Over the years, I have changed my overall carry gear one way or another countless times, but through the years I have developed preferences. Finding what works best for you over time is no easy feat and although there are shortcuts for certain items like holsters, some of this gear physically takes you carrying it to see if that particular item fits your lifestyle. There’ve been a number of items I have gotten pushback on or people have recommended certain items for daily carry. I’ve picked a few of the most common items that people have talked about in past articles and we will take a closer look at why I choose various items to carry on a daily basis. Let’s take a closer look at what you should carry daily.
Weapon Mounted Light vs Handheld Light
Over the last couple of years, people have debated the validity of carrying a weapon-mounted light versus carrying a standard handheld light. If we are being completely honest here, both styles of lights have their strengths but each style has its drawbacks to consider as well. Weapon mounted lights are an extremely effective tool for giving information in low light/ no light situations. Under stress, a quality weapon light can not only give you critical information but can also momentarily disable a person’s ability to see if they are attacking you. Having a high-quality weapon light gives you a clear advantage if you ever have to pull a firearm at night time.
The big issue with weapon lights isn’t so much a fault of the equipment but human error instead. I’ve touched on this in past articles, but the vast majority of people who only carry a weapon light end up abusing the use of their light at some point. The key to having a weapon light mounted on your gun, is never using it for anything other than what its intended use is. At the end of the day, any way you cut it that muzzle is pointing at anything your light is illuminating which can create some major safety issues if used improperly. I oftentimes will carry a weapon light but if you decide to carry a weapon light, it’s important to keep in mind the safety aspects.
I can’t stress the practicality and usefulness of having a simple handheld flashlight on your body. Whether it’s using the light in a dark closet to find the extra batteries or just using it for everyday tasks, the handheld flashlight offers significantly more uses than a weapon-mounted light. Typically handheld lights are simpler in construction and controls which means they are normally way less to buy than a quality weapon light. Not only are handheld lights typically cheaper than weapon lights but they are usually more functional in daily life as well. The main problem with handheld lights though is trying to use them under stress with a handgun. If you attempt to use a handheld flashlight under stress while you have your firearm, it will most likely be clunky and not as effective as a weapon light.
I can’t tell you how many times in a class I’ve seen people fumble with their handheld lights in an attempt to hold their gun and light effectively. This style definitely takes a little practice but if you can learn how to use a pistol and flashlight at the same time, it does offer a number of weight-saving benefits. Having a regular handgun holster without a weapon light is less bulky and typically is more comfortable. Add in the fact a handheld is more functional for daily life and it becomes fairly clear which one is better to carry daily. If I had to pick, I would carry a handheld over a weapon light every time if I could only have one.
Knife vs Non-Lethal Options
In the past, I have had a number of people chime in about less-lethal options saying they are carrying either pepper spray or a taser in addition to their firearm. While I’m fully supportive of the idea of being prepared, the overall size of less-lethal tools oftentimes isn’t worth their effects and hassle to carry. For those of you who carry either pepper spray or a taser, I fully respect and support this idea. For me, though, I focus on conflict avoidance and getting away from a dangerous situation before it begins. I fully understand the idea of carrying less lethal and support this idea, but after trying it daily I just feel like it doesn’t offer benefits for the extra bulk and weight.
I don’t feel like there needs to be a long explanation as to why it’s a good idea to carry a knife for daily use. There are a ton of people who carry small pocket knives for daily use and they can be incredibly useful. Whether that’s breaking down boxes or just opening up plastic packaging, carrying a quality pocket knife can be a bit of help for daily life. When it comes to pocket knives for me, I typically go for the tiny bit larger ones that can be comfortably carried all day long but could be used as a defensive tool if need be. Where the less-lethal offers only one use which tends to be self-defense, I typically like to carry items that will benefit in daily life as well as a self-defense situation.
The vast majority of the time, you will go along with your day perfectly safe with no threats to your life. It’s always good to have options when it comes to protecting yourself in the event you’re extremely unfortunate to be put into a self-defense situation. I see the benefits of less-lethal tools, no doubt, but the overall size and bulk of these items don’t offer enough benefits for me to carry them daily. If I had to pick just one for daily carry, I would most certainly go with a simple knife.
Backup Gun vs Extra Magazine
When it comes to backup guns, there’s absolutely a time and place for them. For any of my LEOs out there, I would say you’re smart in carrying a backup gun. The amount of odd situations I have heard officers in throughout their time on the force is mind-boggling to me and having another option to protect yourself while on duty makes sense. Having multiple options to defend yourself in a confrontation while on duty gives you an extra advantage so you can go home safely to your family. When it comes to carrying concealed though, the amount of times you will be in a situation where you need to pull your firearm is extremely low. Having to pull a backup firearm is even more of a rarity.
There are plenty of people I know who carry a concealed firearm as well as a backup gun but for the majority of people, there isn’t really a pressing need to carry an additional firearm. The chances of using your main firearm are relatively low and having your primary handgun fail on you is almost zero if you carry a quality firearm. Don’t get me wrong, things most certainly happen but having your firearm fail during a self-defense situation is almost zero with a quality handgun and if it does, you have really bad luck. For certain people like officers, a backup gun offers up another tool for them to use during their daily occupation. For others, though, that go on with their day, it may be a little overkill.
Let’s face it, if you feel like you need a spare magazine to go somewhere, I would first start off by saying you should probably reassess your choices. If you absolutely have to go into a bad neighborhood, taking a spare magazine will be the lighter, easier option. Having something smaller to carry like a Glock 43 or P365 gives you a smaller carry gun but having a spare magazine gives you peace of mind. If I had to pick between carrying an extra magazine or a backup gun, I would prefer an extra magazine every time. An extra magazine is a lighter and less hassle.
When it comes to gear choices, the sky’s the limit. These three were all debates I had internally over certain topics. Carrying a concealed firearm can be overly simplified to just throwing a gun on your belt and going on with your day. The reality of carrying a concealed gun can be fairly complex with a number of personal choices. It took a good amount of time as well as trial and error to get to the point where I’m at today. Don’t be too hard on yourself but look at what you carry realistically and make a choice that’s best for your personal life. These are just a few I had to work through and figured it would help you guys work through your own questions with carrying.
What do you guys think? Is it better to carry only things you’ll really need or could use throughout the day or have something like a non-lethal option even though it doesn’t have a secondary use? Let me know down in the comments below. If you have questions about carrying concealed or firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!