As I considered this topic – like so many do – I started out thinking about what I DO carry each day when I leave my house and it’d be easy enough to list, put in pictures, etc – and we’ll get to that. But what I thought we might discuss that is so often overlooked is why we carry those things. So to start out, let’s not worry about which gun you carry, or which knife, but why you should consider carrying certain things – provided you legally can in your area.
A knife: Long time readers know that I’m a huge NCIS fan and Gibbs’ rule #9 is Never go anywhere without a knife. Of course, federal buildings and planes don’t permit such (unless you’re a federal agent), so while there are exceptions, it’s a rule I try to generally live by. It goes with Borelli Rule #5: Never leave the house without a knife, a gun and a lighter. (All of Borelli’s Rules can be found here)
My observation about “a knife” though is, “Why just one?” Here’s my thinking… Most people are right handed (about 92% of the American population) so they carry their pocket knife in their right hand pocket – below the holster where so many of them typically carry their gun. If you end up in a fight just to keep your gun, then wouldn’t it be a huge boon to your position if you had a knife available to your weak hand? Your LEFT hand (in most cases)? That thinking in mind, I typically carry two knives: two good locking folders, one clipped in both front pockets. For general utility use, I’ll reach for the right side knife. The left side knife is there just in case my right hand is tied up holding my gun into its holsters, or someone else in a fight, and I need a knife – so I can pull the one on the left side.
A lighter: Since I brought it up in the Borelli Rules, a lighter may seem a silly thing to carry in today’s day and age, especially if you don’t smoke. The knife, gun and lighter rule came from my Uncle Don who reasoned that with these three items I could always kill food, clean food and cook food – not to mention keeping warm by building a fire. He viewed them as the three essential survival tools in contemporary times (albeit, it was 1976 when he said that to me). The same logic still applies today so I follow the “program”. That said, it’s still cool to be able to offer someone a light, and it’s almost humorous when they look at you and ask, “Why do you have a lighter? You don’t smoke.” And while I do enjoy the occasional cigar, most of the time I’m lighting cigarettes and I just smile and say, “Even the Boy Scouts have it figured out: be prepared.”A Flashlight: I know; we typically go out in the daylight so why take a flashlight? For several reasons. One, you don’t know – even if you’re out in the day – that you’ll always be in the daylight. Sometimes our daily activities take us into dimly lit places. Sometimes we go places that are entirely dependent on electricity to be lit and active (think subway). If you find yourself in that dimly lit place or in that place suddenly without power and therefore DARK, wouldn’t it be handy to have a flashlight? The argument against carrying a flashlight usually runs to its size and weight versus the amount of light it puts out. That’s a VERY old argument and no longer valid. Plenty of manufacturers make small, light, BRIGHT flashlights that are easy and convenient to carry around.
A Cell Phone: In today’s world the cell phone is the backbone of communications. Pay phones are fewer and farther between and CB radios are (largely in urban areas) a thing of the past nearing their death throws (we’ll debate the wisdom of that in a different article). No matter where you are in America, there’s a good chance (better than 80%) that you’ll be within cell phone coverage range. Given today’s technology, if you dial 911 in most places, even if you can’t speak, they can triangulate your signal and lead help to you if an emergency is perceived. Given today’s rapidly growing technology your cell phone (“smart” phone) can also be your GPS, camera, video camera, note pad, etc. Given how cheap the phones and services have gotten, it’s difficult to justify (in my mind) NOT having one.
In addition to those items we have the other basic necessities when we leave the house:
- Wallet / ID
It’s not a long list. So what’s YOUR current Every Day Carry (EDC)? Mine’s been pretty stable that past few months – almost a year or more I suppose. I tweak it every now and then, but in general, here’s what I’m putting on / putting in my pockets as I head out.
My gun: my current carry gun is a Kahr CW4543 .45ACP. I am a huge fan of the .45ACP cartridge and am comfortable, given my normal circumstances out and about, with having 6+1 rounds in the weapon. The Kahr CW4543 is a compact thin weapon with a polymer frame that makes it extremely light (as compared to a Government Model 1911 .45ACP), comfortable and convenient to carry. I carry a spare magazine on my off-side for a total of 13 rounds on my person. If I’m going someplace where I feel there’s a greater risk of needing ammo, I have a second spare magazine I can carry OR I simply switch off to another handgun. My other options are all in 9mm and yes, I know people prefer the .40S&W quite a bit. I’ve never really been a fan of the .40. I’m not against it but I like rounds with long track records and plenty of history. The 9mm and the .45ACP work for me with the .45ACP always being my first choice.
Knives: My current carry knives are an Emerson Commander (right side) and a Buck Vantage Pro (left side). I also carry a small pocket knife in my left hand pocket. It’s good for cleaning my finger nails and other really small chores that don’t require a locking blade.
My flashlight is (currently) an Extreme Beam Alpha-Tac. It’s a single 3V lithium powered LED driven light that has a click-on/off button on the end and a handy pocket clip. It measures about 3″ long total and produces a fair amount of light (50+ lumens is my guess without going back to look it up). In my car’s glove compartment I keep a Spares Carrier made by SureFire that holds six batteries. It will also hold an assortment of lamp assemblies, but they’re all for SureFire lights so the center piece in my spares carrier is empty. Using it means my spare batteries aren’t rattling around in the glove compartment.
My lighter is an old brass Zippo actually designed for lighting pipes. It has a different flame funnel that makes it easier to use for lighting candles or fires while reducing its effectiveness in lighting cigarettes or cigars. Of course, I have a container of Zippo lighter fluid on my desk for refills as necessary – and I check it each time before I put it in my pocket. Taking a lighter with you that won’t light is kind of a waste of time.
The rest of what’s on my person is the “usual” stuff: wallet, ID/Badge wallet, challenge coin, keys, cash. Sometimes, for whatever quirk that day, I’ll also put a Blackhawk Hawk Hook rescue tool in one of my pockets (depending on what design of pants I’m wearing).
That’s my list… share yours!
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