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 be less than practical for the average joe just getting into the EDC game. All the items here are good pieces of gear, but they are sometimes less than desirable for those in different environments. The goal is to blend with our EDC and be able to commit to it, right?
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 with appropriate training and willingness to act may actually find this gear handy, and that is just fine. My point in this article is to analyse whether the average Joe really needs to strap on all this gear everyday no matter what. I have heard it said that you need to be prepared for everything and some instructors are real good about making students fearful that they won’t succeed in defending themselves without certain items. May not be that blunt, as I just said, but the implications are there if you listen to their gear recommendations. Unless you are often presented with situations that would require this gear, my opinion of the universal necessity and practicality of carrying this gear is going to stand. A civilian is not obligated to even carry their gun, so if he/she chooses certain pieces of gear over others, who are we to judge?
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. But in the summer, it never gets dark, and I mean 24 hour afternoon light. I personally do not carry a light on my carry pistol, but my environment and likelihood of it being necessary is high during the winter. 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’m a Cinderella anyways. I hate being out at night when the bad drivers come out to play “Kiss The Bumper”.
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 would actually say, though, if you feel the need to have a light on your pistol, have a separate light of equal lumens. If you need a light, it probably isn’t wise to pull out your piece when you drop your keys in the restaurant parking lot. Why have a light if it is only there for one scenario?
As far as training, weapons lights have two things that give the shooter an edge. It can blind/stun your opponent and it can help you keep that element of surprise. But weapons lights are not well used if the user isn’t versed on how to use it well. Take a night pistol course if you wanna know what it could be like. Then from there you can decide for yourself if it is something you want to add into your rotation. But again, that is added size and it will not necessarily be comfortable or practical all year around.
I have seen several people and heard many more say that they carry 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. That is on the individual to carry one if they wish. I know more than a few people who carry them, but to shame those who do not is kinda extreme. Again, we come back to comfort and convenience for the individual who is carrying.
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 will have to sufficiently apply aid without having the desired gear. And better yet, you may find that one tourniquet is not enough and have to find other means to provide lifesaving treatment.
Much of the gear in a trauma kit can be effectively blended or improvised with 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. Ideal, heck no! But neither is carrying around a medical pack with IVs, pressure dressings, gauze, tourniquets, etc. At this point, you have to find a way to make things work. I am not saying that a tourniquet does not work, nor am I saying that items in a trauma kit are useless. I just feel that carrying one around is not necessary when you can improvise and not make your EDC too cumbersome and less than practical for your daily life. If you can get away with it, then heck yeah, carry it.
I would also like to add that training is 99% of it. If you carry around a tourniquet and don’t know where to put it, and how to use it, hasn’t that gear become useless? Also, the limited supplies you’re carrying may be okay for one or two bullet holes, but what about 5 people shot several times to include yourself? You are going to have to improvise. My point is that you should seek training before picking this kind of gear and decide the kinds of things you want to have if you should be so unfortunate to have to use it. Personally, I feel that medical training should be a priority for those carrying a gun for self-defense.
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. (Forget this whole paragraph if you carry a 1911. Though, you will feel the weight burden. Sorry, it comes with the 1911 territory.)
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. If that is the case, load up!
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. Though, I will defend this for a second and say that we civilians can easily find ourselves in a ground dance
Most of the gear we would love to have “just in case” can wait at home or in an area such as your vehicle until such time as it becomes necessary. Try to think before you start throwing gear in your pocket that someone recommended. And more importantly, get training on these items, or they will just be useless. 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 year around. 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. Not everyone lives in a mediocre climate where they can comfortably conceal or carry a bunch of gear.
You may decide, and are within your rights, to commit your life to a 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 too much.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
Images from Spotter Up writer Jon Dufresne and MOS Tactical