METT-TC and Your EDC

The military loves its acronyms, often breaking down leadership steps in handy-dandy acronyms. The Marine Corps has BAMCIS (Begin planning, Arrange for reconnaissance, Make reconnaissance, Complete the plan, Issue the order, and Supervise) which is great, but I’ve always been a fan of the Army’s METT-TC. It’s more adaptable and can be used for a wide variety of planning tasks outside of a normal military operation. Today we are going to examine how to use METT-TC with your everyday carry. Not every day is the same, and your EDC may change depending on your needs situation.

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What is METT-TC?

METT-TC is a series of mission planning steps. It breaks down your operation into six critical elements for you to plan around. METT-TC stands for:

Terrain and Weather
Troops Available

With a little imagination, you can apply these planning steps to a wide variety of tasks. Today we are using it to help plan our everyday carry considerations. Applying METT-TC to your EDC is easy and hopefully will help you make some critical decisions when it comes time to walk out the door.


Obviously, it might feel a little lame to put going to Walmart under your mission. I understand that, but if that’s your mission, then that’s your mission. You’re running out to grab some diapers and milk. You know where you are going and what you are doing, and that’s the first step toward planning.

Your mission might change, and you might be going to a concert, and that should make you consider what that means to your night. Does the venue have metal detectors? Well, you are going unarmed then and need to make considerations for that.

When you examine your mission, you should consider the following.
What are you doing?
Why are you doing it?
Who is involved?
Where is it being done?
When is it being done?


The enemy can be your local meth head armed with a knife and a head full of drug-induced paranoia, or it can be a not-so-nice animal. In my part of the world, animals like hogs are fairly common, and if I’m doing something outdoors and in nature, I might run into one.

You have to consider your environment and the likelihood of a threat. If that threat occurs, what or who is it most likely to be? This part of METT-TC shouldn’t necessarily inspire you to carry a PDW in a sling bag but should make you think about how to avoid threats if possible. If you can avoid stupid people at stupid places at stupid times, then you are most likely going to live a peaceful life.

bad guy target
What’s your enemy look like?

Sometimes you can’t. I’ve worked a few jobs that had me interacting with stupid people in stupid places at stupid times, and I planned to deal with it by having my firearm, yes. But as I was aware of my situation, I made sure to have a charged cell phone and knew my way in and out of the environment. I also knew who my potential ‘enemy’ would be and learned how to be nonaggressive and how to mitigate volatile interpersonal situations.

Your enemy may also influence what type of weapon you carry. If I’m in nature, it’s a full-sized handgun at the minimum, typically a .357 Magnum because it’s good wild animal medicine. When I worked a delivery job, I often carried pepper spray because some neighborhoods seemingly had roving bands of aggressive dogs. Pepper spray was a safer and more socially acceptable option than blasting away at local dogs with a 9mm.

Terrain and Weather

When it comes to EDC and METT-TC, the terrain and weather portion is about what you’re wearing and where you are going. In Army planning, this is a bit different, but we aren’t taking a hill. The terrain, in this case, is likely where you are going and how that affects what you can carry.

This ties back to that concert venue we mentioned earlier. Metal detectors will most certainly help determine what you can and can’t carry. Terrain can also affect how you carry. If I’m going to the gym or on a run, my Phlster Floodlight might be better set up on an Enigma than carried AIWB. 

Weather influences what you are wearing, as well. In the winter, you might be packing on some extra layers which can make it tough to access an AIWB rig tough. In that case, maybe you move to OWB and let the hoodie conceal it. If you are wearing gloves, you have to consider how the gloves affect how you get your finger into the trigger guard of your firearm.

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Cold weather brings different considerations.

Consider how both the terrain and weather may affect what you carry, how you carry it, and how you can use it. Good luck packing a Glock 17 in a Speedo at the beach.

Troops Available

It’s a nice thought to have a squad with you wherever you go, but we don’t have that. We have family and friends and we have to consider them in our METT-TC EDC plan—their needs and skills alongside of our own.

Does your spouse or partner carry? What is their level of skill with their equipment? Do they have medical skills? When with family, you might consider carrying extra medical supplies or at least having them nearby and on hand.


If you are going away from home for a longer period than normal, plan for that with your EDC. How long will you be out and about? Is it just a trip to Walmart for milk and diapers? If so, your considerations are pretty easy. If you are taking a multi-day road trip, you might consider bringing extra magazines or maybe even a larger gun. You may also want spare batteries for your light, a vehicle-sized aid kit, and more. Roadtrips also mean bringing a small safe to secure your weapons when you’re not carrying them. 

Civilian Considerations

Where are you going and who else will be there? Large crowds make it very difficult to take safe shots. This should make you consider bringing a nonlethal option like pepper spray to deal with potential threats in a crowded environment.

Crowded environments typically inspire me to stay home, but if I was more social, I would consider carrying more medical equipment in these environments.


METT-TEC isn’t a perfect or exact system of guidance for EDC, but it’s a pretty good place to start. It makes you consider factors that might have been previously ignored. To me, it’s a handy way to organize my thought process, especially when things are outside the norm.

What do you think? Let us know below!

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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