EDC – Every Day Carry – specifically, what do you have in your pockets to protect yourself should something happen. When you get dressed in the morning, and as you leave your home every day, what do you have on your person? Some people might choose to have very little, others on the other extreme have so much stuff in their pockets they need to stay away from rivers and lakes – lest
they fall in and sink directly to the bottom. Here of some things I carry (in no particular order), while my plans and schedule that day may change what I bring with me, most of what I have listed I carry regularly. Your needs may vary.
Gun – Let me start here. I generally carry a full size semi-auto pistol. Sure, it’s big to carry, but as I’ve heard it said, it’s also big when I have to use it. A full frame to grip, a longer sight radius, and more ammunition capacity than a sub-compact or compact version. Just because I have full capacity, I still carry at least two magazines for reloading. The additional ammo is one benefit, but if I whack the magazine base pad so hard it gets knocked off when struggling with a threat, I can reload and still have a functioning firearm.
Car Keys – especially if you have one of those key fobs that lets you sound an alarm – you can attract attention or cause a distraction if you are somewhat close to your car and a problem occurs. Remember to keep that key fob on the nightstand too – if you park your car in the driveway of you home, or near your apartment – it’s another way to let people know there is a problem.
Flashlight (LED, 100+ lumens, with lithium batteries remember to always use a name brand, and don’t mix new and old or used batteries) – even in daytime, you may go places where dark areas exist, especially if power goes out – with the wide selection available, there is really no excuse to not have a good flashlight with you at all times. I am constantly using one of the two flashlights I carry.
Over the years I have tried a multitude of brands and models, very few lasted more than a few months. I have a Surefire 6P with the upgraded bulb that I carried every day for over 10 years, it was still working well when I retired it. I replaced it with another Surefire, this time an LED model with a low and high function. It wasn’t cheap, but after about three years, it still functions as well as when it was new.
If a Surefire is too pricy (I justify the price by amortizing the purchase price over the 10-12 years I expect to own and use it), look at Streamlight products. If you are like me, you probably won’t get the same lifespan as Surefire, but you will pay about ½ to 1/3 the price for a great, but maybe not excellent, quality light.
Knife – folding blade, use as a cutting tool in a variety of daily activities, and a potential weapon if you have nothing else, consider one that lets you open with only one hand (Emerson “Wave”, thumb stud, the Spyderco hole in blade, etc.)
Multi-Tool – a variety of uses, depending on where you are and what you are doing. I would drive my spouse crazy when I would tighten loose screws on the backs of chairs at a restaurant or the hymnal racks on the back of pews while at church. I’m a fan of the Leatherman – but several quality knife companies make a variety of tools that may meet your needs
Phone – pre-programmed with important contact numbers. If you have a fragile phone – get a sturdy protective case for it. Remember that while you might look like a geek, that protective case will help the phone make it through the rough and tumble activity that occurs in a street fight, or a shooting. The last thing you need once you’ve fought for your life and won – is to discover your phone is broken and you have no way of calling for help.
Wallet – I.D. – at least a couple of ways to show who you are, credentials for carry, credit cards for emergencies – with “See Identification” written in the signature box area, cash – in case plastic doesn’t work, a throw-down wallet or weighted money clip: if held up, toss that in the direction of the most dangerous threat, it may cause them to take it and run, or it may cause a distraction and give you time to get away.
If your gun or car is stolen, will you remember the license plate or serial number? I also carry a small business card size list of our family’s license plate numbers, contact numbers of important people – in case my phone is damaged or unavailable, serial numbers of carry guns, (in case you are nervous about having the actual numbers in there, list them backwards, or with a random alpha-numeric digit in middle, or add 1 to each number).
A Pen and Paper – You never know when you need to write something down. I carry a hybrid I assembled from parts of Zebra 701 and 402 pens (check the internet for more details). The end result is an all metal (stainless steel and brass) pen that has “tactical pen” capabilities, but doesn’t attract attention at security check points. To complete the package it needs to also perform well as a writing instrument, I use the Fisher “space pen” pressurized ball point refill cartridge – it works at all angles, and in conditions more extreme than I will likely encounter.
Watch – I need a way to accurately keep track of time, to know when I need to be somewhere, or how long it may take me to arrive. Although I have several fancy watches (any watch that costs more than $200 should be considered “jewelry”), for everyday wear I rely on some flavor of a Casio G-Shock. Not too expensive, water resistant, tough, and they keep great time. I don’t know that I’ve ever actually worn one out (I’ve replaced batteries and bands several times), I just get tired of the old one and replace it with a newer model after about six or seven years.
Glasses – if you wear prescription glasses, or need magnifying lenses or “cheaters” to see or read, make sure you have them with you in some sort of protective case. If your vision is such that glasses are essential to be able to see well enough to get by (remember the FBI Miami Shootout where Agent Gordon McNeill lost his glasses in the initial few moments of the encounter) – use a strap to keep them on your head and/or have a second set on your person in case your primary set gets knocked off.
PFAK/IFAK – (Personal First Aid Kit/Individual First Aid Kit) on your person or close nearby (items in your car’s trauma kit), the current thinking: your priority should on stopping bleeding, think clotting agents and tourniquets – if you don’t carry such items, consider alternatives: napkins & tablecloths at a restaurant, pant belt, etc. If you are wearing a jacket or cargo pants, you may have room for a C.A.T. tourniquet a Quik-Clot coated sponge, and an Israeli bandage.
Although not a regular carry item, there have been times when a second gun seemed prudent. This might be a smaller, sub compact version of your primary gun – so the full size magazines can work in either, or some have a second gun that is specifically smaller in size and caliber for more discrete carry. A second gun may serve as a back-up for your primary, or as a way to arm someone who is with you for additional firepower support.
So there are some ideas, and some things to think about. I’ve been in enough situations where I needed something and didn’t have it – I tend to carry things others may choose to leave at home. You’ll need to look at your own needs and make your own choices accordingly.