Scott Stewart’s Everyday Carry
By TorchStone VP, Scott Stewart
In a recent podcast interview, my friend Fred Burton asked me to describe my everyday carry.
It is a question I’ve been asked repeatedly over the years, and I thought it would be worth expanding on the topic here in the TorchStone Watch.
In terms of weapons, I live in a state where it is legal for people with a permit to carry a concealed firearm, and as a person who has received a great deal of training, I choose to carry my pistol wherever and whenever I can.
As far as brands and models are concerned, I believe that as long as the firearm is a reliable, quality gun, brands and models are a matter of personal preference—like Ford vs. Chevy pickups.
I believe caliber is also a personal preference and I don’t want to get dragged into any sort of debate on caliber here.
I have full-size pistols in .40 S&W and .45 ACP, a .357 Magnum revolver, and even a Derringer in .45 Long Colt, but for my everyday concealed carry I prefer a compact 9mm pistol due to the ease of concealment for a man of my build.
I personally carry a Sig-Sauer P938, because I just plain like the way it feels and fits my hand. This is no knock against similarly sized pistols such as the Sig P365, the Glock 43, the Kimber Micro 9, etc., but the P938 simply feels good and shoots well for me.
I know that many people are uncomfortable carrying a single-action pistol, but I am comfortable and really like the P938’s trigger pull.
If you do decide to carry a firearm, I recommend that you carry something you have trained with extensively, are comfortable with, and shoot well, rather than simply carrying what is trendy, or what some friend really likes.
Training is also perishable, so periodic range time is also required if you want to carry.
I am not a proponent of open-carry and believe that if you are carrying concealed, that means your firearm should be properly concealed.
I am not a fan of flashing your gun to impress people.
Weapon retention is also important, and a good holster helps with both concealment and retention.
For a couple of decades, I carried a Spyderco Endura knife on and off duty, and I still do sometimes—it is a classic.
But a couple of years ago my son got me a Kershaw Blur Blackwash and I really like the feel of the knife.
Again, there are scads of really nice knives out there, and I am not knocking any of them.
These are just the knives that I own and feel good to me. I encourage you to carry what feels best in your hand.
For everyday carry and most travel, I use a 5.11 Side Trip briefcase.
The bag is over 10 years old and still going strong.
I like the way the bag is set up and it works well to hold all my work items plus has ample room to stow my emergency kit.
For international trips where I am trying to travel gray, I leave my 5.11 bag at home because it looks very tactical, and instead carry a more vanilla-looking laptop bag.
I strongly believe that most people vastly underappreciate the threat posed by fire.
Far more people die each year in fires—mostly due to smoke inhalation—than in terrorist attacks.
Also, as we’ve seen during past attacks in places like Benghazi and Mumbai, fire can be used as a weapon.
I therefore strongly recommend that people carry a smoke hood whenever possible.
Carrying a smoke hood can mean the difference between living or dying in a fire.
Smoke is deadly not only inside buildings but also in vehicles such as aircraft, busses, or train and subway cars.
Smoke hoods can provide people trapped by smoke from fires the ability to safely escape through the smoke.
There are some trade-offs involved when it comes to choosing a smoke hood to carry.
The larger hoods, and specifically the Elmridge iEvac, provide excellent protection against dangers such as carbon monoxide and toxic gases, but I find the larger hoods too bulky for everyday carry.
If I lived in a high-rise apartment building or worked in a tall office building, I would absolutely have an iEvac in my bedroom or office—and have one available for every member of my family or staff.
I would also have them for my family if my home was located in an area prone to wildfires.
However, due to size considerations, for my everyday carry, I’ve decided to carry a smoke hood that is compact enough to take wherever I go, even though I know it will not protect me against carbon monoxide.
To my mind, some protection is better than none, and my slim smoke hood never leaves my briefcase, except when I am in a hotel room and place the smoke hood on the bedside table with my hotel key, wallet, passport, phone, and flashlight.
Flashlights are another lifesaver in a fire.
While most of us carry smartphones that have flashlights on them, they are not nearly as effective as a high-intensity flashlight.
I also believe it is better to save your phone battery for communication in a crisis.
Because of this, I always carry a high-intensity tactical flashlight in my briefcase.
This flashlight is far more effective than a cellphone light in cutting through smoke in a dark subway tunnel or hotel stairwell.
An iPhone flashlight generates about 50 lumens; the light I carry, a 5.11 Rapid PL 2AA generates 280 lumens.
This flashlight also doubles as an effective striking weapon, and yet doesn’t look as “aggressive” as flashlights with more pronounced points on the bezel.
Even in places where it is difficult to carry weapons legally, such as Japan or the United Kingdom, I have never had anyone take even a second glance at this flashlight.
A small roll of duct tape, a few safety pins, cable ties, a permanent marker, and a small roll of paracord are also items that take up very little space but can prove quite useful in an emergency.
Stop the Bleed
Smoke is not the only danger to be concerned about.
In bombings, armed assaults, edged weapon attacks, and even vehicular assaults, victims frequently die from blood loss before help can reach them.
Consequently, having the ability to stop victims (including yourself) from bleeding out is important.
Because of this, I keep a small stop-the-bleed kit in my briefcase that consists of a tourniquet, a quick clot bleeding control dressing, a chest seal, a compression bandage, and some regular Band-Aids for non-emergency situations.
This all fits inside a small bag that I keep in the back compartment of my briefcase.
You can buy ready-made stop-the-bleed kits from stopthebleed.org, or make them with items you purchase yourself.
Be sure to check the expiration dates on items such as chest seals and bleeding control dressings as they do have a limited shelf life.
I also keep a stop-the-bleed kit along with a regular first aid kit in each of my vehicles.
When I travel, I supplement my stop-the-bleed kit with a larger travel first-aid kit that goes in my suitcase or backpack.
This kit contains basic first-aid items such as alcohol preps, antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, burn and blister cream, gauze, moleskin, a variety of Band-Aids, a triangular bandage, tweezers, safety pins, and a thermometer.
The kit also contains a prescription antibiotic for severe dysentery, as well as loperamide, Pepto-Bismol, diphenhydramine, pain reliever, and allergy medicine. (If you have severe allergic reactions to things such as bee stings or seafood, you should also carry an EpiPen at all times.)
In the end, what I carry is only one point of reference and is based on my situation and personal preferences.
If I was still actively working executive protection details, or working in a war zone overseas, my everyday carry would be different.
Other people in other occupations living in other environments may also favor or require different items.
But my hope is that this discussion will provide you with an opportunity to think about what you could (and should) carry with you every day to help keep yourself and others safe.