Concealed Carry

Throwback Thursday: Everyday Carry Means Everyday Awareness

Tactical Handgun and Gear including Watch, Bullets, Knife, Holst

The new year is upon us, and it’s time to steer people into enlightenment and out of the old ways. While fate looks after some who do not wish to be bored with the facts, the facts are not in your favor — if you don’t consider your everyday carry (EDC) gear and learn to use it well. Gear should be chosen after more than a 15-minute investigation.

I am certain some of you are fearless young pagans who wish to see what happens when you pull a tiger’s tail, while the rest of us find comfort in arriving home, starting a fire in the hearth, and relaxing in comfort. It takes mental stimulation to enjoy life. After some of the incidents I’ve survived, I find comfort in what I have learned and am able to teach.

firing a gun through a coat pocket everyday carry
If you carry a snubnose .38 in the pocket as EDC, perhaps you should practice firing through the jacket sometimes. Get a beater jacket from Goodwill, and spare the North Face garments.

While such incidents may do more than lower the golf handicap, I do not jerk and gasp when someone slams the door too hard — but I have not forgotten. There are incidents that come upon you in the night and keep you company until the morning. They are best avoided. So, let’s pull ourselves together, confer rationally, and find a skein of thought.

Decisions, Decisions

What do you carry every day? What should you carry? Everyday carry means you carry it at the least on a consistent basis. Our needs and worldview affect the EDC gear. Our capabilities are not measured by what we carry, but in a real sense, the limits of our capabilities are found in the EDC gear. Every day we deal with the mundane. The extraordinary should not be left to deal with us. We should be prepared. We have to consider the available space.

Most of us have about a yard of belt space, some less, some more. We have to use this space wisely with a proper allotment and balance. A good gun belt is essential. This is the primary load-carrying device and not the place for false economy. Next, we have the pockets. All gear should be chosen on a basis of quality and reliability, though a light weight is also important. Just do not lose your life for a few ounces of comfort.

Some vote for versatility, others as much specialization as possible. The knife, as an example, should be dedicated for personal defense and need not be a multitool. For some, a multitool is essential for their daily walk. There is no single solution for everyone, but there are tools and weapons that most of us will be able to use well. There is a balance between weight, effectiveness, and expense. We are dealing with the meanness and sordidness of life and the former or future denizens of the 51st state (the U.S. prison system). Let’s look hard in order to improve our situation.

Man pushing shopping cart carrying groceries
How does your EDC gear stack up every day, say, at the grocery store? Go to the range, and find out.

Do Not Carry Situationally

The bad guys, in my experience, carry situationally. Very few carry a gun every day and every time they leave their home. They do, however, put a handgun in the belt — usually behind the belt buckle without a holster — just before they commit a mugging, robbery, or assault. The rub is that we cannot see it coming and must be armed at all times.

This doesn’t mean only packing the iron when traveling, going to the corner stop-and-rob, or when out late at night. This means carrying the handgun at all times every day, not just when the idea strikes us. Only then will you be prepared to face an assault.

What do you carry every day? Your wallet, keys, cash, credit card, perhaps eyeglasses, and a handkerchief most likely. What if you left your wallet at home? How would your day go? Not well, probably. You might miss lunch for want of cash or not be able to badge into work. A license check would be bad news. Have you ever wished you had brought less gear with you during the day or on a trip? Probably not. A plan and commitment are vital. Start planning today and make everyday carry gear second nature.

Galco Double Time holster everyday carry
The Galco Double Time is a great dual-purpose holster. Note the flashlight in the pocket.

I recommend researching the daily routine and likely scenario, and carrying everything you need and nothing you don’t. As an example, a spare magazine or speedloader is important. Two spare magazines, probably less so. If I felt the need to carry two spare magazines for a Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm, as an example, I would probably think I need a Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm compact with a higher magazine capacity than the Shield. (I subscribe to making the rounds in the gun count. The fight will probably be over in the first three shots, and you either got your man or he got you.)

While probabilities of certain problems are low, possibilities are limitless. EDC must become part of the daily routine and the gear and its deployment second nature. You will practice accessing the gear and the items you deploy most often will have the strongest muscle memory for rapid acquirement.

You will reach for your wallet many times during the day, and it is thus second nature. The handgun and holster combination must be learned by practice, as you will not be drawing it as a matter of course during the week. Keys, cell phone, and other gear also have a high likelihood of strong muscle memory. Consider the circumstance of the typical day and do not arrange your EDC gear in such a way that it will interfere with your emergency gear.

Keys and CRKT pocketknife everyday carry
Typical essential gear includes a ring of keys, a truck key, a good knife and a dog whistle. Do not leave it loose in the pocket.

EDC gear may vary from time to time. Whether you are in an urban or rural environment, traveling or seated most of the day must be considered. Evaluate your needs and make the EDC as simple as possible. As an example, a ring of keys is simpler than a number of loose keys, and if your job demands it, a ring of keys on the belt makes sense.

While repeatability is important, the climate introduces variations. Your covering garments affect your EDC carry, at least the mode of carry. Do you leave your gear in the vehicle at times? Is the EDC handgun too valuable to lose? (All are too valuable to lose, but a Glock is more easily replaced than a custom-grade handgun or Grandfather’s Detective Special.) Some tools are an acquired taste and others are easily used by the majority of trained people.

