The Car Gun In Context.

Car guns and trunk guns are on my mind again. I’ve changed cars, and I no longer drive a dull grey Honda Civic, I’m driving something a bit more… lively now. Because I drive a nicer car, I’m a bigger target, but because the car has a stick shift, I might be a smaller target. I like having at gun (or two) in my car because it gives me options. The concern, however, with doing such is that crooks can break in and steal it, or that your gun will get stolen along with your car.

I can dig it.

I’ve had my car broken into, and I’ve had another car stolen. When my car was broken into, it was because there were items in plain view that the crooks wanted (one time, they mistook my Bible in its cover for a purse. I hope they took some time to read the “Thou Shalt Nots”…). It took me a while, but I realized what the crooks were looking for was not my car (there were plenty of better cars around), it was the things inside my car they were looking for. Since then, I’ve been pretty scrupulous about making it look like there is nothing of value inside my car, and I make sure I don’t have anything on the outside (like an NRA sticker) that says there might be something inside the car a crook might want.

To me, having the means to keep the fight off my front porch, no matter where I might be, is worth the risk of carrying around a trunk gun. I’m more likely to need my fire extinguisher or jumper cables than I am my trunk gun, but there really isn’t a substitute out there for a long gun if you need one in a hurry.

Update: Driving to work yesterday, and what do I see but the local fire department putting out a car-be-cue on the side of the Interstate. Poor dude coulda saved his nice Lexus SUV had he one of these in the cargo compartment.

No, They Are NOT Looking At You.

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… so I took out the tacticool tourniquet pack out for a spin a few days ago, concealing it under an un-tucked grey t-shirt. I went to Staples, the public library and I did the Wal-Mart walk.

Nothing happened. No one stared, no one pointed, no one asked me if that was an iPhone 6+ or was I just happy to see them. That tells me it’s ok to start adding that into my daily concealed carry.

Cool.

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.

We Also Walk Dogs.

What if retail gun stores stopped being about guns and started being about lifestyle? What would they look like? They’d sell guns, and DIY home alarm kits. They’d have a range, and a dojo and a service that (for a small fee) will walk through a customer’s home and make recommendations on home security. They’d sell first aid kits and car emergency kits and flashlights and have classes on pistol shooting, prepping on a budget, preventing credit card fraud and how to stay safe on vacation.

They’d cover all the bases, not just the gun base. Gun Culture 1.0 stores sell camo clothing and tents and decoys and barbecues and other items only tangentially related to pulling the trigger. Why should a Gun Culture 2.0 store be just about guns?

* And this time, it’s a science fiction reference in the title, not a music reference.

Crowdsource Your Security

cell411

Cell 411 is an app and a micro social network which allows users to quickly contact each other or groups of friends and family members in case of emergencies. The app is designed to work quickly, provide instant GPS coordinates to your entire group to the current location, offer turn-by-turn directions to the location and even stream live video

Ok, I’m interested. This app assumes a) you have friends you CAN help and b) there will be cell phone / data coverage available when you need it. That last one is a biggie: Can you imagine how crushed the mobile networks would be if the participants in a Ferguson-level riot were using Cell 411 to stream video of their looting open-source wealth redistribution and the innocent business owners greedy capitalists were using the same app to frantically call for help from their well-armed friends?

I like the idea, though. The more we can do to move the burdens that government has assumed for itself onto our shoulders, the better.

Power to the people, y’all.

Product Review: Coast HP1 Flashlight.

Coast HP1Advantages: Small, Very Bright, Inexpensive
Disadvantages: A Little Thick For a AA Light
Rating: Five Stars Out Of Five

Seriously, this thing costs less than ten dollars? It outshines everything I own except my dedicated weapon lights, yet it takes one AA battery. It’s small, it’s lightweight, it’s got a simple on/off interface, it focuses to throw a beam for at least 100 yards and also spreads out to bath a large area with light. If I have one complaint, it’s that the focusing lens makes it a little wider than other lights, which means it takes up more space in my pocket, however, it’s great to toss into a gear bag or take along on a hike.

And did I mention it was bright? Here’s a white garage door, illuminated by the flashlight on an iPhone 6+. The photos were taken as there were before, with a Nikon D70, f5.6, 1 second at ISO 400, or about 1/1000 the light that’s out there during the daylight hours.

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The same door, lit up with the Coast HP1 on focused spot mode.

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Bazinga!

For ten bucks and a AA battery, you can’t go wrong with this light. Sure, there may be brighter lights out there and lights that are designed to fly to the moons of Pluto and back which cost more, but if this light craps out on me, it’s a sawbuck to get a new one.

That, to me, is the very definition of a good value.

Office Space.

No sooner did I become gainfully re-employed than an F1 tornado roared through southwest Florida, ripping the roofs off houses and causing general mayhem. The tornado struck while I was at work, and while I had my usual accoutrements with me in my car, what I actually had within easy reach was much more limited in scope and effectiveness. We spend up to a third of our adult lives at work, and yet we fail to consider that something bad might happen there beyond failing to put a cover on the TPS reports.

Fortunately, that’s something that’s easy to correct. The trick is, however, to get the gear you need to deal with life’s little ups and downs without looking like you’re getting ready to be deployed to Khandahar after your shift is done.

For me, creating a bug-in/bug-out bag has always been about prioritizing what’s needed to stay alive and how soon help might arrive. Unless you work in a ranger station in Nunavit, you probably won’t need a week’s worth of food in a bug-in kit, but I’ve found that office first aid kits are pretty much useless for anything beyond accidental stapler discharges.

I built this kit as a way to keep myself up and running for 24 hours after a  major weather event, social disruption, power outage, whatever. The point of all this gear isn’t that it’s enough for me to go full Rockatansky for years on end, it’s enough to keep me secure in my cube for 24 hours. That should be more than enough time for help to arrive, and if it’s not, well, that’s what the go-bag and the trunk gun is for.

Inside an this innocuous waist pack is a surprising amount of stuff. To be honest, it’s a bit over-stuffed: If I were to do this again, I’d get a slightly bigger pack.

Office Prep Bag

Inside the bag we have, clockwise from upper left:

Office gear bag contents

  • Berkey Water Filter Bottle
  • Pocket Trauma Kit
  • Bandanna
  • Emergency Rain Poncho (because Florida)
  • Gerber Crucial Multitool (A disappointment. I think this one is better.)
  • Paracord bracelet with whistle and flint
  • Hand Sanitizer (I need to find a smaller bottle)
  • Phone charging cords
  • Chemlight
  • Towelettes
  • Snack bar
  • First Aid Kit (A trimmed-down version of this kit)
  • Mylar Poncho
  • Extra Batteries (Lithiums, because they last longer in storage)
  • Flashlight (This SigTac, which is actually surprising bright)
  • Extra cash
  • Lighter
  • iPhone charger battery (This one is a bit bigger than most, really curious to see how it works)

The nice thing about this kit is that most of it, aside from the multitool, is 100% compatible with so called “weapons free” environments, and add in this tool and you have a formidable self-defense gadget as well.

As it now, though, I have a useful, lightweight, inconspicuous way to stay safe in my office for a full day, no matter what may happen.

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.