Maybe you’re thinking about getting your carry permit, and wonder what all you need to carry? Perhaps you have a permit, and occasionally carry, but find reasons to not put on your pistol every day? Maybe you’ve had your permit for years, and carry everywhere you legally can, but still wonder if you’ve got all the gear you really need? No matter what your experience, here are some things to think about when it comes to Every Day Carry, or EDC.
We all need to constantly learn more, regardless of our experience level. Nothing substitutes for a great training class taught by skilled professionals. But not all of us can take a week off for a class, or afford to travel to the school. Another way to get some knowledge is training videos. Every training video has at least one idea or bit of information you’ll find useful.
Guns & Holsters
Sometimes it’s hard to find just the right combination of gun and holster. This problem is often a reason why some choose to not carry every day. You should think about gun and holster as a combined unit, not separate, individual parts. Both pieces must work together seamlessly, or you probably won’t carry at all.
The gun should be comfortable to shoot, and you must be able to confidently control and operate it. You must be able to get ammo for it for practice. The holster needs to safely contain the gun and cover up the trigger guard to prevent accidental firing. It must be comfortable enough that you will strap it onto your belt, tuck it in your pocket, or otherwise put it on as you get dressed.
There is no single correct formula for which gun and holster combination is right for you. You need to consider many factors to come to a final decision. You should also realize that you need more than just a gun and holster.
Carry ammo is not the same as plinking or practice ammo. You should buy the absolute best self-defense ammo available. Get at least 50 to 100 rounds, and go shoot them at a range to make sure your carry gun reliably functions with this type of ammo. Yes, it’s expensive. But saving your own life, or the life of somebody you love, is worth a few boxes of pricey ammo. Once you find self-defense ammo that works reliably, get another box or two, and carry that type of ammo in your gun every day.
Also, find a way to carry extra ammo on your person. If you’ve got a semi-auto pistol, carry at least one spare loaded magazine. If a revolver, carry a speed strip or a speed loader. You never know how many rounds it might take.
Lasers & Lights
Lately, lasers on carry guns have become almost standard equipment. They are very useful for accurate shooting, up close and fast, in low light. If you decide a laser is for you, be sure you practice using it at the range. And buy some spare batteries for it.
It might not be practical to put a weapon light on your carry gun, but it still makes a lot of sense to carry some sort of small, powerful flashlight every day. It can help you identify friend and foe in an emergency. Plus, there are plenty of times when you need a flashlight - searching through the trunk of your car for a tire tool, or looking under furniture for lost keys. It just pays to have a high-quality, easy-to-carry flashlight with you all the time.
Knives are probably humanity’s oldest tool. They are so versatile that if you can legally carry a knife, slipping one into your pocket should be part of your morning routine - like brushing your teeth. They can serve as workable last-ditch self-defense tools, especially in some places you cannot legally carry a gun. Hopefully your mental awareness will get you out of a situation long before it comes down to your pocket knife. But still, always carry a knife.
Alternative Self-Defense Tools
A gun is lethal force. Not all situations will require lethal force. It’s good to have options. What if you’re faced with an unleashed aggressive dog on a crowded downtown street? That might not be the best place to fire a handgun. Carrying a small, alternative self-defense tool, like a compact OC spray, could help you effectively defend yourself in situations that require force, but not lethal force.
Fill Up Your Pockets
Once you decide to carry, commit to it. Every single day, put on your gun and holster and at least one extra reload of ammo. If your gun has a laser, check the battery. If you’ve got a flashlight, make sure it works before you put it in your pocket. Find another pocket for a knife, and some way to stash a small OC canister or maybe a tactical pen. Besides your gun and holster, all the other items are small and easy to carry, but give you lots of options and abilities that just might save your life.
Want more great reading on Every Day Carry? Look no further than this article from Brownells and Recoil.