URBAN SURVIVAL: Is Your Self Defense EDC Getting Out of Hand?

If this is your idea of self defense EDC gear then please read this article

For those of you who are not familiar with the term EDC:
EDC stands for Every Day Carry, referring to the items (usually defensive or urban survival related) that you carry on your person everyday.

I have had quite a few requests to write an article on EDC, but my self defense EDC is sort of lame (gun, spray, knife, knucks, pocket lint) so I decided to do a bit of research on some of the popular survival and gun forums.

After about half a day reading the page long lists of all the EDC items that some people carry I was pretty dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that people actually carry (by my estimates) up to 10 pounds of EDC crap.

The first thing I thought was “do they really carry all of that shit, even at work?”

And it wasn’t just the quantity of items they carried everyday that was wild, but some of the stuff listed made it seem like they thought the zombie apocalypse may happen wile they picking up a pizza at Papa Johns. Multiple handguns, 5 mags, 3 knives and even stun guns were amongst the items listed for EDC. Wow.

Anyway, I have thrown some advice together for any of you that may be putting together an EDC list for defending yourself and for the guys here that may have gone a bit overboard with their EDC.

EDC Guns

Unless you owe you bookie bread, are an off duty law enforcement officer or some other sort of armed professional then you do not need to carry enough weapons to take on North Korea.

I would suggest the following:

– One compact handgun
– One extra magazine

I know what you are thinking now, but seriously folks – you will never (as a civilian) get into some sort of Die Hard style epic gunfight where you will burn through 40 or 80 rounds of ammo on the streets of Barkerville Alabama.

Statistics show that basically all gunfights in the US only last a few rounds at best. Even in the event of confronting an active shooter I have never heard of a civilian (who confronted the shooter) who had to conduct multiple magazine changes.

Also with active shooter situations the shooter tends to choose places where people can not legally carry concealed guns anyway (like schools and military bases) so it wont matter if you have four 20 round glock magazines because they will be in your car.

So basically the gun you carry will more than likely only be used to suddenly defend yourself (or others) from street level crime, not a team of assassins sent by an evil genius.

If you (as a civilian in the US) end up getting into a massive shoot-out where you cook through 3 magazines you can write me and prove me wrong, until then one compact gun and one mag (optional) will be my EDC advice to the average Joe.

EDC KNIVES

For knives I would suggest going with a folding knife that has a blade length legal for you to conceal where you live. If you work in the great outdoors then a good fixed blade knife is fine but don’t walk around Starbucks with your Bowie on.

You don’t need to carry 2 or more knives for self defense, you will never get into a knife fight where you will stab someone so many times your knife will become so dull that you will need to switch to a fresh blade.

Carrying a large bladed combat or fighting knife concealed is not necessary for self defense; it is also serial killer behavior.

EDC Impact Weapons

Personally I would argue that the majority of people don’t need to carry impact weapons at all. If you get into a situation where you need a weapon but you could not use or present your handgun/knife, then you are probably in a fist-fight because someone pissed you off or violence has happened so suddenly that you could not draw your gun/knife.

If it has come down to a H2H situation then you ether won’t have the time to draw and engage your ASP baton (or whatever) or you will open a huge can of legal whoop-ass on yourself when you beat someone to a pulp with your kubotan keyring because he called you a fag.

Also getting into a H2H confrontation means that you are someone that is likely to intervene in another person’s non-life threatening situation or go straight to the fist when confronted with a non-life threatening situation directly.

Reconsider your train of thought on the above, if the situation isn’t one where you can’t go straight to your gun then you should count to 10 or call the police.

Basically what I am saying is; an impact weapon is used when a firearm is too high a level of force, so what situation would you get into where you need to beat the shit out of someone with a baton but you can’t shoot him? (Especially if you are not a cop)

If you do carry an impact weapon then get some sort of certification or training and make sure that the impact weapon you carry is legal in your area.

EDC Chemical Sprays

Pepper spray is the one thing that I think everyone should carry (male or female) after taking a course on proper use (that includes being sprayed in the face). Pepper spray fills a void in the use of force pyramid for civilians between a gun and your fists.

For Example: If some guys are messing with a young girl and you step in and they move towards you, well… shooting four unarmed guys probably isn’t a good idea, pulling out a kubotan keyring won’t be enough force and going H2H 4 on 1 is only for Ninjas – so spray those fuckers down (this situation actually happened to me in a grayhound station in DC).

I have used pepper spray more times than I have gone to the gun, knife or impact weapon combined (in the US). It is a fight or bad situation stopper that won’t end up with you on trial for murder.

Many men fight the idea that they should carry something that “girls” carry so some frat guy wont date rape them. But if every law enforcement agency in the country issues some sort of chemical spray then they must be on to something smart.

EDC Lights

Carrying a full sized 2 cell SureFire light really isn’t necessary, most people can get away with a single cell SureFire (or similar brand) and an LED keyring light. If you use a light it will be for offensive/defensive purposes or so you can find the parking voucher that fell under your car seat.

So the single cell SureFire can be your offensive/defensive light and the LED keychain light is for normal stuff.

What this article is not about

This is just about the EDC that people carry for self defense, it is not referring to stuff like mini-pry bars and tactical gadgets. If you want to carry titanium sporks or Swedish fire tools on your keyring then knock yourself out.

And if you still want to carry both a full sized & compact Glock, four 20 round magazines, 3 fixed blade knives, an ASP baton, kubotan keyring and a 6 cell D maglight then again, knock yourself out dude.

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~James G
Founder – Editor in Chief

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns and writing poorly written articles.

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80 thoughts on “URBAN SURVIVAL: Is Your Self Defense EDC Getting Out of Hand?”

