Ladies, I hear you. Without fail, during my days out on the range or leading an instructor course, women ask me “How often do I practice with, shoot, and clean my EDC?”
Everyday Carry (EDC) firearms have a special task when it comes to our self-protection. You do not mount these guns up on a wall or tuck them away in a safe for months at a time. These are kept on our bodies all day, every day, and relied on to keep us safe at a moments notice. So it is important that we take the time to practice, maintain, and care for that gun. If we do this, we can expect it to work when we need it most.
How often do I clean my EDC?
This is one of those topics that you will find differing opinions. So what’s right for you? How about I start with what I do? I always take down and clean my EDC after each time I train with it. If I shoot it, I clean it. What if I don’t shoot it for a while, or my recent time at the range was with other firearms? I wipe the exterior of my EDC daily (see below) but take it down and give it a good cleaning every couple of weeks. This also allows me to check and verify that my trusted partner in my self-defense is functioning properly.
Now, let’s discuss fuzz your EDC. I am sure you have noticed how quickly your firearm attracts lint and little fuzz-balls! I always wonder where does all that stuff come from? Whether you have it on your waist, in your purse, or concealed under clothing, your gun will attract debris. Although frustrating, this can be easily dealt with. Give your gun a daily good look over. If you see some of that pesky fuzz, just take a silicon rag and wipe your firearm down. Use caution and take necessary steps to make your gun safe prior to wiping it down. This assures that no build-up will occur that could impair the performance of your gun. Small particles on the surface of your gun shouldn’t affect how your firearm performs. However, if these particles are on the outside, they will eventually find their way inside the gun.
Field Stripping Your Gun
Field stripping and disassembling your gun and magazine can sound like a chore. After some practice, it will only take a few minutes and I find it enjoyable and relaxing! Consult your user manual, ask your local gunsmith, or even check out Youtube for tips on taking apart your specific model of gun. This should be done regularly to ensure that there is no build-up of debris in your gun and that it is properly lubed. If you skip this facet of gun ownership, it could end up being a costly error. You do not want your gun to jam with lint or have ammunition misfeed when seconds count. Especially since it can so easily be prevented with regular firearm maintenance.
How often do I practice with my EDC?
With cleanliness out of the way, let’s talk about practice. Obviously, we are all at different skill levels and comfort with shooting, so your needs may differ depending on your experience. No matter your skill level, I’d recommend firing your EDC firearm weekly to not only train to competently shoot it but ensure that it functions properly. I know that time is the most precious resource we all have, and finding the time to get to the range may seem monumental, but practicing and maintaining your firearm skills is something that you cannot put a price on or put at the bottom of your “To Do” list.
How do I practice with my EDC?
While practicing at the range, try practicing under different circumstances and working a variety of skill sets. Remember, you don’t get to choose the time, place, location or circumstances of an attack. Sure, hitting a target while standing still may be one thing, but how about while kneeling, or with your off-hand? As long as your range allows it, try SAFELY shooting in a variety of different positions, at different speeds, and with some stressors worked in with your EDC. Imagine some scenarios that you may find yourself in the real-world and practice adapting to those situations. Use a timer or do some physical exercise before shooting to get your blood and adrenaline pumping and add some pressure to your training.
Take some defensive shooting classes that focus on training you to fight and survive. In a fight for your life, there is much more to train for than sanding on the range shooting at a stagnant target. Nothing can replace training with a qualified instructor, nothing. Make it a priority to attend courses and grow your skills.
Practice Drawing Your EDC
One thing to practice, and this I recommend doing daily, is drawing your firearm. After you get dressed and ready to take on the day, before you load the magazine and walk out the door, try drawing your gun from your EDC location. Whether it is hidden under your blouse, in the waistband or in your favorite CCW bag, odds are that each outfit feels a little bit different from the day before. Drawing your EDC from your holster may have been easy yesterday while you had on your favorite jeans. How does it feel today now that you have on a dress? Or perhaps drawing from your bag yesterday was a breeze while wearing a tank-top. But now that you have on a blouse with sleeves, can you still get your hand in the bag and gun at the ready quickly?
Reasons like these is why I recommend drawing a few times every day in what you will be wearing that day. You need to know how your outfit will react when you go to draw your firearm. That way, you know what to expect and what you may need to change in order to be efficient with your draw.
EDC Ammunition and Magazines
Don’t overlook or neglect your self-defense ammunition and your magazines. If either of these is not in tip-top condition when you need them to function properly, all of the above doesn’t mean much. Magazines need cleaning as well. Clean them and check the magazine spring regularly. There is a lot of debate on this subject and it is worthy of further reading so you can make the most educated and best choices for yourself. In a nutshell, at a minimum, change your EDC magazines and ammunition once a year. Most recommend keeping training magazines separate from your EDC magazines and not training with your defensive magazines. This will help you to guarantee that you have the best magazines in your EDC when you need it.
Although defensive ammunition is more expensive, it is a good idea to shoot some of it once and a while. There are subtle differences when shooting standard ammunition vs defensive ammo so practice with it is a good practice. This also necessitates putting fresh defensive ammunition in your EDC magazine(s) on a regular basis.
Maintaining and practicing with your EDC is necessary to ensure your safety and efficacy with your gun. I recommend that you get in the mindset that these steps are just another part in your regular routine. Once you get in the habit, it is just another part of your life. You need to know that you can rely on your EDC and trust that it will serve its purpose when it is needed most.