The Panhandle Rancher speaks of EDC…….

Everyday Carry


Not long ago, my daughter who is a third year medical student and I planned to dine at a nice restaurant which is co-located in a busy area along with other restaurants and fast food businesses. We were in a diesel one ton ranch pickup equipped with a massive front bumper concealing a 12,000 pound pull winch. As we walked from the parking lot toward the restaurant I spotted a short haired and physically fit white male, about 35 years of age, carrying what looked to be a small military ruck. This bag was large enough to carry several handguns, ammunition, flashbangs, and tear gas or similar. The W/M was striding purposefully across the restaurant parking lot, heads up and alert. I had noticed a police car nearby with no one in it. Was an off duty tactical officer responding to an incident?


I alerted my daughter and asked her to watch everything but this man so that I could focus on what he was doing. The daughter has a baby Glock and an old High Standard .22 magnum derringer. As we quickly moved out of the open parking lot back toward the big ranch truck. I asked what she was carrying. To my surprise I learned because she was with me, she left her weapons in her apartment. Such trust.


In light of recent active shooter events, it might be prudent to revisit the topic of everyday carry. By everyday carry I’m not specifically referring to a pistol but include it as a subset of everyday carry.


Pilots have a saying that during the takeoff roll, nothing is more worthless than the runway behind the airplane, in flight nothing is so worthless as the fuel back at the airport, and in case of engine malfunction, nothing is as worthless as altitude above the airplane. I suppose a corollary might include that nothing is so worthless as the weapon left at home.


Years ago, I gave the ladies in my life, that is my wife of several decades and my only daughter, .22 magnum High Standard derringers and baby Glocks. The wife’s Glock was stolen and because of her small hands, replaced with the old and proven Walther PPK in the albeit anemic .380ACP round. I’ve always liked the thin and powerful High Standard derringer and almost always carry one in my pocket. Of course I had it with me in the parking lot. Not much use against an active shooter but it would have been oh so much better than a rock or a stick. And, as my best daughter knew, I also had with me what she calls my ‘man purse.’


Having noticed a vacant police car in the lot of a nearby fast food restaurant, I was alert for dismounted officer(s). The man striding across the parking lot had a cop or military look. Were an active shooter nearby, uniformed responders would be expected to park out of sight of the incident and tactical first responders, even those off duty would be tasked. This fit one scenario that ran through my mind. I was more worried this man was about to become an active shooter.


My dear daughter has been shielded from life’s more sordid experiences. Her thoughts were on a nice evening with her father and wonderful food; anything and everything except becoming a homicide victim. The police car put me on low alert; the man with the small military style ruck put me on high alert.


Let’s review. Most importantly, I was aware of my surroundings and armed. The police car caused me to look for law enforcement presence and then I noticed a man carrying a military style bag. I tasked my daughter to watch our surroundings, thus increasing our collective situational awareness as we retreated away from the man toward my heavy truck. This vehicle offered concealment and some cover but most important, mobility. The truck could be used for either rapid escape or as a weapon itself. Had an active shooter taken cover behind one of the many smaller cars in the parking lot, one possible resolution might have been for me to ram that vehicle with my large truck, crushing the shooter between adjacent cars. Nevertheless, immediate retreat alone might have saved us from an active shooter. I assessed our tactical situation and determined the daughter had no weapons. Had the situation deteriorated, I would have given her my High Standard. At this point we would have been better prepared to deal with unhappiness than almost everyone in range (although being in Amarillo, Texas the biggest danger might have been with crossfire as armed citizens responded proactively).


What then was in my man purse that caused the daughter to foolishly leave her weapons behind? My ‘man purse’ is a medium size innocent looking bag that one might use to carry a camera and accessories. In this bag I carry a SIG P220 in .45ACP along with six magazines, a laser pointer and light for the pistol, a Surefire flashlight, spare CR123 batteries for the laser pointer/light and flashlight, a magnetic compass, fire steel and tinder, small Leica digital camera, flexicuffs, spare eyeglasses, Leica monocular, a magnifying glass, a small amount of money and duplicate identification, part of a chainsaw blade terminated with 1” diameter key rings, a tactical knife, a small razor blade type knife, blood clot and tactical tourniquet, custom Widex tactical hearing aids (if you’ve ever heard a .357 magnum fired inside a small room then you know of what I’m speaking), a hank of 550 cord, and spare keys.


When women became plainclothes law enforcement investigators, the problem of how to conceal a pistol and handcuffs was evident. Most women I know in that role end up carrying a purse especially made for the purpose. Weapon retention is always a problem for law enforcement and each year a few cops get killed with their own weapons. A purse always presents certain vulnerabilities and a perennially popular method amongst big city purse snatchers is to approach the victim from behind and cut the strap with a razor. Very bad things can happen if you carry a pistol in your purse and loose control of that purse. Situational awareness is the only sure method of retention. I repeat, regardless of whether you carry a pistol in a ‘man purse’ or in ladies purse, you must never, never, loose control of that bag. Your life may depend upon it.


So what happened in the parking lot? After a few anxious moments, the man moved beyond the food complex area and passed out of sight. Who he was, where he was going, and what he was up to, thankfully I never learned. What I do know was that he was physically fit, highly alert, and was carrying a bag similar to what I used to carry in the past. As a fellow bag carrier, he represented what could have become lethal danger. Unlike the other restaurant goers, I saw a potential problem, reacted sensibility and in so doing, taught a smart but foolish daughter an important lesson.



