Is your EDC really complete without medical gear?
Gun? Knife? Spare Mag? Wallet, keys, phone, sunglasses, gum? EDC complete!
...or is it?
This is a complete daily checklist for a lot of people, but if I were to add one thing to your EDC, it would be some minimalistic medical gear. The hard truth of it is that you are more likely to need medical gear than a firearm. While a firearm is carried for defensive purposes, medical gear can be used for a myriad of injuries due to common occurrences such as a slip and fall, car accident, or any dozens of workplace accidents that can occur.
The best way to choose which medical gear to carry is to look at which gear you know how to use. In my opinion, it's essential to carry either a Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) or a SOF Tactical Tourniquet-Wide (SOFTT-W) tourniquet. Tourniquets are tight bands used to stop the blood flow to a wound severe bleeding and life-or-death emergencies, they are an effective way to stop bleeding and keep an injured person stable until they can receive proper medical attention. You can buy one easily and learn to use it just as quickly.
Check out this informational video from Dark Angel Medical:
While a tourniquet and basic med gear is important to carry, everything else is about your training and knowledge level. For a bare-bones kit, I'd suggest the CAT tourniquet as well as:
You'll also want something that capable of cutting off clothes. For me, it's my EDC knife but if you don't carry a knife, you may want to start doing so.
The name North American Rescue (NAR) has already come up a time or two and for good reason. North American Rescue is a premier medical gear company with a focus on producing goods and kits for first responders, LEOs, and the military.
It's important to approach medical gear like holsters. You can pick a cheap one and hope it works, or you can go with a trusted company with a proven track record. Commit to purchasing quality gear not counterfeits because it could be the difference between life and death.
Guns have holsters, knives have pocket clips, magazines have mag carriers, so how do I carry medical gear? You can be inventive. I've found the double-stack Accomplice Mag Carrier accommodates a CAT tourniquet well, allowing you to easily carry one IWB, primed for rapid access which is critical.
If you want to carry a more dedicated system, there is the Blue Force Gear Micro Trauma Kit, which is small, handy, and belt mountable. There are many EDC medical gear kits out there, but my personal favorite has become the Defense Mechanisms Inconspicuous Ankle Kit. It's capable of storing a good amount of gear, especially when it comes to the essentials.
It wraps around the ankle and disappears under your pants. It's low profile, comfy, and roomy enough to accommodate a serious med kit.
Just like your First Aid kit, you'll also find that medical gear has expiration dates so it's important to make sure you replace expired items when necessary. You'll also need to check your equipment to ensure it's appropriately packaged, not fraying or broken, and will perform when you need it.
If you do have to toss anything think about making it a training opportunity. Practice with the gear and apply it yourself or to another person so you have some first-hand experience with how it opens, how it works, and recognize where you are weak with medical skills.
Firearms training is a necessary part of concealed carry and exists within the same vein of medical training. You don't need to be a doctor, nurse, or EMT - there are tactical medical classes out there worth taking. It doesn't seem as high speed or as sexy as firearm's training, but it's just as capable of saving and preserving life. Training makes a big difference, as does practice and self-taught education.
Take a break from watching gun videos and check out some on tactical medicine. A little learnin' goes a long way with medical gear!
Do you carry medical gear with your EDC gear? What do you carry and how do you carry it? Sound off in the comments, we want to hear from you!
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms based hobbies.
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