The T1C is always watching those around him in a relaxed, but alert manner. He regularly trains with his weapons and never leaves home without them. If you live with an alert mindset, have the skills to back it up and will do what you can to stop an attacker, you are, indeed, a T1C. The T1C should be dressed for operational success rather than solely for comfort. However, a measure of comfort can be attained by dressing wisely. When we dress, we start with a good base layer. In an effort to reduce chafing between you and your holstered weapon and reduce discomfort from sweating, consider wearing compression wear like shirts, socks and shorts. The shirts and socks are legacy items that we all know, but the shorts are a little more specific. I’ve found the “mid cut” to be the best year-round fit. They’re excellent in heat and cold. They apply compression/stability to your large upper leg muscles, which makes a difference during fast explosive motions needed in running and fighting. They also create a slick surface that protects you against holster chafing. Lastly, they create a modest garment should you have to pull your pants down to deal with a wound after the fight. Yes, that’s an area that people typically don’t think about. But you have to be prepared to take damage and deal with it with a total abandon of modesty. Stack the deck in your favor.
This section can be summed up in two words: blue jeans. Take this from a man who’s been around since before the days of “tactical wear.” I’ve worn it all and have gone back to blue jeans because they’re inexpensive, comfortable and built tough. By choosing jeans that are “regular fit” versus “loose fit,” you give up a bit of comfort, but you’ll also be able to conceal 21-round 9mm Magpul PMAGS in your hip and back pockets. The jeans create enough tension to keep the mags upright without the need for mag carriers. Because you should be wearing a loose and generously long shirt as your cover garment, the shape of the magazines should be masked.
A good shirt should breathe well, resist stains and look appropriate for a decent restaurant. To do this you have to get into button-down shirts. Today’s T1C knows that carrying in an appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB) carry position is the most efficient way to retain and/or get a weapon into the fight. The uniqueness of AIWB is that all of the dedicated tactical shirts are rendered pointless. Tactical shirts are designed for the 3 o’clock carry position. AIWB is a whole different world. The AIWB drawstroke mandates that you pull your cover garment up with your support hand and retain it until the weapon is drawn clear of the holster. So all you really need is a sharp, well-made button-down shirt.
Someone “in the know” once told me, “When you’re at SHOT Show look, for the guys wearing the blue jeans, T-shirts, and Merrells. They’re real-deal Special Forces. Everyone else is just a poser.” I laughed the first time I heard that, but now that I’ve met and trained with some Special Forces guys, I can tell you that it’s true. They actually do wear Merrells for shoes. Why? Because they’re comfortable and tough. I wear a pair of Merrell Ventilators as my EDC footwear and a set of Moab Rovers for church. The Moab Rover is a Ventilator with a dressy all-leather upper, but the interiors and soles are identical. This translates to an agile shoe should I have to move quickly while in church.
In an effort to carry an all-in-one knife, I’ve chosen the Cold Steel Voyager. It comes in different variations. Mine is a large tanto point with a blade made of Carpenter CTS-BD1 alloy with a plain edge and a stone-wash finish. This is a work blade that’s also well suited as a weapon of opportunity. If I should find myself in a position where I’m having to use my primary hand to defend myself in a struggle, I want to be able to pull my knife and first use it as a blunt striking weapon. If the opportunity arises, I want a blade that allows me to swing it open one-handed, so I can slash/stab my way free. Some will tell you that they want a serrated edge because it cuts better, but anyone who’s had knife training will tell you that you don’t fear the edge—you fear the point. Being slashed is far more survivable than being stabbed.
I ditched my pistol light a while back for the deeper concealment of AIWB. I’ve always depended on my handheld lights for 98 percent of my lighting needs, so ditching the pistol light wasn’t as momentous as one would think. I’ve been running the Streamlight Protac 1-L for quite some time, and it just works. This light only measures 3.35 inches in length and weighs in at only 2 ounces, but it’s everything I need. It produces an ample 12 lumens on low and a wide 180 lumens on high. When it comes to EDC lighting, less is more. I’ll let Dave Spaulding speak for me, because he and I are in sync on this matter. “An EDC flashlight doesn’t have to be a large or exceptionally bright light. It just needs to be able to search and navigate in bedroom-sized places.” There’s nothing else to add to that.
