Thin Is In.

Thin Is In.

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”

– Bruce Lee

For quite some time now , I’ve been trying to come up with a way to carry around a trauma kit on my person with the same ease and assurance that I’ve carried around a pistol.

And it’s not been easy. First, I tried to try to find a way to carry around this “Pocket” Trauma kit, and I wound up filleting that kit even further to fit it inside a mobile phone case in a quest for an even-smaller kit.

But even that wasn’t small enough because the case clearly showed up under my shirt. Sure, it wound up looking like the iPhone case it really was, but when it comes to how much we show the world about what we’re carrying, I agree with Lucas Apps and I also agree with Greg Ellifritz. I agree with Lucas in that 99% of the people who might even notice a bulge under our shirts will dismiss it as a cell phone or something innocuous, but the problem is, as Greg says, the 1% who think it’s a gun will either a) not care or b) care quite a lot because they are up to no good.

Seeing as how that last one half of one percent is one of the reasons why I carry a gun in the first place, the trick is coming up with trauma care solution that will work well in an emergency situation yet doesn’t leave me looking I’ve got Batman’s utility belt hidden under my t-shirt.

Which bring me to this video by Paul Gomez and the humble triangular bandage. It works, and it takes up pretty much zero space. I can stuff a bandage and two small packs of Celox into a coin purse, slide it into one of my rear pants pockets and a bandanna into the other one, and if anyone notices anything, it looks like I’m carrying a bandanna and a wallet in my pockets, because, well, I am.

What’s the first rule of hiding something in plain sight? Help people see what they’re expecting to see, even if it’s not really there.

Assorted trauma gear

That’s my old iPhone trauma kit on the left, but this photo doesn’t do justice to how portable and concealable the new kit really is. The bandanna is there because bandannas are massively useful: They can be used as a compress, to stuff wounds, to wipe the sweat off your brow or as a hankie, as needed. The bandages, Celox and two small safety pins are in the coin purse to keep them in one spot and to help protect them from being sat upon for hours on end. That feeling of constantly sitting on something took some getting used to, as I haven’t carried a wallet in my back pocket for twenty years. Fortunately, I got used to it pretty quickly, because this solution is THIN.

How thin you ask? This thin.

Thin, concealable tourniquets

That’s my iPhone-based trauma kit on the left, which is still less thin than a double-stack pistol magazine, yet a bit too big and bulky for true concealment under a t-shirt (at least for me).

We know, from trial and (much) error that thinner guns are easier to carry and conceal, and yet we still insist that the only correct solution for civilian trauma care is a military-approved tourniquet or (worse yet) an IFAK. No, it is not an optimal solution, but it is a solution I can carry around pretty much every day. Think of it as the trauma care equivalent of a pocket .380, and you’ll understand my reasoning here.

IFAKs are great and they save lives, but they are a military solution to a civilian problem. The live-saving technology that started out in the military is starting to trickle down to those of us who don’t carry an M4 for a living, and that’s a good thing. However, just because I don’t walk around with an M4 and a chest rig doesn’t mean there’s not a need for a trauma care solution that works for the civilian market but incorporates the hard-won lessons from the military. We are just beginning to figure out civilian-centric solutions to trauma care, and I’m excited to see what’s coming down the road. For now, though, I think I’ve finally figured out what works for me on a day-in, day out basis.

Building A Concealed Carry Trauma Kit That’s Actually Concealable.

Building A Concealed Carry Trauma Kit That’s Actually Concealable.

I have been struggling mightily to come up with a way to carry a trauma kit (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) day in, day out. I have my one in my car, one if I’m not in my car, and one at work. That’s all very well and good, but the fact remains that all those kits are NEAR me, not WITH me, and that can make a difference in how quickly and effectively I can render aid to someone who’s life is on the line.

We use the phrase “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away” quite a lot in the concealed carry community, but somehow, we don’t stop and think that seconds also count with saving lives from the possible effects of gunshot wound. We wouldn’t consider ourselves ready for a gunfight if our gun was in the car, why then would we consider ourselves to be ready to deal with the effects of a gunfight if our trauma kit is in the car?

I’ve tried to carry a Cleer EDC Kit, and while it’s terrific, it still is just a little too big to conceal under an untucked t-shirt, and the Patrol Officer’s “Pocket Trauma Kit” is not made for civilian pockets.

However, whilst perusing the aisles of my local Big Blue Box Store, I spotted a “Quick Seal” wound care kit that looked tiny enough to carry every day.

And it is.


As you can see in the photo, I ditched everything in the store-bought kit except two small containers of Celox, two gauze pads and an antiseptic pad, and teamed those items up with gloves and a SWAT-T tourniquet, and stuffed all of that into a MOLLE-compatible iPhone 6+ case, and it works quite well.


That’s my extra mag for my Shield on theright, in its belt pouch for a size comparison. Crunching down everything this small did involve some trade-offs. There’s not a lot of blood-clotting agent in this kit, and SWAT-T tourniquet isn’t perhaps the best solution out there, but it beats jetting out arterial blood at 60 beats a minute. Also, because the tourniquet is essentially just a big rubber band, it folds flat. This means that when teamed up with the soft nylon iPhone case, it wraps around my waist when I carry it, rather than remain stiff and inflexible and noticeable, because when it comes to concealed carry, thinness is the most important attribute a gadget can have.