  1. Pepper spray, SOG Twitch Folder, and situational awareness… Light load, and keeps you out of places you don’t belong!

    Albert

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    1. Sounds like a reasonable self defense EDC to me, but no gun?

      ~James G

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    2. yes, guys are fos about all the stuff one “should” carry. I don’t bother with more of a light than my smart phone, and my knife gets lost about once a month. Normally, I find it again, because it’s a $2 folder from Wally’s. When I tried to carry Gerbers or Bucks, or Benchmade knives, they rarely got found again. :-)

      I don’t bother with a spare mag. If I thought I’d need more than 7 rds, I’d take an AR15, not a pistol. I do, however, routinely wear soft armor. It’s worth far, far more than the spare mag, backup gun etc. I also carry a little belt pouch, with a lighter, rainponcho, some fishline (not hooks tho), big needle, a bit of tape, etc.

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  2. Thanks for writing this, I’ve been considering my EDC a lot lately, and this only validates the conclusions I have reached personally. I know a lot of people operate on the “2 is 1, 1 is none” principal, so they are swamped with gear.

    Primary gun, backup gun, weapon mounted light, 2 cell surefire, single cell surefire, extra mags..etc etc. It’s cool, but I would much rather be able to wear a pair of shorts and a t shirt and flip flops and nobody even know I had a gun.

    My EDC right now, is a ruger LCP IWB, with a surefire E1b backup (single cell), and a benchmade 550 griptillian. I’m still debating the extra magazine. I can carry that 95% of the time, and easily conceal it without having a tell tale bulge in my pants.

    I also think this really can tie in well with some of the conclusions that were reached on your grayman articles. For some people it’s probably not so much about being prepared (for others it is), as it is about being tactical.

    It’s cool and tactical to be rocking a full size gun decked out with a light, and then 3 mags etc etc. And people I know will defend that with “oh, well concealed carry is a lifestyle”. To a degree it is a lifestyle, simply because by carrying a gun, you are automatically held to a higher standard by society, but the lifestyle shouldn’t extend to the point that you look like your wearing batman’s utility belt under your shirt or jacket.

    Ideally, in my mind, the only change to your lifestyle should be a change in mentality, rather than visible changes.

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  3. In my neck of the woods most of the items you list are illegal and will see you banged up if you are caught carrying them, never mind using them.

    So we need to be a little more creative. The one thing I carry everywhere… in the car, in my grab bag, on flights and is guarantee’d, tried a tested many times is….

    A small bottle of neat lemon juice… a spray of that shit in the face/eyes tends to smart a little. I have reasonable cause to carry it, I like lemon tea, it isn’t illegal anywhere in the world and having some small bottles in my carry on luggage means I can take it on flights.

    Don’t forget improvised weapons either…Roll up some laminated paper into a tight cone (the kind you get for menu’s or emergency cards of aircraft are quite good) and melt the tip with either a lighter or the romantic candle….Instant eye poker outer, stabby thing.

    If I’m going somewhere “iffy” I always prepare some SERE laminated maps for just this reason. You can write on them, wipe them down and stab folk…
    ie
    Stev

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    1. I’m going to go ahead and say that I think the gun and knife would be more effective.

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    2. I hate necro threading, but dude if you have to live like that — move.

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      1. People from all over the world can see this, you know. The US is pretty unique about letting common folk have (much less ccw) pistols. We can’t have 5 billion people coming to the US (which is how many would LOVE to do so). We can’t handle the additional 5 million per year that we GET (births and immigration)

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  4. In my neck of the woods most of the items you list are illegal and will see you banged up if you are caught carrying them, never mind using them

    Do you live in NY, HI or DC?

    ~James G

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    1. For an everyday wonirkg knife I try to keep it under $50 because there is the very real possibility of me losing or breaking it no less the fact that I may end up abusing it for some task. For an outdoors knife that my life may depend upon, I’ll spend a little more money on, because in a survival situation I’m not likely to take many chances with my knife, and I will need to depend on it to be up to the tasks at hand.

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  5. I actually a few weeks ago took a look at what I carry every day (wrists, pockets, etc). Found out it was a TON of stuff. The only difference between when I’m at work or at casual and between the seasons was the firearm. Even with the firearm, I’ve got the clip that’s in it. Carry one blade, a stylus kubaton, badges, pocket knife, multi-pliers, flashlight, lighter, smokes, pens, watch, ring, sun glasses, wallet, keys, IT stuff (thumb drives, etc). I carry additional stuff’s in my bag, which I carry with me all the time. When I look at it, it’s a LOT of stuff, but when it’s on, away, it doesn’t seem like much.

    I’ve been trying better to cut down on what I carry, but because of work, I end up needing what I pull out.

    Great article though. I’d think about starting to carry pepper spray, but then again, it’s one more thing I’ve gotta lug around with me.

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  6. by the way, where can I get one of those Bat Utility Belts. Actually 2, one for me, one for my son. :)

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  7. What sites did you go to? I would like to check them out. I love a good laugh.

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    1. I don’t want to hate on other sites so I won’t post where I went, trying to keep it civil here

      ~James G

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    2. EDCForums.com is the best.

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  8. i got a ton of shit with me extra in a bag, its my work bag. getting stuck on a boat 6hours from the dock and needing something sucks. i just got in the habit to keep it with me(but not on me) in my truck. but on my person keep it simple,fenixLD10,kershaw Leek,pistol. smokes lighter and of course bottle opener,,ive never perfected the tacticool-teeth method of opening a bottle.

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    1. If you’ve got a lighter, you’ve got a bottle opener, simply grasp the neck of the bottle with the bottom three fingers of your weak hand, insert lighter (small wrench, heavy duty pen, belt buckle, titanium spork, ect ) under the lid of the bottle and using your index finger as a fulcrum, lever the cap off…

      BTW great magazine guys. Love this stuff.

