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As responsible gun handlers, it is upon us to ensure that we are our own first responders. If you are a gun owner, have training, are competent, are able to discern and discriminate, can accurately hit a target, then it is not only your right but your responsibility to carry wherever the law permits. Additionally, you should never go outside the parameters of the law. It is not only your responsibility to protect yourself, but those around you. You need to protect your loved ones, your community and everyday citizens.

For those of us living in “Free America,” the path to holding a permit that allows you to carry legally is not arduous. Once you are legal, consider your everyday carry (EDC) gear. Your EDC kit should make sense and be tailored to fit your day-to-day needs. It should also be habitual. I often crack up when perusing pictures on the internet of guys’ EDC gear. Now, before you go posting pictures online of your EDC that includes everything from extra magazines, two knives (because one is a “fighting blade”), a multi-tool, brass knuckles, clotting agents, a tourniquet and a garrote (I saw this on the web), remember that these are things you’ll have to carry every day.

Get Training

Before you carry, you need to get the proper training. This takes more than going to the range with a box of ammo and firing indiscriminately at a paper plate from 5 yards. The proper training with many repetitions takes time. Ask yourself this, “If the situation dictated that I had to draw and fire my gun, while under pressure, perhaps in the dark, with lethal results, to save my life or someone else’s, can I do this with impunity?” We do not plan to fail, but we sometimes fail to plan. In my opinion, it is morally and ethically wrong to carry a tool designed to save a life, while taking another, without the proper training.

Meat-and-Potatoes Setup

My EDC kit is a basic meat-and-potatoes setup, but it is habitual. I go nowhere without it. I carry a churched-up SSVi Glock 19 (loaded with 127-grain +P ammo) with Trijicon HD sights in an appendix position in a holster that I made. An extra mag is in my back pocket, held upright with a NeoMag clip. In my front-left pocket is a Streamlight with an O-ring attachment for fast deployment. I keep a good utility knife front-right pocket. I also wear a cool watch and carry a cool Zippo, and I’ve got a “go bag” in my other EDC—everyday car—loaded with everything I’d need if things really went south.

Sights

I mentioned my gun’s Trijicon HD sights. For EDC, tritium sights are necessary over, say, fiber optics. Morally and ethically, I do not want to take a discriminating shot unless I have a sight picture. If you run a gun-mounted light, I think it is essential to run a standalone light as well. There are times when escalation of force requires a search with a light but also without a gun.

Blades

Now let’s talk about fighting blades versus utility knives. When I consider escalation of force, I consider that I am confident in my abilities to knock someone out. This can be done quickly, spontaneously and without telegraphing. If I deploy my pistol, I’m confident I can employ it with lethal results, without incurring collateral damage because I know that I am not going to fire indiscriminately. I would rather punch someone’s mouth loose or dispatch them lethally than cut them open. I have seen people cut open with their guts spilled. It is messy, hard to defend in a court of law and is not entirely lethal. Most of the time, an attacker will just bleed. Additionally, if I am carrying a utility knife, I have a knife that I can use—which I do nearly every day.

Deploy & Employ

I do not always carry my gun in the appendix position, and I believe it is okay to switch things up because the situation may dictate a tucked-in shirt, for example, like when you have to wear a suit. When we change things up, we simply have to consider the difference between “deploy” and “employ.” Can you get to the weapon and make it ready? If so, can you use it effectively?

In that same vein, we must consider deploying from our vehicles. For example, if you are carrying in an appendix position, how are you wearing your seat belt? We need to train effectively to ensure that we can deploy and employ our gear automatically. Unless the appropriate amount of meaningful repetitions is conducted, we cannot deploy or employ our tools. These tools need to be accessed and used at a near-subconscious level. Think of these tools as life support.

I conduct training during periods of limited visibility outside and while moving in and around walls and doorways. This allows me to understand the capabilities, limits and the double-edged quality of my white light. I will also incorporate physical movements. Climbing over walls, getting into and out of vehicles, sprinting and working hand combat on a heavy bag while donning my EDC will ensure that it is riding properly and that I am not leaving a yard sale behind me.

What I wear is an integral component of my EDC. Mitigating printing is the goal. I want to comfortably conceal all of my EDC. I need to be able to get to it, yet I need to be able to move. Mobility is survivability. I want to be able to save my life, someone else’s, kick someone’s ass or get the hell off the “X”!

Final Thoughts On Everyday Carry

Just because you own a gun does not mean that you are armed. As a matter of fact, if you are carrying, especially if you are “open” carrying, without education of the law or without training, then you are more of a liability than an asset. Get the proper training, take the proper classes and carry legally without being an “open carry” douchebag.

This article was originally published in the May/June 2018 issue of “Combat Handguns.” To order a copy and subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.

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