What have I got in my pockets? After numerous requests, we’re taking a look at my own personal everyday carry gear. Then, we’re going beyond the gear to break down the reasoning behind my approach to concealed carry and other carry gear, why it’s probably different from yours, and some tips for finding the best carry hardware for you.
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Details are in the video below, or keep scrolling to read the full transcript.
Hey everybody, I am Chris Baker from LuckyGunner.com and today I’m going to talk about all the junk I carry around all the time, or what the cool kids call EDC or Everyday Carry.
I’ve put off doing a video like this because it always seemed a little immodest to assume the world should care about the mundane crap I keep in my pockets. But you guys do ask about my carry gear on a fairly regular basis. Mostly my carry gun and holster, but I also get questions about my watch and my pocket knife and stuff like that. So we’re gonna do this. But we’re gonna do it my way. Which means I’m gonna start off talking about the gear, but then we’re going to dive into some related issues that you guys had no idea you were signing up for when you asked for this. But you did ask for it, so you only have yourselves to blame.
Let’s take a look at what we’ve got here. My carry gun is a Smith & Wesson Model 332 Ti snub nose chambered for .32 H&R Magnum. I carry that in a Phlster City Special holster with a DCC belt clip. The knife is a Spyderco Cat. For a flashlight, I carry a Streamlight Protac 1L. The watch I wear most of the time is a Citizen EcoDrive. I’ve also got a POM flip-top pepper spray dispenser. And then there’s my car key, an iPhone Mini, and my wallet, which is an Alpine Swiss Minimalist.
Why a Snub Nose?
I’ll talk a little more about the gun first because that’s probably what you all came here for. The gun I’m carrying day to day changes a lot more frequently than any of my other carry items. Part of that is just because of the nature of this job. But there are other reasons, and I’ll get into those more in a minute.
I always end up coming back to a lightweight snub nose revolver. My favorite so far has been the Smith & Wesson 332 Ti. It has an aluminum frame and a titanium cylinder, making it among the lightest of the J-frames at just 13 ounces loaded. Smith only made J-frames in this caliber for a few years in the early 2000s and they’re tough to find today. I got lucky and picked this one up at a bargain price because of the worn finish. But mechanically, it’s still in great shape.
I installed a set of Crimson Trace laser grips – the shortest ones they make, model LG-405. Even without the laser, these have the best grip shape that I’ve found for J-frames. The ballistics of .32 H&R Magnum are comparable to .38 Special out of a 2-inch barrel, but with less recoil and six rounds instead of just five. My carry ammo is the Black Hills 85-grain jacketed hollow point. It consistently penetrates about 15 inches in ballistic gel tests and it also tends to have better availability than most other ammo in this caliber.
The main thing I like about snubbies is the ratio of weight to size. They can be extremely light, but they’re not so small that I have a hard time fishing one out of my waistband. The angle and size of the grip make them easy to draw consistently. Any semi-auto that weighs 13 ounces is going to have some ergonomic challenges to deal with that I don’t have with a J-frame or a Ruger LCR.
Other Carry Gear
I’m not going to go into a ton of detail about these other items. I’ve been carrying some of these things for a very long time. The knife and the watch, I’ve had for over a decade. I have duplicate backups of each of them. They’re nothing special. They weren’t very expensive. Most of the things here were relatively affordable. The stuff I carry gets knocked around and abused. Some of it gets lost on occasion. I don’t want to have to stress over whether I should use or carry something because I’ve got a lot of money invested in it, so I tend to stick with stuff that’s “decent but affordable.”
The knife is not a fighting tool. 95% of the time, I use it to open packages. The rest of the time, it’s a makeshift screwdriver or pry bar – things I would never do with a $300 blade, but this was 45 bucks, so… no big deal.
I’ve owned a few of the Streamlight Protacs and I like them, but that’s one piece of gear I will probably change at some point. I use the light multiple times every day and I end up changing the battery at least once a week. In the near future, I’d like to replace it with one that has a rechargeable internal battery.
I never leave the house without a pepper spray dispenser. If I happen to encounter a potentially violent situation, there is a very good chance it will not require a deadly force solution. Pepper spray offers an option that is, in the words of Chuck Haggard, “between a harsh word and a gun.” The POM formula is reportedly very potent stuff and the dispenser is one of the most user-friendly on the market. They’re affordable. I buy these by the case and give them out to friends and family. It’s really hard for me to find a reason not to carry something like this every day.
A Minimalist Approach to Concealed Carry
A trend you might notice here is that each item is fairly small and lightweight relative to other options. The gun is small, of course. My phone is small. I wear a small watch – although, that’s mostly because I have a small wrist. My car key is the only key I carry – I’ve installed push-button combination locks on everything else I need regular access to. You might also notice the conspicuous absence of certain items like spare ammo, a fixed blade knife, or medical gear – stuff that a lot of people would consider essential.