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  9. My list is much like yours, pistol, extra magazine, large folding knife, light, but I also always carry a Leatherman Micra in my front pocket. The Micra is small, light weight, and you never know when you’ll need a bottle opener – or small screw drivers, file, punch, tweezers, or scissors (for when you need to cut a thread, but don’t want to whip out your fighting folder).

    The Leatherman Squirt is also interesting with mini-pliers instead of scissors. I’ll have to look at the pepper spray – I usually carry an ASP when I walk my dog to keep the other dogs away, pepper spray might be a better and more versatile tool.

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  10. I think one of the places where the “EDC for EDC Sake” crowd go wrong is they simply attach cool stuff to themselves, rather than making a decision to carry something based on proven need and ability. They “what if” rather than prove.

    From training, hard, and identifying weakness and failure points, I’ve identified problems where consistent access to a primary tool may be impaired: Tangles, clinches, the ground, etc. – In which accessing/deploying a folding knife can also be problematic. As a solution, I carry a single small fixed blade, a push knife, at centerline (11 – 12 o’clock) on my belt, in addition to my defensive folder in my front pocket. Sometimes I carry an additional utility folder, though often just in my “murse”. But I’m not doing it because its cool, I’m doing it because such a tool has a short draw, even between combative bodies, and punishing results for anyone who is tangled up with me. That one little extra tool fills a hole some guys are plugging with stupid shit like four more guns, and axes in shoulder rigs (not lying, seen it done for EDC).

    Beyond that, I carry one gun, two reloads (equal to one spare for a double stacker), a flat sap (where legal) because some problems just need KTFO’d, spray, a cell phone, cash and lip balm.

    I really don’t see how guys can carry more crap comfortably. I add a reduced-size blow-out-kit to my hip pocket (rather than murse where I always have one) on certain occasions, and it always feels like I am carrying a gargantuan amount when I do. Hell, too much pocket change pisses me off.

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  11. Lets see for me it depends on the weather and where exactly I am. Since some countries are Aholes about carrying anything to protect yourself. The usual is a Knife, Flashlight, Travel Wrench. And that is everywhere. I don’t care if the UK doesn’t like knives, when I was living there I carried one every damn day. I have used them for self defense and used them to cut people out of car wrecks.

    My EDC in the states depending on the state is Compact gun, usually one of my HKs or a Glock of some type. Extra mag, Small fixed blade knife on my non carry side. Such as something from TOPS knives (they have several great 3 inch fixed knives that can easily be carried in the waste band) or a Benchmade CBK, Ka-bar TDI Blackhawk kalista. Always fixed always non carry side.

    I do this for a couple reasons. Most notably for weapon retention. A few years ago I came up to a guy beating the crap out of his girlfriend. I like James suggests called the cops. Guy sees me, realizes I am calling the cops and rushes me. I can’t pull my gun because it is just H2H. He tackles me feels my gun in its holster and attempted to disarm me. I take it to the ground wrap him up in my guard and as he is trying to figure out the SERPA I commence to pepper him with lefts. And I mean pepper him by the time it was all over and we were both in the ER his face looked like something in a butcher shop.

    However in one of my shots I tore all the cartilage in my wrist. This could have easily been prevented with a knife on my non gun side. Once he went for my gun it carried it into a life or death situation and raised “force continuum” which makes it legal. So that is what I carry and it is fixed because when stuff like this happens your manual dexterity lessens do to the physiological response to the adrenaline in your system a lock blade can be difficult to to manipulate. Aslo if there is blood involved it can be slippery. So for me it is small fixed blade and you can take your pick of spots to hit the other guy with.
    The other reason it that there is less to go wrong with a fixed blade.

    I then also carry a flashlight, something small with can double as an illumination tool and a fist load/impact weapon if you need it. I suggest if you can find it something with a strobe. I have used that to deter more than a fair share of people that wanted to tangle than anything. Also the strobe works great on drunk people. If you like to see them to fall on their face that is the light for you.

    And then the Worden Travel wrench. If you train with it, it is a good impact weapon, small, innocuos, can be carried on a plane. You can strike nerves, use it in all kinds of wrist or elbow locks. etc. My favorite is to grab someone with that by the ear lobe. That will bring the biggest guys to their knees. And I really wish I could carry a Sap or a blackjack but those are illegal pretty much everywhere.

    I can wear all that with just a T-shirt and jeans or some cargo shorts.

    When I am working all I tend to add is another mag. A back up gun that can use the same mags as my primary gun and another knife and some type of restraints. (which my new thumb cuffs have been added thank you James for that tip).

    Also just for some tips that I have picked up over the years. Instead of Knucks I carry a heavy duty carabiner, the simple ones that you can pick up at the PX. And those aren’t illegal anywhere. I got asked one time by a cop in london why I was carrying that. And gave him a story that I was a climber and that little thing saved my life so I carry it with me always. He thought that was cool. Rolled up magazines. A heavy duty lock with some 550 cord on it for a monkey paw. A number of things can be used.

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  12. Did Batman get a part time job? Why does he carry two toilet floats?

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  13. 5 shot J frame .38 Special, 1 speedstrip with 5 extra rounds, the Benchmade CQC7 I’ve owned since ’95, and a single CR123 cell LED light.

    I have actually been told on an Internet forum I am asking for trouble carrying this, that I am going to get myself killed being under-armed.

    Funny thing was, the one time I’ve had to pull the revolver in over 15 years, there were six of them, but NO ONE wanted to be the first one shot.

