Everyone has an everyday carry (EDC) whether they know it or not. Most folks won’t leave the house without a cell phone and their wallet. Others carry a pocket knife everywhere they go. For the armed citizen, however, choosing the right equipment comes down to personal expertise and situational awareness. It should be, though often is not, well thought out and consistently implemented.

My off-duty EDC consists of a Glock 22 with a weaponlight, two spare magazines, a decent folder knife (currently a Kershaw – functional, but expendable), wallet and cell phone, and a CAT tourniquet. It’s a bit much, but it works for my lifestyle. I work night shifts, so often I’m sleeping during the day and active in the late evening and night. That makes have a good weaponlight imperative. (An alternative to this is a handheld light like Surefire’s excellent Titan Plus, or the Streamlight PolyTacs. Both come equipped with pocket clips and are easy to carry on-body.) As to concealing the weapon, I have the advantage of being a singularly unfashionable person. I wear cargo pants almost every day, and loose fitting button down shirts. On my frame, a full sized pistol can be reasonably concealed in a good holster.

C-A-T® Combat Application Tourniquet

Photo courtesy of North American Rescue

But it has recently become clear to me that the gunfight isn’t over when the last round is fired. Immediately following a critical incident such as a shooting, we have to begin dealing with the aftermath. That means that the armed citizen ought to have a working knowledge of first aid, especially in treating gunshot wounds. For this reason, I strongly encourage anyone who carries a weapon – and in this environment of lone wolf attacks, any responsible person – to carry a tourniquet.

There are numerous types of tourniquets on the market but the two that I favor at the CAT tourniquets and the RATS tourniquets. In my experience, CAT tourniquets are easier to apply one-handed, if they’re set up properly. RATS tourniquets are easier to conceal, and they may also work better on children. The CAT tourniquet has a wide base under the windlass and – while there’s no data on it that I know of – I suspect that base will make it more difficult to stop an arterial bleed on a child’s extremities. Neither one is the right answer. When choosing which of these to carry, you should consider your environment. After you choose, train on the system you have.

R.A.T.S – Rapid Application Tourniquet

Photo courtesy of RATS Medical

As to carry, I’ve heard the objection that there isn’t a good way to conceal a tourniquet or to carry one as a part of your EDC. That’s BS – there’s no perfect way to conceal a firearm and those are typically more bulkly than a tourniquet, especially the slim RAT system. It’s simply a matter of recognizing the necessity of the tool and prioritizing it.

Here are a few ideas. For anyone who wears 5.11 pants, the cell phone pocket works great for either breed of tourniquet (although the windlass may stick out of the top and look like an old Nokia.) Other cargo pants have big ol’ pockets – so use them. I’ve seen tourniquets affixed to belts with rubber bands, like we used to attach them to our shoulder straps overseas, and I’ve seen them carried in HSGI’s Pistol Taco. One might also consider ankle carry. If on-body carry isn’t working, or if you’re a female and you don’t want to look frumpy or distort your curves by packing a lot of gear, then consider carrying in a purse or shoulder bag. If you do, however, remember to keep it accessible. You don’t need to be digging through the bottom of your bag while a casualty bleeds out.

When considering your EDC, be intentional. Understand the threats, decide what you need (and just as importantly, what you don’t need), and then find a way. Be consistent – if it’s important enough to carry every day, then carry it every single day.

Stay frosty, know your exits, and drink water! Timaeus out.

(Header photo courtesy of NY Daily News)