EDC as a Lifestyle

I was reviewing my blog, and as it turns out, in the years I’ve been writing this, I’ve never done a post on my everyday carry. This seems strange to me, since most of it hasn’t changed in a long time.

To start with, I’ve carried a pocket knife for as long as I can remember. Starting in about the 7th grade, I carried a Boy Scout version Swiss Army knife, up until about the time I graduated from high school. Yes, in those days we could carry a knife with no comment from anyone at school. I even had a teacher borrow mine once or twice.

I changed knives in college, and then went back to the Swiss Army knife you see above, in 1992.

I added the Leatherman tool a few years ago after I received it as a gift. I particularly like it because it’s got tools I can use, like pliers and a file. But the thing I like best is that it doesn’t have a blade, so the TSA lets me take it on an airplane, and so when I travel without checking bags, I’ve got something, at least.

In the same vein, I’ve carried a flashlight for my whole career. As a chemical engineer, there are many times every day when I needed to be able to see something in a shadow or in the dark, and I started carrying an explosion proof flashlight. I still do, only this one is 200 lumens, and uses AA batteries. I keep about 6 rechargeable batteries in rotation, and when the last charged set of 2 go in, the other 4 go in the charger overnight. When I travel, I always carry a spare set of batteries, and I keep a set of 4 in the Get Home Bag.

Next is my wallet. All I carry in there is my various ID – driver’s license, Weapons Carry License, insurance cards, and the like – and my credit cards, and a few business cards. I haven’t carried cash in my wallet since I was in college, and when I do I carry it in a different pocket than the wallet. This has to do with avoiding pickpockets.

In fact, I always carry these things in certain pockets, for a reason. Here’s where:

Right front: cell phone, knives, car keys, cash, and a pen.

Left front: wallet, flashlight.

Left rear: a handkerchief.

Note I don’t carry my wallet in a back pocket, so I can avoid pickpockets. I also carry my wallet on the left side, so if I’m asked by a policeman for my ID, I’m not reaching on the same as my pistol.

I also carry my flashlight in my left pocket, so I can draw it and go to a Harries or other flashlight hold.

On a similar note, in my car I keep my insurance card and registration in a folder on the back of the driver’s side sun visor, since I can’t promise that I haven’t just been to the post office, which would mean my pistol is in the glove box. Again, no sense drawing attention to anything I don’t have to.

Now we get to the most recent addition – a pistol. In the summer I carry Liberty, my G19, IWB at 3 o’clock.

In the winter I mostly carry Bruce, my G17, on my belt OWB at 3 o’clock, with an open shirt or jacket or fleece vest over it.

Year round I carry a G17 magazine with a plus-2 extender on my left side at 3 o’clock.

So there you have it. Nothing that isn’t part of my life, for quite a while.

Having said that . . .

I will likely add a medical pack in the near future, now that Linoge has shown how to put it all in a cell phone case. Stay tuned.

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P-Mags – Questions for my Readers 

I recently got to spend some time with an experienced Army sergeant, who has spent his share of time in harm’s way. When we were visiting, he noticed my P-Mag supply, and asked if they were all I used.

Naturally I was concerned that a professional would question this, in much the same way if my doctor were over, and questioned my brand of first aid products; they must have a good reason.

As it turns out, he did. He told me that, in fact, he had used them quite a bit, exclusively in fact, for quite a while. He liked a lot of things about them – grip and texture, weight, durability – but he eventually stopped, due to one reason. After a long time carrying them, they started misfeeding, and the followers got hung. He found out they had gotten full of sand, and that was causing the problems. So, since he could, he just switched over to the Army issued metal mags, and had no problems thereafter.

So, that got me thinking: should I get rid of mine and switch?

But before I tell about that I thought I would ask you, O Reader: what is your experience with P-Mags? Please share, and I will continue next week.

Be Prepared, Part 12 – Keeping the Get Home Bag Up to Date

Be Prepared, Part 2 - Getting Home

 

This past Sunday was beautiful here in Kennesaw, and I took the opportunity to clean out and check our Get Home Bag. In this case, I took heed of some family changes in the last couple of years that have changed the needs of the bag somewhat.

First, my wife normally is the one away from home, although certainly on a family trip we would all be involved. In any case, we both went through it and agreed on what to include.

Second, we took into account last year’s snow storm, and what my wife might want to use from the bag.

Here is what we have in the bag, with the changes indicated in bold:

  • Granola bars (we are going to find some energy bars or fruit bars as well)
  • Water
  • Change of clothes (2 shirts, sweat pants, and 2 pairs of socks )
  • Work gloves
  • Ball cap and sock cap and woman’s ear covers
  • Poncho
  • Shoelaces
  • Bandana and shemagh 
  • Rubber jar opener (to make a makeshift sink drain plug if needed)
  • Cell phone battery charger
  • AA Batteries
  • LED flashlight
  • Light sticks
  • Ammo
  • Lighter
  • Candles
  • Purel
  • Germicidal wipes
  • Bedroll and fleece blanket
  • A towel
  • Space blanket
  • Hand Warmers
  • Entrenching tool
  • Multitool
  • Trash bags
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Pen & paper
  • Rope
  • Drugs – Aspirin, Immodium, Sudafed, Antacids

In addition, I have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher that would be added.

