A Useful Concealed Carry Trauma Kit.

I have been struggling mightily to come up with a way to carry a trauma kit (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) on a day in, day out basis. I have my one in my car, one if I’m not in my car, and one at work., which all very well and good, but the fact remains that all those kits are NEAR me, not WITH me. That distance can make a difference in how quickly and effectively I can render aid to someone when their life is on the line, especially if that someone is me. What I needed was a concealed carry trauma kit that had enough gear to be useful but was small enough to fit in with my other carry gear.

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 paramedics are also minutes away (and usually arrive after the police do). 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.
concealed carry gunshot wound kit

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. I teamed those items up with nitrile gloves and a SWAT-T tourniquet, and stuffed everything into a MOLLE-compatible iPhone 6+ case, and it works quite well. I think I’ll add a short strip of peel away duct tape to help keep things in-place if needed, but other than that, I’m happy with how this kit is set up.

concealed carry trauma kit

Concealable trauma kitThat’s my extra mag for my Shield on the right, 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 and bandages in this kit, and the 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 remaining stiff and inflexible and noticeable. This is important because when it comes to concealed carry, thinness is the most important attribute a gadget can have. As you can see in the photo, while the kit is not 100% invisible under an untucked t-shirt, it’s unnoticeable from the front or side, what you can see from the rear looks like the cell phone case it really is, and not like a concealed carry trauma kit.

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

Failure Is Always An Option

I hate dry-fire practice with my strong hand only and weak hand only*, because it shows just how much I suck at such things. But I do it. Not as often as I should, but I do it nevertheless. I’m ok with sucking at something for a while if I know I can get better at it with effort and practice. It’s the sucking at something and not improving that I hate (and I do that far too much for my liking).

Which is why I can’t figure out why you wouldn’t want to do a night shoot. There’s a very good chance you’ll need to defend yourself at night, so why not get good at it now, when the stakes are just 17th place in a match, not your life? Better a bruised ego now than deep penetrating trauma later.

*Go ahead. Tell me there’s no such thing as “weak hand”, just “support hand”. I dare you.

Training Is Evolving

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Miguel talks about a CCW trainer who’s worried that his semi-guaranteed source of income is going away now that a permit are semi-optional in Oklahoma. I can dig it: I bet the automobile looked pretty darn scary to the people who built horse carriages, but you know what? Some of them did quite well for themselves when cars became the norm.

Something interesting happened in Arizona after the state went to permit-free concealed carry: The quantity of firearms training went down, but the quality went up. Before the need to ask permission was revoked, there was a fairly good business in Arizona in teaching people the bare minimum needed to instruct CCW, and then encouraging those instructors to take more classes so they can then teach others how to be a CCW instructor.

There’s a word for this, and that word is “Ponzi”.

When Arizona went permit-free, though, that house of NRA Instructor cards collapsed (much to the chagrin of some at the top of the pyramid), and there was a sorting-out period while NRA Instructors figured out what their business model was, now that people no longer needed their services.

Although I no longer live there, I see more and more quality, post-CCW training show up in Arizona. Where once it was Gunsite or, um, errr, we’re now seeing well-known names like Larry Vickers, Instructor Zero and Grant Cunningham put on classes in Phoenix, along with some guy who’s won literally everything there is to win in practical shooting. The training business is alive and well in Arizona and growing even more.

So to the instructors in Oklahoma, West Virginia and other locales who are looking at the ruination of their Concealed Carry licensing business, I say there is hope. Change your thinking and put effort into your business model, and you’ll succeed, because change doesn’t care about your revenue projections, it just changes.

The Stupidity Triad.

I know trainers who poo-poo the idea of situational awareness, preferring instead to concentrate  on dealing with the after-effects of being ambushed. While I understand the idea (they are, after all, firearms trainers, not zen awareness trainers), but the fact is, you win 100% of the fights you don’t get into.

I’ve some more ideas on John Farnam’s classic dictum on avoiding bad things before they happen over at Ricochet.com.

It’s A Family Affair

“De l’audace, encore de l’audace, toujours de l’audace” – Georges Danton

The paradigm of the personal protection/bodyguard might not be the right one for people like me who want to keep our families safe. Maybe it is all about winning by being on the attack, not on defense.

On this episode of Ballistic Radio, Melody Lauer talks about stopping the threat to our families by… stopping the threat. Not shielding our kids, not putting ourselves in between them and the line of fire and dealing with things, but making stopping the threat the priority, as that’s the safest and quickest solution for everyone involved.

*thoughtful pause*

There’s an element of truth what Melody talks about on which I need to ponder, because it squares nicely with what I’m learning about individual armed self-defense. However, I can’t help but wonder how such ideas square with the methods used by people who are paid to protect people for a living, rather than myself, who does it for free, as part of my job of being a Dad. Is their training wrong, or is it focused more on large attacks by a group on one individual, and not keeping two or three people safe from street crime or an overzealous ex-spouse?

If nothing else, this proves that the science of familial protection is not settled, but rather, it’s just beginning.

Know Your Audience

Based on a conversation I had over the weekend with a well-known trainer, the #1 piece of advice I could give right now to the firearms training community is…

Spend a weekend behind the counter at your local gun store and find out why people are buying the guns they use in your classes. 

There are reasons why people show up to class with Sig P238’s, snubby .38’s, Hi-Points or something other than a compact or full size 9mm service pistol.

The desire to be “be safe” starts with the urge to own the tools of safety, then the urge to learn how to use them well, just like the desire to learn how to ski starts with the purchase of skis. The people who teach skiing aren’t the ones working retail, and the people working retail don’t usually teach skiing. The shorter the feedback loop between seller and trainer, the more likely the customer ends up with the gun and the training they need.

Product Review: Cleer EDC Trauma Kit

Cleer Trauma KitAdvantages: Small, light, full-featured
Disadvantages: Ummn, let me think for awhile
Rating: Five Stars Out Of Five

Let me state this right off the bat: I love this gadget. I own a number of C.A.T.S. tourniquets and bunch of S.W.A.T.-T. tourniquets and this kit is, by far, the best option for every day carry for schmoes like me who don’t wear a uniform and carry a gun for a living.

The kit is small, about the same size as my iPhone 6+, and lightweight.

It’s also easy to deploy: Pop the bag open like a zip-top sandwich bag, grab the top of the Celox package and pull. The R.A.T.S. tourniquet is wrapped around the Celox, and there’s a pair of gloves and some medical tape inside as well. While this isn’t a lot, it is enough to deal with a deep-penetrating wound to the limbs (read: gunshot or knife wound).

Cleer Kit vs iPhone

And did I mention it’s small? Here’s the Cleer kit compared to the Officer’s Pocket Trauma Kit.

Cleer vs. Pocket Trauma kit

While they look similar, the Officer’s Kit feels like a baseball, and the Cleer Kit feels like a deck of cards.

Ever see anyone walk around with a baseball on their belt? Me neither.

Here’s the Cleer Kit (with tourniquet, Celox, gloves and tape) compared to a C.A.T.S. tourniquet and an Israeli bandage.

Cleer vs. Isaeli bandage vs. CATS tourniquet

Based on a quick and painful test I ran on myself, the RATS tourniquet in the Cleer kit deploys as easy (if not easier) than the C.A.T.S does, and is seemingly as effective as well.

I hesitated to shoot myself in the leg in order to see how effective it really is. Maybe next time….

I’m blown away by this kit. At almost eighty bucks, it’s not cheap, but it is a great value. You’ll carry this kit on you, where other kits will be elsewhere when you need them most.