Sunday, January 7, 2018

Too Much On My Belt

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
That title should actually be "I have too much stuff on my gun belt and that makes it difficult for me to conceal everything, and I can't find good alternate places to put that stuff, and I have trouble paring stuff down," but that would have been excessively wordy.

This is something I call Batman Syndrome and it ties into an article I wrote years ago about how there's a slippery slope between being a prepper and being a hoarder. If you have full-scale Batman Syndrome, your every day carry preps resemble Batman's utility belt, or a police officer's duty belt, or soldier's assault pack. 

To be clear, the problem isn't just having all that stuff with you; it's allowing that stuff to interfere with your life. As an example, if you regularly carry a backpack full of preps, but there's no room for anything else in it and you end up carrying your books (or whatever should be in that backpack) in your arms, you're defeating the purpose of having a backpack in the first place. In my case, I'm trying to avoid becoming the person who carries so much stuff that it's obvious she's carrying, which therefore negates the whole "concealed" aspect.

So why am I sharing this? Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I typically have at least five different things going on in my brain at one time. Usually some of these things are fun, like "I can't wait for the next Marvel movie," or are easily solved in the short term, like "What will I have for dinner?"

However, sometimes my mind grabs onto something which is neither fun nor easily solvable. These are either questions about prepping or worries about my future, and I end up ruminating on those problems until I either solve them or get distracted by something. A problem occurs when the distraction ends up being another worry or question -- I get locked into a pattern where I can't concentrate on anything because most of my brain power is locked into trying to fix various concerns while solving nothing, like a dog chasing its tail. 

In an attempt to break this pattern, I've decided to share with you one of the things which are bothering me. I don't really expect solutions; I'm just hoping that talking them out will clear my head.

Here's what I have on my Every Day Carry gun belt*:
  • Glock 26 pistol. It's not a gun belt if it doesn't have a gun on it, so this isn't coming off. 
  • 2x 17 round magazines. These aren't coming off either, because they counterbalance the weight of the Glock and keep me from feeling lopsided. Plus, I like carrying 50 rounds. (2 x 17 = 34, plus 15 round magazine in pistol = 49, plus one in the chamber = 50.)
  • Tactical flashlight. I have a CL-42 which, while at 420 lumens is not the brightest flashlight out there, has the virtues of being small, lightweight, and free (it was given to me at the Kel-Tec booth a few NRA conventions ago). It's bright enough to do what I need it to do and takes up so little space and weight that it's practically negligible. I see no need to remove or replace it. 
  • Tourniquet. No matter which model you carry (CAT or SOFTT-W) or how you carry it (horizontally or vertically), tourniquets are bulky and there's no way to get around that. Still, if I'm going to carry a gun to protect my life or the lives of loved ones, I'm going to carry a TQ for the same reason. This one isn't coming off, either, but I have yet to find an ideal solution. 
    • For those curious, I've found the SOFFT-W works better on the Phlster Flatpack, while the CAT works better in the Kley-Zion.
  • Ka-Bar TDI, Large. I carry the large version because if I ever need a knife on my belt (as opposed to in my pocket or in a bag), then I'm probably fighting for my life and in that situation I want the largest knife possible in order to maximize damage and distance. The problem with this, though, is that the handle is likewise large and it's easily seen through my clothing. I can be convinced to take this off, but I won't like it. 
    • I've tried carrying this unconcealed, but the shape of the handle has lead more than one person to assume it's a pistol. Given that I can't openly carry a handgun in my state unless under certain specific conditions, I feel this invites more trouble than it's worth. 
    • I also own the smaller version, but it has its own issues, most notable of which is that the clip on its sheath doesn't work well with my belt and I've yet to find another sheath or carry solution which works any better. 
  • Sabre Pepper Gel. This is probably the one item I could most easily be talked out of carrying, because pepper sprays have limited utility. I still like having it, though, because it gives me options that aren't lethal.
  • Wound Treatment Kit. I received this as a Christmas Present from Lucky Gunner (alongside another SOFTT-W and Phlster), and I'd really like to carry it because it has means of treating a serious wound in a manner which complement the tourniquet. The problem is that it, and the pouch that it's in, is five inches long, four inches high and two inches thick. It doesn't fit comfortably anywhere on my belt; it's more of a cargo pocket or purse kind of carry. Unfortunately, I don't wear many clothes with cargo pockets and I don't carry a purse everywhere (such as when I'm walking the dog). 
    • There's also the fact that by this point, I've used up all the space from 9:00 to 3:00 on my belt, and anything else which is added makes sitting in car seats and at restaurant tables uncomfortable.

The final bit of irony about all this is that if I could just carry openly, I wouldn't be worrying about this. Again, the problem isn't carrying all this stuff; it's concealing all this stuff. 

Alas, Florida isn't likely to get open carry, even for permit holders, for the foreseeable future. 

* Not to be confused with my Special Occasion Gun Belt, which involves a  .380 Colt Mustang and a single spare magazine. This is for when I'm going to a nice place or a social event where I don't want to be carrying a lot of gear, but I still want to be armed. 

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