Friday, March 18, 2011

Should your gear be comfortable or comforting?

I just finished filming a video on everyday carry and one of the issues I just didn’t have enough time to address was the one regarding what is comfortable to carry weighted against what is more capable, more efficient. I understand that life is too short to spend most of it uncomfortable, but where do you draw the line in terms of having the minimum amount of gear so as to follow what  our survival mindset logic dictates yet not get to the point where it interferes with our lifestyle?

Well, that’s exactly were I draw it. I’m not going to get my panties all bunched up over a couple more ounces worth of gear. What’s an acceptable level of comfort? If I can sit, drive, run, move around, and it doesn’t look as if I have a brick in one of my pockets, then that’s ok. Everyday carry gear is already light enough, I have more of a problem with bulk rather than weight. So that’s why I rarely add more stuff to my EDC. I may change one piece of it for something I consider better, but rarely will I add.

I apply a similar philosophy to carrying an everyday carry bag. Is it that much of a deal? Is it that much trouble? Women have been every day carrying purses for ages, its nothing new to them. The idea of men carrying a bag everyday shouldn’t cause hysteria attacks, guys collapsing and retreated to a dark corner where they stay trembling in fetal position, but you’d be surprised. Some guys think you can’t to that, because you’ll soon get tired and not carry it any more. They seem to forget about women and purses. 

While smaller and lighter EDC gear is preferred,  at least in my opinion it shouldn’t come at the expense of functionality at performance. There’s plenty compact enough gear out there yet fully capable. A smaller knife is lighter and less bulky, yet a bigger one is capable of performing more tasks and can take more abuse. As long as you can carry it, half a gram more or an inch more really doesn’t bother me. The Cold Steel Vaquero Grande I carry every day is huge, it’s a 6” folding knife, yet it fits in my jeans. You do feel it when you sit (specially with jeans) but its not uncomfortable. 

“How do you carry that thing?”  I was asked once while having lunch in the shooting range’s club. I got  up and showed him. “But  its still visible” he said. So?, pocket knives in general have some part left outside, even if its just the pocket clip. A inch or two worth of handle isn’t going to kill me nor is it visible with a shirt covering it. Uncomfortable? Well it is a large knife but its not as if I have a handful of nails in there.  Sometimes I think people in general have unrealistically low levels of tolerance. Feeling that something is there doesn’t necessarily mean that its uncomfortable or that you wont eventually get over it after you get used to carrying it in a couple more weeks.
All these comfort and size issues reach their pinnacle when it comes to concealed carry guns. I swear one of these days they’ll come up with a polymer 1911 so chopped up that it will weight less than the spit in a person’s mouth. It will of course be chambered for 45 ACP and will have a 3 round capacity (including the one in the chamber!) “But its so comfortable to carry!”

I’m sure it is, but how useful is it? How accurate are you with it? How many classes have you taken with such a gun and how did you perform compared to better equipped shooters?
If you think a Glock 17 is too big, then try carrying concealed an all steel 1911 Government model like they did not that long ago. The Glock 17 isn’t big, or heavy. Is smaller than the 1911 and its weight is a joke. Many folks have said so already and I’m confident about repeating it: No one caught in a gunfight ever wished for less gun.
Carry what you train with guys, and train with something good, a capable gun. When it comes to other gear don’t waste time splitting hairs over atomic weight or extra micros worth of flashlight size, just use what you find to be efficient. A shoulder bag or backpack (or laptop case) isn’t that crazy a concept. We’ve ALL carried bags or backpacks every single day for years at some point, remember school? and man where those books heavy. Today you can have with you a half empty bag of some sort filled with useful stuff of your own choosing.

Think about these things. You soon realize that what you have with you at the time is all you have during an emergency, and that carrying some extra stuff isn’t uncomfortable, but actually makes life easier when dealing with life’s inconveniences both serious and the ones that aren’t so much.
Take care folks.



Bill N. said...

While the Glock is considerably lighter than a 1911, I actually find a 1911 easier to conceal than a full size Glock. The slide is thinner and the corners are more rounded. The 1911 is slightly thicker but only where the stocks are.

Anonymous said...

I've been EDC with a Glock 33 (compact 357 sig, 8+1) for about 9 months now. I tried with a full size, but couldn't make ago of it. I currently have a S&W M&Pc 45 (bigger than the Glock 33), a Springfield 357Sig (heavy) and a Ruger 345 (too tall). I like shooting the others, but the Glock 33 works best for me to carry. I use IWB with a crossbreed supertuck holster - I tried a bunch of others - but they are either too bulky, don't allow an easy reholster, or don't allow an easy draw.

The biggest lession I learned is that you can't expect to start carrying something when the SHTF - it takes time to figure out what works for you. And you won't know everything you need to know until you have to pick something off the floor in public, or reach for something on a high shelf at the grocery store, or use the restroom at the movies.

