The EDC Gun: Everyday Means Every Day
One of the more interesting subcultures on the internet is the EDC crowd. EDC is short for “everyday carry.” The people within this culture love to show off photos of all the little bits and pieces of gadgets and gear they have with them all the time to make their life a little bit easier. Things like knives, flashlights and multitools are quite common to see in such groups, as are personal defensive firearms. This is good, because it helps show that carrying around a defensive firearm is normal. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the options out there for an everyday carry firearm, or EDC gun.
EDC Gun Fast Facts
- An EDC gun means an everyday carry gun. Carry it every day.
- The smaller the gun, the easier it is to carry, but smaller also means harder to shoot
- Your EDC gun imparts no skill. Practice and training will trump gadgets and caliber
Everyday carry means exactly that. Carrying, every day. If you’re looking for an EDC gun to take along “when you think you might need a gun,” take a moment to reconsider your motivation. Let’s face it, if you’re going someplace where a gunfight might be likely, changing your plans is probably a good idea. We want to avoid danger, not seek it out.
Next, your EDC Gun should be up to the task of defending your life. Or rather, I should say, you should be up to the task of defending your life with your carry gun of choice. Guns do not impart any magical ability or skill upon those who carry them. Wearing boxing shorts doesn’t mean you know how to throw a good left hook. In the same way, just carrying a gun isn’t the solution to your self-defense needs. If you carry a gun, make sure you are trained in how to shoot quickly and accurately in self defense situations. If you think that’s a hint that you should buy a shot timer and start shooting standardized drills, you’re right, it is.
Lastly, your EDC gun is carried with you, every day. Not squirreled away in a backpack somewhere. Not stuck in the trunk of your vehicle and definitely not mounted in a car holster. It’s a gun that you carry with you every day because you’re not sure when and where you might need it. To quote the noted firearms trainer Tom Givens, “You do not get to pick the day you need a gun to defend your life. Someone else picks it for you, and they typically notify you at the very last instant.”
Get a good holster for your gun, and carry it on your person. The life you save may be your own.
You Are Your Own First Responder
That’s the bad news. The good news is, if you have your everyday carry gun with you and can quickly deploy it at the appropriate time, you can turn the tables on your attacker and gain the upper hand. This is why carrying on your person is much more preferable to off body carry or having a gun in your car. You’re going to have a brief window of opportunity to respond to your attacker, and there’s no way to call “Time out!” and run to your truck in the middle of an armed robbery.
With that in mind, let’s look at three different types of common EDC guns. These are guns that are specifically designed to be easy to carry and easy to conceal yet still pack enough firepower to be useful when needed.
These EDC guns favor concealability over firepower and are very easy to carry with you every day. However, they have short barrels and are hard to hold onto. This can dramatically affect their accuracy. They are usually chambered in lower-powered cartridges like 380 ACP or 38 Special, which may mean using FMJ ammo in them rather than defensive hollow points. Lastly, they don’t hold as many rounds as the other guns we’ll be talking about. However, as we said before, they’re small enough to have with you wherever it’s permitted by law, and that makes up for quite a lot.
Pocket Pistol/Revolver Examples
S&W 642 Revolver: The snub-nosed 38 Special revolver is one of the first original pocket pistols. There’s a bit more power in a round of 38 Special vs 380 ACP, which means a better chance of penetrating something vital. It’s a revolver, though, so that means longer reload times. It also means more effort to pull the trigger, and that can be a problem for people with weaker hands.
Kel-Tec P32/P3AT: Kel-Tec upset the apple cart with the .32 ACP P32, and then did it again in 380 ACP with the P3AT. Both of these guns are polymer-framed semi-automatic guns with anywhere between six to eight rounds in the magazine, giving you a slight edge in capacity over a revolver of the same size.
Ruger LCP / LCP II: Ruger took the concept of the Kel-Tec P3AT, smoothed out some of the rough edges, and promptly created the LCP, one of the most popular guns in America. The LCP II is an upgraded version of the LCP, with a better trigger, better ergonomics and other features.
Sig Sauer P238: If you like the classic 1911 pistol, but don’t like how it feels in your holster, take a look at the Sig P238. The P238 holds six rounds of 380 ACP and has all the features you like in a 1911, such as a single-action trigger, external safety and single stack magazine.