If there ever was a nearly perfect EDC belt, it’s the Jones Tactical 1.75-inch Shooters Belt. I’ve had mine for about three years. Even though this belt has a very tactical look to it, the T1C attire should always conceal your belt. This belt is made with 1.75-inch-wide 4088 Type 13 Riggers webbing, and is doubled for stiffness. The belt is equipped with a 1.75-inch Austri-Alpin Cobra buckle. The adjustment end is held in place with a generous portion of loop Velcro that is perfect for hooking your Protac 1-L flashlight onto for quick access in a crisis
For the past few years, I’ve been working with Bravo Concealment in developing gear, so I’ll openly admit that I’m biased. However, it bears noting that before I was working in this capacity, I was wearing the company’s holsters as a full-time cop. Last year I asked Bravo to make me an AIWB rig for my G19 in the Drop Out of Sight (DOS) holster. I found it to be just what I was looking for. I’ve learned to dress around my G19 and have come to accept the mild discomfort that goes with carrying a gun. Recently, Bravo Concealment released the DOS-Torsion, and it’s brought the word “comfort” into the spectrum of carrying a pistol. The DOS Torsion is something that must be worn to be appreciated. I balk whenever I hear someone say that they never have issues carrying their gun. The only way to carry a comfortable gun is to carry a tiny one, and tiny guns can’t stay in fights for very long. The DOS Torsion allows you to carry the G19, G23 and G32 in the most comfortable manner possible. The key to the DOS Torsion is that it’s manufactured with an inward angle of 10 degrees towards your body. This seemingly simple modification yields a holster that’s adept at hiding under a loose shirt and is the simplest of rigs to deal with. For added concealment, remove the smaller of its two belt clips. This makes it tuckable.
You’ll notice that I’ve left the pistol for last. As a Tier One Citizen, your vigilance is your primary weapon and your pistol is your last resort. If you see a threat coming towards the structure/business you’re in and the front door has a lock, lock it! You don’t have to ask for permission to flip a lock. If you see something brewing in a parking lot that doesn’t involve you, immediately leave the area. There are too many variables in flux for you to think that “going to guns” will help. You could be mistaken as the second gunman and get dropped by another good guy. When I attended a dignitary protection training course, we were taught that if you have to go to guns, you’ve already failed. There’s a lot more to that statement, but the sentiment is correct. Think you’re way around the gunfight if at all possible. If you should have to use deadly force, then make sure that your weapon and your skills are as honed as possible. The pistol of choice for the T1C is irrefutably the Glock 19. This almost 30-year-old design has only gotten better over the years. The addition of the accessory rail and interchangeable grips sizes has propelled the G19 into 21st century relevance. You can spend a bundle adding upgrades to your G19; however, nothing but time on the range, working the fundamentals, will give you the skills needed to prevail in a firefight.
Everyday Carry (EDC) is currently the fastest growing segment of the firearms industry.
EDC gives the common man a solid stake in the first line of defense of our homeland. When I hear the term “first responders,” I think of private citizens, not cops. As a former cop, I can assure you, seldom did we ever arrive in time to stop anything. That’s our jobs as citizens. If you think I’m wrong, read your Bible, where you’ll find the same moral precepts our founding fathers wrote into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Our homeland is our collective responsibility to protect.
For the past 15 years, the tactical industry has propagated an agenda that states that unless you’re a Tier One operator, you’re a nobody. Allow me to disabuse you of the notion that you’re somehow less because you’re “just a regular guy.” Tier One operators are doing their jobs over there. We need to be Tier One Citizens (T1Cs) and do our jobs over here. Rest assured that there truly are some T1Cs among us. Some of us are former law enforcement and military, but an even larger number are guys and gals of common origins. Remember that our founding fathers were farmers, surveyors and blacksmiths, and they truly were Tier One citizens, so don’t despair because you’re just a “regular guy.”
Each of us is going to have to come to grips with what works for us as a T1C. The gear in the gallery above is what I’ve chosen as my go-to everyday carry setup. I hope you can build off of these precepts and make the T1C lifestyle your own. Get those guns out and practice.
This article was originally published in ‘Personal & Home Defense’ Spring 2017. To order a copy, please visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
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by Personal Defense World / Aug 8, 2017