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I Carry: Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 in a Vedder Quick Draw Holster

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 Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 full size in a Vedder holster. We also have a Propper belt, a Streamlight flashlight and a CRKT knife.

Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 (MSRP: $599)

Smith & Wesson revamped the M&P line early in 2017 with the M2.0, which made standard features many M&P owners had been upgrading on their own. A new, more-aggressive texture improves purchase on the M2.0, while forward cocking serrations aid in press checks and other slide manipulations. The frame has been strengthened, the beavertail reduced and an additional backstrap sized between Medium and Large joined the fray.

This particular version sports an aesthetically different flat dark earth finish as well as a five-inch barrel. While the FDE color is strictly personal preference, the longer barrel makes it slightly more difficult to conceal while simultaneously easier to shoot. Sure, there’s a little more barrel and slide to keep hidden (three quarters of an inch, to be precise), but that added length yields great sight radius and more heft for recoil control. Folks have been carrying Government-model M1911s for over a century with no trouble, so the five-inch M&P M2.0 should be just fine, as long as you, as they say, “dress around the gun.

One of the advantages to a system like the M&P M2.0, where numerous sizes exist, is the ability to own and carry multiple sizes while maintaining the same operating system. This five-inch version could be a “winter” carry gun, when cover garments allow more leeway in the size of the firearm carried, while the 3.6-inch barrel Compact size fills in for summer duty. The core shooting experience will be the same, so practicing with either gun should yield identical results. Even better, you’ll even have a backup option when taking classes, which is when the gun gremlins like to induce weekend-ruining failures.

Vedder Quick Draw OWB Holster (MSRP: $54.99)

Assuming that you’ve got your cover garment lined up to conceal a full-size, five-inch barrel pistol, an outside the waistband holster like Vedder’s Quick Draw will work well. Allowing rapid access, a full firing grip, and custom-molded retention, the Quick Draw’s hybrid design is meant to offer a mixture of comfort and utility. The leather backing is more comfortable against the skin, while the Kydex portion is molded specifically to the firearm. One word of caution with hybrid systems, though, centers on the leather component—periodically check the sweat guard to make sure it is retaining its shape if frequent use in warmer months exposes it to sweat or other moisture.

Propper EDC Belt (MSRP: $49.99)

A good belt, the backbone of every concealed-carry setup is often overlooked. Propper’s EDC belt fills this roll efficiently, with full-grain leather paired with reinforced 1680D nylon to hold all your gear. The belt is sized to accommodate one and three quarter inch belts, and with the Vedder holster the fit is quite precise—this setup did not move at all once secured. The EDC belt even has loop lining on the nylon portion for gear carriers equipped with the appropriate hook attachment system. Propper’s EDC belt is a rugged, affordable option to keep your EDC gear firmly in place.

Streamlight Strion DS HL (MSRP: $167.49)

Offering 700 lumens in a rechargeable unit that can be replenished with a standard micro-USB cable, Streamlight’s Strion DS HL handheld flashlight rounds out the light portion of this EDC kit. Three settings offer output varying from 40, 300 and 700 lumens with run times of 24, three and a half and one and a quarter hours, respectively. It comes with a docking station for recharging that can be powered via the USB cable or with a car power outlet adaptor. The Strion DS HL offers both push-button and tailcap activation, and comes with Streamlight’s proprietary “Ten Tap” programming for different user input sequences.

CRKT Terrestrial folding knife ($74.99)

CRKT’s Terrestrial folding knife is a great addition to your EDC kit, with a robust, fast flipper opening mechanism, satin blade finish and G10 scales. CRKT’s proprietary IKBS ball-bearing pivot system opens the 3.35-inch long, 8Cr13MOV spear-point blade, while a standard liner lock holds it firm. Black G10 handles anchor the Terrestrial in the hand, while molded and sculpted grooves keep it properly oriented.

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