Micro Compact 9mm Pistols
The market for this type of pistol has grown substantially in recent years. Micro compact 9mm pistols all have a slim profile and short (less than three inch) barrels, yet still hold 10 or more rounds of 9mm ammo. Their small size and larger capacity make them an attractive choice for an EDC gun, but their small size means higher recoil and reduced accuracy compared to larger guns. These are but a few of the more popular/more recent guns in this class, with many others to choose from companies such as Walther, Beretta and Kahr Arms.
Examples of Micro Compact Options
Glock 48: A slim profile, a ten round magazine and the name “Glock” on the slide. What’s not to love? The popularity of Glock pistols means you’ll always have a wide selection of holsters, sights and other accessories for this gun, and it shoots pretty nicely as well.
S&W Shield Plus: When it first came out in 2012, the M&P was a small 9mm pistol with a seven round magazine. The new Shield Plus model holds ten rounds, with 13 rounds available in an extended magazine.
Ruger Max 9: Ruger’s first model in this market was the LC9, which then evolved into the striker-fired LC9 and the low-cost EC9s. Now Ruger has the Max 9, with standard features like tritium night sights, a mounting plate for an aftermarket red dot optic and a 13 round capacity magazine.
Sig Sauer P365: When it first came out in 2018, the Sig Sauer P365 made everyone rethink what was possible in a micro compact. Its twelve round capacity and interchangeable grip modules were groundbreaking at the time, and since then, Sig has come out with versions that have a longer slide and are ready for red dot optics, right out of the box.
Springfield Armory Hellcat: Another pistol that checks all the micro compact boxes. A thin and flat shape for easy concealment. A 13 round standard capacity magazine. Versions that are compatible with red dot optics. The Hellcat was the first micro compact to push the standard capacity magazine up to 13 rounds, and it’s definitely a viable choice for an effective EDC gun.
Compact 9mm Pistols
The compact 9mm pistol might just be in the sweet spot of concealability, accuracy and firepower. They’re big enough to control under recoil. They also have a slide that’s long enough to give you a good sight radius and a clear sight picture. Guns in this range hold even more rounds than their micro compact cousins, with only a slight increase in size. This is why they are often recommended as a good gun for beginners. They’re small enough to work as an EDC gun, yet big enough to make practice and training something that’s fun and easy to do.
These are just a few of the guns available in this category. Other excellent guns are available from Beretta, FN USA, and many others. All of these guns have polymer frames, which make them lightweight and easy to carry, and most of them have interchangeable frames or backstraps, allowing you to tailor the gun to your exact needs.
Examples of Compacts
Glock 19: The Honda Accord of pistols. I am firmly convinced that you can find a holster or a pair of night sights for this gun at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Easy to convert to a red dot optic, it’s also accurate, reliable and capable of using higher-capacity magazines from other Glock models. This gun is popular for a reason, and that reason is it just keeps working, no matter what.
Sig Sauer P320 Compact: The P320 popularized the idea of the modular trigger pack, which is the serialized “gun” part of the pistol. Because of this, you can buy a 9mm P320 Compact, and with a few moments (and some extra parts from Sig), you can turn a P320 Compact into a full-sized P320 in .45, or almost any combination of optics, caliber, barrel length and frame size, which is a pretty neat trick.
M&P 2.0 Compact: For years, Smith & Wesson made a full-size M&P pistol and a “compact” M&P model that was a little too small to be a compact EDC gun and a bit too big to be a micro compact 9mm. That’s changed with the 2.0 model, and the nice size, 15 round and wide variety of available accessories make this a popular choice for people who want a compact 9mm, but don’t want a Glock.
A Few Twists On The Compact 9mm
CZ P07: And now for something a little different. The CZ P07 is about the same size as a Glock 19. P320 Compact or M&P 2.0 Compact, but uses a double-action/single action trigger rather than a striker-fired action in those other guns. This means your first shot is going to have a long and heavy trigger pull, but every round after that will have a short, light trigger pull. As a result, your gun won’t move as much as you pull the trigger. This can lead to slightly better accuracy. Not bad.
Ruger Security 9 Compact: Slightly less expensive than the other guns in this category, the Security 9 Compact takes the internals of the LCP II and upsizes them to create a 9mm pistol that’s easy to shoot, easy to operate and can use 10, 12 or 15 round magazines.
All of these guns are easy to carry. So, they all fulfill the first rule of an EDC gun, which is to have something with you every day. Which one is best? Well, that’s up to you, and your particular needs and wants. Rest assured, though, because we are in a golden age of guns right now. The design and quality control processes used to make each of these guns is better than it’s ever been. This means you’re almost guaranteed to buy a gun that works well for you, every day of the week.