Everyday Carry Checklist

  1. Wallet – This should not be too big, bulky, or overstuffed. It should be carried on the opposite side of the gun hand.
  2. Cell phone – This should be kept most accessible; the front of the belt is good. It is essential for emergency communication.
  3. Light – A good, small light is indispensable.
  4. Cash – Credit cards are not useful in an emergency such as a power failure. Cash is a must.
  5. Emergency medicine – If you have a condition that requires medication, never leave home without your prescriptions (at least a two-day supply).
  6. Knife – A good knife is great for both utility tasks and personal protection.
  7. Handgun – A suitable handgun and holster are vital for effectively defending yourself against an attacker.
  8. Keys – Keys to your home and vehicle. Spares are well worth their weight if secreted on the person.

There are other items. Some will add some form of pepper spray. From hard experience, I prefer the knife. However, non-dedicated attackers can be dissuaded by gas.

The handgun is often a compromise of weight, caliber, and size. Quality should never be compromised. The Glock 19 is a baseline and a very good one. The Glock is affordable. You can spend more — a lot more — but the Glock is reliable. You can spend less and get a lot less handgun. The Glock is useful for a trained shooter. The 9mm cartridge is the baseline for defensive use. The Glock 19 9mm, in the opinion of many, is the baseline for comparison. Compare your EDC carry with this piece, and make an honest appraisal.

Conclusion: Everday Carry

This isn’t a complete directory of everyday carry gear, but it’s a beginning. Study your individual needs and situation, and go from there. You may need more or less than I have enumerated. Consider the weight/benefit trade-off. Also, wear the gear in a realistic scenario where you’re bending, walking, and performing daily chores. The arrangement must be reasonably comfortable and the balance of speed and access understood.

What’s your everyday carry setup? Share your thoughts and opinions as to the EDC items we should all have in the comment section.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February of 2016. It has been revamped and updated for accuracy and clarity.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (61)

  1. Regarding the previous posts on tactical pens. I worry about the legal ramifications with carrying a “tactical pen”. Instead, I carry a Cross pen. If you are not familiar with a Cross brand pen, you should look into them. They make a nice defensive weapon and have been sold as ball point pens for many years. And they are very nice pens, I might add. Weatherman also makes a nice one.

    I really wanted to post this just to see how long it takes to show up. It seems like it takes 2-3 days for my posts to finally get posted. Does anybody else notice this or is it just me. Maybe I’m just imagining it.

    Another thing. It used to be that when someone else posted on something that I posted on, or responded to me, I would get an email notifying me. I no longer get this. I check the boxes. Does anyone know what I might be doing wrong ?

  2. I have a friend who broke his back when he landed on his weapon. He spends his days in a wheel chair now. You need to reconsider your carry position.

  3. After reading the article and the responses, pondering on my experiences and watching the security at the super bowl there are a couple of points for consideration.
    1. Clear your weapon and dry fire! While I reload and can afford to purchase ammo, I find I don’t always have the time nor inclinations with bad weather. This goes for both handicapped as well as part-time shooters, know you gun more than the remote!

    2. I do not carry a flashlight. After 21 years in military, 16 on active ODA’s, 12 years as a business man, I am not going to chase down a bad guy at night. I do Agee that night sites are great, crimson trace is very good, BUT, I want to disengage! A flashlight is in a back up kit/bag in the vehicle. Also using a flashlight with a gun is a center target identified by a bad guy, (insert your own description here)!

    3. The point of carrying wallet opposite gun side is very true, I practice that everyday. As the phone, I have a large Samsung, consequently I carry that in my pocket, cargo pants or in the business bag depending on business attire.

    4. Learn something in martial arts that teaches you how to break away if physically attacked-create space to draw, understand how to move off of attackers center line of get low on ground to survive.

    5. Practice what you have learned, create your own scenarios, what if my child is opposite side of house, bad guy get in between us, what will you child do, run out or go flat under the bed?

    6. Be safe and vigilant!

    1. The reason to carry a flashlight is to readily identify your target in low light conditions,which is a two dimensional world, and two, a good strong light will affect your opponents vision, momentarily disorienting and throwing them off their OODA loop. (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act). As for making yourself an easy target with using a light; you are already part of someone else’s plan at that point as such your already targeted.

  4. “Invading our homes while we can only watch” — it’s pretty much already heading that way in states with restrictive “gun control” laws. No open carry, no concealed carry, and more and more limitations on what firearms can be legally owned.

  5. Dark Angel,
    It’s a travesty of justice that they should put a victim in jail while the criminals are just having a fun time with their so called rights. I’m tired of these SOB’s getting away with invading our homes and we can only watch. There is something really wrong with the Administration in place that sides with criminals instead of the victims. This has to change, and change now. I’m wondering what those individuals on the jury would have done if it were them being violated!!

    1. Many people do not understand the ‘reloader culture’, and consider them as the top of the ‘gun nut’ tree. A friend, now deceased loaded for me. These were wonderfully accurate. Only ‘gun (nuts) people’ will understand this obsession with accuracy. Others see it as wanting to a more efficient killer. Few Law Makers know anything about the subject, or want to learn. So if you are a reloader and carry these for defensive rounds, you should really check your state laws. Don’t become another statistic to legislator, law enforcement stupidity.

    2. @Dark Angel

      Agreed. Let’s not give the antis any more ammunition to use against us.

      The truth is a good HP round is very effective. I apologize to anyone who disagrees with this next sentence, but there really isn’t a great need to custom load defensive rounds. HTPs, +P HPs, Cor Bons and most other defensive rounds will stop an attacker very efficiently. I even avoid rounds like the DRT line for EDC because they have a negative connotation with ignorant people since their nickname is ‘Dead Right There.’

