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What We Carry: The Guns & Gear of a Former Cop

What does an ex-cop carry on the regular? PPT's own Sean Curtis walks us through his everyday carry loadout.

    Everyday carry is a topic near and dear to my heart. Over the course of my adulthood, I served different roles in various emergency fields that shaped what I carried.

    The coolest gear in the world won’t help you if you don’t have it on you (or nearby) when you need it.

    I’m going to share with you what I carry and why, as well as provide you with some tips on how to assess what you should carry for your EDC.

    Sean's EDC group shot 1
    EDC love

    So let’s jump in!

    Table of Contents


    Getting Started

    As a young man, I worked for a sheriff’s office in the mountains of southwest Colorado. One of my duties was Search and Rescue.

    Sean S&R helicopter

    At a moment’s notice, I could jump in a helicopter and be flown to 11,000 feet in search of a missing person. I had some of my most painful and formative EDC lessons here.

    When your situation can change dramatically and quickly, a critical piece of gear can make all the difference in the world. I learned through suffering when I had to do without something that could have been helpful.

    How to Select Your EDC

    The other lesson I learned is twofold…you have to play the probabilities and you must balance function with portability. This is tough sometimes.

    Consider what challenges you normally face on a day-to-day basis and then select gear to help you meet those challenges. Most of us do this on a subconscious level.

    Sean's EDC PDPs
    Walther PDPs

    You’re going to take your wallet, purse, cellphone, car keys, and other normal items because you absolutely need them. But then, you need to advance that thinking into probabilities for critical areas.

    These areas include medical and defense at a minimum but can also extend to other categories depending on your risk factors. Let’s take a look at the first two.


    I was very intentional in selecting medical first. We definitely cater to providing firearms information here at Pew Pew Tactical, but remember — one of the key elements in deciding what to carry is probability.

    Sean's EDC tqs
    Lightweight lifesavers

    It is far more likely you’ll encounter a medical situation than a self-defense one. This could apply to you, someone you know, or a complete stranger.

    Having some basic gear can make a huge difference. I carry Combat Gauze and two CAT Tourniquets to handle potential gunshot wounds or other trauma.

    Sean's EDC combat gauze
    Good stuff

    The Combat Gauze is good for wound packing (particularly junctions) and the CAT Tourniquets are lightweight and slim. There are other great brands out there like the SOF-T but I find the CAT to be lighter.

    Want to learn more about tourniquets? Check out our guide to the Best Tourniquets & Holders.


    I really like the Walther PDP and have both the full-size and compact models. They are both equipped with Leupold DeltaPoint Pros.

    Sean's EDC C&G holster
    PDP full size

    The PDP is a great gun that is accurate, has good capacity, a wonderful trigger, and outstanding ergonomics.

    Best Compact 9mm Pistol
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    I have a couple of different holsters, both made by C&G. One is an OWB for the full size that also accommodates a weapon light. The other is an AIWB that works well for the compact version.

    Sean's EDC C&G AIWB
    PDP compact

    Having the flexibility of size allows me to choose between these options based on how I’m dressed. Less clothing pushes me to the smaller, more concealable, compact while more clothing makes a bigger conceal easier.

    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

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    This category picks up items that don’t cleanly fall into the first two. Knives, wallets, lights, and other sometimes crucial gear fill in gaps.

    The MacGregor Customs Leather wallet has no special utility other than being long-lasting and doing a great job of keeping my cash and cards organized.

    Sean's EDC wallet bmf
    Go in that bag and find my wallet

    My wife had this wallet custom-made with the logo of my freelance writing company, a fun Tarantino Pulp Fiction reference, and Kryptek camouflage. Personalized items are one of the great joys of life!

    Sean's EDC wallet sparta

    The Streamlight ProTac 1L is a good compromise between size and function. It has three light functions, high (275 lumens), low (22 lumens), and strobe.

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

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    It runs on one 3-volt battery and is IPX7 waterproof rated. I also like the dual directional clip. Lights can be crucial when it’s dark and a huge tactical advantage in defensive encounters.

    Similarly, a good knife is something I never leave home without. It’s a tool that is so useful in many different situations ranging from general cutting needs to self-defense.

    Sean's EDC claymore
    The Claymore

    This is another area where it is critical to buy quality. I have been carrying the Benchmade Claymore lately and have really enjoyed its ease of use as well as its utility.

    I can open the knife with the press of a button (auto-opening knives may not be legal in your area) and I don’t have to change my grip to do it. The Claymore also has a 50/50 straight edge and serration combo.

    at BladeHQ

    Prices accurate at time of writing

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    Finally, I have come to the conclusion that the 5.11 Apex is very likely my favorite pair of pants. I have several colors and wear them regularly because they are supremely comfortable, and they allow me to carry all the stuff I mentioned.

    Sean's EDC 511 apex
    Sean’s EDC 511 apex

    They aren’t overt cargo pants, but still have thigh pockets that are somewhat hidden. These pockets can hold AR-15 magazines but also work well for tourniquets, Combat Gauze, flashlights, and other items.

    The Apex come in 10 different colors, in a wide variety of sizes, and are also available as shorts.

    at 5.11 Tactical

    Prices accurate at time of writing

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    There’s a strong argument that training is one of the most important things you can EDC. It takes up the least amount of room, and has some of the greatest utility!

    Sean's EDC PDP
    Full-size Walther PDP

    As a former EMT and first aid/CPR instructor, I have some medical knowledge. I’ve continued to work on this with TCCC classes to stay fresh.

    Firearms training, like medical, is a perishable skill that needs to be refreshed and honed. Most of the tools commonly considered for EDC require some kind of knowledge to maximize their benefit.

    Final Thoughts

    I’ve had experience with all the above gear and trust it implicitly. Some of these items I’ve used for several years, and some I hope I never have to.

    Sean's EDC group shot close
    Good to go

    I’ve been tempted over time to decrease some of the things I carry. As my life roles have changed, so has my risk.

    I still persist in carrying the above items. Sometimes, I’ll transition things to my Stage 2 EDC, but that is a tale for another day.

    What are some of your favorite EDC items? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to read What the Pew Pew Writers Carry for more behind-the-scenes details!

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    8 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Leo Fant

      I am curious about your choice of carry ammo.

      May 15, 2022 11:34 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis


        Thanks for your question: I've carried (and still carry) a few different varieties over the years. My last agency issued Speer Gold Dot 147 grain 9mm, but I've used Hornady Critical Defense and a few others.

        May 16, 2022 7:16 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      2A Lib

      Definitely agree on the Apex pants. Very comfortable and capable, without feeling bulky or awkward.

      May 13, 2022 7:53 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David Livingston

      Excellent article. I enjoyed reading this and found it to be very informative. Thank you.

      May 12, 2022 10:35 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Thank you!

        May 13, 2022 6:36 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Greg Hodge

      I carry a Leatherman Wave, a Boker automatic knife, and a standard capacity Glock 43 with a 9 round extra mag. I don't have a lot of risk to justify carrying more firepower than that. I use the leatherman every day and the knife most days.

      May 12, 2022 6:54 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis


        That's a great setup. I carried a Wave for years but in my current role I don't have the same amount of need for it.

        May 13, 2022 6:38 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Darrin Holtrey

      I carry a small pair of pliers, Knipex 87-100 model. Its truly amazing how often I use them and they take up almost no room in a front pants pocket, or a watch pocket. $30 on amazon.

      May 12, 2022 4:18 pm
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