Welcome to another episode of "I Carry,"Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together a potential everyday-carry kit. Today, we have a Ruger EC9s 9 mm in a Blackhawk holster. We also have a Trayvax wallet, a Streamlight flashlight and a Gerber folding knife.
Ruger EC9s (MSRP: $299)
Seven plus one rounds of 9 mm in a firearm that costs less than three hundred dollars? Ruger describes its EC9s as “everyday affordable,” and it’s hard to disagree with that assessment. Shorter, thinner and lighter than most of the single-stack-9 mm competition, Ruger’s EC9s offers similar capacity and safety features at a fraction of the cost.
Interestingly, but not surprising given the Ruger heritage, the EC9s has three separate safety features. First is the trigger-based blade safety, which acts, well, like all the other trigger-based safeties. Second is a manual safety, for those who prefer such an option. Push up to engage the safety, swipe down to disengage. While it takes a little effort to get the safety on, it’s intuitive and simple to take it off, and that’s the more-important part. Lastly, and one feature Ruger is known for that many do not care for, is the magazine disconnect—the EC9s will not fire without a magazine in the pistol.
Given the inexpensive price and small size, the EC9s is a great choice for a backup or deep-concealment pistol. It fits easily in a wide variety of carry options and offers eight rounds of 9 mm, and is rated for +P ammunition. Priced as it is, it can be a backup gun, a duplicate primary, or just the pistol you toss in a pocket holster so that you always have it on your person.
Blackhawk TecGrip Holster (MSRP: $18.95)
Speaking of pocket holsters, Blackhawk’s TecGrip holster offers laminate construction with three layers: a sticky outside layer, a smooth interior portion and closed-cell foam in the middle. This anchors the TecGrip solidly in your pocket, facilitating a fast presentation and providing protection and comfort when the firearm is holstered. While Blackhawk promotes this line for inside-the-waistband carry, I prefer those holsters to have a secure belt attachment. The TecGrip line works exceptionally well as pocket holsters, though, as the texture tends to catch the inside of a pocket quite well.
Trayvax Axis Wallet (MSRP: $49.99)
If you’re opting for a pocket pistol, you’re more than likely looking for other minimalist gear. The Axis wallet from Trayvax can carry up to fourteen cards and eight paper bills. There’s an easy access window for identification, RFID protection and milspec paracord holding everything together. It’s made to slip into a front pocket, or can be attached to a belt or pack through the steel eyelets on the frame.
Streamlight MicroStream USB (MSRP: $50)
If replacing batteries in a tiny flashlight isn’t your thing, Streamlight’s MicroStream USB recharges via a standard micro-USB port in just four hours. High and low modes offer 250 or 50 lumens, respectively, for run times of one and a half and three and a half hours. Water and impact resistant, this eminently portable flashlight is only 3.87 inches long and weighs a mere 1.2 ounces. The included pocket clip can be carried bezel-up or down, and can even be clipped to a baseball cap’s visor.
Gerber Answer F.A.S.T. SM Folding Knife (MSRP: $63)
In keeping with our “smaller is better” theme for this “I Carry” installment is Gerber’s Answer F.A.S.T. SM folding knife. Offering assisted opening of the 2.8 inch long stainless steel blade via an ambidextrous thumbstud, this 2.6 ounce knife features anodized aluminum handles. A safety-slide lock keeps the blade closed when in the pocket, and also serves to close the deployed blade.