Everyone should have a well-stocked medical kit. More-so, I think that all gun owners should have, at the very least, a small kit to deal with the injuries they have an increased chance of encountering. We all enjoy watching YouTube videos of “people doing dumb things and getting injured” but rarely do we see any of these “influencers” applying basic first aid. Let’s take a look at what should be in a gun owner’s EDC First Aid Kit.
When I stepped down from the EiC role earlier this year, it was to focus on teaching austere medicine to a variety of populations. Recently I finished a list around the concept of a survival first aid kit that is applicable to most people and which is supported by supplemental posts that explain the rationale and best picks for some of the items.
Not quite an IFAK
The best everyday carry for most people that carry guns is similar, but not exactly, to a military-style individual EDC first aid kit, and which comprises the first level of the survival kit in the above link. Since you are playing with toys that fling bits of metal and polymer around using directed explosions, you should carry items that deal with penetrating injuries and which can stabilize an injury long enough to get to medical care.
This list includes:
- Tourniquet (at least one, but two if you can swing it)
- Pressure dressing
- Z-folded gauze
- Chest seals (2)
There are other things you can certainly add, but this will get you through the worst of it. If you need band-aids because you got a slide kiss from your 1911, here are our favorites *cough* Disney Princess Bandaids *cough*.
How to carry your first aid gear
Just like having a firearm, you need to have your first aid gear on you when it is time to use it. It does you no good for it to be at your home when you are on the range or back in your car in a parking lot.
At the same time, you do not want to run around looking like Tactical Timmy or Batman with belt pouches and sling bags. Open carry of medical gear is just as goofy, IMO, as open carry of your pistol. But hey, to each their own…
I prefer an ankle wrap when possible. It is discreet, comfortable, and will work for pretty much anyone except for James during short-shorts season (then again, he advocates for fanny packs; what do I know about fashion?).
My personal favorite is the Warrior Poet Society Ankle Medical Kit. It is by far the most comfortable I have worn and accommodates a ton of gear. It even has a couple of pockets where you ninjas can store some other EDC stuff, like handcuff keys and Kevlar cord.
An added benefit is that WPS has partnered with North American Rescue to provide a kit with most of the gear you need; it has everything except for a pair of compact chest seals.
Another great ankle wrap is by Ryker. It has an internal sleeve that will easily swallow the chest seals, and even an NPA (with the WPS you have to use one of the vertical pouches). You can also order an extender with the Ryker for those of you with plus sized ankles.
If you are loathed to wear first aid items on your body, you can pick up any number of pouches that will work and attach them to your gun bag or anything that will be in grabbing distance if you need it. I would advise against leaving all of the components vacuum-sealed (either from the vendor, or your own creation) unless you have pre-staged the items, especially the tourniquet. Trying to rip open packaging and detach adhered velcro is a challenge in a stressful situation. The best solution is something that you can access using gross motor skills. The reality is that most of us do not put in the training hours under stressful situations to allow us to perform optimally under moments of pure panic.
But how do I use it?
Fortunately, there is good information on the internet for how to use these items if you are not capable of getting into a training class—which should ultimately be your goal. Find a Stop the Bleed class or enroll in a wilderness medicine class. A wilderness medicine class will cover life-threatening injuries as well as the common stuff you are honestly more likely to encounter.
Focus on mastering the basics. While we all want to go “high-speed, low drag” and run around with chest darts and cric-kits, you are not going to get enough training and be proficient in a couple of days (or even a week) of class. Stop the bleeding and plug the holes while you wait for 9-1-1—don’t make new holes, or perform dangerous treatments, without the appropriate training and experience.
Also, don’t go budget on a solution you will need at game-time. Many of us will drop several hundreds of dollars on a pistol and then cheap out on a budget holster. Same with critical medical gear. Spending $10 on a budget tourniquet with a bendy windlass is just as criminal as a nylon OWB holster.
I know many of you are going to say, “Well, no s*t, Doc,” to the above list. My question to you all is: how many of you can put hands on any one of those four items in under a minute (let alone all four)? Post pics of your EDC First Aid Kit in the comments and let’s discuss favorite tourniquets, dressings, and chest seals.
EDC First Aid Kit – Wrap Up
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