What's Your EDC Routine?

Routine. As in, predictable. Unimaginative. Boring.

Perhaps. Routine also can help you perform. Can help you remember. Can help keep you prepared. It could even be argued that routine could conceivably save your life.

You need a routine in your Everyday Carry. (EDC)

Let’s first get this out of the way. I’m not a martial arts ninja. I wasn’t a Ranger in Seal Team Delta. Nope. Not law enforcement. Not a trainer. I’m just a regular guy. But I’m a sponge. I get to hang around with the folks who do have the backgrounds. I soak up what they say. I borrow. I steal. I retain (at least some of it). I try to put into my life the parts which seem to apply.

I’m also a private pilot with a few thousand hours of flight time. In flying, we use routine as our baseline for safety.edc dump We use checklists. We use flow checks. We try to do the same thing the same way every time. We do certain things at certain points in a flight. There is comfort in routine. There certainly is safety in routine.

I see doing things in a routine manner as the opposite of being haphazard. It’s having a plan and executing your plan.

How does that apply to your EDC? 

First, you need to really think about what you do, create a plan, and then execute the plan the same way every day.

In my case, it’s how I gear up in the morning and how I take off everything in the evening. Your situation, or equipment, or physical setup of your home may be different, but I’d suggest having a routine you use every day.

I suit up when I get dressed. First thing in the morning. Even if I’m not going anywhere. Yes, I wear a gun at home. I wear a gun belt every day. It’s comfortable. First, I put on the mag pouch, which contains a loaded magazine. Then I put on the holster. I do this with the handgun out of the holster. Just my preference. At all times, I am careful about the direction of the muzzle. (Watch that muzzle while you are removing the handgun from the holster!) Once the holster is on, I pick up my pistol. I have a solid firing grip on it. I drop the magazine and LOOK at it to verify it is fully loaded. I TOUCH the top round. I reinsert the magazine. I then do a press check to verify there is a round in the chamber. BE CAREFUL. Keep your finger outside of the trigger guard.  Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. I move the slide back just enough that I can feel the loaded round. This is practice. I may, at some point, need to do a press check in the dark. I want to have done this hundreds or thousands of times. I release the slide, and verify that it has gone fully into battery – is all the way forward. 

I then SLOWLY put the pistol into the holster. Now, this next part may be controversial. I next face a bookshelf full of books and do a moderately slow draw to full extension, bringing a hard focus onto the front sight. I keep my trigger finger outside the trigger guard. Then I SLOWLY reholster and say these words out loud.

“This IS the day I will need this gun.”

I say those words (and it must be said aloud) to reduce my reaction time. If something does happen, I won’t be as surprised. I already told myself it would happen.

If you are uncomfortable doing a slow draw with a loaded gun in your home, in front of something that would pretty much stop a bullet, I submit that you need a lot more training and practice. 

I then put my knife and flashlight(s) in my pockets, and I’m good to go.

When I walk out the door of my home, I say “Condition Yellow” as a reminder to simply be aware of my surroundings. More on Col. Jeff Cooper’s color code here. READ HERE

At the end of the day (for me, this means bedtime), I do another medium speed draw to full extension. Hey, you have to take off the gun, and it’s a “free” practice draw. The four rules of gun safety still apply. I put my gun in the place and condition I want it for the evening. We each have different situations, and you may want your pistol on a nightstand, in a drawer, or in a locking gun box. You must make sure no unauthorized person gets to your gun.

Build your own routine. Do it the same way every time. Do not allow distractions. If you get a phone call in the middle of this routine, stop. Either don’t take the call, or stop putting on your gun. After the call, start over. This demands your full attention. It takes only one or two minutes, but it’s critical. There have been people who have gone all day (actually, in the case of one police officer, all YEAR) with an unloaded gun. There have been people who got distracted and went out for the day wearing an empty holster. 

Do not rush this process. Have a routine. Embrace it. Make it a part of who you are. Guard it jealously. Your family is depending on you. ~ Tom

Tom Gresham
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.