As a former U.S. Navy FMF Corpsman and currently serving U.S. Army 68W (Combat Medic), I often get asked about gear. Typically the questions revolve around what gear I use personally and what would I recommend people buying. Let me start by saying that no matter how many guys you see wearing it or “tactical” it looks, you should never use something that is outside the scope of your training.
It has become increasingly important in society today to be more aware of your surroundings, and more importantly, having the proper knowledge of what to should something happen. Maybe you conceal carry a pistol and have a knife in your pocket, but are you prepared to help an injured bystander? How about a family member, a friend, or maybe even yourself should something go wrong?
There are numerous companies making medical kits today that range from back pocket-sized, to belt mounted, to larger kits that can be attached to your chest rig and so on. When it comes to carry options my preference is to keep the profile simple with uncluttered pockets and a clean belt, with the exception of my IWB holster and mag carrier.
That being said, I want to talk about a piece of kit I recently purchased and maintain as my EDC med kit. A few months ago, Rogue Gunfighter released their No Vis Ankle Med Kit. Believe me when I say this – it is definitely a piece of gear that no one should be without.
The design is simple and yet extremely functional and well thought out. The med kit is designed to be worn around the ankle, thus keeping with the low profile concept. It features 3 large pockets and a sleeve with a Velcro retaining strap for medical shears. My kit fits a SWAT-T Tourniquet, Quik Clot Combat Gauze, 1 pair of gloves, rescue shears, and a Z-Pak dressing.
That’s a handful of medical gear right there in a very compact and comfortable kit. Once I put the kit around my ankle, I forget it’s there most of the time. You can purchase the NO VIS Ankle Med Kit for roughly $50 by itself or you can opt for a fully complete kit with the accompanying medical supplies for about $150 depending upon what options you select. When you look at the cost for either one, it’s something that won’t break the bank or leave you broke until payday.
While the Rogue Gunfighter ankle kit is nicely executed and compact, it only works well because I have years of experience with the medical gear I use. When I drop to a knee to help someone in need, I’m confident in my abilities to use the gear inside accordingly.
Those of you who are Military, LE, EMS, or Firefighters probably already have “on the job” experience and are familiar with what to do in critical situations. However, for those of you with little to no experience using medical gear, I highly suggest that you seek out training classes in your area. You can check with Fire and EMS stations, community colleges, The American Heart Association, or even the American Red Cross. There are a lot of options out that are easily accessible.
If you’re looking for a higher level of training with more technical skills, I suggest you consider taking a course from either Dark Angel Medical or Black Center Tactical depending upon your location. Kerry Davis of Dark Angel Medical is out front with his skill set and training and Black Center Tactical has an extremely skilled pair of Tactical Medics offering classes.
Another thing I want to emphasize is that even if you went thru the class and you’re familiar with your gear, if you haven’t touched it in months that’s a problem. In the military we use the term Perishable Skills. Those are skills that depreciate in effectiveness over time if they are not practiced. I urge you to buy a second set of gear strictly for training and familiarization. The best ankle med kit won’t be effective if you don’t remember how to use the contents inside.
Take the SWAT-T for example. It may look simple to use, but if you haven’t utilized it correctly the outcome may be problematic. Randomly during the week I take out my training one and place it on my arm or leg as practice makes perfect. Even my kids get in on the fun. While there are laws to protect people who help in an emergency situation, you have to show a demonstrated knowledge and be cautious not to make things worse. You may be the one who is injured and no one is there to help you. Do you want to bleed out because you didn’t take a few minutes every now and then to practice on yourself and know your kit inside and out?
Any situation you are in requires you to think fast and on your feet while analyzing the situation and taking the best course of action. The assailant may be down and the shooting or stabbing has ended, but then the after care becomes critical. If you or others are wounded, you owe it to yourself and those around you to be as educated and proficient as possible. While a great med kit like the Rogue Gunfighter NO VIS Ankle Med Kit may keep needed supplies comfortably close at hand, it only saves lives if you know how to use it properly.