This was initially posted by me on another forum about two years ago, but given all the posts here about what to carry, how to carry, and all that other stuff I thought it worthwhile to revisit. I did check with the guys to see if they had changed anything and they had not. Sort of interesting to me to compare the gear of a number of guys that have BTDT a lot over the years, and how minimalist they seem to be. ************************************************* Well, they're not all bald and fat guys, but the youngest of the bunch recently turned 50, and all of them have at least 20 years of working in a field where they carried and used guns a lot. Frequently when considering personal defense needs we sometimes get wrapped up in the latest gear, or the newest doctrine, or the tactic of the month. Between the recent Thanksgiving holiday and the upcoming Christmas break, Ive been talking with and visiting a number of old friends. As a result of a conversation with one of them, I decided to ask a few questions of some of my former colleagues and coworkers. Each of these guys has BTDT regularly, with each of them having multiple gunfights to their credit. Basically I asked them what they carried for personal protection on a regular basis (not what they carried at work for those still in the field in some form or another), how they carried, and what extras they had with them. Of particular note I felt, was that each of them carried with him a folding knife where he could access it easily and each of them mentioned a small light of some type, ranging from an ASP keychain light to a Surefire 6P. Other than that, there was little in common except when I asked each of them if they would feel at all troubled if they had to carry some other guns/calibers. To a man they said it really didnt matter as long as the firearm was reliable, and they overwhelmingly chose (5 of 6) the S&W Airweight .38 as the gun they would likely carry if they couldn't carry their first choice. This is not an endorsement of anything, BTW. I just thought it of interest to see how a number of old-timers who had done a lot of fighting looked at the personal protection issue. I also think it interesting that their carry selection tends to reflect what they are most familiar with and/or have used successfully in the past, without much concern for a new or improved model. Bill was with the U.S. Army Special Forces in Vietnam in the late 1960s and then with the DEA in S.E. Asia and Panama. Usual carry: Beretta Model 21, 22 LR, chamber loaded, no spare mag, pocket holster. George was one of the early Military Advisers in Vietnam in the early 1960s, then did 20 years as a police officer with a major metro agency. Carry: Colt LW Commander, chamber empty, no spare mag, Mexican carry. Paul was on a Navy swift boat in Vietnam. He served as a US Deputy Marshal 1972-1979, then became State Department Security stationed in Columbia, Honduras, and Beirut (and the U.S.) 1979-1990. Usual carry: S&W Model 19, 2.5 RB, no reload, preferred OWB holster for carry but also used IWB when needed. John was a Marine in the late 1970s then entered LE where he worked his way up to becoming a SWAT Team Commander for a State-level agency. He still does training for SWAT teams. He was carrying a Makarov chamber loaded and safety on, IWB holster, no spare mag. Ted served with the Rhodesian SAS, then did private security work in South Africa and most recently executive protection in South America. Carries a Star BKM 9mm, chamber empty, no spare mag, soft IWB holster. Daniel was with the IDF, then a security team in Israel, now does security consulting in the U.S. Usual carry is a 4 S&W Model 12 that has been converted to RB, IWB holster, 1 Bianchi Speed-Strip. Sort of summarizing, nobody felt any need to upgrade to any of the new guns out there. Also, nobody felt the choice of a specific weapon/caliber of particular importance. The revolver is still considered a viable option, and they split 50/50 on whether to carry chamber empty or chamber loaded. With one exception, nobody seemed to think a reload was worth carrying around. Everybody thought a folding knife that could be opened with one hand and some sort of light were essential.