    3. Sometime back, bought about 500 rounds of ammo from an individual. All rounds were factory loads, except 2, 20 round boxes of teflon coated, saw-tooth edged hollow points, so called ‘cop killers’. First, I was surprised to find them in a private individuals collection of ammo, secondly, I took them to the LEO s. I was surprised to learn that the LEO s had never seen such ammo. Would have loved to keep them for a ‘curiosity’, but good sense dictated getting rid of them. I can only imagine the consequences of some fool keeping these and carrying them for defensive loads, then using them in a self-defense situation.

  6. I would like to say thank you for your sacrifice, dedication and service to the general public. I always wanted to be a Police Officer, but failed the physical because of a Heart problem. I commend you Sir on your time as an Officer of the Law. I’m sure there are citizens out there that you pattroled believe the same way. Actually 99.0 % of all people believe in Law Enforcement and are really happy to see you when there’s trouble. Now if we can get the laws changed to protect the innocent instead of the criminals, i believe we will have a safer, stronger nation against these demented SOB’s. Also safer for Law Enforcement, God Bless You Grumpy!

  7. Reading all of this reminds me why I have been making choices and buying and working with equipment all of these years. I have been carrying my Ruger P-85 for years for the higher capacity but I am not really happy with the 9 MM round for stopping power. This is from a pistol competitor so yes, I know 99% of the time I will hit where I need to the worry was always that 1% when something goes really wrong, heck Murphy is an optimist.

    So I have been looking for a .45 carry pistol and have found one I am using a SAP K-2 which has 14 rounds in the magazine. I wanted a safety on all of my semi-autos and this was the best I found in a high capacity .45. It required some thoughts on carrying it, I am a big guy but in spite of Open Carry I don’t want to print it with my clothes. So I bought a jacket which is made to carry, it has a holster as part of the jacket in the inside and has a heavy panel over the area where the holster is. I then sewed in a extra magazine pouch.

    In addition I have instead of having the gun loose in the car have fitted a holster which was compatible to a large frame automatic and my car a Kia Sorento into my center console compartment. Lift it up and there it is sitting perfectly for me to reach in and have no obstructions blocking me. I have a biometric safe in the bedroom that is keyed to multiple prints from my wife and I with his and hers guns in it. It is securely bolted to an oak heavy bed stead inside the bookshelves which are closed. Hurricane screens on the outside of the windows help to keep people out and give protection and lower insurance rates on the house. My gun safe has threaded rebar down into the foundation and is in a room which was redone with steel laminated fire panels in the walls and the door which has a outside bolt as well to keep the bad guys out.

    All of this is planning and working towards goals that has taken years to get there but I am almost to finishing my plan. Guess what it will change and I will continue to work it just like sometimes I sell guns that I no longer use and buy new ones you need to have a plan and practice self reliance and protection.

  8. I am a Licensed CCW Permit holder in Georgia, but I choose to open carry (Taurus PT111 GEN2) on my belt everywhere I go (even though some of my buds give me grief about open carry). I have added a laser on it and actually adapted the universal nylon holster so the weight of the pistol sits on the laser, allowing the grip to sit higher for a quicker and more positive control when unholstering. The holster also has a built-in front extra mag pouch as well!!
    I am a stroke surviver (2007) and the left side of my body was affected, causing weakness, a slight limp and slight coordination problems, but I refuse to be an easy mark for thugs! I can’t “run away” from a situation, so my option is to protect myself by “any means necessary”!
    Make EDC fit your specific needs, not what everyone else say they carry. Make it work for you! Your EDC should be your base weapons to start with…what you think can help you in most common situations. You can always “tweek” the list as you grow comfortable with your base gear.
    The key to any weapon (pistol..knife..pen..baton..or what ever) you choose, is to practice using them! The more you practice, the less you will have to adapt and overcome in an active threat situation!
    Situational awareness is the key to identifying threats, but practice helps you better prepare and be proficient with the gear you decide to carry!
    Be safe, and be smart!


    1. @Mike

      Good comment. I also wanted to say that I can understand why you open carry. I personally don’t usually do it or even advocate it, but in your case I can see the advantage of doing so.

      Yeah, the argument can still be made that you are giving away the fact that you’re armed, but with your slight limp and coordination challenges you would be an obvious target for street thugs and the fact that you are visibly armed has genuine value as a deterrent. There’s no way of knowing for sure, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it has already made someone look elsewhere for a victim.

  9. I have a CCP and have started recently not leaving home whitout it. I live in the country of upstate NY. Up untill reading the artical by Bob Campbell I never put myself in the mindset of having to act in a moments notice. Well I must say I have changed my typical location of an ankle holster. I will use the belt holster I just purchased. I dont carry my 9MM I cary a 380 Auto and I make my own special defence loads. I hope I never have to use it but I refuse to be a sheep. I will practice more often thanks for the info!

    1. Don’t know about NY, but some states take a dim view of people carrying weapons loaded with ‘custom, hand loads’. One in which I lived for sometime, sent a person to prison for defending himself with hand loads. Called it : “Willful Intent to Commit Murder”. Prosecutor made the case that a man carrying custom loads in a self-defense weapon was looking for some one to kill. For years, on & off, I carried a .38 snubby with custom ‘down’ loads to avoid over-penetration, if ever I was forced to defend myself. Went back to factory loads after this man’s conviction. Best check your state laws concerning ‘custom’ self-defense loads. You might just find yourself in prison for premeditated murder as this person did.

  10. This grocery list of items to carry on an every day basis seems a bit much. If you’re going off on a hike into the back woods, of course one needs to be prepared. Making a run to the market or the beer store makes this seem a bit too.
    Having said that, a reliable firearm is absolutely needed. I would only add that a revolver is most reliable regarding a jam…and, if your preference is a magazine fed pistol…it is essential that it is cleaned on a regular basis. Doesn’t take much dirt to cause a malfunction.

  11. As a retired police officer and now wheelchair user I have had to develop my own EDC solutions. As a wheelchair user I have to consider that I am am attractive concealed carry is a must! Being seated all the time waist holsters are not an option as the weapon would either be exposed or .hard to reach depending on the location. The system that I use involves a “Fanny Pack” converted to a front carry pouch that is carried on my lap and fastened to my chair on each side. My carry weapon is located in the largest compartment of the pouch and has a wide pull strap fastened to the zipper. The weapon is the ONLY thing carried in that compartment and the compartment has been modified to hold the weapon “grip up” position with the grip towards my strong hand. The rest of the pouch is dedicated to wallet, credit cards & keys. There is also a single narrow front compartment that contains a defensive knife and a spare magazine. The weapon is quickly and easily drawn. I spent some time trying many carry options. It would be nice if someone would write an article on wheelchair carry options as one system may not suit all wheelchair users depending on the type of chair used and the disability of the individual. Yes I practice my unzip & draw., as well as firing practice from my chair. I have also found that a laser sight is a big help for targeting in unconventional draw and fire situations ie. firing from the waist. In my vehicle I have a conventional holster and a separate weapon attached to the seat.
    Keep up the excellent articles.

  12. A few thoughts – I have bought and experimented with 12 diferent handguns and a variety of holsters for carry. I have 2 Kahr CM9’S, a Kimber Solo 9mm, A Kahr CM45, a Kimber Ultra 10-2 (.45 carry) a S&W bodyguard.380, a Taurus .38 spl +P and a Taurus .357. Lastly I have a Glock 30, .45. I did not mention the others, because the caliber is smaller.

    I carry my Glock 30, .45 cal every day, rain or shine, shorts, long pants, on my way to work and on my way home. Here’s what I weighed out and here’s why:

    My 9mm’s are small, as I desired, but I find that for slightly more space, I get considerably more power that is just about as easy to shoot. For me, the wider .45 feels better in my hand, allowing for accurate follow-up shots. Now at 25 yards, I am most accurate with the .357, but it only holds 5 rounds, is a little more bulky than the Glock and I tend to fumble with a speed loader. And Autos are every bit as reliable as a revolver. I like my Khar .45, however I noticed more stove pipes than with the glock. I figured out why. The shorter back of the gun means a steep angle of entry to the chamber, making the risk of failure higher. In fact I estimate the Khar .45 (not the 9mm), fails due to tight tolerances about 1 in 50 rounds, that is 2% of the time. My glock fails 0% of the time. This is very important to me, not to mention It carries almost twice as much ammunition. As far as space, the Glock 30 is only slightly bigger than the Khar CM45. Cost is slightly more than the Khar, but certainly less than the Kimber. The Glock is the easiest of my collection to fire repeatedly, reload and carry in all my modes of travel. The Glock 30 wins. Note – the supplied magazine holds 10 rounds, acceptable in all legal carry locations throughout the us, as far as I know.

    If I were to choose an inexpensive 9mm to carry and I wanted small but reliable, it probably would be the Khar 9mm, or the Glock 26 if I wanted more rounds in a slightly bigger package. For a .45, I choose the Glock 30 as mentioned above If I have to be really small, my S&W .380 is very accurate and reliable.

    But I do not choose a .380, .40, 10mm or .357 because upon experimentation, self defense requires rapid follow-ups at close range. 9mm and .45 tend to fit the needs so much better with considerably less recoil or kickback when fired.

    I should mention, A good stiff belt is definitely a must. I have 2 so its easy to change clothes quickly. Mine are from a reputable company. I have several holsters for my guns, but I definitely prefer the Crossbreed holsters. The company has been outstanding. The workmanship is outstanding and they stand behind their products. I carry inside the waistband most of the time, as it provides the ballance of comfort and is most concealable. I walked through a police convention with more than 50 officers in a place I would definitely be questioned about concealed carry, but not one officer noticed I was carrying my .45. Did I mention I was at the convention by accident, wearing jean shorts a t-shirt and sandals while carrying my Glock 30? When I must work where I cannot carry, I use my sticky Desantis holster to transport to and from the car and use my lock box in my car when at work. At home I usually have my Glock 30 on my person or with my clothes. All my other guns are locked up, either in my heavy duty safe or in my fort knocks safe for easy access. In fact I keep 2 .45’s and 2 9mm’s loaded with spare magazines in my fort knocks safe at my bedside so my wife and I can choose what we want if the need arrises.

    So in conclusion of all my sporadic thoughts – I carry my Glock 30, Gen 3 (I prefer the Gen 3 for my comfort), .45 cal with 1 full, spare magazine, (Although I have 2 spare magazines). I use Federaly Hydra-Shock or Federal HST, Law enforcement grade 185 +P ammunition for my carry at all times. This is what many police use because it has proven very effective. I read about a test with a pig, and the 185 +P Fedral HST and Hydra-shock seem to come out on top with results in penetration and stopping power. My weapon is always loaded, with one in the chamber.

    Note: I have been pulled over twice while carrying. Once in an accident and once for speeding. In both cases, I had my ready .45 on my person. I displayed my concealed carry license. I was asked not to remove my weapon or make any sudden moves, but all went well both times.

    If you are curious why I made the choices I did for concealed carry, and ask a question, I will try to respond to the post. I will be more consise with my answers.

