A minute used to be much longer and a threat much farther away
Updated: Oct 3, 2020
I am not going to spend four-thousand words prefacing the subject of today's article. If you have been coherent for at least any part of the last decade and prior, you know that our world has changed drastically. We've seen a global health pandemic shatter the basic operations of daily life, the economy drive to new highs and then plummet to record lows in what can only be described as the purest definition of market volatility, causing many who have never "been without" and didn't prepare for the worst to now find themselves financially impoverished, lacking in supplies and desperate. We've seen verified sleeper cells from foreign terrorist organizations attack us on U.S. soil with alarming regularity. We've seen the mentally deranged and emotionally unstable attack at the same frequency, if not more. We've seen civil unrest, riots, looting, burning and killing unfold before our eyes while many Law Enforcement agencies were ordered to stand down from action or abandon their communities entirely, establishing areas without rule of law that are still in place at the time this article is being written.
If you're not prepared for self defense and preservation at any given moment, you're slacking. Whether you have just procrastinated on being prepared or you're someone who stupidly believes that the government will always be there to take care of you and protect you, I'll put it bluntly and say that you've fucked up. You've become spoiled, comfortable, complacent and forgotten the principles of the minuteman that this great nation was founded on. Women, I'm talking to you too. Be the badass minutewoman that you can be, not some lazy seabeast that plans on calling on someone else to save her ass.
The basics of "preps"... all of that is a topic for another day and another article. Today we focus on your ability to respond to an immediate threat immediately, no matter where it may be.
Let me be very clear.
The debate about citizens carrying for protection is over.
The debate about citizens only needing a 10 round magazine at most, that's over as well.
I'm not going to debate or argue with anyone over the necessity of folks carrying a firearm for personal protection or the amount of ammunition that they should have. If a person has seen all of this unfold and still believes that carrying a firearm for defense is "paranoid" or that citizens should be prohibited from owning carrying firearms, then they're clearly insane and no amount of rational discussion will change that. Just advise them of where they can find the nearest McCockald's, so that they can order that bag of dicks that they're evidently starving for.
So now lets get to loadouts. For this discussion, I'm going to use common terms like "first/second line gear" in relation to EDC (every day carry) equipment. This is not to be confused with the gear lines for full on combat kits, even though there are some major similarites. Many things are shared between EDC and Combat lines but many things are missing or changed.
First line gear (should always be on your person, not all inclusive):
Reliable handgun in a legitimate defensive caliber, loaded with quality defensive ammunition.
Spare magazine(s). One at minimum.
Wallet sized card with all important contacts written on it, preferably laminated. If you have to move quickly and drop your phone or leave it sitting somewhere, having those contacts on hand can be extremely helpful. If you find yourself sitting in a Police Station after a justified shooting, you'll want those numbers and likely don't have them memorized or won't remember them under stress. Also, comms is a valuable resource.
A quality knife.
Tourniquet(s). While the C-A-T is my favorite for a duty use TQ, its shape and size sucks for plain clothes EDC. I carry two R.A.T.S. tourniquets, one on each side of my body in a pants pocket. I'm not fond of how narrow they are but they're better than nothing. Be real, if it's inconvenient to carry a TQ then you wont and that is exactly why you probably don't. The R.A.T.S. take up no space.
Flashlight. I'm a fan of most Streamlight offerings and they make some lights that are approximately half the size of a pen and very easy to fit in a pants pocket.
Second line gear (should always be somewhere that you can access reasonably quick in most circumstances):
Rifle or Shotgun. When you need a long gun, nothing but a long gun will do. This long gun should have a sturdy sighting system with a verified zero and be in clean and functioning order. I personally like a fixed front sight post and fixed LMT rear sight on my AR's, combined with an Eotech or Aimpoint mounted at lower 1/3 co-witness height. That is the setup that I will always prefer and train with religiously. This long gun should also have a light attached, preferably with a pressure pad or tailcap switch that your thumb instinctively falls on when obtained your support hand grip.
