Tuesday, July 7, 2015

EDC: The Basics

“What the heck is EDC!?” I heard this question from a normal person the other day as I was spewing out acronyms like I knew another language. Sometimes I forget that normal people speak with words instead of initials and made up words. After working over 30 years on military bases I’ve got quite a lexicon of jargon that would drive a normal person nuts. EDC is short of Everyday Carry. Yeah, like saying the three letters is faster than the two words. Anyway, Everyday Carry is something that gear nuts have come up with to describe what is carried with a person all the time. Women have mastered this long ago with a thing called a “purse”. But tough tactical guys have to change that to a “man word” and finally initials like EDC. You’ll hear it thrown around a lot in military and law enforcement circles.
I am a long-time fan of a YouTube channel Nutnfancy. He is a retired Air Force pilot who I believe still flies commercially. I don’t know if he was the first to coin the EDC initials or not but it from him that I first heard it several years ago. Now I have always had EDC gear since I was a young Boy Scout leader in the 80’s. I’ve told this story before but I repeat it so you know where I’m coming from.
As a Boy Scout leader I had a need to carry a knife. My first official knife, other than pocket knives I carried as a boy, was a Swiss Army Knife,the Victorinox Fieldmaster. I no longer carry a Swiss Army knife but if I did it would be this one. I base my carry knives on this model. 3 things I use a lot beside the actual knife blade are the scissors, the can opener, and the saw blade. So when I look for a multi-tool, they must have these 3 features that are based on the Victorinox Fieldmaster. Anyway, again I digress. As I started to carry this knife I tried various pouches but finally found the Nite Ize Pock-Its. The reason I wanted this particular case was that it had a belt clip. I didn’t have to thread my belt through it and could remove the case anytime. The model I used first was a model that had a loop on the outside of the case for a mini flashlight. I decided to use this loop and bought a mini mag light to put into it. This combination was something that I soon could not be without. On occasion I would forget the case at home and always be grabbing for one or both of those handy tools. I finally upgraded to a Nite Ize XL Pock-Its case. It holds my Leatherman, my tac-light, my tac-pen, and other necessities I have found I need on a regular basis. I tell you this as an example of one person’s needs for EDC. I also carry a weapon in various places that work for me. I love the idea of appendix carry but have tried it and it is very uncomfortable for me. This is what you must do with your own EDC system to find what gear you need and what will work for you. My Nutnfancy friend has gone to a small fanny pack in his EDC. I have yet to try this but have thought about it. There is nothing wrong with getting ideas from others even on the internet. As far as You Tube “celebrities” go, I have watched a few for many years so that I know their ideas and what they think in terms of gear and why they carry certain items. I can’t say that they do not influence me because I know they do. But I do not buy anything just because “they” have it. Such as the fanny pack. I didn’t run out and try that because Nutn has one. Find web sites or channels that you feel you can trust for their ideas. Always watch and read these different ideas (including LDS Gunsite!) with a little critical eye thinking “would I really use/need that?” Then experiment. Do you want an external safety on your carry gun? Do you need an assisted open folding knife? Ask the hard questions and don’t buy something because of it’s “cool” factor. I like things that are a single item with multiple uses like my Leatherman. I also am a big proponent of light weight gear. If you watched Nutnfancy you would know he is this way also. As a Boy Scout leader I learned that the lighter my load out, the more gear I could carry and the easier the load I’d have to bear. This is why I watch Nutnfancy because he and I agree on many things. Find someone like that to gauge your EDC items with. It could be a friend you know and respect. This equipment can be expensive but there is a market for used items. If you find that one tactical light doesn’t do what you want it to and find something else that does, put the original on Ebay and recoup some of your funds.
There is a saying in preparedness and survival circles: Two is one and one is none. I agree with this statement but probably not in my EDC. Like I said, I deal in constraints of size, bulk, and weight. So two guns would probably not be in my EDC. If I were in law enforcement I might consider it. Or, if I knew I had to go into an area that was known to be pretty dangerous, I would alter my EDC. As a military member I supplemented our load out all the time. Plan accordingly. Depending on the situation I may supplement my current EDC with a bug out bag or other items in my vehicle.
The saying “You get what you pay for” usually applies to EDC type gear. For some reason when you add the word tactical to anything, the price triples. I found a flashlight that does not pit that saying. Walmart carries a Coleman brand flashlight. I require over 200 lumens in my EDC flashlight. I also want a thin light as opposed to short and wide. I also like AA or AAA battery lights. Coleman sells an aluminum LED bulb 220 lumen AA light known as the CT-24. It is only $24.95 and is carried by Walmart. I love this light! It has 3 settings and a one handed operation on/off button. It is just as good as some of my Streamlight lights I’ve bought in the past at twice the price. So, you can find bargains if you look and test.
Here are some suggestions for your EDC.
Mag lights are still good lights and come at a good price. Flashlight technology has come a long way fast. There are many lights out there to choose from without breaking the bank. I try to never be without a flashlight and use mine regularly.
First Aid
You must decide to what extent you will carry first aid items. I carry only a few band-aids. Always have. I know some people who carry a tourniquet all the time. I’ve never felt the need because I’m always close to a first aid kit whether I’m at home, work, or church.
Parachute Cord
There are so many things you can do with this. I usually have a paracord bracelet on or as a keychain. In my knife case I keep about a 10 foot hank.
I carry a small firesteel. Just in case. To me fire is so versatile I want something to make it with me all the time.
One of my rules that my children know quite well is never leave home without a gun or a knife.
Non-lethal Weapon
There are many but I usually carry a tactical pen.
Cell Phone
I know most all of Americans carry one but make sure you do.
A good knife has multiple uses. As a last resort it could be a weapon.
If you carry a weapon it might be wise to have a lawyer in your pocket. There are several legal defense firms around now that will defend you in the case of you having to defend yourself with lethal or non-lethal force. Look into this because it may save you legally one day.
There are other things you should possess when carrying a weapon and other EDC items.
One is the mindset of de-escalation. The last thing you want to do is actually use your weapon in defense.
Another is a heightened situational awareness. You really need to know what’s going on around you and a reality of what that is. If you get just a snap shot of what’s around you, you could judge that wrong and have an equally wrong response. The best way to stay out of trouble is to not stand out. Stay away from tactical clothing and gear that looks like you’re an operator. I’m not saying buy cheap stuff, just make sure it’s out of sight if it looks too tactical. Blend in with where you are.
Be mentally and physically prepared. I go through scenarios like “If he does this I’ll do this.” That’s only if you get to that point of course. Most situations will not escalate into a real threat situation. If they look like they are going that way, have several exit strategies already planned and execute one of them.
Know your gear and how it works. Know it very well. Train with what you carry. Use it all often so when it is needed you’ll be experienced with it.
EDC can be a life saver but is usually just a great relief or very convenient. Don’t leave home without it!

Semper Paratus
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