  13. Thankyou for your information on EDC equipment. My wife thinks I’m paranoid. But being an Air Force Retiree and New Mexico State Employee, attached to the Security Forces squadron, New Mexico Air National Guard, I worked with active Police Officers and have heard horror stories of individuals that lost their lives because they had no thought of carrying to protect themselves. I recently received my Concealed Carry Permit, and found that it is a big responsibility (Financially and Morally). You really have to have a thought process as such as yours (EDC). I also help out when the CCW instructors go out to the range to qualify personnel taking these classes. I have noticed an increase of the (70- and Older) Senior citizens taking part. I also noticed that I have thought of all these items prior to reading your EDC column. But it is always good to be reassured that I am doing something right.Continue to inform the public and I’ll continue to read your Items. God Bless you and America.

  14. All this talk about EDC is fascinating … however, it’s too bad that, living and working in two “may issue” jurisdictions that are both legendary for issuing only a few permits per year, there’s a snowball’s chance in Hades that I could ever carry any firearm (open or concealed) without getting arrested. (Hell, we can’t even buy or possess modern models like S&W M&P or C.O.R.E. or Glock Gen 4’s out here!)

    Here’s to future court victories that may help us recover some of our 2nd Amendment rights…

    1. I was like you. Lived and worked in Maryland for years. Taxes and erosion of my rights coupled with the increasing danger to self and family finally drove me to move to South Carolina. Nicer people, lower costs and taxes, better gun laws. As I type this a .45 sits on my strongside hip. ADVICE? I should have done it sooner! We could have been killed by laws passed by liberals. Good luck, and choose wisely. But CHOOSE…..

    2. @Marty

      I spent one miserable year living in Maryland when I first moved back east and was looking for a home to buy. I got out of there as soon as the lease on the house was up, and bought a home in Virginia. As with your description of South Carolina, everything is better here. One year in that Liberal haven for criminals while being forced to go around unarmed was enough for me.

  15. I’ve read through the comments and I find I have a few things to add. Dennis, going out at night isn’t the only reason to carry a flashlight. Many times you can find yourself entering a low light area in broad daylight. I carry a small stream light single or double AAA battery light and find I use them numerous times throughout the day. I don’t need a eye bleed light,( been there/ done that, you don’t need it)just something to identify. SS1, having a left hand holster comes in handy when something happens like right elbow surgery. It gives you options. I practice left hand shooting but only carry a backup on my left side occasionally. I can’t envision a time when I would carry on the left as my primary unless I had a problem like the above mentioned surgery. In my opinion (almost 40 years of every-dam-day carry) don’t become overburdened. A small light, your 1911/Glock, knife, wallet, Spare mag. More than that and you start leaving things in the car cause you can’t keep your pants up.

  16. I haven’t seen anybody mention one item I never leave home without… a tactical pen. As with all self-defense, muscle memory is key. I actually would go for my pen first, in most close quarter situations. (I think. I hope.) Only one way to know for sure, and that is to be assaulted, so I hope I never find out. But my brain is trained to reach for the pen when a ‘fastest response’ is needed. The flip knife is right there, too, so if necessary I can make a split-second decision.

    1. @Grampy

      Totally agree on the tactical pen. I have to occasionally go places i can’t carry my gun or even a knife, but I can always take my tactical pen. It’s like an old friend.

  17. I liked the article very much, because it presented a number of suggestions that I can do without any financial cost.

    However, this article as with so many other articles pertaining to the use of firearms and personal defense, either out of the home or in the home, are predicated upon the concept that everyone can afford to buy the gear, and especially the amount of ammo, the articles usually describe as necessary minimums.

    I’m poor and physically impaired, and there are millions of us who are either one or both: poor or on a fixed income.

    Sadly, 99% of the articles that I’ve read stipulate that at a minimum, I and other poor people should be shooting between 100 and 500 rounds a week, plus have the money for fuel to go to the range, and have the entrance fee for the range, which can be anywhere from $10 to $15 per visit.

    Here’s a news flash for you folks: I can’t afford the $20 to $30 for 50 rounds on a weekly basis to shoot, that money has to go for medicine, and/or to pay utility bills, and food.

    I’ve actually read articles by authors who stipulate that since I can’t afford to shoot at least 100 rounds a week, and can’t afford all the other small things that I should have, like the latest holsters, the latest carry jackets, pretty much the latest everything, but at least afford to shoot 100 to 500 rounds a week, I shouldn’t even own a gun!

    Basically, these kinds of authors believe that I, and millions of folks just like me, should just be completely defenseless because of our financial situations.

    This ” let them eat cake” message that is given again and again, gets very, very old.

    The author of this article did not explicitly engage in this let them eat cake idea, but the necessary implication was there: in order to do all of the aspects outlined in this article, an outlay of a lot of money is required.

    It is my hope, that this author and other authors, will take the time to seek out poor people, physically impaired people, and discuss with them the limitations that they face in real world terms, so good real world solutions for our limitations might be found.

    1. @JR Bailey

      I’m really glad you wrote this comment. I am blessed to be fit and healthy and have a decent income, but I have consistently tried to educate the elitists who look down on anyone who can’t afford the kind of equipment they say you MUST have. The other day at the range where I am a regular there was an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair who came to shoot. We all enjoyed his company and talked to him about how he carried and the challenges he faced in practicing, and I think you will find many people in your local gun community who will be like that.

      As for guns and gear, you can get some really good, high quality pistols as police trade-ins. There are also some excellent low cost guns that perform very well for personal defense like ATI or Hi Point. I know people dis Hi Point. I own several high end pistols, but I also own (currently) two Hi Points that are great guns. Reliable, surprisingly accurate, inexpensive and with a 100% Lifetime Warranty. Are they pretty and “high speed?” No, but they work and what more can you ask?