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    1. Charter Undercover, Spyderco Endura (had since 94), tiny CREE light, generic McGuyver knife and a speed strip – it has worked well for the last 10 years (only had to update the light)

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  14. 5 shot J frame .38 Special, 1 speedstrip with 5 extra rounds, the Benchmade CQC7 I’ve owned since ‘95, and a single CR123 cell LED light. I have actually been told on an Internet forum I am asking for trouble carrying this, that I am going to get myself killed being under-armed.

    Great to see another revolver guy here, my favorite carry is a 5 shot .38 revolver and 5 extra rounds in a little leather pouch.

    Just like you people are always saying that I am underarmed – and my response is “underarmed for what?”

    ~James G

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    1. Funny thing is, I had ORIGINALLY bought the model 60 as a backup to my Springfield 1911A1, then the little guy started going more and more places with me, and the 1911A1 got left home.

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  15. Glock 26, holds 12 plus 1 and a knife, but thats really for opening boxes, and some cash, you know strippers love those ones. Thats more than I have ever needed.

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  16. James – great article. I used to be one of those guys, but my back got to hurting too much from carrying a ton of crap. Anymore, I carry a little folder, which is used to open tactical boxes and mail, one gun with two spare mags and that’s it.

    Right now it’s a Commander 45, but I’ve saved up and am getting a Hi-Power. I’m a little guy and it’s easier for me to run rounds in with a 9mm. That’s it. Oh, no, I lied. I like carrying a lot of cash. For EDC, that’s king. I can buy whatever I need if some situation arises. I just tell the bad guys to wait a second, call the Ford dealer, have them deliver a Roush 427R, and I run away fast.

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  17. Right now it’s a Commander 45, but I’ve saved up and am getting a Hi-Power.

    Sweet, a Browning Hi-Power, my 3rd favorite gun

    ~James G

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  18. My edc kit is my xd 9mm, clip knife and my wallet. I add a light when I’ll be out past dark. Nice and simple. Maybe one day an extra mag but 16+ 1 isn’t enough, should have brought the AK.

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  19. Great responses guys – one of the other authors here at DVM said I would get blasted for saying one gun with the extra mag optional

    I have to say I am pleasantly surprised at all of the level headed thought here

    ~James G

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  20. Glock 36, One extra mag, SOG Pentagon folder, Surefire two-cell Outdoorsman. All day, every day.

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  21. Great brief article on a subject that could go on for days. My only slight disagreement would be regarding “You don’t need to carry 2 or more knives for self defense”. 2 knives are ideal, your normal strong-side knife for utility needs, boxes, etc., and a support-side defensive blade that is used for NOTHING else.

    My EDC is a strong-side Spyderco Harpy (fully serrated), and a support-side Spyderco Endura Wave (partially serrated). I cannot imagine a more ideal combination.

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    1. you can always tell when I’m armed, my endura is on the weak side
      (yes there are still places I don’t carry)

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  22. Sure, having one knife for utility purposes and one for stabbin’ folks is reasonable, but why couldn’t you use the stabbin’ knife also for utility purposes and lighten your load a bit – that’s what I did in Iraq when I was on Base, I used a CRKT folder for all

    Thanks for the comment Matt K

    ~James G

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    1. Weak side knife for weapon retention, strong side knife used when it’s possible to access/use the knife with strong hand.
      Or, small, sheeple-friendly knife to use in polite company, more effective edged weapon for social emergencies.

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  23. why couldn’t you use the stabbin’ knife also for utility purposes and lighten your load a bit

    I would agree if I dealt with more hardened professionals with copious time on their hands to dedicate to maintaining their blades, unfortunately that is not usually the case. The folks I am usually guiding in their equipment choices are civilian CCW holders and law enforcement officers, both categories are notorious for not paying attention to something until stops working.

    So I feel that if I can ingrain in them that “this knife is for boxes, and this knife is for people”, I have sent them in the direction of being better prepared to defend themselves.

    Luckily the Spyderco is a quality knife that is easy to tuck away, carrying two Emerson or ZT knives would definitely be inconvenient.
    The last time I carried one knife, it was a CRKT M16-14SF, so I certainly understand your choice.

    Great site by the way.

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    1. Only thing I’d add is avoiding serrations. To hard to sharpen properly, and prone to weird wear. Plus, just not… clean.

      That said, as an old-school cop, I spend quite a bit of time on equipment maintenance (lots of people hate me).

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  24. My “defense” EDC is a knife and…well…yeah that’s pretty much it. I carry a bunch of other “normal” stuff (a leatherman micra, a small flashlight and all sorts of weird odds and ends) but that’s really the only defense tool I have. I don’t have the money right now for a good handgun, with enough left over to pay for a good CCW class and the inevitable NC tax on getting a permit. Not only that but my state requires a person to go to the sherrifs department and pay $20 for a background check to get a permit just for the privelage of owning a handgun. And you have to do it for EACH handgun. Blatant, unconstitutional meddling…just another reason why I plan on moving. (So I may just wait till then to start my handgun collection)

    So anyone that wants to fuck with me for now is just going to have to live with getting their face slashed wide open. My knife is a Leatherman e33Tx. I got it because it was fairly inexpensive, has a 154CM blade and really strudy screwdriver heads that fold out. (the flathead makes an awesome prybar) Lots more utility than “just a blade”.
    But for that reason I do things with it one normally shouldn’t with your primary means of defense and will often open it up to find it caked with dirt or have peices of straw stuck in it. My wake up call was last weekend when I had to fish it out of a giant cow manure pile. So I’m thinking I’ll get a Kershaw or something to carry on me for when I’m out and about, but leave at home and carry the Leatherman when I’m out working in the dirt.

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  25. I carry a ton of situation awareness and sometimes a light.

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  26. First I’d like to echo James’ comment that “Unless you’re an off duty law enforcement officer or some other sort of armed professional then you do not need to carry enough weapons to take on North Korea.”

