Talk about being caught with your pants down…

“How early is it?” You think to yourself as you sit in the dark. Your nights slumber having been interrupted by your need to heed natures call. Of course you hadn’t looked at the clock on your 25 foot travel to relief. “It has to be just about time to wake up.” With one push of the button on your Casio watch your eyes clearly make out the time 1:57 AM, but the light also made it so that you can’t see anything else… All night vision now just consists of a glowing orb, and blackness. Then you hear it down the hallway, the slow creak of the door. You know it’s not the dogs because dogs never open a door nicely, it always sounds like you are being raided by the ATF! “What the hell is that noise?”All at once its coming down the hall, heavy steps pounding the floor, sounding like a busy trap field closing in on you. Its something big, and its coming your way. “Why hadn’t I filled out the paper work for that Honey Badger, two NFA stamps, one form 4 (suppressor) and a form 1 (for the SBR) and I would be ready for this situation” Hell now it sounds like who ever is coming down the hall is riding a Clydesdale horse, or at least a morbidly obese Shetland pony. “The pistol is in its regular place, shotgun is too far away too.” Is this how its going to go down, someone is going to break into the castle, and kill the king, on his throne? Not on your watch, you look around for what can use to stop the situation. Deodorizer spray it is, if that door opens, someone is getting a face full of fresh linen glade, then its gonna get crazy. Your starting to believe it too, “feeling froggy, jump frog, jump!” Beads of sweat build on your brow. At the same moment you see four little fingers creep under the bathroom door. “What are you doing in there Dad?” You hear a tiny voice say, (How does a 35 pound boy walk so heavy on his feet, your almost 8 times as heavy as he is, and you can walk anywhere without even squeaking the floor, he on the other hand sounds like a jack hammer covered with silverware, pounding on bubble wrap everywhere he goes).” Buddy, give a minute here, you know what I’m doing”. “But Dad I had a bad dream, I’m a little scared” you hear him reply. “You and me both brother…”

Lately a lot of attention has been put upon ones EDC. If Brad were in the situation above he would have been fine, he would be wearing his tac belt with two pistols, 2 knives and probably 350 rounds of ammo on him, he wears that stuff to bed I’m pretty sure (and chances are that he sleeps naked too!). The first time that I met Mr. Michael, Kris asked Brad to show me his pistol (mind you Brad had just rode his motorcycle up from St. Maries to Post falls Idaho, and didn’t know me from Adam) Brad without missing a beat, pulls his pistol out, clears it, and hands it to me. Then proceeds to pull out 3 knives carried in different locations. That is Brad, he does it daily, he is a prime example of staying true to his beliefs and being prepared. But to a lot of people the work in different industries, carrying your full load out isn’t an option. I work for a beer distributer, they do not look kindle towards me carrying at work, so in order to keep a pay check coming in, I have to obey their rules (to an extent). My primary carry piece is a Smith and Wesson M&P45C in a Blackhawk serpa holster, I carry outside the pants with a cover because its more comfortable for me, by the same token, it is not the easiest thing to completely conceal (especially when you are not really supposed to be carrying one at your place of employment anyways.). In turn I end up with a core EDC, that no matter the day, I always have on me. I carry a Gerber (for now) recoil multi-tool, and  CRKT Hammond Cruiser (not the most expensive knife in the world, but it works well) On the weekend I carry my M&P. To me, a big part of your EDC is what is available to you at all times. As I have mentioned many times before I tend to carry a fair amount of gear in my vehicles, from basic survival gear, to specialized equipment for different situations, I can use whats on my person to get me to my cache of other supplies. I know, I know… What sense does it make to have a firearm that you train with, and not carry it? The answers simple, sometimes I cannot carry my firearm, be it at work or in places that are considered “gun free zones”. “Well don’t go to those places” I can hear you saying it right now. As for places that I choose to spend what little money I have, your are exactly right, (I still haven’t eaten at Buffalo Wild Wings.) but there are certain times that I just plain don’t have an option about being able to carry or not. When I take my Son to school, pick him up, or go to one of his many functions, weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited. So do I break the law (intentionally), and do it anyway because I feel that weapon free zones are complete nonsense? I don’t, My rights mean way too much to me to potentially jeopardize them, And I do not believe that I should have to become a criminal in order to defend myself from criminals. So what other options are there for situations in which you have to be some place that won’t allow you to carry? Well there are actually quite a few options and theories about how to handle gun free zones (please bear with me on this one, I personally don’t agree with most of these, but by the same token, maybe one of these options would be perfect for you).

Pepper Spray: Some have decided oc pepper spray is the way to go.  If you decide to go the pepper spray route, be warned that there is a lot more to safely carrying/using pepper spray then just throwing it into a pocket and thinking that you are well prepared for any situation. Traditional defensive sprays have a horrible tendency to drift back and get into the shooters eyes. Luckily, now companies have identified the faults of their ways and tried to make pepper spray more user-friendly with products like “Pepper gel” from the Sabre company. Same principle as the original (spray enters the assailants eyes and air passages, virtually shutting down their sight and breathing.) The new formula does not leave the canister as a mist, but a stream that actually travels around 20% farther than traditional sprays. Still, you need to practice to become competent, luckily Sabre also sells a practice can (same stream, just with no pepper irritant) that sells for about $5.

