of gun and associated equipment with me to win the fight – not just survive it. Smaller, slimmer guns like the Shield or Glock 42/43 are great guns in many regards, but I very rarely carry them. I don’t shoot them as well as larger guns, and I personally have more confidence in my own abilities when using larger handguns. The capacity isn’t the limiting factor for me, but rather the controllability of smaller guns.
However, that’s not to say that one can’t carry a smaller gun or shouldn’t. Body type/concealability and training are two of the biggest factors when assembling an EDC rig. If you can’t carry a bigger gun, then carry whatever you can.
Similarly, my favorite piece of EDC medical kid is the CAT Gen 7 if I can actually carry it, but it’s a bit large and bulky, and frankly it just doesn’t fold down flat enough to hid under a tee shirt. So I’ll usually carry a SOFTT-W because it can pack flatter, or even a RATS tourniquet. I get that they’re not TCCC board approved, but I live in a mostly urban area, and EMS will probably be available reasonably quickly – if I can at least slow the bleeding enough to give them a chance.
Carrying life-saving equipment every day is a serious task. It demands a degree of commitment and a sort of “professionalism” if one is going to be truly well equipped for the modern threat environment. Carrying anything and being ready for everything will always be a matter of measured compromise, but if you feel comfortable with what you have with you, you’re probably on the right path.