Monday, August 27, 2012


IFAK/Trauma Kits for LEO/CCW

IFAK’s (Individual First Aid Kits) or Trauma Kits have become a very popular topic, especially on the tactics driven side of current training trends. Multiple mass shootings, such as the one in Aurora Colorado, have driven the point home of the need for available IFAK’s not just for LEO, but for the CCW as well.

I’m not a Doctor, Medic, EMT, etc. however, I am going to use this blog to try and get information out about IFAK’s and what at the minimum they should have in them for a LEO/CCW role. I’m also going to compare a few different IFAK pouches and factory kits out there so you as the reader have more info to base your purchase or acquisition of them on.

*TRAINING* Go get it. Going back to Pat Rogers’ famous quote “Without training we are nothing but a liability.” Any school teaching the TCCC method of casualty care is good to go, although not everybody that carries a gun needs a TCCC level of training.
Check with your local EMS/Hospitals for TCCC classes. North American Rescue and Redback One are teaching TCCC classes as well.

For a much more CCW friendly (and more Administration Friendly for the LEO) class, check out Kerry Davis with his Dark Angel Medical program – After talking with Kerry at SHOT this year as well as several people who’ve taken his class; I’d highly recommend his class. It’s the most useful for a non-first responder (i.e. EMS) role in training.

I’ve had a couple medics give the following advice for a minimum trauma kit: One  handed application Tourniquet (CAT or SOFT-W) and a Hemostatic Gauze (Quickclot, Celox or ChitoGuaze). Then add the following items, as space is available:
  • Trauma Bandage (Israeli/Emergency Bandage, Olaes Bandage or H&H Cinchtight). Preferably the 6” if possible but the 4” will work fine.
  • Chest Seal twin pack (Halo, Asherman or Hyfin).
  • Gloves
  • Gauze
  • Duct Tape
  • EMT Scissors
Once trained in a TCCC class, the following are worth adding as well:
  • NPA – Nasopharyngeal Airway and Lube
  • Chest Decompression Needle

There are additional things kits will or won’t have, but at a minimum a full IFAK should have the above items.

An extra item that was recommended by an end user is a 4”x4” ABD Gauze pad. This allows the use of a smart phone when your fingers are bloody or wet from using the med kit. Thanks to Tony for the suggestion.

Pocket carry or EDC kits. These are the non Duty Belt (CCW or Plain Clothes) setups you would have on you every day. I know ITS Tactical has a pocket kit out there and that Dark Angel Medical is working on one as well. What do you want to carry as part of your EDC? Going back to the must haves for a minimum IFAK, a TQ and Hemostatic Agent Gauze. *If you have a kit you carry on body every day, please post contents and how you carry it if not a picture as well.*

In a off duty role, I’m carrying very similar as a CCW would. That means I deal with the same limited space for Gun, Magazine(s), Flashlight, Knife, Leatherman, Wallet, Cellphone, etc. all while being concealed. Trying to ad a TQ and Hemostatic Agent Gauze to the mix can be hard to do.

Various products are around that can facilitate adding a basic trauma kit to your EDC. Ankle Carry is one of them. Basically like the old snub nose revolver holsters only for a TQ and Gauze. You can modify existing holsters on the market for this role, or purchase pre made setups as well. A compromise many have done is to not carry a one handed TQ like the CAT or SOFT-W and carry a SWAT-T or TK-4 instead. This is a reasonable compromise to make, if you remember to practice the different TQ’s application.

LEO. I carry on my duty belt a CAT TQ in a belt pouch from Tac Med Solutions. This allows for centerline (ambidextrous) carry. I can add the Hemostatic Agent Gauze to my pockets or body armor depending on how I want to carry it. For the LEO who has antiquated uniform policies to work around, the only place you may have to carry these items will be on/in your concealed body armor. I know officers who carry it in their side straps or in the trauma plate pocket.

Other considerations worth mentioning. What is your level of training and on what type of IFAK equipment? Example. CAT vs. SOFT-W TQ’s. Most military are familiar with the CAT and therefore might have issues with using a SOFT-W. I personally was carrying the SOFT-W until I learned that I was about the only person in the area running one and all the LE/EMS who ran TQ’s, were running CAT’s.  If it caused that brief hesitation in how to deploy it, it might not work out so well for me. As a result, I switched to a CAT for carry. Just something to consider.

IFAK Pouch. Fortunately there is a ton of options available for pouches these days. There are dedicated pouches as well as inserts for multipurpose pouches. MOLLE mount pouches, belt mount pouches and drop leg pouches. Because of the amount of pouches on the market, I’ll make that the next blog post complete with pictures of various pouches.


  1. I have attended Kerry's class as well and found it to be a wealth of knowledge, managing trauma is pretty simple once you understand how the human body works and Kerry teaches it in a way that is easy to comprehend and you take away so much.
    I have already deployed a trauma kit at the scene of two car accidents, being prepared is an understatement. Everybody from the single parent to the SWAT entry team to the 0311 going on patrol needs this training.

  2. Thanks for the comment Sam. I am in full agreement with you on this. Everybody needs basic trauma training as the good old Red Cross stuff will not save a life when a IFAK is needed.

  3. Good stuff Matt, thanks! Specially as overall you saved me a lot of time and money figuring out what works and doesn't as well as whats important. This applies not only to this blog post but the last one as well. God bless and be safe!