Every Day Carry (EDC)

In the gun world ‘EDC” is common parlance for a gun you carry almost all of the time. Some take this very literally, and insist that this is the only gun you should carry. Ever.

There’s a certain logic to this; if you always carry the same gun it will be the one you are most familiar with, the most experienced with and it’s manual of arms will quickly become ‘hard wired’ skills. In any situation you will use the gun you will be familiar with reloads, clearing jams etc. Taking this logic a step further, it would be advisable to always carry the gun in the same holster, with reloads in the same place on your person. This is not the worst idea in the world.

There’s a slight problem… for many of us it simply won’t work. Not unless we are willing to completely re-engineer all aspects of our life around carrying that gun. What we wear, where we go, what we do, who we see and under what circumstances.

The Colt Junior .25 ACP- small and compact enough to be carried under almost any circumstances… and because of it’s very low-powered cartridge and the difficulty involved in shooting it well, it’s a very poor choice for EDC.

Most of us have lives that are largely the same from day to day. Most of the time we can select a gun that we can carry all of the time on an average day… but if that gun is your only option circumstances could easily arise that mean you will need to choose between being unarmed or not going.

The thing is we don’t all live the same life. If you are, for example, a Guide living in an area where open carry raises no eyebrows, your Ruger Super Blackhawk might fill your needs just fine. But even then… what about when you go to church? Visit family members? Go to a parent-teacher conference? Awkward.

Firearms have advanced to the point where is is easy to buy a very capable firearm that you can carry almost all of the time. The Sig P365 ticks all of the boxes for a lot of people, not surprising since it was specifically designed to fit the ‘one gun EDC’ paradigm by some very experienced, very clever people. Similarly the Glock 43, an air-weight S&W J-frame and many other guns fit the EDC role pretty well, depending on your abilities and your perception of your needs.

I have a single gun that works for me most of the time, and I carry it most of the time. I am intimately familiar with all aspects of it’s operation and manual of arms, I shoot it very well, and it is adequate for the sorts of threats I feel I am likely to encounter. I seldom go places where I cannot dress to conceal it without arousing comment… but it does happen. If circumstances dictated that I needed to wear a suit, lightweight casual clothing or be in protracted, close contact with a group there is a high likelihood that someone would notice that I am wearing it. Depending on the circumstances, this could cause issues that I would rather avoid. In those instances I have the choice of being unarmed or carrying something more discrete.

A compact magnum revolver might be a good choice for carry when hunting… but is it really your best option for running down to the store for donuts?

Being a long-time firearms hobbyist suffice it to say I have a lot of options compared to many people. Not all are suitable for concealed carry; some are in sub-optimal calibers, hold too few shots, are too slow to reload or are just too damn big. But I have a fairly encyclopedic familiarity with handguns, and with any suitable handgun I own I am confident that I could employ it effectively in the sorts of self-defense situations I feel I am most likely to encounter. But let’s face it, I am not most people, or even representative of firearms enthusiasts.

So, what’s a person to do? Of course if you only have one firearm you really haven’t got a choice. But if you are able to have more than one, your life conditions may make it prudent to do so. Say, a standard carry gun that fulfills most of your needs, and others to serve the rest of the time. It’s axiomatic that in a self-defense situation any gun is better than no gun, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put some thought, and more importantly some training, into your ‘situational’ weapon or weapons.

For ultimate discretion it’s hard to beat an NAA mini-revolver… but a five-shot single-action .22 that’s so small it’s difficult to shoot well? Yes, any gun is better than none… but few would argue that this is an ideal choice when something more effective is an option.

If possible I would recommend that you employ guns with a similar or identical manual of arms. If you rode a dinosaur to school and EDC a 1911 .45, you might look at a Sig P238 as your more discreet option. It is not mechanically identical to your 1911, but operation, loading, unloading, clearing jams etc. require identical actions. Similarly if you carry a S&W K-frame revolver the smaller J-frame is an obvious choice for a more discreet weapon. Chances are whatever you carry most days, there is a smaller gun that has the same, or very similar, methods of operating it.

Whatever you carry, whether it is you ‘almost every day’ gun or a situational alternative, you need to practice with it. If it does not operate identically this is even more important. Practice does not just mean being able to hit a target or clear a jam, either. You need to practice how you carry it, how to access your reloads etc. and be aware of the limitations of those methods. If you just drop it in a pocket holster you need to understand that it will be slower to get into action, so you can work around that if you need to. The same applies to how you carry your reloads.

Experts are great. You should definitely consider their advice… but they don’t live your life, and their circumstances may be very different than your own. Their advice may not apply to every aspect of your life, and you need to bear in mind the specific needs, circumstances of your life and the threats that you feel you are most likely to need to deal with. Educate yourself, train with your weapons…. and most of all think.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 11 April 2020

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