Sunday, October 9, 2011
What I Carry
So it's been a long time since I've sat down with the intent of putting something up here. Coming on maybe two years since my last entry was submitted... maybe more when you get down to brass tax. But I'm not popping out of my relative obscurity to simply deride myself for my utter infrequency in posting anything here. Far from it.
While I enjoy things sharp, bright and tactical, there's not a lot of the aforementioned that you might find around my house. Some of it may be in part due tot he distaste my wife has for things labeled as such. Namely assault rifles and large knives. The other aspect of that is that I've never been one to really fall under the gearhead umbrella when it comes to things relating to either the outdoors or personal defense.
I like simple tools that don't have a lot of room for failure. My pistol of choice being a no frills Taurus Ultra-Lite .38 Spl. I don't wear it concealed, simply a tool that lies within easy evening reach should the unthinkable be introduced upon my home. It's also a firearm that my wife doesn't find exceptionally intimidating and which she has no problems wielding herself should the necessity arise in my absence. It's not a fun gun, or particularly expensive, but it shoots straight and true and fires a fairly lethal load when compared to anything in its smaller sibling caliber of 9mm.
Now while I don't personally carry said gun outside of the home unless it's a trip to the local range, that's not to say that I am without gear unless sitting safely within the confines of my castle. I am a photography enthusiast above all things. I use a mid-level DSLR and it comes out with me close to any day that I'm not stuck at work. The type of photography I'm most fond of is urban and rural exploration, or urbex and rurex respectively. As such this finds me putting myself in places most citizens won't venture. Closed down mills and factories and foreclosed homes, in suburbs, the country, or urban sprawls... basically wherever I can find them.
When I say most people don't explore such places, that's not to say they're always vacant. To the contrary in some scenarios and while some people won't bother you should you happen upon other explorers, there's also another type of person that is potentially more common being so close to a near-metropolis like Seattle. Homeless folks, thugs, and vandals. The urbex mantra of "Take Only Photographs, Leave Only Footprints" is mostly lost upon most of those detailed, but that fact that I am often carrying a couple thousand dollars worth of camera gear may not be.
My typical first order of business is to scope out the area that I've chose to photograph. I keep my gear close at hand and always have my 12oz Wildfire pepper spray in the other. Luckily I've never had to actually spray it. I think my general demeanor and obvious grip on something for self-defense has managed to dissuade most potential attackers that I've encountered while on location. It's also nice because the other group of people you'll encounter most urbexing, and especially if suburban neighbors notice you entering a foreclosed home, is members of the police department, and while I have had several runins such as that, I've never had to explain why I have my pepper spray so close at hand. I guess it's kind of a given.
Anyway, I digress. While it couldn't be said that I am always out with my gear, I do wield a couple of tools that come out with me regardless. the first being a Leatherman Kick that I wear on my belt, the second being the smaller Leatherman Style CS which is permanently fixed to my keys. Both have proven invaluable since I have started using them. The Kick with it's larger blade and needle nose pliers have a plethora of uses that I can't begin to detail but needless to say I find it good for something literally every day that I have it on. It's flathead screwdrivers I've discovered are perfect for poking the tobacco ash of my pipe and the bottle opener as well is indispensable. The style is just as handy, giving me quick access to tweezers, a nail file (which is awesome because I habitually bite my nails which my wife hates), a razor sharp out of the box blade that while smaller than the Kick's blade I actually prefer. And the scissors... I never realized how much I would actually use them upon purchasing, but having them has been something that has brought me piece of mind countless times since attaching them to my keys.
That more or less sums it up for me. Simple and to the point. Like I said, I'm pretty much a regular guy and my funds are too deeply devoted to other hobbies for me to really quibble about fancy gear and expensive to boot. As much as I can see the value in a $300 Benchmade or some other custom knife such as I see often emblazoned on this website, for my purposes the lower priced Leatherman equivalents work just fine. I can't gripe about their foibles, either, while real blade and tactical gear collectors might be able to find fault, I really can't.