You could ask 50 tactically minded people what an EDC layout should consist of and you would get 50 different answers. Even something as simple as a wallet or a phone case will bring you multiple arguments or reasons why this one is better, you need this feature, etc. At the end of the day, YOUR EDC is determined by YOUR needs. The internet is full of advice on what you should or should not carry, but I’m here to show you what you can carry if you choose to do so and my school of thought behind my EDC. And by EDC, I mean the stuff that is on your person. Not in bags or nearby. The stuff that you throw into your pockets or on a belt.
School of thought
Your EDC should be tailored to your environment. A guy who works and lives in a relatively safe neighborhood with a 5-minute commute probably doesn’t have the same needs as a guy working mobile security for 15 hours a day in some Central American hot spot. If you are traveling through or to any area that you don’t know much about, do your own threat assessment. You don’t have to be an intelligence analyst to google crime rates or violent incidents in parts of a city. In my opinion there are 3 factors to consider when choosing your EDC.
- Where you are starting from, (house, apartment, etc.)
- Your end location, (work, coffee shop, whatever)
- the route you will take to get there
My start location is downtown Savannah which is very hit or miss at times. While my specific block hasn’t had any issues, there have been incidents nearby. My route is not great either as it passes through one of the more dangerous sides of the city, but it is the only route I have to get to my end location which is generally work. Work environment is extremely secure and safe. So, my primary concerns are something happening when leaving my home, or in route to my end location. Hopefully what you’re taking from this is that I know these areas well, I’ve traveled them frequently, and If I was to engage in a fight it would probably be from a vehicle or from a position where my vehicle was close by.
This leads me to my next point, that my EDC is just a means of being able to win the fight or break contact so I can make my way back to my vehicle or a safe area and call LE. Thus, why my EDC is pretty minimal by some people’s standards. I don’t carry a full-size med kit on my person day-to-day because I have a full-size med kit in my vehicle. I don’t carry a handheld light on my person because I have a light on my Glock 43. See what I’m getting at? It’s pretty easy to get carried away and carry tons of shit on your person day-to-day. I see some of these guys on the internet who are super-prepper-types or get carried away with their EDC and their setups just look plain uncomfortable. They’re carrying like 40 pounds of shit anytime they leave their house to get groceries. I know that for myself, and for many of you reading, that just isn’t practical. Tailor your EDC to be COMFORTABLE. If it’s not comfortable you’ll either be pissed off all day because your uncomfortable or end up leaving all that stuff at home. The stats are usually in your favor that nothing bad is going to happen to you (depending on location and personal status of course,) so you might as well live comfortably. If I am going to be away from my vehicle for extended periods of time or touring an area I usually throw my full-size med kit, handheld light, etc. into a backpack and call it a day. Most of all, I trust my gut. If I don’t think I’m at a high potential to have use for it, I leave it.
My daily EDC
- Glock 43 with Streamlight TLR-6 in T-REX Arms Sidecar.
- 2 Mags: one in gun with a Vickers +2 extension, spare with Taran Tactical +2 extension.
- Benchmade Mini Reflex auto
- iPhone 6 in OtterBox Symmetry case.
- Quickclot Combat Gauze
- wallet from Phil’s wallets
- Memoranda notebook and pen
- Copenhagen Long Cut
The Glock 43 is pretty popular sub-compact across the board. Coming it at 8+1 with a 2-round extension, it holds its own against some standard compacts. Before the 43 came out, I was carrying a Glock 23C (Compensated model.) The 43 is just more comfortable for myself and with an extra mag I am carrying 17 rounds of 9mm. This is enough to defeat the type of threats I might encounter in my day-to-day given the areas that I frequent. I Purchased the Glock 43 when it first came out on blue label (Glocks Mil/LE program) for around $400. Taran Tactical was the only maker at the time that had 2 round extensions. I think at the time it was about $35 which was a bit much for a piece of machined metal. Still, it was a good purchase and has yet to cause a failure or malfunction after thousands of rounds. The Tango Down Vickers 2 round extension came out quite a while later, and I purchased it as well. It was only about $10 and came with an extra spring. It has had no issues and is my personal favorite 2 round extension for the 43. One thing I do to all of my Glocks after changing the sights, is change out the slide stop and mag release. I use Tango Down Vickers extended mag and slide stops and they perform perfectly. On the 43 I run Trijicon HD night sights with the orange front sight. They were a solid purchase and they are great night sights and the orange front sight really stands out during the day.
