Besides the obvious (wallet/purse, phone, keys), there are many variations to “Everyday Carry” items. It all depends on what purpose your items have for you. This is a guide to basic everyday carry items specific to personal protection/basic preparedness. With everything going on in the world today, more and more people are looking for options of personal protection. Most people don’t want to carry so many items that will cause them to feel weighed down. So here’s a list of basic items that can be carried on your person which will serve as personal protection and tools for everyday use. Laws will be different across the United States, so be sure you verify what is legal for you to carry before you make your final decision.
Everyday Carry Belts
This should go without saying, but before you think about the items you are going to carry, you need to make sure you have a belt that can hold up to the weight you are going to be putting on it. A good belt for everyday carry should be at least 1.25” wide and sturdy enough that it can’t be compressed when you try to squeeze it in your hands. There are different width options and material options (nylon/leather) that are both strong enough for the job. I would not suggest a belt that has an insert for reinforcement because it may be harder to fit a holster or clip a knife on it. Just because it’s a “tactical belt” doesn’t mean your belt must look tactical. I prefer the 5.11 Nylon Athena Belt. It’s sturdy enough to carry the weight of all my everyday carry items, and although it’s considered a tactical belt, I can still conceal it easily. Although it doesn’t have a quick release buckle, I preferred this belt type since it’s easier and faster to get the holsters on and off daily. You may also want to consider checking out the other tactical belts offered by 5.11 (they do offer nylon and leather options), Grip6 No Holes Belt, or Elite Survival System’s Cobra Belt.
Firearm & Holster
When I think of personal protection and everyday carry, the first thing that comes to mind is a firearm and holster. If you happen to live in a state that allows the licensed carry of a firearm, consider carrying it on your person and in an position that is easy for you to get to if you needed to. Make sure you are comfortable with the holster you choose, or you’ll likely never carry it. We all know someone, or are that someone, that has a box full of holsters. I can’t count how many times I have heard that a person can never find a holster that is comfortable to wear. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go through trial and error before I found what worked for me. I would suggest an On Your 6 Designs IWB holster. It’s best for concealment and is comfortable to wear. I did have to work with where to carry it on my person before finding a comfortable spot for me. Since they use thinner kydex, it conforms better to the body. Each holster is handmade in the US specific to the firearm, so you are sure to get the right fit. This company stands behind their product and offers a 30-day satisfaction and a Life Time Guarantee on all their holsters.
Everyday Carry Knives
Also consider carrying a knife. Not only for personal protection, but a knife that can serve multiple purposes if needed in a pinch. A knife can be used for something as simple as opening a box to assisting in starting a fire. I prefer carrying a folding knife like the Gerber Mini Remix. I like it because it’s compact enough to fit inside a pocket, has a clip that keeps it in place while in the pocket and has a ring that assists with stability. As with firearm laws, please make sure you are aware of the laws for your area before you choose your knife (i.e. where can you carry, what blade size is legal, etc.). If you need help to decide what type of knife would work best for you, check out these tips from Indefinitely Wild.
Everyday Carry Flashlights
A flashlight can be used for many situations. Not only can you use it when the power’s out, but you can also use it as a self-defense tool. Not many people think of a flashlight as a tool for self-defense, but if light is flashed in an attacker’s eyes it will disorient them allowing you to cause a distraction or to simply get away. When looking for a flashlight, consider the brightness of the light, you don’t want it too bright or you consider disorienting yourself as well. Also consider the battery type when choosing your everyday carry option. You’ll want to look at availability, expense, and longevity. I like the Streamlight Stylus Pro Penlight. It’s compact and has a clip that allows you to keep it in a pocket for easy access. This flashlight uses a USB to recharge and the light is rated to last 3.5 hours of constant run time. In my experience, I’ve only had to charge it once every couple of weeks or so. I had no idea how useful a flashlight would be as part of my everyday carry until I had kids. Imagine sitting in a dimmed movie theater when your little one drops their toy under the seats. That flashlight has been a huge help in tantrum prevention. If you’re not sure what your options are, check out this post from Mike’s Gear Reviews. The good thing about a flashlight is that you can legally carry it anywhere with you, so the only research you really should do is what flashlight will work best for you.
These simple tools can make a significant difference in being prepared, but you must make sure you are comfortable with them when using for self-defense. When practicing your drawing of the firearm from the holster, make sure you do it safely. Make sure the firearm is unloaded and cleared. When you are doing your drills, make sure you are drawing the firearm with the same intent you would use if you were in a real-life situation (are you going to draw slowly if the time comes or will you draw fast). Go to the range, take firearm training classes, get comfortable with your firearm. Know where everything is located on your person so that you can get to that tool quickly. Build that muscle memory.
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