When the unthinkable occurs, you already know you have your concealed carry handgun on you. That’s a bit of a consolation in truly bad times. However, in this article, we’ll talk about ten other items we think every concealed carrier should have in or near him or her. These items can all fit comfortably inside a backpack, a vehicle, or even a cabinet in the house — but you should always know where they are and definitely keep them together.
1. Emergency flashlight
If you can’t see, you can’t fight. Flashlights serve much more use than identifying friend from foe. They can also be used to inspect wounds, signal help, and help you navigate. You don’t need a fancy flashlight. Even an LED key chain is better than nothing. Red light is great for navigating at night because it doesn’t mess up your eyes acclimating to low light. Clean, clear, bright white light can also be handy if you need to inspect an object.
2. 2,000 calories worth of food
Two thousand calories worth of food may sound like a lot, but all you have to do is walk through the nuts and snacks aisle of the grocery store to see that number adds up real fast. One 500g container of peanut butter contains 2,200 calories. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it can hold you over for at least a day if you’re in a real bad position. In high stress situations, your body burns up calories. Until the threat is past, you need to maintain your situational awareness. You’ll need calories for that. Quick energy is good. Protein is better. Peanuts, beef jerky, almonds, protein bars — all of these things are suggestions for items that you can easily fit into a small bag and will certainly give you enough energy to get through the day in an emergency situation.
3. First aid kit
A first aid kit is a deceptive item to put on this list. Buying a standard first aid kit at a local CVS may include some alcohol swabs, an emergency aspirin, some antibiotic ointment, a few small band-aids, a skinny roll of medical tape, maybe one or two gauze pads, and a pair of flimsy plastic needle-nose tweezers for removing splinters. Your alternatives are either picking up a more expensive pre-assembled kit or assembling the pieces yourself.
I want you to consider what a gunshot wound looks like. There’s an entry wound and perhaps an exit wound. While you’re waiting for first responders to arrive, you may be in the tough spot of having to administer first aid to yourself or another. Think about the items you would want to have on hand at that time.
What basic components will you always need?
- Antiseptic to clear the wound
- 100mL 70-90% isopropyl alcohol and/or iodine solution
- Gauze to pack the wound
- In the case of a gunshot wound, you’ll need enough sterile gauze and packing material to stuff the wound so you can apply pressure.
- A pair of tweezers to remove any visible shrapnel, debris, or chunks of dirt blocking the wound
- The cheap, plastic pair that comes with most standard first aid kits should do fine
- Medical tape
- In almost any medical situation involving blood loss, medical tape will always come in handy. Pack a second roll. It’s worth the $3.
- Splints for securing broken limbs
- With broken limbs, fingers, etc., it’s all about stabilizing and elevating the fracture until first responders can arrive. They make splints that fold flat and then conform to the limb.
- CPR mask/diaphragm
- If a victim goes into cardiac arrest, his best chance of surviving is if a Good Samaritan administers CPR continuously until first responders arrive. But, if it’s a victim you don’t know, you will want a plastic diaphragm to keep your mouth separate from his or hers. These simple plastic CPR diaphragms/masks can be bought online for as little as $0.99. In my opinion, worth every penny.
- Ibuprofen (200 mg tablets)
- Ibuprofen is a miracle of modern medicine. Not only is it a fever reducer, it helps alleviate headaches and other minor pain problems.
Between these basic items, you have a great starter first aid kit that’s practical to a real emergency situation. And, if you go to your local drug store or Walmart, you’ll probably walk out with a kit that’s less expensive than a standard first aid kit and more useful. If you’re dealing with a victim of a gunshot wound, the pinky band-aids included in the basic first aid kit just won’t cut it.
4. Backup magazines
If you’re dealing with a real emergency situation, the magazine in your concealed carry pistol will only take you so far. If you do have to fight, you’re going to want that backup magazine. Having a backup magazine can buy you precious time until first responders arrive. In addition to seeking cover, maintaining your situational awareness, and properly covering your field of fire, a third magazine in an emergency grab bag can make all the difference.
