Over at Everyday Carry, one can peruse what other people carry in their pockets on a daily basis. We feature one of those pocket dumps each and every evening right here at TTAG. It’s interesting to see how others approach packing – both a gun and other accessories for their daily lives.
While you see all manner of stuff carried, you also quickly pick up on the three common items that show up the most, and for good reason. Every well-prepared, law-abiding adult should carry these three items on their person – every day – if local laws allow.
Lots of Americans can lawfully carry everyday. Sadly, more don’t. While that’s good news for the bad guys of the world, what’s good for bad guys generally is not good for you and your loved ones.
As of about a year ago, over 17 million Americans had a carry license. And scores of millions more could get a carry license without too much difficulty. Plenty more law-abiding adults live in the 16 states with constitutional carry where they don’t need a license to carry – call it close to 30 million.
The bottom line: a sizeable percentage of Americans can carry legally. Given the nature of The Truth About Guns, one could safely bet that a large percentage of our readers not only have a carry license, but some of us have more than one.
If you can legally carry a gun, then carry it. Every day and everywhere. Don’t forfeit your life to a criminal.
“Forfeit?” you ask.
Yes, forfeit. Tom Givens, the former Memphis cop and 40-year firearm trainer, explains via Rangemaster.
Over the past 20 or so years, 66 non-military students of mine (that I know about) have been involved in defensive gunplay against criminals. These are the ones that I know of, who have reported back to the school or that I learned of through law enforcement contacts. Of those 66 incidents, the record is 63 wins, zero losses, three forfeits.
Of the 63 students who were armed at the time of their encounter, all of them won, and only three were injured. We have, unfortunately, had three students that I know of who lost their encounter and died. All three were killed in separate street robberies, and all three were unarmed at the time of the incident (hence the term “forfeit”). It’s hard to win a gunfight if you didn’t bring your gun! Since 63 out of 63 students who were armed won their fights, we must be doing something right.
As a firearms instructor in central Illinois for only twenty years with GSL Defense Training, I’ve seen much the same, only on a smaller scale. We haven’t had sixty-six gunplay incidents among our Illinois-based students. After all (thankfully) Illinois doesn’t have Memphis-level crime outside of Chicago.
At the same time we still have had easily a dozen-plus reports of “defensive gunplay” from our past students. Each student who brought their own Roscoe to the party survived and only a couple reported minor injuries. Not only did they all survive, but not a single one faced prosecution, either.
On the other hand, a non-student family member of one of our Guns Save Life members left her concealed carry piece in her glove box at an interstate rest area a couple of years ago because it’s a “gun-free zone” per state law and she didn’t want to break the law. A mope running from police saw her that fateful day, followed her in and killed her to steal her car. Strangled her to death. All because she left her carry gun in the car.
Furthermore, carrying does not have to cause a major lifestyle change for the wearer, either.
Gone are the days when people only had a choice between a small-, medium- and large-framed revolver and those new-fangled semi-autos that sometimes have reliability issues.
Today, you can pick up a petite SIG P365 for general purpose carry. For older folks with arthritis or hand-strength issues, the Smith & Wesson M&P EZ is a fantastic pick. And for those who want a really small package because they need deep concealment or don’t want the bother of the extra weight, the Ruger LCP II or an exotic metal small-frame revolver will pack quite a punch for about one pound, loaded.
Finding a good, comfortable holster also solves the “discomfort” problem. My personal litmus test for a carry rig is whether can I take a nap while sleeping on the gun-side of my body.
For me, the Bladetech Nano and Phantom inside-the-waistband rigs not only pass the nap test, but also the sleeping in my clothes overnight test. Ditto for the Bravo Concealment Torsion IWB rig. Recently, I spent a lot of nights sleeping in my clothes while my babies spent time in the NICU for a couple of weeks.
Your mileage may vary. A lot of people rave over their Alien Gear and Crossbreed holsters. Find one that fits your lifestyle comfortably. And carry every day.
While you (hopefully) will never need your gun on a daily basis, a flashlight will get regular use. Especially as you age and your eyes begin losing their low-light acuity, a light will help find things, explore places and most importantly from a self-defense perspective, identify bad guys.
After all, most deadly force encounters take place in low-light environments. What’s more, the law demands that a good guy identify his or her target before lighting them up with gunfire.
Thankfully, gone are the days of the mini-MagLite. Along with the full-sized Mag-Lites. I remember one home-brew light I made using a MagLite body about a fifteen years ago. It would not only signal aircraft, but it would also set newsprint alight in seconds.
Today, EDC flashlights come in easy-to-carry, tiny forms and emit a great deal of light – without posing a fire hazard. And bigger models can probably signal the International Space Station high above.
Most of us, however, don’t need that sort of horsepower, especially for indoor applications. Too much light indoors will splash back and degrade your own ability to see, especially in light-colored rooms. How much is enough and how much is too much? It depends on your eyes and your budget. From 60-150 lumens for indoor applications will serve you well.
Most of the popular lights sell for under $100, judging by the number of Everyday Carry members who post their pocket dumps. The Olight Mini-baton series of lights seem quite popular (one’s in my cart at Amazon right now), as do the Streamlight single-cell lights (CR123 or AA).
Outdoors, it’s nice to have more lumens as the beam itself becomes a tool to temporarily disable a potential bad guy or see things farther away.
Plus, most of today’s “tactical” lights have a crenulated bezel on the front end which makes a fine impact weapon. In classes, we sometimes refer to that scalloped front end as a DNA core-sampler to later identify a bad guy with the authorities. What’s more, these lights will readily make it through most any security checkpoint without any issues.
A good knife will help you in a multitude of ways. It will serve as a tool to get into packages and get yourself out of entanglements. A blade can dissuade an attacker and facilitate a conversation with a friend.
For those without carry licenses or for many of those locations that prohibit carry, a blade may be one of the best lethal force tools available.
A word on knife-fighting: it’s ugly, fast and brutal, but it beats surrendering to an attacker.
First off, folding knives share one universal attribute: a difficulty to deploy when under attack. Bad people can close 21 feet a lot faster than most people can recognize the attack, then draw and deploy a folder.
For self-defense work, fixed blades deploy the fastest. However, they don’t conceal as well as a folder. I’ve got a Gerber and while carrying it, it makes me look like I’m really excited to see everyone under my clothes. That is about as socially acceptable as a dog humping on people’s legs. So it doesn’t get carried.
Auto knives, the quality ones at least, will usually quickly and reliably deploy one-handed under duress. Make sure you know your local laws on blades. Google is your friend for searching. Or at least that’s the common expression.
If you go the auto knife route, try to find one that’s not prone to unintended deployments in your pocket or you can have some new scars on the back of your hand like mine too.
Add on from there…
Once you have those three potentially life-saving tools, you can build your everyday carry ensemble. An extra reload earns you bonus points. Because that gun doesn’t work if you can’t feed it.
And if you have some cajones, you might even post your daily carry ensemble at Everyday Carry as well. Your gear may endure some criticism, but we can all learn from one another about what works and what doesn’t.
Share your victories, and your setbacks so others can learn from them.