I currently don't carry with one in the pipe. I practice a draw and chamber move with either hand, and one handed. I also think that when I start noticing the need to be carrying with one in the pipe, I'll be sure of the safety of the weapon and my ability to keep my finger out of the trigger guard until I'm ready to shoot. So far, no accidental trigger pulls - but to think that you'll be ready to go full time when the SHTF is a little naive.

Some people complain that they can't shoot with their pinky hanging off the end of a compact. I didn't experience that at all - I don't feel any differently when shooting the full size Springfield XD 357sig than the Glock 33.

FerFAL said...

By all means go with the Glock 33 if that works for you. It should also be the gun you practice and most important, the gun you train with. 357SIG needs a longer barrel so as to get maximum velocity, otherwise it burns too much powder outside. Big fladsh, less velocity. For a smaller gun it might make more sense to go for 9mm.

"I currently don't carry with one in the pipe. I practice a draw and chamber move with either hand, and one handed. I also think that when I start noticing the need to be carrying with one in the pipe, I'll be sure of the safety of the weapon and my ability to keep my finger out of the trigger guard until I'm ready to shoot. So far, no accidental trigger pulls - but to think that you'll be ready to go full time when the SHTF is a little naive."
Why dont you carry in condition 1 ?
You dont have a manual safety in your Glock 33.


Doug from Oz said...

I was amazed at how little weight the Leatherman Tti added to my pocket. I really don't notice it's there. However, when I added a Gerber Artifact to my keychain as well, I noticed the extra weight. Still deciding if I should keep that on the chain, I may add it to the Musette bag instead. And yes, I know it'll take me a while to get used to the bag, but I used to carry one every day in the early Nineties, and noticed it more when I stopped!

Elx said...

I carry a Glock 19 most of the time, but I want to upgrade for a larger caliber.I decided to go for the 357sig, but Im hesitating between the full size and the compact version.Wich is comfortable to carry every day? You, told FerFal, that you have been carrying a full size Glock 31.How do you manage to conceal it? Could it be noticed when you are carrying it?Does the concealing require some special clothing?
I can conceal my G19 very well, even in summer times, but I wonder if i could do the same with G31. Thank you for your response!

Maldek said...

While reading:
"or reach for something on a high shelf at the grocery store"

I did imagine this happening in germany (I am native german speaker).

1) The guy on the camera, checking the store for thiefs see you, notices you have a gun.

2) He gets a semi-stroke but manages to dial 911 before he collapses.

3) 5 minutes later you are peacefully paying and about to leave the store when suddenly a SWAT team shows up, and you find yourself arrested at gun point.
The next day you can read in the newspaper how a dangerous terrorist (you) got stopped by the police before he could do further harm.

Strange eh? Nevertheless I can assure you there is more than 1 grain of truth in this story.

So if you have the right to carry a weapon where you live, please listen to FerFal when he suggest doing so!

I like to carry a knife myself but I prefer to keep it small enough so it is not visible - thats including the clip.

In some parts of the world - London/GB for example - the visible folding knife alone could be enough for people to call the police.

FerFAL said...

Elx, I almost bought a Glock 19 once.
You know who stopped me? The gun dealer. More or less he said "Dont be stupid, buy a Glock17 instead. For a minimal size difference you have a bigger, more accurate gun"
And you know what? He's right. I know all people and all bodies are different. Some people just print more than others. A good holster helps (Bladetec IWB) as well as a good belt and a slightly larger shirt or tshirt. Preferably a Polo type shirt or thicker fabric and darker color that doesn't print as much (some color just print more than others, or at least that's the visual effect) Dress accordingly and you really notice no almost no difference when carrying between G17 or G31 and G19. You will though, shoot a bit better with it. At last the people I know shoot better with the G17 than the G19. I've heard otherwise on the interent, (people that claim to shoot the exact same or even better with the smaller guin) but never saw it on the range.

Doug from Oz said...

Maldek, I've been thinking of gluing a strip of dark cloth to the pocket clip of my Tti. At most it would look like a rough patch job.
Here in Australia we're allowed to carry a multitool as long as we use it for work. (I double checked that with the police before I bought mine).

Anonymous said...

I've been shooting with a 1911 style gun too long,the Glock feels unnatural to me.I carry a Kimber ultra carry,Alum frame & SS slide.Not heavy at all,conceals great & with a cheap but indestructible kings magwell I can use a 8round clip without the clip sticking out.
Oh yea it's a 45 too.

FerFAL said...

Doug, check Amazon and for a few bucks you can buy that same clip in black, for the black Wave Leatherman tool.
Here's the link:
It fits the Charge just as well. If you notice, that's the clip I have in mine so as to make it a bit less obvious.


Jake from the States said...

Not a big believer in carrying less gun. I carry two Sig P228s with 15-round MecGar mags plus two more mags for backup. If I have to take my family to a big city, I also carry a S&W 442 cross-draw to deal with any would-be car-jackers. Three knives and a Leatherman Blast round out the weaponry. Paranoid? No, prepared.