EDC Essentials of a Career Intelligence Community Asset

I was asked to write an opinion editorial with a focus on "everyday carry" requirements I have, based on my experience and years of polishing my specific skill set.

My background is over three decades in the Intelligence Community, working in all aspects of Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Collection, and have been operational in permissive as well as non-permissive environments.

I also worked several years as a Narcotics Detective and served on our department’s SWAT Team, as well as being a lead instructor for tactical law enforcement officers.

EDC Essentials of a Career Intelligence Community Asset
Nothing sexy. Just tools. Easily concealable and if they get lost or stolen they are all replaceable. You will notice there is no spy gear here. All these items are mundane and explainable. (Photo: Watches of Espionage IG)

That aside, let us dive into the topic at hand. What do I term "every day" in the loosely defined "everyday carry" list of gear. Off the bat, please note that my personal choice in gear is just that. My choice. My personal choice is based on my own experiences, and by no means should be the do-all-end-all for everyone.

With the overabundance of "gunfighters" on today’s social media, one can be overloaded with opinions and shopping lists of "must-have" items. I will break it down to the lowest common denominator and explain my reasons for what I use.

RELATED – Best Faraday Bags for Cell Phones

Being a Grey Man

Everyone has heard of the term grey man. This originated a few years ago, to make the true term low visibility or signature reduction seem cooler.

I for one, do everything I can to NOT be noticed in a crowd. With today’s facial recognition software and online databases, it’s almost impossible to go anywhere in true name, without having your identity known.

EDC Essentials of a Career Intelligence Community Asset
Soldiers with A Company, 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade receive a safety brief before operations, March 2, 2021, Fort Hood, Texas. They were conducting a training on urban intelligence operations. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Melissa N. Lessard)

The lower visibility, or signature I have, the better I can move about. Carrying a concealed weapon, be it a firearm or a fixed blade, or any other edged weapon is a common occurrence for most people. However, the moment you decide to carry a concealed weapon, this places a huge responsibility on you, the weapon carrier.

One must be proficient with his/her weapon of choice. Proficient to the point of sub-conscious competency. This means, in a high-stress environment, or a lethal encounter, you must perform with your weapon of choice to the level of mastery.

Hitting your target where you intend to hit, dealing with stoppages without conscious thought, which opens more of your thought processes without having to think about remedial action, or sight picture, you get the drift. You also must be AWARE of your surroundings.

A good head on a swivel is by far your best offense in a low-visibility setting. Knowing your surroundings, and identifying possible threats before they become threats, allows you to change your position, and mitigate those threats. But, in a lethal encounter, you MUST be willing to END that encounter and survive.

EDC Essentials

Now, let’s talk weapons. My daily carry of choice for years was my trusty Glock 19. That pistol has ridden countless miles with me and has been my go-to for the better part of two decades. The pistol is internally 100% factory, with zero modifications to the internals of the weapon.

This is my choice, because if ever in a lethal encounter, as a civilian, I will have to surrender that weapon for the post-event investigation.

I won’t bore you with the legal side of this, for each state differs in its use of force laws. The factory Glock internals work flawlessly for me in a defensive carry pistol.

Glock 48

My carry pistol of choice is now my Glock 48. This has the same sight radius as my Glock 19, but comes in a nice single-stack thinness, which makes carrying it inside the waistband much more comfortable.

Glock G48

at Guns.com
Prices accurate at time of writing

Glock makes a G43X which has the same frame as the G48, but has a shorter slide, which also means a shorter sight radius.

The only modification I have done to my G48 was replacing the factory Glock sights with the 24/7 Big Dot Sights from XS Express. For me, these sights work extremely well in a defensive, high-stress scenario.

Whatever handgun you decide to carry, make sure you train with it, and train to the point of sub-conscious competency. A handgun must feel good in your hand. You must be able to point it naturally and acquire the sight picture quickly.

Self Defense Ammunition

The ammunition I keep my Glocks fed with is the tried and true SPEER GOLD DOT 124 grain +P.

Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel Handgun Ammunition 9mm Luger (+P) 124 gr HP 1150 fps 20/ct

at Natchez Shooters Supplies
Prices accurate at time of writing

This ammunition has proven itself over years and years of carry and actual documented shooting scenarios. I always recommend that whatever ammunition you choose to carry in your weapon, make sure to fire a box or two of it at known distances with verified targets. You want to know where the projectile "prints" at different ranges, so you can trust it if the need ever arises.

There are countless articles out there on carry ammunition, tests, write-ups, you name it. Just make sure to do your research and test the ammunition you choose. Make sure it feeds properly and you know where it prints at distance.

Seek out training, to gain proficiency. Not just static range training, but high-stress scenarios, with critical decision-making, is invaluable. If you can do some force-on-force training against a live adversary, using Simunitions or UTM, do so. Just remember Proficiency, Awareness, and WILLINGNESS.

Edged Weapons

Second to a good handgun, is an edged weapon. Fixed blade knives are very trustworthy, and give you a great sense of security, with little to no failure points, but some places inhibit your ability to carry a good, fixed blade knife. So, a solid folder is key.

Zero Tolerance 0357BW

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

Knives are like handguns, a very personal choice. Whatever you chose, make sure you train with it, keep it sharp, and train some more. There are times where a blade is more important than a handgun, for it is silent, fast, and does not need to be reloaded.

I could write pages upon pages about knives, for edged weapons is a huge passion of mine. But there are tons of articles and reviews out there. Just don’t skimp on quality, and find something that fits your hands, fits your clothing choice, and you feel comfortable carrying.

Cell Phone

A cell phone is a must-have as well. But know that Murphy will show up when you least expect him.

Having a backup battery pack is always advised.

Having emergency numbers stored as favorites, so you can make a one-handed call is also a wise choice.

Related – Best Faraday Bags For Cell Phones


Another must-have item is a good flashlight. I carry one in my left front pocket, which I can use in conjunction with my handgun, or by itself, as a baton if needed, for pressure point controls or joint manipulation. My flashlight also has a crenelated bezel which adds to the self-defense use, which makes it a capable striking weapon when necessary.

Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

There are many other items that you can incorporate into your daily life. But that is another story. In a world where you move around freely, but can lose that freedom of movement quickly, the most important carry items in my experience are as discussed:

  • Your Mind
  • Your Handgun
  • Your Knife
  • Your Cell Phone
  • Your Flashlight



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