In last week’s article, I talked about the three firearms and holster styles I use during the wintertime. We are going to keep this train rolling with some of the accessories and things I enjoy carrying to support my carry lifestyle. Everyone is different when it comes to carrying a concealed firearm, but it’s always good to look at what people carry personally to see if there’s a better method out there. The spectrum of carrying accessories goes from excessive to minimalist with everything in between. Let’s take a deeper look into some of the accessories I use in my winter carry.
Carry Extras And Accessories
If you want to go down a deep rabbit hole, checking out various products made for carrying concealed will be a fairly extensive endeavor. Things can be as simple or complicated as you make them in all honesty. My best advice is carry what you will need and forget the rest or build a tier system to keep everything off your body. We will dive deeper into the tier system next week and just stick to what belongs on your body. Thankfully, the aftermarket support for concealed carriers is vast so if you have a product in mind, there are typically a few different companies making options. Whether it’s knives, lights, spare magazine carriers or multitools there are a number of different carry styles and companies that make products for each of those markets.
Lights can be one of those topics that people tend to be polarized on for one reason or another. The two main styles available are carrying a handheld light or having a weapon light. There are a number of points for and against each style and I am one of the few that believe both can be the option. When it comes to my everyday carrying, I will typically have a smaller handheld in my left pocket with some sort of weapon light on my carry gun. Some of you may think having two lights on you is excessive but there are some very good arguments for having both on you.
If you made me focus on just one light, I would pick having a handheld light on me every day over a weapon light. Nothing is more awkward than someone asking if you have a light and all you have is a weapon light. I have seen city police officers pull their weapons out to search a vehicle which isn’t the best way to do things. You are pointing your muzzle at every single thing you point the light out so having a handheld light is a much more practice option than just carrying a weapon light. Whether it’s looking for your personal items in the car or just going through a dark room, a handheld light lets you see without drawing attention to yourself for having a firearm.
When it comes to handheld, there’s always the choice between larger higher output lights and smaller lights that are easier to carry but don’t have the higher amount of lumens. My thought process when it comes to light is to go with a smaller handheld just so you don’t have the extra bulk bouncing around in your pocket. There are some handheld lights that are 1,000+ lumens but will barely fit into your pocket. I tend to go for that sweet spot of 350-500 lumens where it’s a compact unit but still gives you plenty of light if you need it.
Having a weapon light up in northern Michigan is more practical in the winter months compared to the summertime. Typically it will be pitch black around 5:30 in the evening so you’re much more likely to run into trouble at night compared to the summer months when you have 4+ hours of sunlight. With the addition of more layers and heavy winter coats, having a weapon light on your firearm doesn’t typically make it harder to carry since concealing full-size handguns is much easier in the colder months. Since I go with a smaller handheld flashlight, I will typically go with a full power weapon light like the Surefire X300 or Streamlight TLR-HL to get the brightest light I can.
Typically these are fairly compact for the amount of light you get. When it comes to weapon lights, I’ve heard people argue you shouldn’t spend much on the actual weapon light because you won’t use it often. This isn’t exactly a small decision since this light will only be used typically when you are training or using it to defend your life. I wouldn’t want to rely on a discount brand light to save my life but everyone’s different. If you’ve ever taken a low light or no light course, typically they will stress the importance of momentary light which is a bit trickier with a handheld light. It’s definitely not impossible but life is much easier when you have a weapon light to use.
Probably the one tool I use most out of everything is my pocket knife. Pocket knives are one of those tricky topics that people also like to get bent out of shape over. I cannot tell you how many people I have met who carry a utility knife as well as a self-defense knife on top of carrying a firearm. There are very few circumstances where a knife will be faster or easier to draw than your firearm. Something like being on your back and having someone attack you is one of the very few circumstances where a knife could be useful but typically your handgun will be your main source for self-defense. Carrying multiple knives or carrying a huge knife in the name of self-defense will most likely just create more bulk and lead to you being uncomfortable.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big knife guy and appreciate a cool auto blade occasionally, but for everyday use, a medium-priced knife will serve you very well. I’m never discouraging someone from buying a nice knife since some guys love having rare high-quality knives, but having multiple knives on your person is a waste of time in my personal opinion. A knife is a great tool for everyday life, but if you’re carrying a firearm it shouldn’t be your main choice for self-defense.
Carrying an extra magazine is completely optional, but in certain situations can be a smart move. This was more of an issue when single stack carry guns were the rage and you had a limited capacity of 5 or 6 rounds. It was fairly common to stick another single stack magazine in your pocket just in case you needed more. I always carried an extra magazine after taking a vehicle defense course.
Typically it takes 3-4 rounds to clear a hole through the windshield which only left 2-4 shots to defend yourself. Now with micro style handguns carrying 10-15 rounds, there’s not as much of a need for a spare magazine, but if it’s something you’re willing to carry daily, then I say go for it. This is all subject to what your personal needs are and what you find important for potentially defending yourself.
Carrying accessories and extra things on your person is completely up to personal preference and what fits your lifestyle best. From my personal experience, having too much ultimately makes you uncomfortable and fatigues you over time so in this case, less is truly more. It’s important to find a balance for items you can use daily without weighing yourself down with excess items. At the end of the day, it’s up to you but I wanted to give you guys an example of things I carry on my person every day. Let me know what you guys enjoy carrying down in the comments below. If you have questions about carrying concealed or just firearm questions in general, shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.