Every Day Carry or EDC has been around since humanity started survival. It has changed over the years as the tools available and society changed. Today everyone has some form of EDC. Whether it's your keys, your phone, or even something as simple as a watch. You have something that is with you every single day.
But what should be in an EDC setup? Let's look at some options that you should consider whether you're just starting your EDC or if you want to upgrade to your current setup.
Now the EDC scene has many different branches to it, with some areas becoming more of a competition to see how much one person can carry in their pockets rather than how functional those items might be.
We're going to look more at function and practicality rather than “Pocket bling” for the best results.
Artificial light doesn't get the attention that it deserves. Whether it's due to time of day, where we work, or other normal occurrences we spend a lot of time with darkness in our environment. This can be closing at the office, investigating what's rummaging in our trash cans, or even just checking the basement for those picture frames.
Being able to see allows us to minimize threats to ourselves. And that isn't even taking into account potential violent encounters. When we add violent encounters to our list we find that positive identification is greatly aided by an EDC flashlight. Whether on a firearm or just a quality handheld flashlight, the light they produce allows us to more easily determine if someone is a threat to us in the dark. It gives a small level of control to the situation that could prevent an escalation, although this should not be banked on.
Somethings to keep in mind when selecting a flashlight for you EDC are light output (generally measured in lumens), the throw of the light (area of the light output), the hot spots (brightest areas of the output), batteries, battery life, and size of the flashlight. Ideally the brightest, longest lasting flashlight you can carry easily should be your choice. However the perfect flashlight does not exist as each individual's needs are different.
This problem can be offset by carrying multiple flashlights, one for general “administration purposes” and another for looking at potential threats. Lights that fit these descriptions are generally selected from companies like Streamlight, SureFire, etc.
Flashlights are one of more likely things for you to use as part of your EDC, so extra research into the options available is recommended.
The most discussed factor in many EDCs is the knife one should carry. Now it doesn't have to be a knife. Box cutters and multi-tools are some alternative options but local laws and other legal questions need to be considered when selecting an EDC knife.
Certain locations ban fixed blade knives and others regulate blade lengths or both. But the purpose of the blade determines what is carried. For basic cutting tasks Swiss army knives, older folding knives, razor blades, etc. are all viable and can take up less room than fixed blades while providing more utility. Fixed blade knives tend to lean more towards defense and rougher work. Fixed blades tend to be more integrally sound than folding knives, allowing for a large margin of error when it comes to use.
Whatever you choose, make sure it fits the needs you have and the legal requirements of your area. EDC cutting tools are far more necessary than people think in the modern world and should be integrated as much as possible.
Probably the most overlooked aspect of EDC is medical equipment. Now this doesn't mean you have to carry a full surgeon kit with you, but you should keep some basic medical supplies with you. The most important being tourniquets.
You are more likely to encounter a situation where someone is bleeding out than any other potential life threatening occurrence. This means knowing how to stop bleeding and having the tools to do so should be a priority.
Tourniquets like CAT or SOFT-W tourniquets, gauze, and medical tools can be carried on-body with special rigs and carriers (carriers especially for the tourniquet to avoid compromising the tourniquet). Physical trauma happens a lot outside of “gun fights” and keeping people alive to get them to the hospital is a lot easier with proper medical equipment.
Guns and less lethal options are really neck and neck on this list. This is because of the heavy restrictions and rules that govern both may make one a viable option in one location and the other in a different location. For the most part firearms are not essential to a daily EDC but that will vary from person to person.
When we deal with firearms in an EDC setting we are either dealing with concealed carry or open carry. This means a proper holster should be used. Whether you are carrying a revolver or a modern semi-automatic, a proper holster is necessary to safely carrying the gun.
With the tendency towards appendix carry for concealed carry, a proper inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster will help mitigate accidental discharges from a gear stand point. Negligent discharges with this style of carry will generally be into the leg or possibly the foot which create a major bleeding risk if that happens. It's recommended that a fully enclosed trigger guard and a kydex holster be employed when you are appendix carrying.
Additionally some people can open carry their pistol, whether it's because of their job or their legal ability to. This generally will have an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster for this application. Law enforcement should have level 3 retention holsters but if you are not worried about extra retention a standard OWB holster will do.
Less lethal tools and firearms (depending on your need and location) can be interchangeable on the list of important things to carry. Less lethal tools give the individual a middle ground to go to because not every situation that can't be resolved peacefully has to go to lethal force.
Tools in this category include pepper sprays, expandable batons, impact tools, etc. The most widely spread of these being pepper spray. Batons, saps, and blackjacks are extremely variable when it comes to legality. One location may specifically ban them while another may state them as acceptable items to own and carry. Check your local laws to see what less lethal options are available in your area.
While not mandatory it is a good idea to consider carrying spare ammunition and there are three major reasons to carry spare ammunition. Reason number one is capacity and reloading capability. If you're carrying a revolver or a semi-automatic with a capacity of ten or less, spare ammunition will be very useful. This is because a six round or ten round capacity is considered the bare minimum today and not every situation can be resolved with only a handful of shots. You might need to bring the gun back into play before you can escape or get help. This can only be done if there are bullets in the gun.
The second reason, which applies more for semi-automatics, is to fix malfunctions. Magazines can fail, guns can fail. A magazine can fall apart (weird things happen out in the world) and guns can jam. The easiest way to fix both is to drop the in-gun magazine, clear the gun, and put a new magazine in.
Everyone's EDC loadout will be different. That's because people have different preferences, needs, and wants in regards to their tools. This has been an overview of what should be considered as part of your EDC. Training and practice will refine what is best for your situation.
Hopefully this gives you a starting platform for building your EDC or an idea for upgrading your EDC setup.