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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sage Dynamics Firearms Training: In-Vehicle EDC

In my final installment on EDC, I wanted to take a look at some basic in-vehicle equipment that can be carried without turning your personal vehicle into a third-world jingle truck. Depending on what you realistically expect to encounter either by normal routine or occupation, will largely dictate what you will carry.  Another consideration of course is the size of your vehicle.  If you have a sedan or coupe, trunk space is usually at a premium and loading in a large amount of gear will restrict available cargo space for routine tasks like grocery shopping.  Now, as with the last two pieces, I am speaking of Every Day Carry gear, not “bug out” gear.  Any worst case scenario gear can be kept on hand at home, or if you prefer, in your vehicle, though for most of us there simply isn’t room in our cars for a great deal of what commonly finds its way into “bug out” bags. 

In-Vehicle EDC
Instead, I’m looking at “third line” gear; which is to say items that you want to have close at hand but do not have a realistic expectation of needing immediate access to it.  As we take our vehicle with us virtually everywhere we go, having a good third line gear kit in our vehicle guarantees we will have near-immediate access to it in the event that the worst happens.

For me, my third line gear is mostly occupationally focused, though I also have taken the reality of possible unexpected situations into account.  I am not a survival expert, though for worst-case-scenarios in an urban environment, I don’t have to be (at least for the near term).  My third line is really an expansion of my second line gear, with some specific additions that I have come to find helpful and/or potentially necessary.

My first vehicle addition upon buying my Ford f-150 was an under-seat organizer.  I snagged it off Amazon for a little over $100 bucks and purchased this model specifically because it supports the option of a built in gun rack.  In addition to that, it allows me to maximize available space under my rear seat without needlessly exposing my gear to curious window lookers and it keeps my gear from sliding about.  I think if you plan on keeping third line gear in your vehicle, search out such an organizer; the more non-descript, the better.

Back Seat EDC
Next we have a long gun.  If your state/local laws allow it, the addition of a rifle to your third line gear is a prudent move.  The likelihood of needing it may be slim, but as the saying goes I would rather have and not need, than need and not have.  If you plan on keeping your rifle in your vehicle full time, be sure to have detailed photographs of your serial numbers and have them on hand with your bill of sale in the event that the weapon is stolen.  Also, if you live in a humid climate like I do, some desiccant kept near the vitals of the rifle will help to minimize possible oxidization.  If you intend to keep a shotgun in your vehicle, I would recommend the ammunition be slug as opposed to any sort of buck shot (or 50/50 mix of the two) because you don’t know what type of environment you will need it in, and they quite possibly could be heavily populated.   I have my Loki/Battle Born AR in my truck at all times.  I also keep a Glock 17 in my vehicle.  My EDC is a Glock 19 so magazine commonality is not an issue.

On spare ammunition, a quick access system to carry additional magazines is not a bad idea, in fact it’s an even better idea if you choose a plate carrier as opposed to a chest rig or other system that carries ammunition but provides little protection.   I use the Blue Force Gear PLATEminus for EDC because it’s as light as it gets as far as a PC goes, can be donned quickly and even carrying ammunition, and is not bulky in the least.

In-Vehicle EDC Concealed
The majority of my remaining third line gear is all stored in one bag; additional medical supplies, 24 hours of water, spare batteries, chemical lights, some basic water purification and electrolyte supplements.  Since we can survive much longer without food than we can water, I don’t keep MREs or other such food items in my vehicle as part of my EDC mainly to save space.  Im not saying it isn’t prudent to do so depending on where you live; I just don’t have a realistic expectation of needing it while living in the city.  Now, for cross country trips or drives into rural areas, I usually add a few to the under seat bin JIC.  I also keep a framing hammer and tomahawk in my vehicle because some situations require manual force of the blunt or sharp variety to rectify. 

Backseat EDC Layout
After that my focus was on the more mundane such as simple tools and the random odds and ends that do not take up a lot room but could be invaluable in a number of possible situations.

When putting together my third line gear the biggest problem was what not to include to save on space and weight.  I took great pains to avoid keeping any “bug out” specific gear in my vehicle because there is little chance that I would not be able to return home to get it in the event that I need it and it would simply take up too much of my useable space that I use far more frequently for everyday activities.  On a side note, I bought my F-150 in a Crew Cab specifically for my third line gear because I take it seriously.  The size of my truck is a little annoying living in the city, but the available space in the event that I need it far outweighs any parking annoyance.  Some people take their vehicle into consideration when it comes to EDC, some don’t.  I think it’s more than reasonable to have your gear in mind when buying a new vehicle, so long as you keep it realistic.   I may take things a little more serious than others, though I know there are a great number of men and women out there that take it far more serious than I do based on their environment and concerns and I applaud them for it.

As with all EDC, personal preparation and gear choices are just that, personal.  If you feel you need it, you probably do.  However if you find your bags growing so heavy or your first line gear growing so intricate that you start leaving certain items behind due to the hassle, they may not be as vital as you thought.  It may take a while to get your balance right and decide exactly what you will need on a daily basis.  When it comes to EDC, my personal recommendations in order of importance are; ammunition, medical and water.  Everything else is an aid, though may not be a necessity. 

Aaron Cowan is the Lead Instructor for Sage Dynamics, a reality-focused firearms and tactics training company that provides practical instruction from the fundamentals to advanced skills for the civilian, police and military professional.  Aaron served in the US Army as an Infantryman,  as a private security contractor overseas and as a police officer.  In addition to patrol he worked as a a SWAT team member, SWAT deputy team commander, SWAT sniper, sniper section leader and in-service police training officer.  Aaron holds multiple professional certifications including the National Rifle Association Law Enforcement Division’s instructor training program, California POST certified academy instructor, Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Active Shooter Response Instructor and Simunitions Scenario Instructor among others. When he isn't teaching or training, hes writes semi-regular for Recoil (web) and Breach Bang Clear among others."

For full course details and training schedule visit SageDynamics.org. Receive the latest updates at their Facebook Page.

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