Of course, we did the usual maintenance – fluffing the blankets and towels, and replacing the granola bars.

Now we are all set for the winter to come!

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Epilogue:

See other GHB posts from Linoge and Erin.  Good stuff.

 

Why You Need to Have Rules of Engagement

In June of this year, two nutjobs walked into a pizza restaurant in Las Vegas, and shot the place up, and killed two police officers, Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo. (I will not use the names or likenesses of the killers, as you know.)

They then proceeded to Wal-Mart, and opened fire there as well. There, Joseph Wilcox, a licensed concealed firearms carrier, decided to intervene, and was killed.

Caleb Giddings posted an editorial on GunNuts shortly afterward about lessons we can learn from this shooting. In it, he points out that, while Wilcox is to be commended for making the tough decision to get involved, he had no moral duty to do so.

Later, Miguel at Gun Free Zone offered his view on incident:

The question remains: what would you do if you see an active shooting situation and you are not in immediate danger? Do you run to safety or do you engage? You decide, I can’t tell you what to do.  I can only tell you what I will do: I will engage if I can.

Miguel likens an active shooter incident to a First Responder incident, where we should offer medical attention to anyone who is injured.

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Then, last week, armed robbers tried to hold up a bar in Texas at closing time, and 2 of them were shot dead by what everyone is calling a hero.

I can’t use this man’s name, as no one knows for sure who this hero was, because he left the scene. Why? Because, unlike in Georgia, carrying a gun in a bar in Texas, licensed or not, is a felony. And he, understandably, did not want to go to jail.

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These incidents highlight something we all need to give serious thought to: everyone who owns a gun, whether they carry or not, needs to have Rules of Engagement – a set of guidelines of what you would do when confronted by various situations. The scenarios need to range from home invasion to active shooters to civil unrest.

To me it isn’t enough to just vaguely think about these things. We ought to actually list them out, and write out what our response would be. Knowing and following these rules then becomes part of your training, so that you know what you are going to do, just like whether you will perform a tactical reload or not, or whether you will reholster or not.

I did this, several years ago, and I have shared this with my family. That way, if they happen to be with me when such an incident occurs, they will know how I am going to act, and they will know how to act themselves, in a way that doesn’t get them hurt.

For instance, everyone in my family knows that when we go out to dinner, I get a seat facing the door. If we are in a booth, I get to sit on the end. These should be obvious, but we discussed them nevertheless. Yes, they can become a humorous item at times, but they still get followed.

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This leads me to the real topic of this post, which is that my Rules of Engagement differ from Caleb’s and Miguel’s, because unless I or my family or those I am tasked to protect are threatened, I won’t engage. I am not here to be a hero, and if you are not my family or in my care, I am not here for you.

On the other hand, I am willing to do whatever it takes to protect my family. When it was illegal to carry in restaurants or bars in Georgia, that meant I was willing to go to jail to save them, if I had to.

I still am, because their lives are worth more to me that freedom. And, if by my actions I can show how silly some law is, and it gets changed, all the better. I hope lawmakers in Texas will see that the laws prohibiting carry in bars did nothing to dissuade the robbers, so they need to be changed.

I can list a myriad of reasons for my rules, but the best one, sadly, is the reason Joseph Wilcox died in Wal-Mart – Uncertainty. He engaged a target, not knowing there was another, and that target killed him.

I am going to limit my uncertainty. I am willing to allow it in order to defend myself or my family, but beyond that, no.

That, of course, is something you will need to decide for yourself.

 

 

 

 

Five Guns I Will Gladly Own

In light of my post the other day about Five Guns I’ll Probably Never Own, and seeing that others like Kevin have posted their wish lists, I thought I would update my Wish List that I published a couple of years ago, and amended. . . .

1. AR-15 

I’ve completed this one, in the form of Ol’ Painless. Check.

First Shot 2

1 (substituted). Kriss Vector

I got to shoot one of these at the Lucky Gunner Blogger Shoot. It’s a full auto, suppressed, .45ACP machine gun that uses Glock magazines. Because of how the internals work, the action itself helps reduce recoil, so that it is really one sweet shooting machine.

I would even settle for the semi-auto version.

Here’s a video I shot of John at No Lawyers Only Guns And Money shooting one. Enjoy.

2. M-1 Garand

I live about 2 hours from the Anniston CMP Armory, so I could drive over and select my own M-1 from their inventory. I also had the fortune of meeting the Georgia CMP Director, who offered his help in getting a good selection.

3. AK-47

Image courtesy of WarriorTalk News

I think I would prefer a modern Saiga, although a nice wood-furnitured Kalashnikov would be great, too.

4. Glock 35

Courtesy of 3gun.se

This is one reason there is an asterisk in my list of guns I would not own. I wouldn’t buy a .40SW for defense, but if I decide to build an Open gun for USPSA, this is where I will start.

5. FN FAL

Yes, a SCAR-Heavy would be nice, but this will run me a lot less.

