Option Gray's founder, Cody Martin, spent more than 11 years in federal law enforcement working undercover, narcotics, violent crime, surveillance, and executive protection, as well as instructing firearms and officer survival courses. Let's take a look at his ever changing defensive EDC.
When it comes to Everyday Carry, or EDC, what you carry can look like a lot of different things. This is due to the subjective nature of the topic. However, the one constant is the fact your EDC is what you carry on a daily basis. For me, my primary daily carry is defensive in nature. While this may be my “defensive carry” and typically consists of defensive tools, it does include a medical component, which is vitally important.
I wanted to share with you what my defensive carry looks like so it can be some food for thought when working on your personal defensive EDC.
I like to look at my defensive carry in terms of five categories:
It’s always a balance between having the right amount of gear to handle a given situation and being loaded down with so much crap you eventually find yourself not carrying anything at all. Keep in mind, there will be times when I only carry a few items from this list. This may be due to things within my control like clothing or it may be due to things outside of my control like restrictions due to air travel, etc. Yes, I know I can travel with a firearm and have done so more times than I can count. I’m simply referring to the items I actually have on my body at any given time.
With all of this in mind, let’s run through the items I’m currently carrying on a regular basis. This is not a sexy list and likely won’t win any awards for best EDC gear dump. However, it is built around function and its ability to fit into a defensive role. Again, don’t hold me to this list as it is not hard and fast. It changes frequently due to a variety of reasons.
A Glock 43 is a good option in warmer weather because it's compact and lightweight, making it easier for AIWB during our hot Texas summers.
My primary firearm lately has been a Glock 43. I find myself gravitating towards it more and more as the weather heats up and my wardrobe changes. I often carry larger models, but again, weather and clothing dictate this for me.
Typically, I almost always carry an extra magazine if I’m carrying a firearm. I know folks are on both sides of the fence when it comes to carrying an extra mag, and that’s okay. For me, it’s the peace of mind for the one in a million chance I need it.
Currently, I appendix carry (AIWB) the 43 and spare mag in an ANR Design Master Blaster (Mag and Pistol Combo). It works well for my needs and I find it carries very comfortable. I also have other holsters by a variety of manufacturers as well. Holsters are the one category that changes regularly for me. Like most folks, I have boxes of holsters that I have cycled through over the years.
A flashlight is an essential party of everyday carry. It not only allows you to see in the dark, but can be used for self-defense.
My current daily carry flashlight is a Streamlight Protac 2L-X. I like this light for many reasons, but the main reason is Streamlight’s Ten-Tap programming system. This allows the end user to select from multiple output options. In my defensive flashlight, I only want one output and it should be “high”. I don’t want to cycle through moonbeam, low, medium, strobe, etc. I want it to activate and I want the output to be the brightest possible and that’s how I have my Streamlight set. I know there are other trusted makes and models out there that offer high only outputs and I’m on board with them as well. Feel free to pick your poison.
On a side note, be sure to check out our article on How to use a flashlight for self-defense.
When it comes to the blade I carry, I always have a folder on me. This tends to be my workhorse and covers anything from digging splinters to cutting open boxes. In other words, I use it for everything. My go-to folder for warmer months and lighter clothing tends to be the Spyderco Manix2 Lightweight. I like the design, the steel, how it feels in my hand, and most of all, the weight.
Now, I’m not one of those saying there’s a hard and fast rule that you have to carry a working knife and a defensive knife and there’s no way around it. You do what works for you.
However, half the time I do find myself carrying a quality fixed blade in addition to my folder. As of late, I’ve been carrying the Red Meat Steel Jambi. It’s double-edged design and ergonomics make it ideal for defensive situations. I carry it horizontally up front and it pairs nicely with my firearm AIWB.
Should you carry a tourniquet? I’m glad you asked. Check out our article laying out the reasons why we believe it’s a good idea to do so. At a minimum, I’m usually carrying a Tactical Medical Solutions SOF Tourniquet wide in a PHLster FlatPack in terms of medical gear. This can be worn horizontally on my belt with soft loops or it can be slid into a back pocket. Either way, it’s easy to carry and conceal.
When you start considering the medical gear you should carry, you should also be considering where you will obtain training in that field. Medical gear is one of the most often overlooked areas and training in this area is even rarer for the end user. Either way, find a reputable company and get some training.
Pepper spray is a non-lethal option for your defensive carry.
This is one category where I’m not as consistent in terms of regular carry. It’s usually a daily decision and to be honest, it comes down to how lazy I am in terms of wanting to carry it. With that being said, my personal choice in this category is Sabre Red Pepper Spray. I like Sabre Red's 1/2 oz. Key Case Pepper Spray mainly for the compact size and the concealability it affords. However, the small size has its limits. It only has a 10-foot range and has less volume which equals less spray. Sabre Red claims 25 bursts with this model, but I have not tested that number.
BONUS: Tactical Pen
Worst-case scenario, an all-metal pen can be used as a defensive tool when combined with the right training. This is the Hinderer Knives Investigator Pen.
There has been a surge in the market for "tactical" pens, which are more aggressive-designed pens carried for self-defense. You can carry an all-metal body pen which can be used for self-defense if the situation warrants it.
There you have it. That’s my current defensive carry as of today. However, tomorrow it may change. Just remember, be intentional about the gear you choose when it comes to important things like your defensive carry. There are a lot of good brands with good stuff, so make sure you find what works for you.
When it comes to saving your life or that of another person, you need to have the right gear and make sure you know how to use it. All of the categories above require training to be proficient. They also require regular training to maintain those skills.
Be sure to let me know what your favorite defensive carry choices are as well as your preferred trainers.