    Most people, most of the time, do not need a Norwegian Micro Fire Stick on the sidewalk outside of Starbucks to warm up their ultra-twin-extra foam-skim-venti-lite-frapachino.

    I carry (not in order of importance):
    1 – cell phone
    2 – credit card
    3a/b – an LED light and a Util-Key on my key ring
    4 – Kimber Ultra Carry or a Kel-Tec P-3AT

    I was supprised that nobody mentioned 1 or 2 (maybe they’re assumed -or I missed the post) but I’d suggest that they be added to everyone’s EDC. 99.99% of the time I can resolve the situation with items 1 and/or 2.

    For the odd lost receipt or tactical box opening situation, item 3a or b can be handy (assuming the dome light doesn’t work or I can’t find the scissors on my desk)

    Granted, I just an regular guy that lives in the suburbs and works in a white collar job. I do teach CCW and one of the questions I inevitably get is some variation of “What do I carry if I’m going into bad neighborhood?” My answer the standard old saw – “Don’t go. If you have to go, don’t go. If you absolutely have to go because it’s a matter of life or death then bring a friend… bring several friends… with rifles…. preferably Rangers or Marines… with close air support.”

    That said – Item 4 came was useful when a couple of seedy looking characters started to approach me at a gas station. At that time there was a rash of car jackings occurring in the Minneapolis area. I simply looked at them while scratching my back – and exposing the Kimber in an OWB strong side holster.

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  27. Yep – the credit card and cell phone were items I just assumed most people already carry these days, I did mention them in my E&E Bag article

    ~James G

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  28. Great article James G. I have personally instituted a 6 month and 1 year rule. If I have not used an item in my EDC in 6 months it goes. If at 6 months I swore it would come in handy and got to a year without using then it goes end of story. Luckily my mini-pry bar actually did came in handy just the other day. This has really helped me take my gear down a notch or 10.

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    1. By that standard, anyone who doesn’t work in a dangerous profession, would carry no weapons…

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  29. Great advice on the 6 month and 1 year plan Gray Ghost

    Are you th podcaster “Gray Ghost”?

    ~James G

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  30. i got a ton of shit with me extra in a bag, its my work bag. getting stuck on a boat 6hours from the dock and needing something sucks. i just got in the habit to keep it with me(but not on me)in my truck. but on my person keep it simple,fenixLD10,kershaw Leek,pistol. smokes lighter and of course bottle opener,,ive never perfected the tacticool-teeth method of opening a bottle.  

    As we say in Czech Republic – whole world i bottleopener ;)
    It really is. And the easist way to improvise bottle open is using smokes lighter :)

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  31. Ghost

    Great advice on the 6 month and 1 year plan Gray Ghost
    Are you th podcaster “Gray Ghost”?~James G  

    Ya sir!

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  32. One of the best EDC articles in a long time.
    What do I carry on me (currently working in East Africa):
    Folder
    Multiple Cell Phones (work what can I say)
    Wallet
    Keys

    In my bag I usually have a small light, lighter and a multitool. Also very useful is a bag of tissues which comes in handy when you discover that the airport toilets in Lagos look like a bomb exploded in them and are of course out of toilet paper.

    Guns in most parts of the world if you are an expat are a no no, you can get them legally under certain circumstances but it is a lengthy process. I have a permit for South Africa and do carry a Glock 19 on my left side some times. I don’t carry a spare mag unless I expect problems. I’ve also carried it in my Maxped Sitka but the bag is a bit of a dead give away, in fact I have turned into my laptop bag; it does scream tactical but it does not scream laptop ;-)

    I’ve tried fixed blades but I’ve never found a rig that I really liked. I have a short blade that I have adapted for horizontal carry on the belt but it would not be a fast draw. I got a couple of Izulas that I will play around making kydex sheaths myself, maybe I can get something comfortable that remains unseen. Suggestions are welcome. It is a problem when you wear a suit for work in a hot country, not much you can put in your pockets.

    I like the suggestion about the maze spray, I will add that one on my list. I’ve been looking at the Safepacker holster, looks like a good idea. Wish they had them in less tacticool colors or in leather (maybe with a golden button on it).

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  33. Couple of explanations:

    In countries with strict enforment of knife rules a multitool is a reasonable excuse. Even in the UK you can carry any knife you want as long as you need it for work. So a butcher can carry a butcher knife if he is on the way to work and can argue that he couldn’t leave it there.

    I know this is a bit of a grey arena. A multitool can be used for many reasons, it is also not seen primarely as a knife. Personally I would suggest the Skeletool because of the one handed opening and the great bottle opener. A dagger is far more difficult to explain to your local bobby.

    On the wallet, if you live or visit beautiful but corrupt to the core countries, keep a reasonable amount of cash in it that would suffice for a bribe if the police stops you for an imaginary traffic offense. Don’t carry too much money visible as they would clean you out.

    Airtime for a cell phone is also something that can easily be used for road “tolls”. In my case I carry maybe 10 USD in local currency, higher amounts are not in the wallet but in a side pocked with a money clip. Also don’t show your credit cards in the wallet, push them into the little holders as deep as possible because the cops will take you to the next ATM.

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    1. You can carry a non-locking knife with a 3 inch blade in the U.K. without having to provide a legal excuse. I carried a hooked bladed pruning knife when I was there and can honestly say it was the only non-locking knife I ever felt confident using for self- defence. It was useless for stabbing but you could rip someone apart with it, or use it to open things and peel fruit. For 8 bucks what more could you want? http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=58313&cat=1,51222&ap=1

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  34. This is a great EDC article ! Simplicity , a lot of common sense.Like the 6month 1 year rule. I carry G26 and 3 spare mags, hangover from my Military ,Copping and Contractor habits. I have to strive to drop 2 of them ,Old habits and Men are hard to change!!!

