We see it all the time when people start their Every Day Carry (EDC) and attempt to set up a system that can prepare them for anything. What I have found is that many people carry things that are generally unnecessary in their environment. Let me just lay out a few of the more extreme items that I have heard and seen people carrying and how they can fail you in overall function.
The gear I am going to list is usually a piece of gear defended by the classic “what if” and “just in case” arguments. We need to remember to hold onto reality and common sense when analyzing the usefulness of gear and where it belongs. I understand the fact that some people like EMS, LEO, and people in unique situations and environments may actually require this gear since they are more likely to need it. My point in this article is to analyse whether the average Joe really needs to strap on all this gear everyday. Unless you are often presented with situations that would require this gear, my opinion of the necessity of this gear for everyone is going to stand.
A pistol light for EDC is a very common thing to see these days, but the practicality behind it is low for most of the population that has an EDC routine. Most people carrying them do not hang around areas without any source of light that would justify increasing the profile of their pistol. However, those who often work and travel in the dark may find it prudent to have a weapons light, though that population is lower than the current trend would have you believe.
In Alaska, we often only see about 4 hours of daylight in the winter time, and weapon lights are very common because of this. I personally do not carry a light on my pistol, but my environment and likelihood of it being necessary is high. For this reason, I promote using weapon lights in the winter up here, even though I do not use one myself. But that is up to me and I do not feel that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
I understand the idea behind wanting a light on your gun if the environment justifies it, but I do not think that this is a piece of gear that people generally NEED.
I have seen several people and heard many more say that they carry a medical kit, such as a pocket medical kit. I will not say that it is unnecessary, but I find that it is usually an item that is primarily defended with the argument that you MAY have to use it in case of an active shooter. I can understand carrying a simple band-aid and moleskin kit, but a pocket trauma kit is hardly necessary. This is my own view. I know many can argue against this. Do what works for you.
If you should have to use your firearm to stop an active shooter, you will likely find yourself being restrained and controlled once the cavalry arrives. I understand the idea of being a medic and trying to keep people alive, but if you actually know how to treat gun shot wounds, you may find that you can sufficiently apply aid without carrying around extra gear.
Much of the gear in a trauma kit can be effectively replaced by improvised everyday items. A belt, for example, can make an effective tourniquet. I’ve seen one used in Afghanistan. A shirt can serve as an effective bandage with the aid of shoelaces for applying pressure and securing it to the wound.
I am not saying that a tourniquet does not work, nor am I saying that items in a trauma kit are useless, but I feel that carrying one around is not necessary when you can improvise and not go into paranoid status.
I have seen and heard people who decide to carry as big of a firearm as possible and as many magazines as they can conceal. I know of people who carry up to 3 spare magazines. The question that comes to mind for me is “what does this person think they are going to encounter?” The idea that you need more than one spare magazine does not indicate preparedness in my mind. Instead I end up thinking that person has a conspiracy theory, is seeking glory, or they can only get one hit for each magazine.
Unless you are an LEO who has the obligation to stand their ground until backup arrives, I cannot say that I am convinced that this kind of “PREPAREDNESS” is necessary. Besides, this is why you need to learn to hit what you are trying to hit. This prevents the need to carry enough to survive the zombie apocalypse. That is of course considering that you are not preparing for brain eating automatons to take over the world.
I understand that there are a lot of people who like the idea of having redundancy in their gear. Whether you have a choice in gear or not, most of this idea is rooted in a lack of confidence in ones gear. If you have the ability to buy a redundant firearm, it would seem that you can afford a firearm you can actually rely on. However, Law Enforcement officers may have a rational excuse for having a backup gun from a struggle where their primary is out of reach.
Most of this gear can wait at home or in an area such as your vehicle until such time as it becomes necessary. There is a line between “PREPARED” and “PARANOID” when it comes to what you carry. Try to think before you start throwing gear in your pocket. In the end, you may wish to carry this kind of gear and that is up to you. My point is that there is little rationale in committing to a system of items that you will find of little help in your day-to-day routine. The point of EDC is more to commit to a set of items that you find useful on a daily basis due to your unique lifestyle. EDC loses its purpose once you start to look like an undercover operator who is ready to take on the world of non-existent super villains and save the day.
You may decide, and are within your rights, to commit your life to a generally irrational set of items to carry around everyday, but eventually you may end up leaving them behind after a long process of experience. Don’t start a platform that does not fit into your daily routine within the realm of realistic possibilities. As I said, it is up to you what you carry. This is just my opinion after evaluating my own previous carry systems and noticing the patterns of people who change their systems after they realize they can’t commit to such an extensive set of items. I myself do not always have EVERYTHING I would ever need, but I accept this because I would rather have a reasonable setup I can commit to without changing my lifestyle.
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