Asp/Batons: Asp’s have long been used by professionals in security industries. They are a collapsible baton that can be carried on the belt, unsheathed and deployed instantly with a single motion. (If you want to know what your state laws are as for collapsible batons click “HERE”) The problem is that you are still going to draw quite a few looks from people, and depending on interpretation of the law, you may still end up in jail. Police are trained to strike limbs, and soft spots on the body with this style of batons, staying completely away from the central nervous system and skull. Why? Because batons will kill people, they will break bones,  and they will stop a potentially life threatening situation. It’s up to the owner to know the legality, practice often, and be responsible for the potential actions that using a weapon like this could cause. (Now were getting into the meat and taters!)

Knives:  Check your local laws, and check what documentation is on the “gun free” signs. If the sign states that it is a “gun free zone” you may be alright carrying a knife. Now do I recommend that you whip out a Down under knives Outback bowie at a Buffalo wild wings? (I will address both issue with the statement above… When drawing a knife that has a total length of 16″ and a blade that measure 11″ the only term to be used professionally is “whip out”, secondly  if you are going to un-sheath a beast of a knife like that there is only one place to do it at… Outback steak house of course, when they bring out your “bushmen bread” with that steak knife they expect you to cut it with, you must hand the steak knife back and say… “That’s  not a knife”… (“whip out” said short sword) “That’s a knife” and point the tip at the waiter. That’s the gentleman’s way. 🙂 ) Carry knives have come a long way, with tons of options as for fixed blade knives, and sheath configurations that make them easier to carry that are both vertical and horizontal. Choosing one is really a personal decision that has to be made by the carrier. Reputable knife makers are popping up everywhere. Check out knives made by ESEE , the carry a full lifetime warranty, even covering modifications done by the user, and that pretty tough to beat. The amount of folders on the market is also growing daily, as mentioned before I carry a CRKT and have been pretty happy with it (read: I’m happy with it until I get something else that I enjoy more than it), with modern pocket clips, and limitless blade options you can find a knife that is easy to carry and suits your needs. But don’t think that your out of the woods just because everyone carries a pocket knife, try flipping out a Mantis MT-8 Siko to clean the dirt underneath your nails at your next family gathering, and I will bet my lunch money that no one is going to ask you to baby sit their kids. Even a legal to own, legal to carry knife can cause quite a stir, if the wrong eyes happen to fall upon it. This is where a gentleman’s folder can be the ticket. When I think of a gentleman’s folder I think of Case knives, simple, slim, and they sit in the bottom of the pocket where no one knows they are there. As for a fighting knife, or “weapon” they do have their drawbacks, (No locking mechanism, and blade shape) but they also are perceived to be less intimidating by those un-initiated. Even a multi tool and its somewhat hard to reach blades provide a viable option in a “politically correct” package, that can and may save your life. What is better in a time of need, a less than perfect tool, or no tool at all? (Here comes the curve ball…)

Tactical Pens: Yep I said it. You all know how much I hate new stuff, especially things that seem gimmicky in the least. But recently I have done a little research into this fad… And I don’t think it’s too bad of an option. Remember when you were little and your mom would yell at you because you were running down a flight of stairs with a popsicle in your mouth, stating that if you fell on it you will surely die? That was just a tiny wood stick, now imagine that instead of a wood stick it was actually a piece of titanium, aluminum, or steel? How would that feel if you fell on it? Speaking as a man who has fallen on his keys a time or two, I can vouch for the fact that metal things tend to hurt ya pretty good, and they definitely redirect your thought process. That is the whole principle behind the tactical pen. You probably use a pen daily, and never give any thought to it. You may be signing for deliveries, doing inventory of stock items, or simply writing a check, a pen is a very recognized and widely used item that draws little if any attention. Now take that pen, machine it out of robust material, throw a glass breaker point on it and increase the weight to around an ounce or two, as a last-ditch defense, I can come up with quite a few worse options. What stops an attacker much faster then being impaled by a piece of machined metal?  Will it take the place of a bullet? Not in my book, but it is a viable option that I hope to never end up on the business end of.

Your home is your castle, and as comfortable as that should make you feel, you should always be ready to defend it. When you enter the realm outside your draw bridge, you have to be prepared for things that may come. Even in situations and places where your normal array of defense weapons are made unavailable to you. Arm yourself sufficiently (even in places where you can’t follow your EDC protocol completely), and stay alert and aware of your surroundings (condition yellow), carry yourself in a manner that shows other that you are confident, and not a victim. In your house try to keep it simple and streamlined, when Harbor Freight has the coupon up for free flashlights, go pick one up, keep doing so until you have one in every room of your house. They may lack the light output of your favorite Fenix PD-35, or the striking bezel of your Surefire E2D, but in a pinch, when something goes bump in the night, that light may be the only thing available to get you out of a sticky situation. Arrange your home in a way that you can work from room to room with options as you go. Make a plan, and most importantly PRACTICE, become proficient with your defense tactics, and leave yourself with no option for failure. Because God forbid anything actually happens and you are forced to use your plan, and you get caught with your pants down.

-Grant Willoughby 03/19/2017-


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