Panhandle Rancher

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12 thoughts on “The Panhandle Rancher speaks of EDC…….”

  1. Good article. How refreshing that I am not alone in “radar scanning mode”. I have several small pouches that are used to carry handguns. In the Army we called them “Fag Bags”, but the real nomenclature is “Case, Map/Photo”. I keep a Series 70 Colt Gold Cup .45 auto, shoulder holster, paddle holster, 2 leather Military Police magazine holders and my MP badge in one bag. The other bag holds my Governor .45LC/.410 gauge in a belt holster, 4 ammo pouches holding 2 speed loaders each (.45 LC rounds), plus 2 boxes of Winchester PDX .410 GA (3 plates & 12 BBs) shot shells. I don’t carry either bag in public. These cares are primarily concealing the pistols walking to and from my SUV and hiding the guns while I am parked. During cooler weather, I can carry the handgun of choice under a jacket or sweatshirt. During warmer weather, I just shove a Walther PPK/S and 3 additional mags in my pants pockets. I have always subscribed to the theory “It is better to have a gun and not need one, than to need a gun and not have one”. I am NOT some vigilante roaming the streets, waiting for the chance to shoot the first criminal that crosses my path. On the other hand, I would be the type of guy to draw down and shoot some scumbag like the Aurora, CO maniac. I have serious reservations about 2ND Amendment Rights retention after a potential Obama re-election. I hope and pray all Americans realize this threat to our liberties, and security, before stepping into a voting booth in November.

  2. Panhandle Rancher,

    I understand your concern; but it seems to me that you may have actually exaggerated the situation. Would you in the future profile an individual whom is “Physically Fit”, or that carries a “Military Ruck/Tactical backpack”? So many individuals nowadays carry such things; I do, are you going to profile me, and worry that I am carrying weapons to harm someone else?

    That is just ridiculous.

    I am glad that you have an EDC bag, so do I, a S.O. Tech Mission Go Bag; but it seems to me people are becoming overly concerned with what others are doing, when it is their right to wear/carry whatever they wish.

    Just my $.02

  3. @ Chris: Unless I am misreading or overlooking something in the article, Panhandle Rancher did nothing provocative, or confrontational. From my observation, all he did was keep alert and run a few scenarios through his head. I think that the word “profile” is blown way out of proportion. Criminals have been released all over the country because liberal judges dismiss the evidence under the grounds that the perpetrators were unfairly “profiled”. I think it is good logic and common sense to recall the appearance and MO of those who would harm us. As long as no accusations or adverse action was taken, there is no harm no foul in my book. Political correctness cost the lives of all those soldiers at Fort Hood.

  4. Panhandle rancher makes me a little nervous. I have more guns and ammunition than any ten people combined that I know, but I feel like this situation was a little too George Zimmerman for me. I fit completely that description several times a month, I wonder now if I should arm myself against individuals like this one. I teach my kids about OPSEC and situational security, but not like this. And furthermore, scanning for police is an equally confusing element to associate with this. You sir are a bit too cowboy for me and I would hate to have to disarm you in front of your loved ones for acting like a hero. Trust me, you would be embarrassed. Try and think a little in reality and not that everyone is a movie theatre freak.

    • GoneWithTheWind –

      I disagree. I consider myself very aware of what is going on around me. It is better to be safe than sorry. My son and I were walking from a restaurant downtown at night to my car. This guy comes out from a doorway walking behind us. As we walked I used windows passing by to look and check his location. I told Jonathan to speed up and get to the car. I carry and was very aware of what this guy and others are doing around me. The guy ended up just walking by heading to who knows where – but the point is it is my responsibility to keep myself and my family safe. Nothing happened – other than me being ready in case something did.

      I think throwing the term “paranoia” around lacks validity – especially when most all of us are survivalists/preppers. I mean – that is what all the sheeple call us. Are they right?


  5. Well, I admire Panhandle Rancher. I can say that I am woefully lacking in observation skills. I suppose it is rural and small town living–doors unlocked, keys left in the truck when I go in to pay for gas, a purse full of cash when I’m shopping and being blissfully unaware of who is around me that can see into that purse. And I’m sure I would make an easy target… The criminals are profiling us; shouldn’t we be aware enough to profile them?

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  6. To elaborate on my statements, I want to again say that I am not at all bothered by Panhandle Rancher’s alert, observatory mannerisms. I actually respect them. Since he did not approach, confront, instigate or agitate this individual, no one is any worse off for Rancher’s feelings. However, I disagree with his thought process that considered a short-haired, physically fit, white male with a military pack as a potential threat. To me, that description fits personnel in law enforcement or one of the armed forces. I would say the same about an Oriental, black or Hispanic male. On the other hand, a black male with corn rows or dreadlocks, wearing a “Guinea-T”, with his pants hanging down would raise my DEFCON up a notch. Am I profiling? You bet! I would wager that thousands more violent crimes are committed by the Bob Marley type than the Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is not bigotry to me. It is prudence and common sense. The law of averages. After all, would you feel safer driving through Butte, Montana or Camden, New Jersey?

  7. I carry the usual items, and anytime I go out the door I grab my digital camera.It may not be a survival item, but it’s light weight and I have been able to get some awesome photos because of that habit.


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