The Best Is The One You Have With You

I’ve heard this phrase used for everything from guns to cameras. Over the years I’ve slowly added a number of things to my pockets. Every one I thought I’d be fine without, and learned after carrying it for a few days how great it was to have them.

Here’s the best gear I’ve got, ie, the ones I carry daily.


“The best gun to carry is the one you will have with you when you need it.” I have a CHL in Texas and carry from the time I get dressed until I go to bed. If I have my pants on, I’ve got a gun on my hip.
I carry a Springfield XD 45 “Compact”. This works for me even though it is a pretty big gun. I carry in an Inside the Waistband holster from Houston’s own Comp-Tac. Luckily right now fashion for men makes wearing your shirt untucked fashionable, though the IWB allows me to tuck in my shirt if I have to.

It may seem crazy to talk about fashion in a blog about survival. But the fact is I’m much more likely to be in a social situation where looking like Joe tactical isn’t the best thing for my success, which impacts my survival long term. Business guru Dan Kennedy has an interesting maxim when told that you shouldn’t be judged based on how you dress. He agrees to the idea and then says, “Would you rather be right, or rich?” Wearing a suit, or fashionable shirt will make people react to you differently. Isn’t that worth changing your behavior in an ethical way?

I learned the carry all the time philosophy from Ignatius Piazza of Front Sight. He once discussed the idea some people have to hide guns all over their house or place of business so one would be at hand wherever you needed it. But there are problems with having guns hidden all over the place.

1. They are hidden. You have remember where they are in a crisis situation.

2. They aren’t necessarily really at hand. Even being 4 feet from where you are standing means you have to move to get them.

3. Someone else can find them too. It could be a bad guy who duck behind you desk in a confrontation and discovers the gun you hid there. It could be a visiting 5 year old playing hide and seek.

The easiest way to have a firearm at your finger tips is to have it on your hip. This also allows you to practice your draw and know it is going to be in exactly that place any time you need it.

In discussions with co-workers I have found other people change clothes when they get home, generally into very comfortable pants – like sweat pants or pajama pants – that don’t have a belt to handle the weight of a pistol. It is something to consider.

At first it was a little strange to have that weight there when doing things like watching TV, or laying down reading a book, but you get used to it quickly.


It is amazing how much you will use something when it is readily to hand. I started carrying a pocket knife years ago. First I had tiny pen knife on my key chain. I’d use it to open packages, and cut things with the tiny scissors.

Then the TSA confiscated this highly dangerous piece of hardware and I was in the market for a new knife.

I started carrying a “real” pocket knife, a Kershaw with one handed opening. This made it even easier to get the knife out and use it, so I did. The little locking piece of plastic on the back the knife that is suppose to hold it closed in your pocket kept breaking off – they fixed it for free, but I still had the fear of the blade coming open in my pocket and slicing into the artery that runs down the front of my leg.

When I decided to get a new knife my friend and fellow preparedness person Hsoi suggested the Leatherman Wave. I bought it and always carry it now. It is a little big, but oh so useful. I’ve used the knife often, plus having pliers and scissors has been priceless. I don’t clip it to my belt because I don’t like stuff on my belt, but I clip it to the top of my pocket so I don’t have to dig for it. Takes a little experience to remember how to twist it in your hand to get the standard blade, but you can open it one handed.


Again my friend Hsoi recommended carrying a flash light, and my training at Frontsight also said you needed one with the button on the back if you get in a gunfight at night. But again I don’t like carrying stuff on my belt. Shopping for lights was also confusing and expensive and I always wondered if I was getting the right thing.
Last November we were looking for something a dark car when my wife pulls a tiny flashlight out of her purse. It was a little over 3 inches long, made of metal, fit into her hand and came on with a click of the button on the bottom. And it was bright, filled the car and blinded me if I looked directly at it.

“Where’d you get that? How much did it cost?” were my first questions.

“At the auto parts store. About $10.”

“I know what I want from the boys for Christmas. Buy 3.” Which is exactly what she did. These may not be the best lights out there, but they were cheap enough I have multiples.

And it fits in my pocket. Which means it is much better than a bigger, more rugged light because it is with me all the time.

The only thing I have against it is black. I don’t like gear that is black because if you drop it in the dark it is nigh impossible to find. When I opened the pack she had already wrapped the center in white electrical tape. We do this often with black gear.


“The best camera is the one you have with you when you want to get the shot.” Is a camera a piece of survival gear? I don’t know, but once everyone started having them in their phones pictures proliferated.
I use my camera phone to remember all kinds of things now, books I want to come back to, people I just met, places I have been. At the last gun show I went to I took pictures of ammo prices and the banner over the booth so I could compare them and know where to come back to later.

Matter of fact there is an iPhone app from photographer Chase Jarvis called Best Camera because for most photographers the camera you have with you is the one in your phone. I’m a professional photographer with thousands of dollar worth of camera equipment, but more than likely the camera I’ll have when I need to take a picture of something important will be my iPhone.

The one thing you don’t have on most camera phones is any kind of optical zoom. If you want to reach out and take an image that’s what you need – and it is an improvised telescope/binocular. You can find optical zooms on most compact digital cameras. Something the size of a pack of cards will fit in your pocket is something you will carry, and hence the best camera.


If you carry the four things I talked about you will find you use them a lot. Even if you don’t everyday, when you do need them they will seem the greatest thing ever. Try carrying any of these for 30 days and see if wonder how you did without them before.
Lastly, remember the best gun, flashlight, knife, camera, you’ve got are the ones you have with you when you need them. So think about carriablilty when purchasing equipment. Especially stuff you may use on a day by day basis.