      Carry gear? A simple fanny pack is fine to carry your gun in, and I have done that many times. And if you can only get to the range once to shoot 30 or 40 rounds, at least you will know how to work your gun and at the kind of combat ranges most people face in criminal encounters, being able to put rounds into center of mass is a good thing and adequate to put up a fight and not be a defenseless victim.

      I would like to do what I can to help you be prepared to defend yourself. If you would like, you can contact me on my general email of and I will respond. Drop a response on here to let me know if you decided to email me since I don’t check that email all that often. I will reply and give you another email to use.

    2. I AM SO GLAD YOU WROTE THIS! You are dead on. They need to be more practical with some of their writings. What I can afford and WHEN I can afford it plays a huge role in practice and training. They seem to write about “best case scenario” in affording gear and practicing EVERY weekend, which I find quite hypocritical considering they claim to be always prepared for the WORST and hope for the BEST. I like to see an article that talks about lower income training and maybe cheap practices.

  18. I have a Springfield XDs 45ACP in a Sticky Holster in the small of my back. I have carried for 35 years and now retired. This combination is great. Easy to load and stays in place beautifully. Good concealment and easy draw after some practice. After several years wrestling with leather holsters the Sticky Holster is great. Easy to place between your belt and back and stays in place in all situations, Driving, walking, bending over, even running. At the end of the day it is easy to remove, just grab hold of holster and pistol and pull it out. I go to the range at least twice a month.

  19. Whats interesting is that after retiring from the infernal government as an agent, I seem to carry every day- – – everywhere. Now the wife , most likely due to the current atmosphere in this country, doesn’t say one word about me carrying a weapon. Hell, I’m 70 and getting younger by the day. But, practice–practice with what you carry everyday. Can’t stress that more. So enough preaching- – – keep yer powder dry and yer eyes sharp!

  20. Fine article, and the emphasis is carry EVERY DAY, EVERYWHERE legally possible. I prefer to carry a Glock 19, but have gravitated to a Glock 43 with crimson trace for close body shooting and an IWB holster. I often carry a S&W .380 bodyguard in a pocket or on my ankle. Spare magazines for both in my other pocket or coat jacket if wearing one. My knife is a Gerber fast flip. I do not carry a flashlight because I do not go out at night due to night driving vision problems. There are many times I wish I didn’t have to carry, but it’s like insurance. I don’t have it only on certain days and for certain occasions. I either need it or not. i need my safety for myself and family. Alone my wife is trained the same.

  21. I need some help here. Is there any sense in a right handed person getting a left handed holster? I’m strong and in excellent physical shape, and I don’t see a problem going this way with a little muscle memory practice. Plus I’m thinking it may be more comfortable for me on the left side.

    There’s a nice one here on CTD that’s selling pretty cheap and is only available left handed. It’s this one (for my Glock 20):

    Aker Leather 168A FlatSider Slide XR13 GLOCK 20/21 Belt Holster Left Hand Leather Plain Black H168ABPLU-G2021

    1. @ss1

      There is growing body of solid, practical experience that says cross-draw is a viable and valid carry method. Wild Bill Hickok carried cross draw, and cross-draw is also the best way to carry when driving a vehicle.

      Bottom line . . . go with what works best for you. Research, think practice . . . and if it works . . do it! When working private security in Iraq, most all of us who were the drivers on PSD and escort vehicles carried a pistol in a cross-draw holster on our vests.

    2. @Mikial:

      Thanks for the encouragement about doing it and practicing it.

      However, I believe it wouldn’t be cross draw with the Aker left handed holster which leans forward on the waist. I would need to draw with my left hand. I may not have written my first post clear enough, but I was trying to say my left hand and arm would be easy to work with because I’m always lifting or pulling dumbells with my left arm by itself.

    3. @ss1

      I guess you have to decide how you want to do things. I practice single hand, left handed shooting every time I practice so that I can shoot if my ‘strong’ hand is disabled. But, I’m not certain what your goal is. Are you saying you want to start shooting left handed?

    4. You are correct. To implement a “cross draw,” you would need the holster designed for the ‘opposite’ side that the holster will ride on – RH draw for RH cross draw from the left side, etc.. Your proposed holster would mean mostly an ‘open carry’ operation, without some overhanging garment, i.e., it isn’t an ‘inside the waistband’ rig.

      What you appear to be talking about is “weak side shooting” application, you being right handed. Nothing wrong with that, like you say, as long as you do the work at being ‘effective’ in that presentation. Having basketball experience, I consider myself about half as effective left handed as I am right – “practicing” shooting with your ‘weak hand,’ from whichever side, is always something to do – you may not always have use of your ‘strong side’ in a given confrontation. I can shoot left handed, I practice on occasion – not as much as I probably should; however, I am much slower and not as accurate with that hand, especially if I’m using a double action only piece!

      I use Crossbreed’s gear, both holster and belt – may not be the cat’s meow for everyone, but their belt configuration is one healthy piece of gear – think horse harness stuff – and there is no sag, or give, to it!

      As far as doing the ‘cross draw’ thingy when in your car, I suppose that is an option some might prefer; however, I’m not into having to change my gear over to accommodate a given situation – there are several “car holsters” that are much better alternatives than having to draw from a belted, seated, position in your car!

    5. Forgot to mention also, unless you have the abilities of someone like a Bob Munden, any cross draw application, using the opposite hand, will be slower in presentation.

      Think about the simple physics of that operation. Hands at your side, reach across your body, draw the weapon, initiate the swinging arc required to present the gun on target, left to right, unless you “blade” yourself (left side toward the target), only then can you go BANG.