If rifle is chosen, spare magazine(s). Having spare magazines at your disposal is a huge advantage. Also, having at least one spare magazine is good if you accidentally fumble-drop you mag trying to clear a double-feed, or if your mag just happens to experience failure at the most inopportune time. I keep one spare AR magazine in my center console of my vehicle for quick access. I also keep a "get home bag" with a few other AR magazines in the rear of the vehicle.
If shotgun, spare ammuntion. Shotgun shells can be cumbersome and this will likely pursuade most of you away from utilizing one for this role. The shotgun is still a very viable option though if properly trained with.
"Get home bag". A bag filled with spare mags and ammo, First Aid Kit, water and essential supplies to get out of a shitty situation quickly.
Plate carrier or load-bearing equipment. If I have a plate carrier/LBE with additional mags, IFAK and all that attached to it in my vehicle, then I do not bother bringing the "get home bag". Deciding which of the two I will keep in my vehicle on any given day is dictated by many factors.
Emergency trauma kit/roll. This is just a good idea in general. Whether you're in the city, on the highway or in the backwoods, it doesn't matter. When you need medical, you need it right then and there. I keep a fully loaded Blackhawk trauma roll in my vehicle at all times. Why keep a separate FAK when you should already have one on your plate carrier or in your "get home bag"? Because if I'm dealing with a wound in the middle of a crowded area or street, I don't want to be lugging out my decked out carrier or cracking open a bag thats spilling out my rifle mags in front of everyone. I stay gray motherfucker.
Water. This was already listed in the bag above but I can't emphasize enough how important water is. The summers get pretty hot here in AZ and you don't want to be without water. Just a couple water bottles stashed throughout your vehicle is easy and better than nothing. They may be warm but you'll live.
Roadside emergency personal safety equipment. This would be flares, cones, etc.
(As a side note, it is unwise to leave firearms in your vehicle unattended overnight or for prolonged periods of time in shady areas. If your vehicle is broken into and the firearm(s) are stolen, your main concern should not be how much money was lost, but instead what innocent person could be harmed or killed by firearms that you made easily accessible to shithead criminals. Have some personal accountability and figure out a way to move your long guns in and out of the vehicle as needed.)
Now all of those items provide nothing but a false sense of security if you don't actually train with them. You need to be very familiar with every piece of your kit. Using any item out of your equipment should be like second nature. The middle of a shit storm is not the time to be trying to read instruction manuals. This explains why I don't carry NPA's or a chest decompression needle in my IFAKs. I haven't completed training with them yet, so they are just shit to get in the way for the time being. When training is completed, they'll be placed in each kit.
You should be regularly training with your firearms. While once a week is preferred, I can understand how busy life is and will say that once to twice a month is acceptable. No, standing still on a closed range and punching a paper target over and over again is not training. That is marksmanship practice. You need to be training in a way that you can run real world scenarios, get your heart rate up, run drills and really push yourself physically and mentally. I firmly believe that spending an hour on the range running drills hard and only shooting 50-100 rounds is vastly more productive than spending a whole afternoon at a bench firing hundreds of rounds at a piece of paper. A shot timer is a great tool for this.
If you are not training, then you are not trained. An untrained person is a liability to their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around them. The second amendment is a glorious and wonderful thing but as we exercise that right, we should also exercise sound judgement. Your odds of winning that gunfight increase every single time you complete a training session.
I wish for every American Citizen of good courage to be rolling fully prepared at all times. Don't get caught with your pants down, breathing your last breath and thinking "why the fuck didn't I bring that?" That is no way for a patriot to go out. Don't complacently fall victim to criminals, terrorists or anarchists. Don't die a bitch death.
Michael is a lifelong Arizona native, avid hunter and unwavering supporter of the Second Amendment and all of this great Nation’s founding documents. He is currently employed with a County Government Security Department within the state of Arizona, with prior work experience in the Judicial field, as well as private sector security contracting. Michael currently holds multiple certifications and licenses related to Firearms Instructing. He has a degree in Administration of Justice, with aspirations of attending law school.
He may be reached at
American Contingency: MikeThe762Dude