With all this talk about concealed carry and various loadouts (see this article) there was some chatter about carrying medical gear. That is all fine and well, but you have to ask yourself what is killing you first.

Self aide, buddy aide, corpsman

The idea of applying self aide post lethal confrontation should be addressed. It seems wishful thinking to be involved in a fight and not get hurt. Whether it be a hang nail or a bullet hole knowing how to treat the injury should be part of your preparation. There are several emergency medical training or gunshot treatment classes now being offered. What at one time might have been a small field has exploded and the advancements in this field are truly amazing.

What’s killing you first?

In our strong hand only training blocks we talk about what is killing you first. Is the injury you might have sustained forcing you to continue fighting strong hand only or is the bad guy who continues to press the fight. It may seem pretty easy to figure out what the tactical imperative is, but surprising it is not reflected in the various techniques we see being taught. The same can be said regarding medical gear as part of your concealed carry loadout.

Practical loadout

By no means am I telling you not to carry medical gear, but at some point you need to take a realistic approach to your loadout. Given the fact you are suppose to be concealed that would include said medical gear. I mean what justification would you give if someone was to observe whatever gear you are carrying. I mean it is one thing in a training class to show up on the firing line with your Batman utility belt to include your medical gear. It is an entirely different story on the concealment side. If you read the attached article you should get an idea of the challenges being armed entails and now you are going to make it more challenging by carrying more gear.

Hey, if you can pull it off then more power to you. It is funny during the “peer reviews” in our Concealed Carry Tactics classes how some folks will do things during that drill in an effort to better conceal. They slouch, get big and other tricks in an effort to “hide” their package. Sometimes it works and other times its kind of funny to watch because they know they are not doing a good job of concealing. Imagining if that was your daily behavior.

Improvised thinking

So, let’s talk about the dynamics of a lethal confrontation, but let’s pretend we can only carry so much gear. Would you choose to carry a spare magazine over a battle dressing or what about a flashlight over a tourniquet? Remember, you first have to win the fight in order to apply self aide. Then lets talk about improvised tools, which are you more likely to find in a lethal encounter; a spare magazine or something that can absorb blood. Would you be able to produce a powerful light with what you found lying around or are you more likely to manufacture an improvised tourniquet?

The bottom line is you have to make choices, there is a finite amount of real-estate we all have to work with to do a good job of concealing. The most important thing to remember is to win the fight first.

5 thoughts on “First Aide is Secondary

  1. flashback says:

    BatMan Utility Belt…dude you make me chuckle 🙂

    Seriously though…good points and I am a little guilty as charged…I tried to carry too much stuff and one morning while getting ready for the day I stopped and thought about what I was doing as I loaded up my belt and pockets.
    Not being nearly as “nimble” as I once was I was now loading myself down with even more weight…I’ve paired down my ‘on-body’ to basically weapon(s), phone, wallet….the briefcase (messanger-bag type) is generally close at hand to carry my other EDC gear and business related items…dual purpose.

    Awesome posts!!

  2. Morgan Atwood says:

    I teach a class on, as I like to put it, “you, your pistol and your gunshot wound” type first aid; Self care. And one of the very first things I say in class is that the best medicine, is to lay the other mother low.
    Fortunately, there are increasing advancements in minimization of first aid equipment, particularly “Tactical”, that are making it easier and easier to carry an acceptable minimum of tools (TQ, packing material/hemostatic, wound dressing, tape/seals) in very little space. After many years of foot dragging and refusal to minimize size of gear, the tac med companies are coming around slowly. This is a win.

    My choice is to carry med gear as often as possible; I’ve got a hip pocket kit, little broader than a wallet but about .75″ thick, with a TQ, Combat Gauze, duct tape, and an H&H Mini-Pressure Dressing, in it. That’s in addition to firearm, reload, small fixed blade, impact weapon and flashlight (+ wallet, phone, keys).
    My decision to do that is rooted in two things: Having worked to minimize the bulk of everything else I carry, without stopping carrying it (a 10+ year ever evolving process), and believing that *IF* I have the room for them, I’ll be better off opening ready made medical supplies, than improvising them, when I am hurt, and just finished a fight.
    That said: I think that a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms important in “tactical” medicine is vital; That understanding should be the base for learning (and continued practice of) improvising the vital tools for managing major hemorrhage and survivable chest injuries. The knowledge and ability to improvise the necessary tools, to achieve the desired outcomes, can be taken anywhere, at any time, and weighs absolutely nothing.

    Thanks for writing this; It was a challenging read for a guy who is often harping on “always carry your med kit”, but a good challenge, thought provoking, and appreciated.

  3. marty says:

    Jeff, as always you’re spot on. This article reveals the two basics about tourniquets (or any life-saving devices/measures): After you’ve already been killed by the bad guy (1) tourniquets are hard to put on; and (2) they are not as effective as you might hope. Seriously, I’m not trying to detract from the importance of available emergency medical care or a good blow-out kit, but your point is well made … everything must be prioritized. PS, I’m new to the website, community and blogs, but love it … please keep ’em coming.

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