      It is true, few, if any, will ever need to pull a “Matt Dillon” style draw; however, I feel much more comfortable knowing I can get two shots on target, from my strong side, in <1.5 secs @22 feet. Realizing that time will go up under some life or death stress, I'm not fond of doing anything to impede the process! By-the-way, my time is 'just fast enough' to "possibly" stop someone of 'average physicality' from getting to me from 21 feet! (Most anyone of 'average physicality can be on you from a distance of 21 feet in approximately 1.5 seconds)

    6. @ ss1.

      I’ve worn “Cross-Drawn” (Left-Handed Holster w/Right-Handed Pistol), sinces the Early ’80’s. To me it’s Easier to ACCESS and Just More Comfortable to Wear. Also the Seat Belt Doesn’t get in the way, of the DRAW…

    7. @Secundius:

      I agree with you about comfort, and the seat belt issue has annoyed me many times!!

      Thanks for your input!

    8. @ ss1.

      Hey Sam, when Sitting in a Car Seat the Gun is Positioned in the “Near Vertical Position”, but when Standing the Butt of the Pistol. Is Positioned between 57 to 60(deg) of your “Forward Facing Position”. I don’t know if that is making any Sense To You, or NOT. Or maybe I should say, While Standing, when you reach for your Pistol. The Pistol is in a Forward Diagonal, and NOT Vertical Position. Maybe “Mikial” or “Pete in Alaska” can explain it Better. Oh by the Way, Thanks for the “Captcha” Idea…

    9. @Mikial and @Secundius:

      Hey guys thanks for being patient with me on this topic.

      This topic came about because I was frustrated one day that CTD had a cool holster at a much cheaper price that the mfg’s website, but in left-hand only. But then I also started thinking about different strategies, like I always do for this gun hobby of mine.

      And one thing I didn’t mention (but don’t want to delve into too much on a public website), is that sometimes I’m driving with a person who is not supposed to have access to a firearm. I had a discussion with a local policeman about it being OK to store my gun in the left door panel instead of the center console. So the left-handed holster also works for this purpose.

    10. I use an under the steering column holster that allows me to access my G21 quickly no matter what the situation is.

    11. @ ss1.

      All the Gun Holster’s I own date back to the ’80’s and ’90’s. The NEWER Modular Holster, are Two Part Systems. You could mount a Belt Piece or Static Under the Desk Piece inside the Map Pocket of the Door. By either Screws or Rivets. Or try RokForm, they have Several Mounts You might be Interested In. They have a “Turn-Buckle” Mounting System. But in the Long-Term it’s Really Your Decision to Make. SEC…

    12. I have one of those nifty under the steering column holsters that works like a champ in the car. My gun is secure but quick to access. You can buy them for under $40.

    13. @Firewagon: You made this comment: “What you appear to be talking about is weak side shooting application, you being right handed”.

      Yes it’s weak side DRAWING. What I do after that can vary. I have zero interest in cross draw. I’m doing this because there are multiple reasons that I may desire or need a holster on the left.

      @Secundius and @Mikial: I had never heard about the steering column holster. Thanks for the tip, but guess what, I already bought the left handed holster from CTD tonight. Here it is:

      I bought it because I’m going to start carrying my Glock 20 much more than before. Today was a GREAT DAY for me. I FINALLY found out what has been messing up my accuracy with the Glock 20 for the longest time. I got a trigger job and I bought a tungsten spring. They’re cool, but they didn’t fix the problem.

      The problem was I never tried the THICKEST grip attachment that comes with the Gen4 model. I thought no way, I have small hands. But I was wrong. That’s what I needed to stretch my finger and pull my 3 or 4 pound trigger very smoothly without pulling the gun down. I’m ecstatic today!! It felt really sweet to see those bullet holes hitting the center of my black/yellow glow targets at 25 yards while standing up.

      So I rewarded myself tonight with the left handed holster that is constructed exactly like I want. It actually looks very similar to the right handed holster I bought a few months ago from Magnum Research for my Desert Eagle, which is always on my right hip at the shooting range and feels so comfortable I forget it’s there.

      So this case is closed. I’m going to enjoy this left handed holster and practice with it. They don’t let you draw at the shooting range, but there’s a desert spot that’s popular north of Phoenix, and I’m going to do a lot of practice there.

    14. @ss1

      Glad to hear you broke the code on your accuracy issue. We all have them from time to time. And just so you know, if you’re a right handed shooter, you need either a left handed holster or an ambidextrous one to use with the under the steering column mount. So, you’re already halfway there if you ever decide to get one.

    15. @ ss1.

      Hey Sam, SEC. There’s a company in Wilderville, Oregon. That specializes in Wheelchair Holster Rigs, using Blackhawk Holsters. Both Open and Close Mountings, you might try them with you NEEDS. I know that Automobiles and Wheelchair’s AREN’T the SAME. Just tell them YOU’RE Handicapped. Info as Follow’s:

      Scot Works, LLC.
      500 Old Onion Mountain Road
      Wilderville, OR. 97543
      1-541-660-3433 / 1-541-476-7824
      (www. Scot@ScotWorksLLC. com)

      They have a Online Website and YouTube, too. SEC…

  22. Just like the old ‘Master Card’ ads said; “Never leave home without it.” Never leave home without the essentials. I carry a good folding knife, keys, (naturally), wallet with ID and money, and the ‘biggy’, a handgun. Depending on the circumstance, my 1911 in .45 ACP, or my NAA .22 revolver spare ammo, spare mag for the .45, extra cylinder for the NAA. And, duhh, a fully charged cell phone. This is my basic equipment load. Most important of all, a mind set and determination to use my firearm(s) to defend myself &, or others, if circumstance dictate such an action. In my estimation, you can never be TOO PREPARED.

