After the situation in San Bernardino, there have been numerous posts in my various feeds about active shooters and gun control. This post has been sitting in my drafts for some months now but today is as good a day as any. I want to briefly talk about every day carry (EDC).
By EDC, I don’t mean just a weapon. I mean everything you carry on you, in your bag if you have one, and in your car. The specifics will vary from person to person as your career, dress requirements, or mode of transportation may preclude you from carrying some items.
Why EDC Matters
Most of my friends and peers have nothing more than a wallet, phone, and keys on them at any given time. Its annoying to carry more things around, I get that. But there are times when it is helpful to have a few additional tools on you when the need arises. My definition of tools is likely much broader than most. A number of years ago, I always had a multi-tool on my belt. Mrs. Townsend always poked fun at my “utility belt” as she liked to call it. after a few months of dating, she realized she had come to rely on my proclivity to carry a multitool, knife, and flashlight when she asked to borrow my multitool and I didn’t have it on me.
That is a simple situation where a tool would have been nice to have. There are other situations, like the recent events in San Bernardino or even my own city, where having something with a little more…pow…could have made the difference between life and death.
Another time, around 3 am, we were heading out of town. I stopped at a gas station on the interstate to top off before we made the long trek out of state. With out fail, a shady looking gentleman appeared out of the shadows on my right, about 50 feet away, and he didnt look like he was there for gas. I immediately reached for my Glock. Hand on my Glock, I tell him thats far enough. Home slice asks “You have moneys?”. I tell him no but he doesn’t like that and takes a few steps closer. I draw my Glock and point it at him, other hand still on the gas pump filling up, and tell him again, thats far enough. A few more steps. I try in Spanish, letting him know that if he comes closer he will die. At this point, he is maybe 20 feet away. We have ourselves a staring contest until he blinks, turns around, and walks off across the street and down the interstate. Damn glad I had my Glock on me and not at home or even in the car. I have had to draw 3 times in the last 5 years. More than most, I think, but glad to still be alive.
For myself, I have a 3 tier approach to EDC. My setup is influenced by my career and dress requirements. Let me explain. Tier 1 is what I carry on my person: in my pockets or on my belt. My tier 1 is what I will always have on me no matter what. My tier 1 does also change slightly depending on the day and situation. Tier 2 is my big payload, as it were. Tier 3 is more of a just-in-case bag with a few items.
My tier 1 is my absolute must have items that I wouldn’t be caught with out. While at work, this is much more bare bones than when I am off the clock and I shift a few of my tier 1 items in to my tier 2 setup. Its just the basics though…phone, wallet, keys, folding knife, flashlight, pen/notepad. In my off hours, my Glock and 2 spare mags along with my multitool are added on my my belt. And recently, my pen/notepad as been absorbed in to my phone…fancy technology!
The goal of my tier 1 is to have at least 1 weapon on my at all times. Most days, that takes the form of a knife. Mine is thin, lightweight, and very very sharp. I often use the knife for non-violent tasks like opening boxes and prying, so it does serve multiple purposes. The flashlight also comes in very handy most days. My wallet contains the usuals like drivers license, conceal carry license, money card, insurance card, cash. I also have a card I printed/laminated tapped to my insurance card with blood type, relevant medical history, allergies, and contact information for myself, wife, and child.
My tier 1 is what I need for 98% of my day and provides me a last effort in defending myself, should the need arise.
My tier 2 lives in the bag I carry. I only carry my tier 2 during the work day for reasons that will be obvious in a few lines. My bag is an over the shoulder, messenger style bag. It is a little larger than most but nothing that stands out. Reason #1 for only carrying it during the work day is the contents. I have normal items like my laptop (encrypt it people!), chargers for various devices, external hard drive (again, encrypt it!), batteries, various cables, e-reader, few pens. Nothing out of the ordinary. In addition to that, I have my multitool, another flashlight, a small shank knife, and…well…the kitchen sink.
But the main compartment in my bag has one of my battle belts, complete with binoculars, compass, 5.25″ fixed blade knife (know your local laws folks), Glock, admin pouch (radio, antenna, headset, lighter, fire tabs, water purification, carmex, pain meds, IFAK w/ blow out kit, stripped MRE, paracord, headlamp), 1L nalgene, 3 AR mags, and 3 pistol mags. And my SBR (again, know your local laws). Yes, you counted correctly. 3+1 AR mags, 120rds of 556, 3+1 pistol mags, 60rds of 40cal, and 2 knives.
Does seem like a bit of overkill, huh? Its heavier than most people would like. But the SBR is small and in 2 pieces, and everything fits very well, like a very violent puzzle. I keep everything covered except my work items to avoid attention when opening the bag. I should note here that some people might not be able to carry a larger bag with out drawing attention. Given my day job, it is not out of the ordinary to have a larger bag.
I have it arranged so that the SBR comes out first, snap the two halves together, load her up. Then the battle belt is free to come out. Everything is already on it, minus the knife. Clip her on, stick the knife in the sheath, bag over my shoulder, grab the SBR, spread freedom and liberty to all. Alternatively, the Glock is easily accessible with out taking anything else out, if time is a factor. The Glock and mags also detach and can go on my belt for conceal carry if needed.
Sure, I probably won’t ever have to use this setup. I really hope I don’t. But as I sit here typing this on the 15th floor of a downtown highrise, what happens when a wack-o strolls in and decides this floor is his playground? I may not make it, I may not stop him/her, I may not save everyone or anyone. But I won’t die cowering in a corner begging for my life. There are 12 sheep sitting with in view of me now with more around the corners and in other offices, not enough cover for them all to hide, lots of glass, inconvenient emergency exit, and a dead end hallway. I can have my Glock out in under 5 seconds, my SBR out, assembled, loaded and ready in under 30 seconds, and everything out and ready to move in under 90 seconds. I practice. I take my bag to the range where we have some plywood buildings set up. I work on different routines that involve varying levels of unpacking my bag. There are so few of us that are willing and able to defend ourselves and those around us.
My tier 3 is nothing exciting. It lives in a gym bag in my car. It serves only the purpose of being there if I break down or need to hoof it home on foot. Its a change of clothes (seasonally appropriate), better footwear, snacks, more water, and a detailed local map. Nothing that would devastate me if someone broke in to my car and stole it.
I have planned out my EDC carefully, knowing that I travel around town quite a bit, and taking other things in to consideration. Revisit your EDC and think about the situations you might find yourself in and what your needs would be. Have good situational awareness, plan ahead and know what you will do in different situations, leverage your force multipliers, and don’t die.