It seems that in life, the more prepared you are for something, the less chance there is that you will actually encounter what you have prepared for. I don’t know who wrote that rule, but it can be a harsh one to learn from. In 2002 in Olympia Fields, Illinois, a town of under 5,000 people with less than average crime and higher than average median incomes, a man went into the local Jewel grocery store, took a knife from the baking aisle, and starting stabbing people. Off-duty, do you have the means to stop him and handle the accompanying aftermath until help arrives? Adding a few small items to your cargo pockets or purse, and knowing how to use them, can be a force multiplier for your preparedness.
The people I’m writing this for aren’t prepared because they don’t want to have a tourniquet, tuff-ties, flashlight, gun, etc, with them at all times. They think it’s too bulky and uncomfortable, and they want to be truly off-duty when they are off-duty. I know that for myself, considering all of the time and effort I put in to trying to be prepared and in the right mind, if I had been in that grocery store “off-duty” and not had the tools needed to deal with the situation, I would be very disappointed with myself. I would have been better served to watch soap operas and eat Bon Bons than attend that last TEMS class or concealed carry shooting class.
The average summer fashion for men is baggy cargo shorts and a baggy, untucked shirt, carrying and concealing a whole arsenal if they so choose. That’s fine for guys, but I don’t want to dress like a frump (no offense to frumps), it’s just not my style. When you find what works for you, you can still be comfortable, look nice, and be ready. Regardless of the outfit, my everyday “off-duty” carry consists of a pistol, badge, and a knife on my person, at the minimum. If I have appropriate pockets, I’ll add to that a Streamlight Microstream with a spare battery taped to the side, a Tuff-Tie, spare magazine, wallet, and a tourniquet. The knife may be clipped inside a waistband or inside my tank top, just under my left armpit, and will draw the same as it will from a pocket. That knife arrangement also works with dresses, clipped so it is concealed by my arm, but all I have to do is reach up, pull out, and it’s open ready to go. In shorts weather, whatever is not on my person may go in a very small backpack or purse, but it does not stay home. Those items are put in the same place in that bag every time, so there is no digging required. In winter or with jeans, I put the tourniquet in an ankle “holster” and it rides very comfortably around my ankle. I usually carry a slightly larger gun in the winter because it’s easy to hide given the clothing. Wherever you carry, whatever it is you carry, put it in the same place every day so there is no thought required.
The Streamlight Microstream flashlight is a little workhorse. I carry one on-duty as well as off because it is packable and functional. It is small enough to fit in the pocket of slim-fit, low-rise women’s jeans with the half sized front pockets, comfortably, but can still be easily manipulated. I can shoot with it, and it gives off enough light, without flooding the place. Tuff-Ties are great because they are so packable and don’t take up any space to speak of. They aren’t as easy to apply to a non-compliant subject as regular handcuffs, but the weight and space savings are worth it. If women can be prepared in cute shorts and a snug tank top, then there is no reason why the average guy in baggy cargo shorts and a baggy t-shirt can’t easily be equally prepared.
Where there is a will, there is a way. If you haven’t found a way, maybe you just don’t have the will. Now git’er done.
Kim Heath, a contributing editor here at BOLO Report, is a veteran law enforcement officer from Illinois. She is a firearms instructor for her department and the Women’s Tactical Association (WTA), a fiercely competitive shooter (such as at the NPRC) and the Vice-President of the Women’s Tactical Association. A backpacker and outdoorswoman from way back, she is very hard on her gear – which is why BOLO Report sends her stuff to try and break. You can contact here or via the Women’s Tactical Association.