Self Defense

Rate My IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit)

The more I grow as an armed self defender the more I realize I need to level up my first aid skills. I've put a kit together, but I don't know enough to objectively evaluate it. As such, I'm asking for help. How would you rate my kit?

As I’ve continued to get more involved in armed self defense training and I keep working on improving shooting skills, it really becomes evident that having good gear is less important than having good skills. The premise of this belief lies in becoming aware that when things go south, and there is an imminent threat of serious injury or death, it’s too late to figure out how things work – the only time remaining must be used to react tactically. The very same premise is applicable to first aid – either aid is rendered successfully or it’s not and there are dire consequences.

One of the many takeaways from the combative pistol course I attended was that the statistical reality of a gun fight is that one will take a bullet (and likely survive). While the probability of actually being in a gunfight is rather low, there are many other situations where an individual can suffer major trauma, requiring extensive aid in order to stay alive while professional help can take over. While I risk sounding like a broken record, once trauma is present good first aid is needed immediately – time wasted retrieving tools and figuring out how to apply them quickly reduces the likelihood of rendering successful aid.

The first component of my IFAK (individual first aid kit) is me. It’s been well over a decade since I’ve taken a basic first aid and CPR course. While I have some knowledge of basic first aid and CPR, I am rusty. I need to fix that. Being a proponent of getting quality training from a good instructor, I urge everyone else to do the same. And I mean, everyone. Not just folks interested in self defense. From talking with folks that know much more than me about this, they all tell me that basic first aid and CPR will be sufficient for most (80% would be my guess) situations where first aid is required before first responders arrive.

However, I’d personally like to take my first aid skills beyond basic first aid and would like to be ready to use the contents of my first aid kit. I’m pretty sure reading the instructions in the kit, reading a book or two on the subject, and watching a handful internet videos is pretty good to give me a basic understanding. But that’s not enough. So I’m planning on fixing that after getting a refresher on basic first aid.

With all of that out the way, let’s talk about my kit and its contents that I keep nearby (in addition to a couple of tools I keep on my person).

I keep the contents of the IFAK in a 5.11 Tactical UCR IFAK Pouch. I’ve found this pouch easy to attach to my hunting pack, throw in a backpack, toss in the range bag, or simply shove in the truck. I keep it in the same accessible place while at home and when I’m out it’s either in a pack or bag near me or in my vehicle.

In the pouch are the contents of a North American Rescue UCR Thigh Rig Individual First Aid Kit (Part# 85-1049) that I found at a local 5.11 Tactical store. I haven’t found this prepackaged kit anywhere else and they aren’t always in stock at the 5.11 store. However, the individual contents can be found in many places. Here is what’s in it:

That’s all there is to it. I’m sure there is more I can add to it and will learn what I should add, double up on, or remove as I get some training and practice under my belt.

In the meantime, I’ve asked the owner of Solatac (via Twitter) to take a look at my kit and give me his brutally honest assessment. He has agreed to it.

I fully expect to get taken to school. But that is what I asked for and what I welcome as it will help me learn and grow.

I wasn’t asked to do this, but I suggest that anyone in the market for IFAK or other emergency trauma gear to go checkout Solatac. I’ve been doing that myself and plan on picking up some more kits from them soon. This has largely been driven by recommendations from some firearm instructor friends and the fact that the owner of Solatac has been really cool about sharing knowledge via social media.


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