The topic of “EDC,” or “everyday carry,” has really taken off in recent years. Recently I got to thinking about all the “stuff” I have on me as I go about my daily life. Most of these items have multiple uses; they can be used to perform simple jobs or pressed into defensive situations should the need arise. These are the things I need, or might need, in order to make my life easier and safer...and what I recommend for a beginner to the world of self-defense.
If, when and where you can legally carry, do it. Period. Your defensive handgun, no matter how big, small, old-school or fresh-off-the-assembly-line, will absolutely neither do you nor anyone else any good if you are not wearing it when it is needed. The 9mm versus .45 ACP debate will not matter the slightest if your handgun is in the safe at home when you find yourself in the middle of an active shooter situation while out running routine errands. No place is immune from danger. Don’t believe it? Just watch the news or read “The Armed Citizen.”
I cannot go about my daily business without at least one sharp knife. Most days I have two, one medium-sized, sturdy one for everything that might come up from opening the mail to cutting hay strings and numerous other utility needs. The second, smaller one is for important tasks like slicing an apple, cutting off a piece of dried sausage for a snack, etc.
Knife considerations depend largely on what you intend to do with it and where you live. Much of the time I carry a knife in a scabbard on my belt. In rural America a knife on your belt is pretty normal, at least where I live. In some downtown metropolis it might be suspect and very much out of place and could even be illegal. Be sure to know the law applying to knives in your area.
Years ago I started wearing a small, clip-style flashlight above the third button of my shirt. It’s hardly noticeable yet very handy. I know, your cell phone has a light. That’s for minor illumination needs, okay? Not real or potential defensive situations. It doesn’t have to be big, but it does need to be bright. A flashlight must have the ability to provide sufficient light for target identification. Temporarily blinding the bad guy in a confrontation is an added bonus. If you don’t already carry one, you will find all sorts of handy uses for a compact, bright flashlight during your daily activities, even in the daytime. There are many options out there that are small and light enough to comfortably carry in a shirt or pants pocket.
4. Cell Phone
I miss the days when the only possible way to carry a cellular phone was in a vehicle! We are well past that, as virtually everyone has at least one cell phone. Society has evolved to a need, be it real or self-imposed, to be in constant cellular communication. Make sure you have yours charged-up and with you in case you really need to call 9-1-1 in an emergency situation.
While we’re on the topic of daily essentials, carry some cash with you. Credit cards are wonderfully portable, but one electrical glitch or major power loss, and it might be very beneficial to have a few real bills on you. (And, believe it or not, there are still places that will not accept credit cards!)
The multi-tool can really get you out of a jam. I have used them and seen them used to repair vehicles, fences, administer first aid—you name it. I try to keep one handy at all times, if not on my person, then at least the truck console, or in my backpack while hunting, hiking and ATV-ing.
There’s my list of essential gear, let us know what your essentials are in the comments—we all might learn something.