Welcome to Episode Four of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated'sweekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together an ideal everyday-carry kit. Today, we have a Smith & Wesson first generation M&P 9 mm (VTAC series) in a Galco holster riding on a Galco sport belt. Rounding out the gear is a CRKT Otanasho Noh Ken folding knife, an LA Police Gear L2 flashlight and a Galco MFP Cop flashlight/mag carrier.
Firearm: Smith & Wesson M&P 9 mm ($599)
Smith & Wesson rolled out the M&P series in 2005. It replaced the SW99, the company’s collaborative effort with Walther Arms, as its duty-size polymer-frame, striker-fired handgun. At SHOT Show earlier this year, Smith & Wesson rolled out the M&P 2.0, offering updates and upgrades to the design after more than a decade of use.
This particular model is a first-generation pistol, with the telltale VTAC package offering a flat dark earth slide and frame. The twin-lamp VTAC sights (fiber optic pipe over a tritium dot) have been replaced by Trijicon HD XR sights which feature tritium dots and a luminescent-orange front ring. Supplementing these sights is a red Crimson Trace grip laser, activated instantly upon achieving a firing grip.
Chambered in 9 mm with a 4 ¼-inch barrel, this full-size pistol has 17+1 round capacity and is rated for +P ammunition. Three palmswell inserts are available to fit the pistol to the shooter’s hands, and an accessory rail allows a weaponlight or other accessory to be mounted under the dustcover.
Other M&P models are available in.40 S&W and .45 ACP. For the M&P 2.0, a 5-inch barrel variant is also available.
Holster: Galco Side Snap Scabbard ($111.95)
With adjustable tension, a reinforced mouth for easier reholstering and a grip-forward cant, the Galco SSS (Snap-Side Scabbard) offers much for the outside-the-waistband carry enthusiast. In addition to riding comfortably on the belt line, the SSS has, as the name implies, snaps that allow the holster to be taken off the belt without undoing the belt, handy if circumstances dictate your sidearm be stowed discreetly.
Belt: Galco SB2 Sport Belt ($94.95)
In addition to the SB1 dress belt we’ve covered previously on I Carry, Galco also offers a more ubiquitous Sport version. It’s a utilitarian, rigid, polymer-backed belt that’s not out of place in a fancy restaurant. With a 1.25-inch width and three finish options, the SB2 allows you to carry all your gear in style without sacrificing support and rigidity.
Flashlight: LA Police Gear L2 Flashlight ($39.99)
Not all flashlights have to be super expensive. The L2 from LA Police Gear offers three power settings and a strobe, and has two different operating systems. In one, only high output and strobe are offered; in the second, there’s a high, medium and low setting. On the high setting, the L2 offers 730 lumens (2.3 hour run time), 305 lumens (3.3 hour run time) on medium and 10 lumens on low (63 hours). The L2 is powered by 2 CR123 batteries and is water- and impact resistant.
Knife: CRKT Otanashi Noh Ken Folder ($150)
How can you not like a folding knife that looks like a small samurai sword? Designed by renowned knife maker James Williams, the Otanashi Noh Ken features a 4.5-inch long, dramatic clip-point blade and G10 handles. Additionally, it contains a frame lock that physically blocks the liner lock from closing, essentially turning the Otanashi Noh Ken into a fixed blade.
Despite the name, Galco’s MFP Cop Mag flashlight paddle is a great idea for the concealed carrier. With a slot for a single double-stack magazine and a handheld flashlight of standard diameter, the MFP Cop Mag allows a reload and a light to be carried discreetly on the belt. Instead of fishing through a cargo pocket or left behind in a jacket, your flashlight can keep your spare mag company close at hand.