EDC. For Real, in Real Life

Recently Chris at Lucky Gunner posted a video about his EDC, and it brought up some very good points. You can watch that here. One of his central points is that we’re all different people with different needs, situations, quirks etc. Lacking the imagination to come up with my own topic I thought I’d steal his, and was surprised how many of my choices boil down to ‘because I’m an idiot.’ More on that later. Let’s have a look…

Oh dear. What Fuddish F*ckery is this?

Let’s hit the high points first. The cigarettes are obvious stupidity so we’ll dispose of them first. My only defense is that in the last year I’ve cut my smoking by 60-75% and am continuing to work on it. The lighter isn’t stupid; I often need a lighter in my workshop.

The modern minimalist wallet is easy too. My old one wore out and I replaced it with this so that I would stop stuffing every random receipt, business card etc. that I encountered in my wallet to languish in obscurity until I had completely forgotten what it was and why I kept it. I’m not kidding, when I tossed the old wallet out there were receipts so old they faded into illegibility. Come to that I only assume they were receipts but I don’t know what else they might be. Moving on…

OK, in relative terms this isn’t a ultra-spendy watch, but for someone in my income bracket it’s ludicrously expensive. Hey, it was a birthday present from my wife so you’re damn right I’m going to wear it. The stupid comes in because part of why it’s as expensive as it is. It’s a mechanical self-winding watch, because otherwise the battery would run down and I’d forget to run down to the jeweler to get it replaced for six months, and I need to know what time it is more often than I have my phone immediately available.

One or t’other.

One of these two knives is always in my pocket, and yes they both could use some TLC. The Opinel is a great knife for doing knife stuff. By knife stuff I mean cutting things that should be cut with a knife. It’s not a screwdriver. It’s not a prybar. It’s not intended to be used as a weapon. It’s cheap, light, easy to replace, sharp as hell and it does it’s job. The other knife is one I made a decade or more ago, and it was designed to do a certain amount of weapon stuff but that’s not why I carry it. It’s lightweight and useful, if not as cheap and easy to replace as the Opinel. Sometimes that it opens and closes one handed is a definite bonus however. The knives typically do things like open packages, cut string or twine, trim errant vegetation and I’ve even used the Opinel for leatherwork.

The keys are of course keys which are useful and necessary for the obvious reasons. Be patient, we’ll get to the gun!

Because reload.

I carry a reload. I don’t expect to need it in the context of my day to day life; the main reason I carry it is because I carry a semi-auto and for many malfunctions the fastest way to clear the gun is to reload. Mind you I don’t expect the gun to malfunction; it’s proven quite reliable. OTOH I don’t expect to need a gun at all, but I still carry one. Having a reload seems prudent.

I carry my spare magazine in an inexpensive pouch with a belt clip, and have it inside my waistband. Yeah it’s cheap, but it’s also sturdy, comfortable, is easy to hide and deploy the magazine from. It’s fit for purpose; it doesn’t have to be all high-speed high-tech tacticool.

OK, on to the gun. I have been rather famously ‘gun-agnostic’ for a long time. Given the unique circumstances of my life I’ve felt that pretty much anything I chose would be adequate. Snub-nose revolver, semi-auto, whatever. What I could do with the gun was more important than the specifics of what it was. If it was reasonably comfortable to carry and conceal under my standard wardrobe, enjoyed shooting it and shot it well that was good enough. Recently I re-evaluated that attitude and decided it would be prudent for me personally to have a more capable firearm and meet a more stringent standard. This is because I have had to acknowledge that even if I know the smart thing to do is in a given situation I might do some other thing. Not the wrong thing probably, just something less prudent.

Oh dear. A 1911.

Yes it’s a 1911-based gun, but that’s not because I’m a Fudd or Boomer. OK, in part it is, but not for the reasons you might think. Because of my age and the events of my life I have a lot of experience with 1911-based guns from back when modifications of the platform were broadly regarded as the best choice. By the criteria of the time, the guns available and affordable on the market and especially for action-shooting competitions it arguably was. As a consequence my familiarity with the manual of arms is pretty hard-wired. But while that is at least arguably a plus it’s not the reason.

