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Don’t Get Caught in the Everyday-Carry Trap

Updated on March 7, 2017
LJ Bonham profile image

LJ Bonham is an author, historian, hunter, and firearms enthusiast who lives in the Rocky Mountains.

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The Everyday Carry (EDC) concept began as a worthwhile idea: have basic survival gear on one’s person at all times. At first, this just meant a few things such as a pocket knife, cell phone, and especially one’s legal sidearm. Then things changed in regards to the gun, and a trap emerged for unsuspecting or novice licensed firearm carriers.

For Your Convenience

Handguns are uncomfortable and inconvenient to carry: steel just doesn’t conform to the human body, and it’s heavy. Authorized CCW people make a commitment when they decide to carry a sidearm; it’s serious business. The problem is, human nature intervened, and people looked for ways to make the EDC concept easier and less cumbersome.

A good EDC gun, the classic Colt Officers ACP.  Also makes a good backup companion paired with a full-sized M1911.
A good EDC gun, the classic Colt Officers ACP. Also makes a good backup companion paired with a full-sized M1911. | Source

Paradigm Shift

Basic CCW doctrine changed during the last decade as more and more permittees adopted standard law enforcement practice. They now carry a backup weapon in case their primary handgun becomes inoperative. Almost overnight, the market demanded very small, light-weight backup handguns.

Ruger LCP, cal. .380 ACP.  One of the many new ultra-compact pistols on today's market.  A great backup gun, but with only a six round capacity and minimal sights, not the best choice for a protracted fire fight.
Ruger LCP, cal. .380 ACP. One of the many new ultra-compact pistols on today's market. A great backup gun, but with only a six round capacity and minimal sights, not the best choice for a protracted fire fight. | Source

It's Only Natural

This trend to smaller and smaller guns intersected with the natural desire for convenience, and far too many people now rely on an ultra-compact backup type gun. Advances in modern bullet design also fueled this trend as ammunition companies found ways to make what had been considered sub-standard calibers such the .380 and .32 ACP much more effective, which made the new small guns even more attractive.

EDC, the old school way.  S&W Model 36 Chiefs Special, cal. .38 Spl.  Also a great gun, but best suited as a backup weapon.
EDC, the old school way. S&W Model 36 Chiefs Special, cal. .38 Spl. Also a great gun, but best suited as a backup weapon. | Source

The Simple, Direct, and Wrong Solution

These trends found fertile ground in the EDC arena and a dangerous schism developed in some people’s minds. It became fashionable to divide concealed carry into two realms: casual, or everyday, carry, and for lack of a better word, “formal” carry. Web forums and magazine print alike endorsed this notion. The gun industry didn’t see a problem with this either since their customers were now in the market for more than just one or two guns.

A better EDC choice: the Glock 26.  About the same size and weight as a five shot snub-nose revolver but carries 10+1 rounds of 9mm.
A better EDC choice: the Glock 26. About the same size and weight as a five shot snub-nose revolver but carries 10+1 rounds of 9mm. | Source

Would You Prefer the Casual or Formal Shootout, Ma'am?

Yet, there is a problem here—shootouts are not “casual” events. Firearms are not fashion accessories, and anyone who carries just to make a statement is missing the entire point. The primary, and only, reason to carry a concealed handgun is to protect oneself and their loved ones should they encounter violent criminals intent on life-threatening harm. Such a situation is battle, pure and simple, and battle demands equipment best suited to the task. There are no “do overs” in battle; people can die. A person is either ready or not ready; there is no middle ground.

With the right leather and clothes, a full size service pistol, like this .45 cal., M1911, carries like a much smaller, less effective gun.
With the right leather and clothes, a full size service pistol, like this .45 cal., M1911, carries like a much smaller, less effective gun. | Source

Denial is Not a River in Egypt

The future is an uncertain business, and one doesn’t get to choose what mayhem may come their way on any given day. Deadly-force situations come in all shapes and sizes, from a single person armed with a tire iron to a dozen-heavily armed terrorists, or even a city-wide riot.

Anyone who legally carries a firearm must make an unflinching, no-nonsense assessment about every potential threat the world might throw at them and arm themselves to meet those threats. If confronted with several assailants intent on killing everyone in their path, it is far better to have a proper, battle capable handgun chambered in a more than marginal caliber, copious extra ammunition, and a backup weapon, rather than just one diminutive .380 which is difficult to shoot accurately beyond five paces.

Modern holsters, such as this Galco Miami Classic, can comfortably carry a full or mid-sized handgun and extra ammo all day.
Modern holsters, such as this Galco Miami Classic, can comfortably carry a full or mid-sized handgun and extra ammo all day. | Source
Mid-size pistols, like this Glock 19, are outstanding EDC choices: reasonably light, compact, good magazine capacity, and chambered for combat effective cartridges.
Mid-size pistols, like this Glock 19, are outstanding EDC choices: reasonably light, compact, good magazine capacity, and chambered for combat effective cartridges. | Source

Make the Right Call

Avoid the EDC trap and always carry the best gun possible under the circumstances. Remember, your life depends on it.

Carrying a Full-Size Service Pistol is Easy IF You Have Good Leather and Proper Wardrobe

Massad Ayoob Discusses the Hows and Whys of Backup Guns

Gunsite Academy Was Founded by the Legendary Jeff Cooper

© 2017 LJ Bonham

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    • LJ Bonham profile image
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      LJ Bonham 5 months ago

      I'm glad things worked out for you, Mr. Burton. Often, the mere presence of a firearm in the hands of the potential victim is sufficient to stop an assailant.

    • Jack Burton profile image

      Jack Burton 5 months ago from The Midwest

      "Anyone who legally carries a firearm must make an unflinching, no nonsense assessment about every potential threat the world might throw at them and arm themselves to meet those threats. "

      If that was the case we would all be carrying around ARs with multiple 30 round magazines.

      The vast majority of the people who carry do so on the basis of what is "reasonable" that they will someday face. For many, a smaller caliber/smaller firearm fits what they understand as their needs.

      My Keltec P-32 managed to keep me safe when approached by two thugs. It did everything that I needed it to do at that time.