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  35. Pingback: Protests - Page 3
  36. There are places you can take a screwdriver that you can’t take a knife…

    Good article, and I like the suggestions posted by others.

    1 fixed & 1 folder (or 2 folders), 1 light, 1 multitool, 2 lighters (cuz b@st@rds steal lighters like a mo fo) 1 subcompact, 1 extra mag.

    I have a “murse” for other things, but this is mainly a “car bag”

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    1. There are over 200 shops in that mall. How many armed security gudras are you planning to have?There are over 2000 shoppers on a good day. What percentage need to be carrying guns and proficient before we are safe?Do the math, gunhead! A crazy guy comes in there and fires 30 shots before you get your Glock out of your boot holster.

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  37. P>I have a “murse” for other things, but this is mainly a “car bag”  (Quote This Comment)

    I always thought “murse” was a male nurse…

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  38. Great article James. My adopted uncle (a retired 37 year CHP veteran), went to the academy with one of the “Newhall 4.” His motto was you can never have enough ammo. That is something that he embedded in our heads as kids and it stuck. I dont carry a few thousand rounds, but I carry enough. I agree however, most times you may only need more than one mag. Here in “The People’s Republic of California,” we are kinda screwed.

    Im glad I read your piece “URBAN SURVIVAL: Lethal Force While Defending Yourself and Your Family – How I “C” my “A”” if an unfortunate situation were to arise, I would be ready for the incident and especially the aftermath.

    Just in case people never heard of the Newhall 4, I have copied and pasted this brief story from the CHP website.

    Officers Frago and Gore had been alerted by radio of a vehicle carrying someone who had brandished a weapon. They spotted the car, fell in behind, called for backup, and began the stop procedure. When the subjects’ vehicle had come to a halt in the parking lot, the driver was instructed to get out and place his spread hands on the hood. Gore approached him and Frago moved to the passenger side. The right-side door suddenly swung open and the passenger sprung out, firing at Frago, who fell with two shots in his chest. The gunman, later identified as Jack Twinning, then turned and fired once at Gore, who returned fire. In that moment the driver, Bobby Davis, turned and shot Gore twice at close range. Both officers died instantly.

    When Pence and Alleyn drove in moments later, they could see neither suspects nor downed officers, but immediately came under fire. Pence put out an 11-99 call (“officer needs help”) then took cover behind the passenger door. Alleyn grabbed the shotgun, and positioned himself behind the driver-side door. Both officers were mortally wounded in the ensuing exchange, and one subject was hit.

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    1. If anybody reading this doesn’t know who the Newhall Four (aka Newhall Massacre; The Newhall Incident)were…they need to read up on it and watch the LEO video presentation on the event…

      Jim Chirillo showed it to us at FLETC … I’ve watched it several times since…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newhall_massacre
      Links to Videos: http://www.scvtv.com/html/scvhs040510btv.html

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  39. I carry a baton and a knife simply because in my country (South Africa) the powers that be frown on you taking out your attaker and their voters and a knife gets you in contact with blood and our country has a high incidence of aids so knife is for a tool and weapon retention and the baton is for quetily removing your attacker from the electoral roles.

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  40. I agree completely with over doing it. I do not see how some of these guys do it. My EDC gets less and less as I get older.
    If I am CONUS and not carrying a EP work loadout then its a glock 26, spare mag, surefire E1 and Strider folder. That`is all I need. I carry the spare mag mainly for malfunction clearing not because the 13 in the gun is not enough for most situations.

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  41. Glock 23, no extra mag. If I happen to be in a situation where I could use an extra mag, then either the cops are almost there or I’m dead already.

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  42. Another great article. I never dis the choices someone else makes for what they carry. I know one gent who always carries a mini survival kit around his neck. He’s a “grayman” and been there, done that.

    Me – pocket knife, wallet, cell phone, keys, ASP Key Defender Pepper Spray. Ruger LCR w/ 1 speed strip, if I’m carrying.

    Now, I do have an EDC bag with a bunch of useful stuff, and things I need to take back and forth from work. Extra ammo, small first aid kit, small survival kit, power bars, flashlight, multi-tool, eye glass repair kit. All stuff I’ve needed at one time or another.

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  43. While I agree that some people carry too much crap (some even LIE about tons of stuff they take pics of but seriously, you know they dont carry it) I do think that whatever you bother carrying should be good stuff. I’m not much of a fan of mini subcompact rectal guns. If I’m carrying a gun, I’m atleast the type of person that thinks he might need it. Can you perform worth a damn with a 5 shot snubby? How did you do with it last time you trained with it or took a class with it? Its stupid to go to Thunderanch with your 1911 Kimber Desert Warrior and the carry a 5-shot 38 special. If size is that much of an issue a GLock 19 and spare mag can be carried easily by most of us.
    Something similar happens with knives. Get a good folder, not much of a difference between carrying a politically correct gay little knife and a solid, sturdy folder by Spyderco or Cold Steel.
    As for flashlights, something like a Quark mini123 is barely larger than ther CR123 battery that powers it, yet you have 200 lumens in it.
    All this stuff and a bit more (cell phone, Leatherman Charge, IMCO lighter) I carry every day, not a problem.
    +1 on OC Spray.

    FerFAL

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  44. Great site, I have spent a profitable 3 hours here this morning.

    My EDC consists of a folder with a 2″ drop point blade, kept razor sharp, $5.00 at Maynards. I gave up expensive knives, (and tools,) after losing so many; the selected cheap ones last long enough and never get lost. If they do break or get lost… I. Don’t. Care.

    A NEBO brand $6.95, single AA cell led flashlight that will illuminate a tree at 70 feet, and can be use as an impact weapon, if one does that kinda thing.

