Pocket Vomit: 1LT Sam Barrow US Army – Afghanistan

Hello fellow outdoorsy types. Contrary to popular belief, US military personnel do not wake up and go about their daily business decked out like something out of Modern Warfare 3. Here’s a little insight into what I carry day to day in Afghanistan. Of course, this amount of equipment triples when it is time go roll outside the wire. Then, it’s GAME ON, just like Call of Duty. Well, kinda.


My Daily Carry
Beretta 92F 9mm pistol with lanyardArmy Lieutenant's Gear in Afghanistan
Blackhawk Serpa paddle holster
Two 15 round magazines + 30 rounds of 9mm
Suunto Core watch
Gerber tool
Benchmade Mini Reflex Auto knife
Issued single mag pouch
Coleman flashlight, painted accordingly
Remembrance bracelet

First off, the pistol. While carrying a pistol is more convenient to carry around than a bulkier M4 rifle or M249 SAW, my Beretta is far from my favorite. It is a reliable sidearm and will “get the job done,” however I feel the Powers That Be have blessed our NATO partners with superior weapons, such as the Sig Sauer P226 (favored by the British), the Glock 17 (the Germans), or even the Smith and Wesson M&P (carried by the Afghans). I prefer to carry my pistol in a Blackhawk SERPA paddle holster, which allows a quicker draw but more security than standard holsters. I also carry 30 rounds of 9mm in two 15-round magazines, one magazine inserted into the magazine well of my weapon, the other in a standard issue magazine pouch (just in case).

I agree with Justin about the usefulness of always having a knife, a flashlight and 550 cord with you. But I’m going to have to add a multi-tool to that list also. There are just some things worth having when being able to fix your gear on the fly is a necessity.

I’m also very inclined to carry a tourniquet around for those instances when a band-aid and the proper amount of pressure just doesn’t do the trick. Some troops carry around up to four of these, one for each limb should the need arise. IEDs have a way of creating a need for these very quickly.

Along with this stuff, I have my watch for time, and a wallet for money; two out of three things any self-respecting man should have accessible at all times (along with a knife). My keys share a chain with my dogtags and a cross for soul protection.
Last but certainly not least, I wear a thin piece of aluminum, painted black and inscribed with the names of three service members who lost their lives in Iraq. This simple trinket is the most important of all of the things I carry because it reminds me and those around me the cost some paid for the freedom we enjoy.