The Gear doesn't Matter Without the Skills | Red Shadow

A post that aligns exatly with our way of thinking.

You may be carrying your beloved Glock 19, but have you been practicing with it under duress? That slick ITS Fatboy first aid kit is always in your bag, but do you know how to treat a puncture wound or triage a mass casualty event?


Over the past weeks several questions came via Instagram about what I carry, how I carry and where.

A good answer would be: what I need and nothing else.

I tend to go light. I learned to do that a long time ago. The less I carry the better I feel. I rely on my mind, training and the environment. Having said this, I still need tools for my work, personal protection and fun.

Here are few examples of loadouts. From what's on my person, to minimal kit, to activity specific ones.

I carry very little on me.

  • iPhone
  • Saddleback Leather Minimal Wallet
  • Glock 43 and spare mag
  • Rolex Submariner or MKII Paradive
  • Photon Light
  • Emerson A-100 Mini

When I need to go to the office, or when weight and mobility is an issue, I carry very little on a small pack:

  • Laptop and charger
  • iPhone
  • Cable for the iPhone
  • Earphones (mostly for calls when I need to be hand's free)
  • Entry kit (lock picks, etc)
  • Pen

My usual loadout is also pretty small. I carry all in either a GORUCK Echo or Bullet 10:

  • Laptop and charger
  • Phone and earphones
  • Cable for the phone
  • Pen and Notepad
  • SureFire Light
  • GoalZero charger for the phone
  • Emerson Mini CQC-15
  • Entry kit
  • USB Thumbdrive and UBC-C adapter
  • Empty badges (to be used for clonning)
  • Personal trauma kit

This is an example of what I would carry when doing a realtively easy physical security assessments.

  • TAD Rain jacket
  • Laptop + charger
  • Binos, scopes, and other small optics (in the longer pouch and inside the CPL24 pack
  • Notepad and pen
  • RF equipment inside the pouch
  • Knife, gun and trauma kit

I might add a warm jacket and some other random kit, but this is pretty much it.

As you can see, I try to go as light as I can. Rule 7: Simple and light equals freedom, agility and mobility.

Question from a reader

NC asked:

"What clothing do you recommend to wear if you'd like to be well dressed, while maintaining a level of mobility?"

Good question. I tend to wear a lot of techwear. This means clothing that is made out of technical fabrics that provide comfort across many uses.

Here are two examples:

Packing Light and Going Fast

by Uri

I am a big believer in going light and fast. There is even a rule for this: Rule 17: Simple and light equals freedom, agility and mobility.

Packing light allows you to move freely and to avoid many hassles while traveling. Packing light also allows you to adapt better to any situation. Your gear is minimal and you can reconfigure it to what the project needs. In cases where there is an emergency and a quick retreat is needed, having only a few things helps get ready faster.

When I'm travelling, even internationally, I just carry everything with me and I never check luggage.

On the way to the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, I was stuck in traffic for almost 1.5 hours. I barely made it to the airport in time, but because I only had a small pack I was able to return the rental car, run the big airport to my terminal, fly through security and make my gate with 20 min to spare.
Had I have a big piece of luggage, wait for the check-in line to drop the bag and get that boarding pass and then run to my gate, I would have never done it in time.

So, learn to pack light and remain nimble.

Here are some examples of packing light. Some for business, some for recon purposes, some for vacation and fun.

Packing light with a GORUCK Bullet 10

10-day trip

Another multi-day example

Winter 7 day business casual trip with some recon done

And some examples of packing lists. A sort of default go-to list of clothing for different trips.

The big problem arises when you need to bring gear. This in when knowledge and experience comes in. The more you do something, the more you know what works and what doesn't. The more you use gear, the more you know what's actually needed and what's redundant.
For gear, I tend to choose things that have more than one purpose, so I can bring less. For example, if I have a good scope during a physical recon trip, why brin binos? Add to that scope night vision, and now I also killed bringing a night scope.

Try to find the lightest versions of things you need, practice what you can do with them, and select what's needed and nothing more. Do not be tempted to bring all. Add until it's too much, then remove until you are left with the most minimal kit. Then you can go light.

