Welcome to Episode Four of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together an ideal everyday-carry kit. Today, we have a Beretta APX in a Raven Concealment holster and spare mag carrier. We also have a Blackhawk web duty belt, an Ontario Knife Company Carter Prime folding knife and a Bushnell T100L flashlight.
Firearm: Beretta APX 9 mm ($575)
Beretta unveiled its first full-size, polymer-frame, striker-fired pistol earlier this year, bringing it to a crowded field indeed. With a removable fire-control group, interchangeable backstraps and the noticeable slide serrations, the APX works hard to differentiate itself from other, similarly operated handguns. Designed with hundreds of hours of research talking to law enforcement personnel, Soldiers and concealed carriers, the APX had one overwhelming goal: work without failure, all the time.
Our testing here at Shooting Illustrated proved this to be the case: In excess of 1,200 rounds were fired through the APX in an attempt to get it to malfunction, and we were unsuccessful—it just kept right on going. From the filthiest steel-case surplus 9 mm to exotic-construction defensive ammo, the APX fed, fired and ejected everything we put into it. If the goal was to create the ballistic equivalent of the Energizer Bunny, mission accomplished.
With the removable fire-control group, the frame of the APX is removable and can be swapped with (at current time) different color options. Different frame sizes are currently under development. Replacement frames are inexpensive, meaning should you try your hand at stippling and fail, you’re only out a few bills for a new frame, as opposed to having to send a serialized part back to a manufacturer. It’s a neat feature for the do-it-yourself enthusiast!
Currently available as a full-size only in 9 mm and .40 S&W, plans are in the works for a compact model sometime next year in addition to a .45 ACP model.
Holster: Raven Concealment Phantom ($94.99)
Raven’s Phantom line—getting an upgrade this year—is known for modularity. With a wide array of attachment options, the line can go from OWB to IWB in minutes and back again as needed. If you’re taking a class and want a faster-access, or transitioning to colder weather where cover garments are feasible, set the Phantom to OWB and you’re good to go. Need deeper cover? No problem; change the clips from OWB solid belt clips to IWB straps and you’re back in business. Look to Raven for more fits as the Phantom line is updated later this year.
Belt: First Tactical Range Belt ($14.99)
Gear belts come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and this First Tactical Range belt comes in three colors and in sizes from small to 4XL. It attaches quickly using a double-bar, high-density polymer buckle with a tab for rapid removal if needed. The Range belt is pre-curved for optimum fit, is made of double-layer, reinforced nylon and uses a high density polymer, double-bar buckle for solid closure.
Flashlight: Bushnell T100L ($31.35)
With 152 lumens, aluminum construction and Cree LEDs, the T100L works just fine as a daily-use flashlight. It has another setting, though: an outer ring contains a series of red lights that permit low-light operations without compromising night vision. Powered by a single, common AA battery, the T100L has one hour of run time on high setting. It is impact- and water-resistant, weighs slightly more than 3 ounces and has a beam visible out to 70 meters according to Bushnell.
Knife: Ontario Knife Company Carter Prime ($144.95)
With a titanium handle, sheepsfoot blade profile and frame-mounted liner-lock, the Carter Prime is an eye-catching choice for an EDC knife. The D2 tool steel blade holds an even edge, while the slightly curved profile of the handle fits well in the hand. The Carter Prime uses a flipping mechanism to open the blade, and while this opening system can often be finicky, the Prime opens quickly and solidly with one hand.
Magazine Carrier: Raven Concealment Copia Single Magazine carrier ($39.99)
The injection molded design is built for heavy use, and the spring-loaded tension screw allows a wide variety of double-stack magazines (9 mm and .40 S&W) to be used with this carrier. It ships with 1.5-inch belt clips for OWB carry, but—as with the rest of the Raven line—other options are available separately for IWB or different belt widths. I prefer to thread the carrier so that a belt loop rests between the two clips to anchor the carrier in a small area on the belt.