Would I carry this kit if I were headed out to Khandahar tomorrow? No, I’d carry an IFAK, probably more than one. Will it help save lives more than not having it on me? Yes, and that’s reason enough for me to

Product Review – Patrol Officer’s Pocket Trauma Kit

Product Review – Patrol Officer’s Pocket Trauma Kit

Advantages: Great Price, Has Everything You Need
Disadvantages: “Pocket” Is A Metaphor
Rating: Four Stars Out Of Five

I’ve had a trauma kit near me for quite some time now, either in my car, my range bag or my tactical man-purse. However, near me isn’t with me, so I decided to look for an option that allowed me to have a trauma kit on me day-in, day-out.

I originally looked at the Cleer EDC Trauma Kit because it’s tiny, but the $75 price tag gave me pause. Instead, I went with the Patrol Officer’s Pocket Trauma Kit by Rescue Essentials because I could buy three of the darn things (one for my range bag, one for me, and one for my wife to have at her work) and a carry pouch for less that the cost of one Cleer Kit.

Memo to self: You get what you pay for. The Rescue Essentials Kit has everything you need and is actually a really good value, it’s just that calling it a “pocket” kit stretches most commonly-held definitions of “pocket”.

Allow me to demonstrate. This is the kit (left) next to a Blackhawk! double-stack mag pouch.

imageThe trauma kit is MUCH thicker, which means it’s pretty much un-concealable under an un-tucked t-shirt, my preferred method of concealment. No, that is NOT a tumor.

Don’t get me wrong: I love this kit, and it will replace the homebuilt C.A.T.S tourniquet/Israeli bandage kit I currently have in the range bag and tactical man-purse. The SWAT-T tourniquet, in particular, looks to be a tremendous value and is very easy and intuitive to use. However, this is not an everyday carry item. If you’re looking for something to toss into a gear bag “just in case” or something to have at work to deal with the new realities of jihad workplace violence, this is for you: Buy one (or three) and have them close at hand. If, however, you’re looking for something to have even closer on-hand, do as I’m doing, and get a Cleer EDC.

Thinking Through The Unthinkable

Thinking through the unthinkable

Boston Massacre Part Deux

The problem with incidents like Boston is that there are no drills, no kata, no active solutions that could have prevented such a thing: Keeping an eye out for boxes and bags that look out of place is about the only thing anyone could have done to stop the bombing before it happened. 

All that training, all that practice, all those split-second reload and draw times are pretty much not needed after the BOOM. That Glock the cop is holding in the above photo is just as useless as my S+W Shield would have been. 

But that doesn’t mean you’re defenseless.

For starters, even if you or your loved ones haven’t been hurt in the blast, you can still become casualties if a stampede breaks out. It’s not unheard of for incidents like this to turn into a human stampede that leads to a loss of life far beyond what the first incident causes. Knowing where the exits are and having more than one escape route beforehand helps you avoid the mindless rush to get out if a panicked fear breaks out in a crowd. 

Secondly, while you may not have a first-aid kit on you, you can have one nearby. An IFAK (Infantryman’s First Aid Kit) gives you the basics to save a life in a such a situation, and they’re small enough to go just about anywhere. I have one in the back of my car and I’ve got a couple more on-order to toss into range bags whenever I go shooting. 

Thirdly, learn how to save lives, IFAK or not. For me, taking a good, solid emergency trauma and first aid class has just shot to the top of my training priorities list since the incident at Boston. I know CPR and the basics of first aid, but gunshot wounds or major bleeding? Nope. And that’s got to change. 

Am I Being Tactical Enough?

Am I Being Tactical Enough?

Ever have one of those moments where you’re all set to mock somebody’s idea into the ground, only to realize they have a point?

That was me on Friday.

I started reading this article on “Gear For The Bump In The Night” and thought to myself, “I’m not that ‘tactical’, there’s just no way I’d need all that stuff.

High speed, low drag

High speed, low drag

Does a police officer or soldier head out for their shift or mission with nothing more than a gun? Of course not, so why would we do the same thing when we are going into an unknown situation? We should be equipped to handle a variety of issues that could potentially arise. This is where having a general “equipment kit” or “shooting rig” would be a great benefit.

Most of us who are serious about firearms training have a ton of gear that we take to the range: modular belts, chest rigs, blow-out kits, and so on. This is gear that we (hopefully) practice with on a regular basis, so muscle memory and repetition have become ingrained through the use of that gear. While under stress and dealing with an actual self-defense scenario, why would we not want the same gear with us that we train with? 

My goal for that “bump in the night moment” isn’t to go all “Rapid Tactical Force”, create a one-man stack and clear my house: My goal is to get myself and my family into our safe room and wait for the cops to arrive.

Except that two-thirds of the way through that article, I realized I don’t have a first-aid kit inside the house that’s capable of dealing with a gunshot wound. I have one in the trunk of my car, but not one in the house, much less my safe room.


Given the way my home is set up and my self-defence plan, I’m most likely not going to carry a ton of stuff around with me in a home-invasion situation. But if the worst happens and I do need first aid, I’ll probably want something to patch people up near me, not in the trunk of my car.

I also realized that my competition gun has a shotshell holder on the receiver, and so does the Mossberg 500 I use to the keep the safe room safe. Is there a commonality of equipment and training there? You betcha, so there’s another point in favour of this article. I’m probably not going to suit up and carry all the stuff on that belt around with me, but all of it is things that should be NEAR you if God forbid you need them.