One of the most contentious topics on firearms and concealed carry forums, short of the perpetual 1911 vs. Glock argument, is what constitutes a proper ‘Every Day Carry’, or EDC, kit. According to some so-called ‘experts’ on the subject, if you leave your house without enough gear for a deployment to Afghanistan, you’re taking your life in your hands. Knives, flashlights, missile launcher, pepper spray, paracord, spare magazines, night vision googles, IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit), spare batteries, cell phone, tactical pen or kubotan… all are items which we shouldn’t dare be caught without. I guess we also shouldn’t be without the ruck in which to carry it all. Ok, the missile launcher and night vision goggles were meant as a joke, but you get the picture. Is it really necessary to load up for combat, just to go grocery shopping? We don't think so. Let's take a look at what you should really have.
At the bare minimum, your EDC kit should comprise those items you can’t function without on a daily basis. For men who practice concealed carry, that usually amounts to weapon, keys, wallet, and cell phone. That's a pretty normal load and can typically be handled by the pockets of an average pair of pants. Women have a somewhat easier time, thanks to purses and handbags, carrying their EDC, even though if their loadout has more items. (Take a look here if you are in the market for a a concealed carry purse or handbag). Beyond the bare basics, it's worth considering bringing a reload for your weapon of choice, as well as a small flashlight and a pocketknife of some type. Other than that, there’s not much one needs for an average day’s adventures in suburbia.
Every Day Carry should be just that, the basic gear you need every day. That doesn’t mean you can’t add to it as the situation requires, or that you shouldn’t have pre-packed ‘emergency kits’ for special circumstances. Most of the items on that list from the beginning of the article aren’t necessary for EDC. Useful, sure… but many things would be useful. An axe, twenty-foot tow cable, and a five-gallon jerry can of water would be useful, but somewhat impractical to regularly carry on your person. All of those items would be great for an in-car kit, along with first aid supplies, blankets, extra ammunition, MREs or emergency food pouches, and other gear you would need in case of being stranded. While we follow the "be prepared" model, there is a point where you might be over doing it with your EDC kit.
Similar “go-bags” or "bug-out-bags" make more sense to have prepared at home, one for each member of the family. A few changes of clothes, extra socks and underwear, any medications that might be taken on a regular basis, three days food and water, hygiene supplies … it’s best to imagine a situation that has forced you to evacuate your home for a few days, and pack your bags accordingly. If you do have to leave suddenly, you probably won’t have time to do more than grab your go-bags and get out.
A separate bag should be kept ready with a spare firearm or two, extra ammunition, spare magazines, a small cleaning / tool kit, flashlight, and a good, strong fixed blade knife. An extra firearm is an expensive item of preparedness, I know. I don’t have the wherewithal to buy extra guns just for an emergency kit … I wish I did. If it’s beyond your means as well, there’s no need to feel bad about it, and certainly no need to feel as though you aren’t well-prepared for emergencies. Preparedness isn’t a matter of spending the most money for the best gear; it’s having the proper mindset to plan ahead for all contingencies, and taking the steps that you can to be ready to deal with them.
When it comes to the gear you need to carry with you, whether to run your daily errands or to evacuate your house in times of disaster, it only needs to satisfy one criterion—it has to be helpful or necessary to you. That’s going to be different for everyone, and there’s certainly no right or wrong answer. The only required difference between your unarmed and armed EDC kit is the addition of a handgun … everything else is dependent upon your needs and preferences.
Oh, and about that 1911 vs. Glock thing—can’t we all just get along?
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