    A Bic lighter at least half full. I am a smoker and they do run out, but I leave the short ones in the car or on the table.

    A Chapstick tube with the screw taken out and the bottom glued in. I stuffed it full of 2 split sinkers, a small snell hook, and as much 30# Spiderwire fishing lineas it would hold, then wrapped it with some gently applied 3M brand #33 electrical tape. That Chapstick tube is my complete EDC “get outa Dodge” pack. Fishing, snares, and first aid tape all in one.

    For defensive EDC, a medium key ring with a few keys, some in-store-discount key ring ID cards, (sharp edges,) and a brass horse rein spring clip, for weight. Adding a 4″ crescent wrench as a handle and I have a very innocent looking face-slash and impact weapon. With the jaws closed on the wrench, the impact end is fairly pointy. (|;<)

    In carrying the key set, I'll clip it to a belt loop and drop the wrench inside my pocket leaving the key ring dangling outside. If I percieve a need, I'll just unclip it from the belt loop and leave the wrench in the pocket. I can pull the set from my pocket with the wrench clutched in my fist and the keys/slashers hanging out the bottom of my fist in less than one second.

    As a bonus the Channel Lock model 804-4" wrench will open to 9/16".

    If I have to lay it all out, only the Chapstick tube is supicious looking and it's… Not. A. Weapon.

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  45. I carry a Victorionox Rallye pocket knife. Instead of the stupid Swiss Army scissors it has a small Phillips head screwdriver and bottle opener on the back. A chapstick, a Zippo, a steel ink pen and a wallet. All of the rest is trouble asking to be had. I do wish we lived in a country where a man could strap on and slap leather when the situ arose but running or avoiding is where it is at, Stateside, anymore. I used to never leave the house without my MEU(SOC) 1911 within arms reach. Over the years that dwindled down to a S&W Chief’s Special in my pocket and then, nothing. Now if I am traveling outside of my comfort zone then, yes, my Springfield is with me and the ten round extended spare is under the armrest. But in my neighborhood, too much risk, not enough reality. But I do keep a scatter bag (BoB, Murse, Man Sack, AWOL Bag, Contingency Pack) in the truck with the hard stuff loaded.

    I love the wrench on the key chain idea, pepper spray is also becoming an idea for me.

    Keep up the awesome commentary guys, I am getting motivated to be ready for Zombie Apocalypse when I rotate back from the Sandbox.

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  46. Interestingly enough, as an OCAT (pepper spray) instructor, I would never use pepper spray…too messy. If you spray them and it works (some people are relatively immune to the charms of capsaicin), you are still likely to have to deal with them in some form physically,which means you get it all over yourself as well. Some of those hardened criminals who are used to pepper spray have been known to wipe it off their own face and fling it into yours(for those who use foam canisters). As a law enforcement firearms instructor, a handgun is a good tool, if you know how to use it, but the vast majority of the people who concealed carry never train with their weapon in a realistic situation (no, the range and shooting at non-moving paper with no scenario based training is not realistic). A knife is always good, but, like the other items listed before, raises a lot of eyebrows through any security checkpoints you might go through (I’ve seen some retentive security guards freak out about swiss army knives even when their policy clearly states that 3″ blades are allowed). Which is why a decent blunt-tipped kubotan (and the training to use it) is always a good bet when you do get into such situations. Most security guards, being paid bottom dollar, don’t know what it really is, and the few that do won’t bother you for having it because they should also know it’s a defensive tool (note I don’t say weapon), and you’re not likely to be holding any hostages with it. As an advanced expandable baton instructor, I’m not authorized by my certifying agency to teach kubotan, but I do offer a supplemental to anyone interested in which I essentially teach “closed baton tactics” which are essentially kubotan techniques. Best tool you have in any situation however: Your command presence and keeping your wits about you. I worked unarmed in North Philadelphia for a number of years, dealing with several armed and often drug addicted/heavily intoxicated individuals on a nightly basis, and I never once had to resort to using anything beyond basic compliance grappling, simply because I maintained my situational awareness and my command presence. Was I always the biggest, strongest, most badass guy in the room? No. But I made damn sure everyone thought I was, because it kept the peace. It’s not what people know about you that gives you the advantage. It’s what they don’t know. I never carried in North Philly, but everyone assumed that I did.

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  47. Hallo,

    It is nice to read Your articles. Well written, trully based on facts and experience. Sometimes I disagree, but that’s why world is not a boring place to live, I guess.

    For me there are moments with that ,,bitch please” smile on my face: ,,Guy should live in my country ;) He would change the thinking a bit” (but hey!, You wrote abouth US realies and there You are in 100% right).

    What I would suggest, to put on Your list even in USA, is to carry the simple Victorinox (or, as You, in US, call it: Swiss Army Knive) – there is billion situations in real, every day live (also in the city of every country in the world) when a knive is a right tool to the job, but still takeing out the ,,folder” (like CRKT, Benchmade, or so…) is too much for the people around You, and a Victorinox (thank’s the McGyver movie) is highly tolerated by pussyfied society. Last but not least Victorinox has many usefull tools. Or a Leathermann multitool in place of Victorinox.

    I’m thinking abouth real Every Day Situations, not the moment when Shit Hits The Fun and You have to defense Yourself or others.

    Cheers,

    D.

      (Quote This Comment)

  48. One of the most useful items I carry is a Swiss card in my wallet, and also a tiny Spyderco Bug on my keychain. My grandad had a great saying – if a job couldn’t be done with a pocket knife and a razor blade, it wasn’t worth doing.