Pack light and go fast. It works.


Escape gear: how and why

By Ed Calderon

Tools I usually pick to carry for counter custody applications when moving in non permissive environments are usually dictated by the environment I'm going to be moving in. Gear needs to be endemic specific.

The bondage elements usually present in some places is easy to research and needs to be taken in to account as part of your pre movement planing. What types of restraints are used by criminals in the area? Are the government forces in the area you are moving in friendly to you or are the compromised in some way? Do the carry handcuffs? What brand usually? Is it worth concealing a key to a cuff that is not present in the area? Do your homework ....

Picture number 1 shows some of the tools I have on rotation.

Handcuffkeys, one an advanced handcuff key from Oscar Delta and a plastic key from Shomertec ( redundancy and non magnetic options, it's better to have one of each ), I modified the plastic key with an angle grind to make it easier to use at odd angles.

Handcuff split paw shims from SerePick, Gulag Shim from Oscar Delta. Again redundancy and septate placement on the body. These are always paired with a key, double locked cuffs will make these shim usable so it's good to have options.

SAD Tool by Oscar Delta witch is basically a multy tool that includes, padlock shims, handcuff pick and shim capable bits and easy decoder. This one is a constant with me.

Cutting implements in the form of ceramic razors ( hidden in a tag in this case, thungsten cutting bit and jewlers wire, razor blades, coin Knives and kevlar cordage. All these I try and infuse in to clothing or skin contact concelment options, like latex and new skin mixed media hides. Concelment and access this is the balance. Cutting implements are needed not just for cutting restraints, they can also make other things or modify things around you. It can also be used as a weapon. From rezor boxing to garrote methods with cord. Remember mindset and software can weaponize most things.

Bogota picks. These are just self explanatory.

Mini Chemlights are spread around. Amazingly useful when trying to manipulate things in the dark, mark places or people and signaling. I even used them in conjunction with a mouse trap to spray glow liquid on a permitir Intruder to make them in to glowing targets.

Pictures 2 is an image of some of the most successful concelment spots on the body that I have seen. Remember access and concealment, each one of you has to find this balance in what you carry and how you carry it, what work for me might not work for you.

Avoid concealing anything in clothing that could be lost in a full contact football match. Baseball caps, watches, shoes, jackets, Paracord bracelets etc are all things that usually get lost or taken away in most initial contact and purging portions of an irregular Custody event.

Last picture is of a small concelment tube. This is one of a few I have collected over the years. It came from a drug mule. A very successful one. Interesting about it is the size and materials used ( bamboo) all tried and true. Usually the individual who carried it would put in inside a condom to then conceal up an orifice ( butt ) end of the condom would be tied and used to pull it out when need.

Most of my material has a criminal origin. So some of its detailed elements have a history.

Stillness is death.

Custom Fixed Blade Knife

A few weeks back, I posted on Twitter and Instagram that I was looking for a simple, fixed blade knife, maybe 3.5-4 inches long. With a thick, drop point blade and with a simple, yet easy to grab handle. Either stone washed or coated blade. Not shiny and no markings.
Searching on social media for a good knife maker, I saw what Eric from Trinity Bladeworks (intagram) was making and I thought that he could be the knife maker for this project. I reached out to him and after a few exchange of details he immediatelly set up to design and make the knife I was looking for.

The result is amazing.


  • AEBL steel with full cryo
  • Black G10 rock pattern handle
  • Carbon fiber pins
  • Dark stone wash finish
  • 3.75 in blade
  • 8.15 overall

Eric went above and beyond. Communication with him was excellent, and the constant updates allowed for on-time tweaks to make this knife the exact one I was expecting.

I'm really looking forward to trying this blade and see how it performs on the field. Updates will follow.

Here are some more pictures from the knife maker.

Quote of the day

"Assess your kit, keep what works and discard the rest. Keep it small, minimal and light"


Here are some wallpapers with the latest tshirts designs. Click on each image for the full size.