I can and have carried those things and I’ve carried bigger versions of all of the things I do carry. But ultimately, I tend to default back to a somewhat minimalist approach. The upside is that I literally do carry it all day everyday, with very few exceptions. This stuff can go with me regardless of the weather or what I’m wearing or what I’m going to be doing. But my real reason for taking this route is that I like to be prepared, but I also have a low tolerance for the physical discomfort caused by carrying around a bunch of stuff. That is not something you’re supposed to say if you want to be taken seriously in the concealed carry and self-defense world. And that’s why we’re going to talk about it for a minute.
Does Comfort Really Matter?
I’ve brought up this issue of comfort in the past. It’s an aspect of concealed carry that doesn’t get nearly enough attention, especially the subjective nature of comfort. If our gear is uncomfortable, we’re supposed to just suck it up. Think of the lives that could be saved by having the appropriate gear. Think of the pain and anguish your poor orphaned children are going to go through when you’re killed in the streets for not carrying a spare magazine.
I think that’s a phase of the concealed carry journey that a lot of us go through at some point. Hopefully, as we develop in our knowledge and skills, we also develop a more nuanced approach to the hardware.
If you need a nudge in that direction, last week, my friend Sarah from Phlster Holsters released an excellent video on this topic. She explains why we should not just ignore discomfort from our carry gear. Then she outlines some extremely helpful tips on how to alleviate a lot of common comfort issues just by changing some minor details in how our carry gear is set up or positioned. I’d consider it required viewing for anyone who has ever found their carry gun to be uncomfortable – which is everyone.
Another great resource that explores these topics is the YouTube channel Armed and Styled. Tessah very clearly articulates some of the finer details of concealed carry. She actually breaks down and explains stuff that a lot of us had to just figure out through trial and error because nobody was really talking about it. A good video to start with is the Concealment Percentage Principle – that’s about how to get a ballpark idea of what size gun is likely to fit you best before you ever try one on.
Even with great resources like these, if you want to carry on a daily basis, you still might run into comfort-related problems that nobody seems to have a good answer for. I’ll give you a personal example. Like a lot of people, I often struggle with sensory overload. In my case, it’s nothing debilitating, but sometimes I find it overwhelming to be around things like loud noises or strong odors. I have a hard time tuning that stuff out, even when the people around me seem to be able to do that just fine.
Carrying around too much stuff in my pockets or on my belt is like the tactile version of that. Even the small amount of stuff I do carry occasionally drives me up the wall. At least once a week, I’ll be sitting at my desk working and I have to just empty my pockets, take off my gun, my watch, and even my wedding band. It’s like I can’t stop noticing that it’s there.
I don’t bring this up because I want you to feel sorry for me. It’s a fairly minor annoyance in the grand scheme of things. My sensitivity level has ups and downs for months, or even years at a time, and that’s a big reason why I vacillate between small guns like the J-frame and not-quite-as-small guns like the Sig P365 XL.
I know some of you out there are dealing with similar challenges, but nobody’s ever told you that that’s not normal. There are a few different medical problems related to sensory processing or sensory overload. Most people never receive an actual diagnosis. It’s an area of medical research that seems to be in its early stages. Even in my case, I’ve known about my sensory issues for decades, but it was only a couple of years ago that I connected that to the struggles I had with finding comfortable carry gear.
Maybe you don’t have sensory issues, but you’ve got something like a nerve disorder. Or maybe you’ve had abdominal surgery. There are a ton of issues, medical or otherwise, that can make concealed carry more of a challenge.
So when your favorite shooting instructor or Instagram star or whatever insists that “anybody” should be able to carry — fill in the blank with a specific size of gun or spare mag or a tourniquet or whatever — you feel like you’re doing something wrong when that doesn’t work for you. Now, anything new is going to feel uncomfortable at first, and there is a lot you can do to optimize your gear for comfort. Most issues can be resolved with a little coaching, experimentation, and patience. But it’s also possible to do everything right and still feel like your gun or your other carry gear is physically intolerable.
Individuals Require Individual Solutions
I don’t have any easy solutions for that. Carrying a smaller gun and minimizing my other carry items has worked pretty well for me. Of course, that has some drawbacks. I’ve had to put in extra work at the range to be able to shoot a snub nose at a skill level that I’m comfortable with. And I’m also okay with that compromise because, based on my own personal demographics and where I live and hang out, I’m at extremely low risk for violent criminal assault. I also carry some additional gear in a backpack that goes with me most places, at least in my car. I keep a medical kit in there, and other emergency items and everyday tools.
What I hope I’m getting across here is that everyday carry gear is a personal thing that has to be tailored based on the needs of each individual. That’s not to say there are no wrong answers. There definitely are. If you’re unclear about what your needs are and what gear is worth trying, you can fumble around for years with stuff that is either uncomfortable or ineffective. So don’t try to figure out all of this stuff on your own, but don’t carry something just because somebody else carries it. Seek out concealed carry advice from credible people who understand that everybody’s different and they need different solutions. Except, that is, when it comes to procuring ammo. There can only be one solution and that is to buy it from us with lightning fast shipping at LuckyGunner.com.