5. Two liters of clean, drinkable water
Keeping an empty water bottle in the car isn’t the worst idea but having immediate access to clean, potable water is always a priority. If you’re going to keep that water bottle in the car, make sure it has water in it. If you drink it, replace it. The average person needs 1.5 liters of water a day to stay hydrated. In any protracted emergency situation where you do not know when help will arrive, you need to make sure you have water on-hand… Not located next door, somewhere, or at a water fountain. You need to have it accessible.
Water can be used to wash wounds so you can see how bad they are, dampen cloth so you can make a make-shift mask to filter light smoke, and rehydrate. You need that water on-hand. A canteen containing even 750mL of clean water can make all the difference in the world. Two surplus Army canteens and you’re already up to the base minimum you need to survive the day.
6. Utility knife or multi-tool
A pocket knife or simple multi-tool can make all the difference in the world. It’s not the problem you can easily envision where the knife comes in handy — it’s the problem you haven’t even seen yet. A knife is one of those core essential tools kept in the repertoire of human civilization for a reason. It can be used to cut bindings, cut cloth, fix a screw, open a bottle or a can, and even to defend yourself. The knife doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive — it just needs to be there. Whether it’s a $9.95 Home Depot or Walmart special or some fancy Gerber EOD tool, the choice and style are yours.
As silly as this suggestion may sound, a clean, unused toothbrush is a fantastic thing to keep in your emergency grab bag. Sure, you can brush your teeth with it. It may come in more handy later on to clear debris, dirt, mud, and sometimes blood. If you remembered to pack that multi-tool, you can transform the handle into a plastic pick.
8. Gallon-sized zip-lock plastic bags
It’s a silly item that most civilized folk wouldn’t bat an eyelash at when they consider immediate emergency supplies but it is certainly an item anyone used to wilderness survival will quickly consider. You don’t need to be stuck in the wilderness for these bags to come in handy. For emergency water or liquid storage, they’re priceless. However, they can also be used to keep essential items dry. You can throw your cell phone, wallet, and other essential items into one. You can also pack socks or cloth into them. Heck, you can even fit many of your first aid supplies such as gauze or bandages into one. If an emergency situation goes from a short-term affair into a longer one, you will find these bags incredibly versatile and useful.
9. Cord (550 or 20 lb. fishing line)
You can pick up a 50 foot stretch of 550 cord or basic rope for short change. The versatility of rope is staggering. Everything from constructing an emergency shelter to hanging a cloth out a window for emergency responders to spot, the limits are truly up to your imagination. In a pinch, you can transform cord into a make-shift tourniquet to staunch blood loss. It can be used to tie down an object to a vehicle. If you kept a water bottle in your kit, you can even use the rope and canteen to get something hanging out of a tree or lamp post. Emergency situations aren’t just what we can readily envision. They must also encompass that which we cannot imagine but we know is a possibility. Having even a short stretch of rope can be invaluable to you and those around you in a true emergency situation. And, in the practical situation of needing to barricade yourself into a room and, for some reason, you can’t lock the door, you have the ability to tie the door shut.
10. Emergency blanket
An emergency blanket is usually made of a very thin, reflective material that packs down to roughly the size of a deck of cards. If you or someone around you has been shot or severely injured, a major factor to tackle is core body temperature. Maintaining core body temperature sounds easy enough if the temperature outside is near your own. However, if you’re even dealing with an ambient 10-15°F difference from your body temperature, a severely injured person can succumb to hypothermia rather easily.
In a lot of emergency situations, your main goal will always be to seek cover, barricade, and wait for first responders to arrive and rescue you. Having a concealed handgun and this simple kit will significantly increase the chances of your success in those types of scenarios. Unfortunately, as we head into a rather uncertain world, we have to think in a true defensive mindset. That means taking additional simple steps to ensure we’re able to, for instance, stay put in a location for hours or even a day. This simple kit will certainly help.