By the way, the gun is chambered in 9mm. Not because I have any belief it’s ‘better’ in and of itself. It offers higher capacity, fractionally faster follow-up shots and is quite capable of doing the job so that is sufficient.

This gun is heavy, but I am a large man, have a solidly made gun-belt and a well-made holster so the weight and size is not an impediment. The holster is leather because a portion of my day job is leatherwork, so I have the skills and the tools and materials were on-hand when needed. I intend to switch to a Kydex IWB holster as soon as I reasonably can. I’m also working on improving my capabilities, with a more modern, higher capacity platform. When I can meet my performance standard with that weapon I will switch to it. Until then this is the best, most capable choice available to me.

Make no mistake, this is not necessarily the best choice for someone else and I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s only the best choice for me based on current availability and my own arbitrary standards that are extremely specific to me. My life, physicality, circumstances and standards are as unique to me as my fingerprints, and yours are to you also.

What I Don’t Carry

I used to carry a flashlight, but honestly I almost never used it. When I do need a flashlight there’s usually one near to hand. I don’t carry first-aid supplies either; at home both are available if needed, and when out and about they are as close as my vehicle which for me is typically close enough. I don’t carry a fixed blade knife because I don’t anticipate a realistic need for one unless I am hunting or otherwise mucking about in the woods. There are a bunch of other things people consider essential but in my particular, personal circumstances I either don’t feel the need or acknowledge that they are inconvenient enough to carry that re-organizing my life and wardrobe around them isn’t warranted.

Look, I’m sixty years old. I’ve been at this for a while and I pay attention. I’ve got a pretty good idea what I do and don’t need and what I can and will put up with. I am able to adapt to changing circumstances and learn new things, and will doubtless alter my opinions as my needs, circumstances or new knowledge dictate. I acknowledge the need to be mindful as things change and have an open mind. If part this is fueled by an awareness of how often I’ve been wrong, pig-headed or just plain stupid in the past that’s as my be.

Getting to the Point

The point is you need to think. Think about your life, what you do, where you do it and what it’s like. How permissive is your daily environment? What are the plausible threats you might face and what can you reasonably expect to do about them? What skills do you need, where are you at now and what is it reasonable and worthwhile to improve?

We are individuals, we have unique lives and circumstances and these are subject to variable amounts of change. What’s right for one may be inadequate for another, or it might be overkill. What’s right today may not be tomorrow. What’s right for one is not necessarily right for all.

You need to have a realistic idea of what you need. You have to assess how important those needs are and how likely you are to actually follow through. Having a gun you won’t carry or practice with is useless. Likewise gear you won’t or can’t carry in the course of day-to-day life is also useless. Life is about compromises, and we cannot always readily alter our life or circumstances to accommodate our wants, needs or inclinations. Carrying an complete first aid kit on my person isn’t practical most of the time, so as a compromise I carry it in my vehicle.

It’s easy to say, ‘Dress around the gun,’ but it’s not always possible given that most of us have jobs where our clothing is to some degree dictated by the needs and environment of the work. Find the compromises that work best for you and your life and build your EDC accordingly. Be aware of items you might need but that cannot be conveniently kept on-hand and where you might keep them reasonably accessible, or obtain them in an emergency.

There’s more to life than what might happen, and we need to scale things based on our own lives and what is likely to happen. You are a unique person living a unique life. Consider other’s thoughts on the matter and whether they are applicable, but don’t let someone else dictate what’s right for you.

Stay safe and take care,

Michael Tinker Pearce, 8 July 2022

2 thoughts on “EDC. For Real, in Real Life

  1. Carl

    Opinels are quaint, quirky, and an added attraction is they are difficult to open . . . and close

    A number 6 is about the smallest blade that does what I need it to do, and that handle feels like a baseball bat! It about the same size as a Case 6375 CV (Large Stockman carbon) that has three blades of much better steel.

    Unless they are used exclusively for opening cardboard boxes or scraping goo from under fingernails, their delicate semi-durable construction can also be problematic.

    Reply

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