Be Prepared, Part 11 – Chaos

zombie-hordeSeptember is National Preparedness Month, so I thought I bring you at least one more installment in this popular series, Be Prepared.

As events like the Boston Marathon bombings, September 11, and Hurricane Katrina have shown us, our world can be thrown into Chaos any time. Keeping our families safe is always a priority, and in a time of Chaos, it becomes even more important, as it becomes more difficult.

Of course, the problem with Chaos, as Jurassic Park’s  Dr. Ian Malcolm would tell you, is that anything can, and does, happen. It is, by nature, unpredictable. You cannot predict, with any degree of certainty, what will happen, or how people or systems will react to any given situation.

But that does not mean that we can’t make plans based on scenarios that we think are likely to happen. The best example of this is the reason every car comes with a spare tire and a jack. We can’t predict when or where, or even if, we will have a flat tire, but we can be prepared for it, and train for it by learning how to safely change a tire.

Most readers of this blog have also done that in a more specific way, by deciding that there is a finite probability, as Tom Givens would say, that we will encounter someone who needs to be shot. So, we carry a concealed weapon, we train ourselves in its use, and we prepare to deal with those consequences.

So, make a plan.

When we did our family plan, one thing we saw was that a lot of times we might not have a clear picture of what was happening – there would be Chaos. For us, the best way to mitigate that Chaos was to have everyone in the same place, preferably at home. So, in the event of Chaos, we need to know:

  • How is everybody? Are they injured? Are they threatened, or are they safe? If they are safe, are there threats in the area?
  • Where is everybody? If they aren’t at home, how can we get them home safely? Can they do it alone or do they need assistance?
  • What is the immediate situation, and what is the outlook for the foreseeable future? Do we need to move?

Then the plan becomes taking care of the answers to these questions – getting everyone safely home. In the course of this, here are some of the things our family came up with:

  • Every vehicle has a first aid kit, ponchos, food, and water.
  • My son goes to school with a first aid kid, poncho, food, and water. If has has to, he can walk home 5 miles. He knows the way home cross-country, avoiding main roads.
  • My daughter goes to college in downtown Atlanta, about 30 miles from where we live in the suburbs. One of the things we plan for is the possibility that she might need to evacuate downtown, but that she might be unable to do so safely by herself. As a result, I never leave my car at night without enough gasoline to get downtown and back.
  • I know 4 different ways to her college that don’t involve taking a main highway.
  • In the event of real unrest, communication is essential. For that reason, everyone in my family has a printed list of phone numbers of all the other members, plus others outside our area. We don’t rely on the phone list in our cell phones, since those may be lost, broken, or the batteries may be dead.
  • In real unrest, cell phones will be overloaded, as they were after the Boston Marathon bombing, and making calls will be nearly impossible. However, since the SMS text system uses the cell phone’s carrier signal to broadcast, if you have cell bars, you can almost always send text messages. Our family shares a text messaging plan, and we also know the codes to send emails to text messages. Look that up for your carrier.
  • Because it might not be easy or prudent to send a long text message, we all have a list of codes to use in text messages.
  • Family members outside our area are included in the system. Heaven forbid, “bug out” might get real.
  • In event of real bug out, we have a series of pre-chosen rendezvous points, depending on the direction we choose to go, which would be picked based on the threat and likelihood of threat in the direction we choose. We also have them picked based on how far we need to go.

In the end, you can’t plan for everything, but you can expect the Chaos that will come. Have a plan.

Operation Red Cell

Actual break-in evidence photo from the Queensland Police, Australia. The criminals used the owner's ladder to enter the upstairs.

Actual break-in evidence photo from the Queensland Police, Australia. The criminals used the owner’s ladder to enter the upstairs.

For those who don’t know, the original Red Cell was a project started by Richard Marcinko, founder of Seal Team Six. Basically, the Red Cell’s job was to attack US bases and test their preparation for terrorist attack. He found them wanting, and was court martialed for his efforts.

What I want us to do today is to use this concept against our own homes and businesses. Look at them through the eyes of a criminal. Where can I break in? Where am I vulnerable? Where can I improve?

Of course, we have to be brutally honest with ourselves if we are going to get benefit from this. After all, we would love to think everything is just fine. But the truth is there is room for improvement in everything.

Next, take a look at the situation record what you find. Be thorough. Photographs or sketches can be a great tool, as it will help you see if the changes you’ve made are sufficient.

Then, sit down and assess what you find. Here, you will need to make a judgment call on what level of security you are willing to accept.

Look for places where an intruder can hide from sight. Light them.

Look for doors or windows that can be easily defeated. Fix or replace them.

Finally, commit to a plan and make changes. You don’t have to do them all at once, just prioritize them and make the changes with the biggest return first. If money is no issue, maybe you do them all at once.

I recently did this, and I found some areas that I could improve. One thing to consider is whether you have things lying around that can be used to break in. I found I was just leaning my 24 foot ladder against the fence, where it could be used to access the upstairs. Now, it’s mounted on the fence, and secured by a steel cable bicycle lock.

Now, I have a plan, and I’ve made headway. I’m not done. Heck, I will never be done. But my home is better off today that when I started.