YOU CAN BE PREPARED TO FIGHT WHILE STILL CARRYING BARE-BONES, LIGHTWEIGHT GEAR
You can be prepared to fight while still carrying bare-bones, lightweight gear. By CCH Staff
You don’t want to be one of those guys who wears a belt and suspenders. If you actually carried all of the musthave defensive gear the “experts” expect us to stuff into our pockets on a daily basis, those pockets would be bulging out like a chipmunk’s cheeks and you wouldn’t be able to keep your pants up. The fact that there are lots of products out there is a good thing. You have many good choices. But you don’t have to carry it all at once. There are times when you must go bare-bones, times when you must limit what you carry. So, what are those items, the everyday carry (EDC) gear, you should have with you at all times?
For minimalist carry, what might be called “EDC light,” you might want to consider this short list: handgun, one
“A...TACTICAL PEN, SUCH AS THOSE MADE BY TUFF WRITER, MAKES A DEVASTATING IMPACT WEAPON IN AN EMERGENCY.”
full reload, minimalist holster, small pocket knife, single-cell flashlight, secondary weapon or defensive tool, and (this will make the younger generation happy) a cell phone. Let’s look at each one.
This is not the place to compromise too much. Remember, a handgun is already a compromise. You’re trading effectiveness of a long gun for the portability and concealability of a handgun. Many people have no problem carrying a mid-sized handgun, such as a Glock 19 or Commander-sized 1911, in an inside-the-waistband holster while wearing a loose-fitting casual shirt untucked over a pair of shorts on the hottest summer days.
But wait—you’re traveling light. You don’t want to feel weighed down. Or maybe your slight frame makes it difficult to conceal a handgun. Switch to a small pocket pistol if you’d like. Just know you might be limiting your effectiveness in some defensive situations. Try shooting a tiny pocket pistol in an IDPA match to see what we mean. On the other hand, most conflicts occur at extreme close range. If you’re confident in your handgun choice at contact distances, go for it. You will want a reload. You might expend more rounds than you think if you need to cover your retreat and a retreat is usually preferable than staying to fight. If you’re carrying a semi-auto, the magazine is the weakest part, so a spare is a good idea.
Sometimes giving up that bulky holster can make you feel less burdened. The Q-series Stealth holster is a minimalist IWB rig that can be worn in the appendix, strong side or smallof-the-back positions. It is a molded polymer holster that basically covers only the trigger guard. It’s comfortable, convenient and secure. Also, there are devices, belt clips basically, that attach to the handgun itself that allow you to clip your gun inside the waistband of your pants without a holster. Makers include Clip Draw and Techna Clip. Although some companies also offer trigger guard covers, others do not, so extreme caution is needed when carrying this way. A pocket holster is another option, although carrying this way does take up valuable pocket space.
There is no shortage of small, lightweight pocket knives. A good example is the Gerber LST that has been in the company’s lineup for many years. Another that offers great utility is the Spyderco Salt II, also covered elsewhere in this issue. A knife has countless everyday uses, is an excellent survival tool and can be a great deterrent if someone tries to grab your gun.
THIS PEN IS MIGHTIER
It doesn’t hurt to carry items that have secondary uses as last-ditch weapons. A sturdy tactical pen, such as those made by Tuff Writer, makes a devastating impact weapon in an emergency. It’s also a good idea to have something to write down license plate numbers, suspect descriptions and other info so that you can be a good witness for police after an incident. Another good secondary weapon is pepper spray. Small and lightweight canisters, such as those from Sabre, can be especially useful when a struggle doesn’t rise to the level where deadly physical force is justified.
SEE THE THREAT
A small flashlight comes in handy day and night. There are always dark places where you need to shed some light. Streamlight’s Protac 1-AAA pen light is ideal for minimalist carry. It’s smaller than most tactical lights, uses just one AAA battery, yet still emits enough light—115 lumens—to light up a target in close quarters. Its twoway clip can be fastened to a pocket or the brim of your cap to be used as a headlamp.
You don’t have to be glued to your cell phone to realize the ability to communicate can be invaluable in an emergency. Besides calling 911, you can text silently when hiding from an active shooter, use the camera to provide evidence and download navigation apps to find a route away from trouble. For hiking or other remote travel, the addition of a button compass and a disposable lighter are good additions to your pocketable gear.
With the right assortment of lightweight gear, including a handgun, minimalist holster, spare magazine, small knife, single-cell flashlight, tactical pen, pepper spray and cell phone, you can handle many difficult situations.
Several companies make handgun belt clips. This one from Techna Clip is attached to a Ruger LCP in .380 ACP. Great care must be exercised when carrying a gun in this fashion as there is nothing but your pants covering the trigger guard. Also shown is the DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster.
Ready to romp. If hiking is in the game plan, the addition of a button compass and a disposable lighter are good additions to your pocketable gear.