  23. I think that it’s important to note that EDC actually consist of two separate but equally important and interlocked components.

    The HARDWEAR is what is most often discussed and which is noted here in wider detail than most.

    The other is the WETWEAR and SOFTWEAR. ie; your brain and how you use it and the information and training you provide and give it to make decisions, perform actions and respond to your physical environment and envelope.

    With out one component or a component that is incomplete the other will work but not with any efficiency, and likely or possibly an unsuccessful outcome.
    Information, training, practice, more practice, more training, understanding situational awareness, more practice, and so forth … This is your Softwear. You have to put the Softwear in the Wetwear, retain it, prioritize it, then allow the brain to teach the rest of you body to use the EDC Hardwear you have chosen to be your tools.
    Knowlage is power.

    I’m not saying anything that’s not been said before, just thought it should be said again.

    1. @Pete

      So tru. All the high speed, low drag tacticool gear int he world won’t do you one bit of good if your brain isn’t in the right place.

  24. Okay, just to add to the conversation . . .


    1. EDC is a G21 with a spare mag.
    2. BUG is a PF9 with a spare mag
    3. Folder . . something light but strong, it varies
    4. The usual wallet, keys, etc.

    In the car . .

    1. First aid kit
    2. Flashlight/stun gun
    3. Emergency ruck with food, water, clothes, medical supplies, etc.
    4. Large scale map and compass in case I have to walk out of the area
    5. Fixed blade knife

    I may add things as needed, and there are days when I simply cannot carry the handgun I would like to for a variety of reasons, so I carry the 9mm with a P32 with a mounted Crimson trace for a BUG. All guns are loaded with either HTP or Cor Bon HPs.

    Range time is a weekly event.

  25. Great writeup sir ! Lots of valuable info and things to consider. I seem to garner many questions asked of me by workmates. Usually general gun/preparadness info and such. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and experience and seeing folks think things through and start their own edc journey. To me, the more self reliant people…the better.

    My edc list is pretty simple given my route to work and job duties….pistol and spare mag, small flashlight, knife, and what i call “dressing the part” which is tactical but practical in nature. Then of course my get home bag kept in the truck and always close to me. Its stuffed with items i may need and would want to have handy in case of emergency. Recently i have assembled a truck gun with light mounted for…….shall we say……unforseen circumstances. Hope i never have to use any of it….but i am prepared to do so.

  26. a spare mag is essential. if tap, rack, shoot fails, the next step (and you are really behind the response curve already) is to load a new mag (no matter how many rounds a mag holds). without a spare mag, you now have a rock in your hand. after a shooting, it may be wise to drop the shot mag, and replace with a full load, just in case.

    the picture of the guy and the grocery basket is important, what other things do we automatically do where both hands are occupied at the critical moment?

    1. I try to think ahead as much as possible. For example, when i come out of a supermarket, and I have more than one smallish bag, I always take a cart because it’s quicker to let go of a cart and draw than to drop a handful of bags. Always look around, always lock your car door as soon as you get in, always be aware.

    2. @Mikial:

      Great ideas about the bags and looking around. I always do the looking around in parking lots. I try to coach my wife and daughters about that, but they don’t always listen and they don’t think tactically.

      I did want to add something to your locking doors immediately idea. I got this from watching the Investigation ID Channel all the time. Serious car jackers, I mean the meanest and toughest ones, will actually carry a rock or metal object to smash your window in a split second. So after locking your doors, you still have to remain observant and have a plan (like a knife) if this extreme style of carjacking should happen.

      I know you’re an expert. I know you live and breath this stuff in your career, but I just wanted to add to your advice because I was shocked when I saw this on TV.

    3. Yeah, just sitting there with your windows up isn’t the total defense, all it does is slow the bad guy down a little. You don’t even need a rock since so many knives come with a glass breaker built in. Believe it or not, when I was a probation officer we had a lot of problems with jackers and auto burglars breaking the ceramic from a spark plug into a couple of pieces and using it to break car windows. I didn’t believe it until we tried it, but throwing one of the ceramic chips thrown against a side window will shatter it much easier than a stone of the same size. Must have something to do with the jagged broken edges and the density of the ceramic material.

    4. @Mikial:

      I think it’s great that we’re discussing these issues regarding getting into our cars. This will totally help me to be even more aware of my surroundings than ever before, because this is a location that’s very vulnerable. We need to have all of our personal defense items with us where they’re always readily accessible (and not get lazy like I do sometimes), and always remember to trust our instincts.

    5. good tips. And another, when you get to the car, get your packages and yourself in the car. Don’t take a lot of time messing around. And when you get in the car, be ready to go. The same is true when you arrive at the store, or wherever. Be ready to get out of the car and go. Sitting in a parked car, and loading and unloading are extremely vulnerable positions to be in. As you said Mikail, always lock your door immediately, but even a locked park car is not a position I like to put myself in. I try to stress this to my wife, but she always has to touch up her lipstick, put her phone in her purse, and who knows what all else while she’s sitting in a parked car, on the the street or in some parking lot.

    6. @indiana steve

      There’s actually some research that shows that women and men act very differently when they get in a car. Men are far more likely to just get in and drive away, while women seem to take more time to mess around with things like the mirrors, their purse, phone and make-up. It’s a behavioral thing that everyone needs to correct in order to be safer.

      And you are 100% correct about the loading and unloading time being the most vulnerable. I always try to load the bags into the car quickly. I hate the feeling of being bent over into the car with my back to the world not knowing if someone is going to come up behind me.

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