Just the Tip – Make Sure the Parachute is in the Bag

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June 14, 2016  
Categories: Musings
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Inspection and Inventory: Make Sure The Parachute Is In The Bag

Erik “Trek” Utrecht, MDFI

Do you have an EDC or going-on-duty checklist?

We all know people crazy enough to take up hobbies such as SCUBA cave diving, skydiving, wing suit flying, and of course that one guy who loves bear wrestling.

While most are quick to dismiss these individuals as adrenaline junkies, thrillseekers or just plain off their rocker, it’s important to note the extraordinarily in-depth preparations these individuals make before taking a daunting or extreme challenge. Consider the step-by-step processes used to ensure parachutes are packed properly and reserve chutes easily accessible. Think about the procedures to ensure a proper gas mixture in the air tanks and that regulators are operational before ever dipping so much as a toe in the water — much less before descending into the subterranean depths.

These checks are hammered into new hobbyists who take up such callings, and rightly so. They are there because at some point in the past, people perished from a lack of preparation. Many of these deaths were a result of simple equipment failures that would have been prevented — or preempted — by an inspection and/or inventory of their life support gear.

Those who carry firearms should take a lesson from this. We should maintain the same level of discipline as those who engage in extreme sports. That Uber Blaster Omega-Shootin’ 3000  we spent two months’ pay on does us no good if we leave it in a condition that prevents it from saving our life.

It’s imperative that we, the responsible armed citizens, create an inspection and inventory procedure for our own life support tools. Call it PPC, PRICE, PMCS, Mise en place, whatever you want — you need an inventory/inspection process or procedure in place.

Before ever leaving the house, we must ask ourselves if we are properly outfitted. Not just for the routine, but for whatever might rear its head.

Have we checked the hardware on our holsters recently? The human body’s bobbing, weaving, flexing, sitting, and standing has a tendency to work hardware lose, and that could be the difference between our firearm being on our hip or skidding across the ground when we need it.

Do we have all of the documentation we need to get us through our day? Not just a CPL/CCW/CHL, but also our drivers license, credit cards, cash, and any other documents necessary to get through life as we know it.

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When was the last time we checked the batteries in our daily carry flashlight? Murphy loves to turn the lights out on us just when we need them.

We know ammunition is expensive, but when was the last time we rotated out those small copper and lead concoctions designed to save our lives when evil shows its face, or inspected the magazines that carry them?

If we carry a weapon for our defense or defense of loved ones, it’s important that every aspect of the operating system gets a once-over to ensure it’s in the best condition possible. Just like a SCUBA diver who might have had a nostalgic connection to a 50-year-old dive knife but reluctantly set it aside, if a piece of kit proves unfit for duty we should replace it, and possibly put it on a shelf for display.

As grown adults who happen to carry firearms, take a few minutes to look over the things you take with you every day, even if it’s been the longest time since you’ve ever used it — if ever. The time to find out there’s no parachute in the bag is not after you’ve jumped through the door. Establish an inventory or inspection checklist, and stick to it.

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Trek2About the Author: Erik “da Trek” Utrecht is the HMFIC of the Michigan Defensive Firearms Institute, an Air Force veteran, certified Federal Criminal Investigator, licensed and bonded Professional Investigator in the state of Michigan, and longtime supporter and volunteer for the Brian Terry Foundation. You might remember him from such prodigious feats as Trek’s Trek, any of several “Danger Zone” parties during SHOT Show, and of course the disturbing sight of his loss to Takeru Kobayashi in the 2007 Nathan’s Hot Dog Wiener Eating Contest. Seriously, that was gross, but hey – Trek likes a good wiener. A man who has never once been skeert of the frumious bandersnatch (okay, maybe once), Trek has appeared on numerous television national and syndicated news programs, podcasts and radio shows to speak about a responsible armed citizenry, the Second Amendment and border issues. He leads a nomadic life centered in the wilds of Trexico.

Trek Speaking at Capital


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  1. Wilson

    In my experience as both a professional diver and a POTG, the easiest way to accomplish what this article is talking about is to get in the habit of putting your gear down at the end of the day in a way that you have to put it back together tomorrow which is a form of inspection in and of itself.

    Done right you end up function checking your gun twice a day and knowing that you have a functional and loaded firearm. This process can be applied to nearly everything you carry with you daily.

    How exactly you do this will be dictated in large part by the function of the gear you carry, but the process is very similar overall and adds maybe 10 seconds of work to your day.

  2. Brandon Johnson

    Awesome article Trek. I had driven to one of MDFI’s classes and upon arriving to the hotel and meeting my friend I was pretty shocked to discover the Glock 43 that I was carrying didn’t just have an empty chamber but no ammo in the mag at all. I learned a lot in the classes I took from you but also learned a lot from that stupid blunder that could have cost me my life. Keep up the awesome work. I’ll be sure to check my equipment every time I leave my house for the day.

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