I appendix carry religiously and after trying a few holsters, I found out about T-Rex Arms. The Sidecar is my favorite holster as it has adjustable tension/angle/ride height, has a holster claw, and can carry a spare mag. About $130 and worth every penny. They make great kydex. I used to be a big sandpaper grip guy, I’ve used everything from skateboard tape to the famous Talon Grips. The best brand of grips I have found is a brand called Decal Grips. Even then, the grip on all of them usually wears off with extended use. I carry my gun constantly when outside of the home and every decal I have tried has either come off or the granules of grit came off. Now I use hockey tape. It is a trick a buddy of mine in 1/75 showed me and it works well. Becomes more “grippy” when wet, and when it wears out you just replace it. A roll is like $2.
The Streamlight TLR-6 was another thing I had to have when it came out. I run white lights on all of my guns, but never had a visible laser (Or IR, except for my work guns.) A visible laser works wonders for de-escalating a situation that is right at that tipping point. It’s just another tool in the tool box, and a red dot on someone really changes their demeanor and diminishes their aggression. We use them overseas all the time, trust me, they work. And as for the white light, if you plan on clearing any structure or clearly identifying your targets at night, you should have a white light. Whether hand-held or on the gun, it really is needed. I love Streamlight Products, and their quality is about on par with their main competitors, while the price is substantially lower. I purchased my TLR-6 for about $90.
A knife is kind of a given, and if you aren’t carrying one you should consider it. I use my knife throughout the day for a variety of tasks. It also serves as a backup weapon system if for some reason your gun goes down and you’ve already closed the gap with your opponent. I usually carry a Benchmade Mini Reflex auto. I have a few knives I rotate through, but this one is small and it was free. It’s a solid knife that opens fast and doesn’t take up much room. If I can’t carry a firearm, I usually carry a fixed blade IWB.
This one is a big source of controversy for some reason. IMO, if you know what you are doing, carry something. If you have no idea what you are doing, find a teacher and learn. In the 75th Ranger Regiment we stress medical proficiency down to the lowest level. Everyone is trained and tested in RFR (Ranger First Responder,) think TCCC, MARCH-E, etc. If you enter a gunfight, you might not get away clean. You are only one man in a world of billions, so being able to stay switched on to every single threat isn’t exactly possible by yourself. If you do get caught off guard at least have something to stop bleeding or a full med kit nearby. I carry some Quickclot Combat Gauze and can use my belt as an improvised tourniquet if need be (2 people I know have saved someone’s life with a belt.) Keep in mind, I’ve been at this for a while and know what I am doing. I also carry a full-size med kit in my truck and if I’m going to be on foot for a sustained period, I put it in a backpack. Some of the most highly trained, tactically proficient guys in the world have been shot before, so don’t go out with the assumption that you are the best trained or invincible. Someone might have the drop on you someday, so make sure that in addition to all that time spent shooting, you spend some time getting proficient with the medical aspect as well.
Having pen and paper is a 75th Ranger Regiment standard. I agree wholeheartedly that you should always have the ability to write something down or take notes. I forget shit constantly if I don’t write it down, as my short-term memory is nonexistent anymore. I carry a memorandum military issue notebook and just whatever pen has ink. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just a cheap compact notebook and a pen that works. There are definitely some nicer notebooks out there, I just use this one because it was free.
Pretty much everyone is carrying a phone, I am no exception. I carry an iPhone 6 in an OtterBox Symmetry case. It is a really thin and durable case for around $20 I have tempered glass on the screen just in case it takes a weird spill. I always make sure my Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are turned off when I leave the house to mitigate the possibility of someone tapping into my phone.
Wallet and other smaller essentials
My wallet is super simple, and isn’t fancy whatsoever. It has room for 6 cards and a couple of bills in the middle. It was $10 through Phil’s wallets. Just a guy who makes wallets from recycled leather. Pretty durable, nothing special.
Last but not least, I always have Copenhagen and chap stick. Copenhagen is my only true vice and I have no desire to quit anytime soon. If you don’t dip, DON’T START. If you do already dip, you know my struggle. It is what it is. I always have some Chapstick as well. Nothing sucks worse than chapped lips so it just makes sense to carry something to prevent it.
I went pretty in-depth here on a simple EDC. There is a thought process and experience that drives what I carry day-to-day. Once again this is what works for ME. Feel free to use it as a reference or copy it completely, but your EDC is determined by YOUR needs. Hopefully I helped shed some light on the methodology behind it all and that the average person doesn’t have to have 40lbs on their belt to be effective. There really is no right or wrong answer to EDC, so don’t be too swayed by the paranoid jokers that try to preach what you should or shouldn’t carry. EDC is independent and situational.
Author – Tim M. is an Army Ranger who has served in Afghanistan and is currently a K9 handler for ARSOF. In his free time he enjoys shooting, working out and hitting the trails with the dog.