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.

4 Responses

  1. tonhe says:

    First, I want to say thank you so very much for your service. Your hard work and dedication is very much appreciated.

    Second, I am glad you are out here promoting the necessity of being prepared EVERY day. Not enough people leave the house with as little as  a pocket knife. I’m glad to know that there are others out there that are as prepared as I am… just in case.

  2. Jay says:

    Just stumbled across this article when searching for the mini reflex knife. Very interesting article, even for guys like me who are neither military or law enforcement.
    But I noticed some slight mistake: We Germans dont carry a glock 17 but a hk p8, which is basically a hk usp variant in 9 mm which has been modified to the wishes of the bundeswehr (different barrel profile, white/ transparent magazine, safety/ decocking lever works in the opposite direction).
    In Germany the glock is only issued to police special forces (SEK, GSG 9) because it doesn’t fit the strict requirements for a standard police sidearm (mainly because it has no decocking lever and therefore the trigger needs to be pressed to decock the gun for disassembly)

    However our austrian neighbors carry the glock as their standard military sidearm.

  3. Thanks for the feedback Jay. I’ll pass this along to Sam. 

  4. Reply from Sam via e-mail (Afghan internet isn’t cooperating with the website): 

    Thanks for the comment Jay. I’m sorry for the misidentification. There are all kinds of police mentors, contractors, special forces, and regular military personnel in Afghanistan. I’m not exposed to the Germans on a regular basis but I have seen a few in passing. The Germans I did see carried Glocks, although I am not sure what organization they are affiliated with. It is the same for all countries, really. I see American soldiers with Glocks, HKs, and 1911A1s from time to time, although we are ‘officially’ issued Beretta 92Fs. And lets not even mention the Afghans. They are ‘officially’ issued M&Ps, however I’ve also seen a number of them carrying whatever they want and even one carrying an old Walther P38!

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