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    1. This training must have been SO eixntcig! It’s especially refreshing to know there are folks out there with solid ideas that don’t involve more consumerism. We know lots of individuals trying to live sustainably in their own corners, but I’m glad there’s a movement. I look forward to hearing more.

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  49. Do you have an article on survival edc?

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  50. Thank you for writing this article, it’s just plain common sense. I’ve seen so many pictures of guys and what they “claim” is their EDC. They could just be saying that for the camera for all I know, and it’s hard to believe that they carry all this equipment with them everyday. Yes, it does seem like some of these guys, expect the zombie apocalypse to happen when they go to pick up a pizza. Some carry as many as 6 lights and knives, knife sharpening kits, three or four lighters, multitools, a complete trauma kit, etc. And this isn’t even counting any firearms yet.

    I have a very light, minimalist, EDC bag, and it’s heavy enough already to haul around. So I’m always looking for way to lighten the load. My first thought, is “Do I really need this everyday, or is this something nice to have?”. So many people are too caught up trying to be a tacticool mall ninja.

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  51. I carry a ton of situation awareness and sometimes a light.

    probably one of the most important items…Situational Awareness!

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  52. Interesting article here. But ill chime in on the ” no 5 mags” crowd. Weight is an issue in an Urban Enviroment, but its what you can give up for that weight that is an issue. More weight means better quality(normally), durability, and capability. EDC (for me)doesnt always mean just 72hrs of survival, it could be just like what happened in the Balklands like Selco( SHTFschool.com) went through. Just a possibility. While i dont recommend a 30lb backpack( even I wouldnt do that) but something under 25lbs is actually doable, maybe not for most. but for those who are in shape. Im only 5’6″ 155lbs but I have carried an M249 SAW with 800 rounds in Baghdad. Was it challenging? Yes, was I hurting ? Yes. Did i run alot? yes. But i gained Capability. So i can sacrifice weight for that. Doesnt mean im packing like its war. The ability to know where your going, see what your doing and react in certain situations without any external support is what im aiming for and ill take extra weight. And i test it daily, at work.

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    1. Wonderful items from you, man. I have remember your stuff prviuoes to and you’re simply extremely great. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re saying and the best way by which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I cant wait to learn far more from you. This is really a tremendous web site.

        (Quote This Comment)

  53. Hello there, just became alert to your blog thru Google, and located that it is really informative. I am going to be careful for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. Many other folks might be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!

      (Quote This Comment)

  54. tures of guys and what they “claim” is their EDC. They could just be saying that for the camera for all I know, and it’s hard to believe that they carry all this equipment with them everyday. Yes, it does seem like some of these guys, expect the zombie apocalypse to happen when they go to pick up a pizza. Some carry as many as 6 lights and knives, knife sharpening kits, three or four lighters, multitools, a complete trauma kit, etc. And this isn’t even counting any firearms yet.

    I have a very light, minimalist, EDC bag, and it’s heavy enough already to haul around. So I’m always looking for way to lighten the load. My first thought, is “Do I really need this everyday, or is this something nice to have?”. So many people are too caught up trying to be a tacticool mall ninja.

      (Quote This Comment)

  55. Interestingly enough, as an OCAT (pepper spray) instructor, I would never use pepper spray…too messy. If you spray them and it works (some people are relatively immune to the charms of capsaicin), you are still likely to have to deal with them in some form physically,which means you get it all over yourself as well. Some of those hardened criminals who are used to pepper spray have been known to wipe it off their own face and fling it into yours(for those who use foam canisters). As a law enforcement firearms instructor, a handgun is a good tool, if you know how to use it, but the vast majority of the people who concealed carry never train with their weapon in a realistic situation (no, the range and shooting at non-moving paper with no scenario based training is not realistic). A knife is always good, but, like the other items listed before, raises a lot of eyebrows through any security checkpoints you might go through (I’ve seen some retentive security guards freak out about swiss army knives even when their policy clearly states that 3″ blades are allowed). Which is why a decent blunt-tipped kubotan (and the training to use it) is always a good bet when you do get into such

      (Quote This Comment)

  56. In countries with strict enforment of knife rules a multitool is a reasonable excuse. Even in the UK you can carry any knife you want as long as you need it for work. So a butcher can carry a butcher knife if he is on the way to work and can argue that he couldn’t leave it there.

    I know this is a bit of a grey arena. A multitool can be used for many reasons, it is also not seen primarely as a knife. Personally I would suggest the Skeletool because of the one handed opening and the great bottle opener. A dagger is far more difficult to explain to your local bobby.

    On the wallet, if you live or visit beautiful but corrupt to the core countries, keep a reasonable amount of cash in it that would suffice for a bribe if the police stops you for an imaginary traffic offense. Don’t carry too much money visible as they would clean you out.

    Airtime for a cell phone is also something that can easily be used for road “tolls”. In my case I carry maybe 10 USD in local currency, higher amounts are not in the wallet but in a side pocked with a money clip. Also don’t show your credit cards in the wallet, push them into the little holders as deep as possible because the cops will take you to the next ATM.

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  57. I started carrying a pocket knife because it just kind of hit me one day that my Grandfather carried one, my Dad carried one, all of my Uncle\’s carried them – why now have we vilified the “civil” man who carries a pocket knife? A year or so after I started carrying one I witnessed an SUV roll-over accident that left 3 babies suspended upside-down in car seats while gas spilled in around them. I was the only person on the scene with a pocket knife who could extricate them quickly. I became such an advocate I started a knife review site at http://www.edcknifereviews.com to test out and evangelize knives that are best suited for common EDC.

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  58. Love the wit! Great article!

      (Quote This Comment)

  59. Useful info. Fortunate me I discovered your site by accident, BIS 220 Week 5 Social Media and Networking Presentation I’m stunned why this accident
    didn’t took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

      (Quote This Comment)

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