I have a bag I carry with me every time I leave the house. It is called the 5.11 Tactical Moab 6. The popular name for this is called an EDC (Every Day Carry) bag. I have choosen to carry my Springfield XDS 45 handgun in this bag as opposed to carrying it on my hip. The bag has a velcro quick access pocket made just for this.
I have chosen to carry in a bag for a few reasons. The first is that the seat in my car (Nissan Versa) is so narrow, that I can not sit in there with something on my hip. I am also a big person, so that probably has something to do with it. The second reason is that I have some medical equipment that I want to carry around with me where ever I go. The third reason is that I am dad with young kids. I go to playgrounds and places where other kids and parents who may be scared of guns will be. I feel like the bag I carry around on my shoulder is less intimidating than if my weapon is exposed accidentally.
I already knew it was going to take me longer to draw my weapon out of this bag, but other than that I hadn’t done any practicing with it until this past weekend at the Concealed Carry Gunfighter class. Dennis made a good point that each person needs to know their limitations. Practicing fighting from this bag really made me see how different it was from drawing from the hip. It takes a little longer and the mechanics of the draw are different than drawing from the hip. As an example, once the weapon is drawn out of its holster from the hip, shooting from the hip is an easy transition. When I draw from my bag, my off hand pulls the bag in front of me while my shooting hand reaches in to draw the weapon. Once the weapon is out of the bag, it is pointing to the left (I’m right handed). Its different, and its something I will have to practice more of. Also, finding and grabbing the weapon in the pocket takes a little bit longer than just knowing where it is on your hip.
Reloading was a challenge I hadn’t fully considered it until I was at the range. The bag comes with a place inside a zippered pocket to store two full sized AR magazines. The 5 round XDS magazines get swallowed whole in those pockets. Getting at these is a two handed operation when done quickly. One handed takes much longer as well as taking your eyes off the target. Dennis recommended adding a pouch on the side to attach to the MOLLE straps for a magazine. Ordinarily I don’t like the traveling salesman look of having things hanging off the outside of a bag. Its something else that can get caught on something or fall off. I just happened to have a pouch for my flashlight in the bag that happened to work for the day. There are a number of magazine specific pouches, but I didn’t like them as they tended to have a Velcro strap over the top of the magazine to hold it in place. This pouch will have to hang upside down on the side of the bag when I am carrying it on my back. These pouches also left the contents exposed so anyone could see that I had a magazine on the side of my bag. I did find a small pouch that fully covers the contents and has a buckle as well as velcro. I recently ordered it and am still waiting for it to come in. It is small, but so are the magazines for my XDS. Hopefully it will do what I want.
I intentionally chose a color for my bag that looks less tactical (grey). I also covered up the Velcro with non tactical patches to lower suspicion. At Dennis’ suggestion, I covered up the 5.11 logo with duct tape. I am aware that it has MOLLE straps on it, but I don’t want to cut them off at this point. The objective was to make my bag look like something a geeky dad may carry with him instead of looking like a sheepdog bag.
The medical equipment I chose to carry with me was influenced from a podcast I listened to where an ED doctor talked about his medical kits and what he chooses to carry with him. His take away point is that there are a limited number of interventions where seconds count. I live in an urban setting where fire and EMS should be able to arrive to my location within 10 minutes of calling. I’m a paramedic, and I have training that has helped me to make a decision on what I feel like I can have with me to help bridge the gap while waiting for advanced care to arrive. The things that I can help where seconds count is the ABC’s: Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Here is a list of the medical equipment I carry with me:
- Rigid CPR mask
- Set of OPA’s (oral pharyngeal airways)
- Magill forceps
- Two tourniquets
- Trauma sheers
- Three sets of EMS gloves
- A watch
- Plain index cards
- Sharpie marker
- Hand sanitzer
There are some other things I carry in there, but they are not the scope of this post. I hope this gives some ideas or insight if you carry a bag or are considering carrying one.