Carry gear CAN help a defender if the gear is solid, convenient, and accessible. I practice a layered minimalist approach to concealed carry and defensive tool use. This isn’t ‘the’ stuff to carry, but it is what has evolved out of all of my testing and gear failures over the last decade. If you like what you see, click the image and the links provided will send some cash to Demonstrated Concepts LLC when you purchase- no extra charge to you.
Layer 1- ‘non-permissive’ environment layer
It gets into every place I have ever been without a second glance.
Here is a purpose built option:
Here is a cheaper and smaller option:
These aren’t going to replace a pistol or knife, but they are allowed in almost all high security areas. A pen and pad are useful everyday items. Stop forgetting and jot it down. Making that ‘honeydo’ list just went tacticool…
Get the paper to accompany it. Here is EXACTLY what I use:
I recommend a middle of the road option here. If you have the bank for a +$100 Surefire torch, you won’t be disappointed in their toughness and quality features.
The budget Surefire:
I enjoy the added retention provided by this:
For those of you wanting daily reliability and functional defensive brightness, but who aren’t planning on running over their lights with tanks or throwing them out of helicopters, here is what I recommend:
I have been running the earlier version of this light for around 5 years, with one of them living on a pump shotgun. I have run through many sets of batteries and the light always works. It is also long enough to be a functional striking device and short enough to comfortably sit in a front pocket. AA batteries abound and they last plenty long in this light.
I hate the idea of spending much money on a utility knife that will be abused every day. Any pretty finish will be gone in the first year. Any serrations will dissuade me from weekly sharpening and will chip off eventually. I like a nice curved edge with a sturdy locking mechanism (no channel locks for me). It also MUST have the ‘wave’ feature or similar. This is less for defensive use and more because I never know I need my knife until I have one hand completely occupied. It is just nice to have that blade reliably deploy every time it is pulled from the pocket. Here is what I have ended up with after breaking several other options:
Small, belt mounted, fixed blade designed by a guy who has been there and knows:
Emergency Wound Care
We make hobbies out of high risk activities. Guns and knives will put holes in you, but think about daily accidents that can leave us dead if we don’t have access to emergency tools. Could you stop an arterial bleed on a loved one in a situation like a cycling accident? If you slipped on a wet log while hiking and were punctured by a protruding branch, would you have the tools to stop your bleeding long enough for help to arrive? I am guilty of going to the pool and not having pockets to have this stuff in. That’s why I have a set of these medical items in every car, range bag, and backpacking pack. Remember, these items are useless without the know-how and training to use them effectively. Get these and get out to a TCCC class to learn about their use.
RATS Tourniquet. It is small enough to fit in that useless tiny pocket on your favorite pair of jeans. Less weight than a handful of change. It can save someones life.
*There are plenty of other, better functioning tourniquets out there. The RATS has its issues with application and tissue damage. It is also the smallest package I know of, and its small size means that it gets carried all of the time instead of ‘most’ of the time.
If you have the room for it, the SOF T or CAT are much more effective options. Here is the SOF T:
Israeli Bandage. This is likely smaller than the stack of credit cards in your pocket right now. Think of it as a big boy band-aid. Something to put over a deep laceration that will keep pressure on the wound for you. They are cheap, sealed and sterilized in a package that will stand up to pocket abuse for a good long time. I have one that has been beaten by my pockets for more than a year. These are less than $6 shipped!
Celox Gauze. The big brother to ‘quick clot’. This is what is going to stop that bleeding from a laceration that can’t be addressed by a tourniquet. Shove this in a bleed 1 pinch at a time until the bleeding stops. Hold it in with that Israeli bandage you had it rubber banded to in your pocket or gym bag.
Layer 2- “EDC” gear, as we typically think of it
I will stick with the many other experts in my pistol recommendation. If you are 5’10” or taller, 32″ waist or bigger and want a CCW gun that is a full ‘combat package’ get a Glock 19. If you can carry a larger gun comfortably, buy a Glock 19. Do not listen to the clíche gun counter/ignorant best friend advice of ‘buy whatever fits your hand’. Buy what is proven to be most trusted and reliable. As you learn, it will become very comfortable to you. Besides, they all feel about the same when they are holstered on your waist- where a pistol will forever stay if you are smart and lucky enough.
If you can’t carry something that large, buy the Glock 43. The Glock 42 is also a fine choice but BE CAUTIOUS OF DEFENSIVE AMMO. ‘Pocket Guns’ chambered in .380 or smaller have a hard time reliably feeding MANY defense ammo offerings. Also, penetration trumps expansion every time, all the time. This is the ONLY time I will recommend ball ammo.
When buying a Glock, sign up for the GSSF (Glock Sport Shooting Foundation) first. They will send you coupons for Glocks at law enforcement pricing… That is a big deal. GSSF also gets you access to the GSSF matches, which are very fun to shoot, offer the winners of every division a free gun, and get you an armorers inspection of your pistol that replaces any worn parts on your pistol FOR FREE.
Anyone who trains defensive pistol use has a drawer full of holsters that ‘were great’. I will only offer a few general rules here.
- NO NYLON. EVER. EVER.
- Strong side is a good starting point, and required by many competitions. Appendix carry is the best defensive carry location
- Kydex beats leather and plastic
- IWB (In-the-WaistBand) is the only realistic CONCEALED carry. OWB (On-the-WaistBand) is great for competition and range use
- Open carry is for trolls and people who want trouble. It’s legal. We get it. Don’t be that guy.
For a first holster I recommend this economical option from Uncle Mike’s. I have scored top 5 overall at every local competition I have shot for the past several years using this holster. It’s ~$15…
For a first carry holster, I recommend getting used to appendix carry, and buying this:
Gun belts just work better for carrying. Leather seems to deform and wear faster. I am a big fan of the ‘cobra buckle’ and even more fond of the mini version that this belt uses. The inner hook/loop behind the buckle is also very helpful. This stiff nylon option has worked for me for 2 years now, and it doesn’t break the bank like other options will.
When it comes to magazine carriers for daily carry- I don’t. When I carry a spare mag, it typically goes by itself in my back pocket. For competition, a magazine carrier can make a huge difference. Again, this is nothing fancy. A simple device for a simple job. This is what I use: