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Fear & Loading: THE First Responder

Fear & Loading: THE First Responder

The odds are good you have a first-aid kit in your shooting bag or vehicle’s trunk when you head to the range, but are the contents truly capable of plugging a life-threatening leak? I was confident in mine, until I got a good look at the TMS Outdoors lineup.  

Organized shooting ranges have at least one serious first-aid kit and a good range manager reminds you regularly of its location, but it’s usually a long way from the firing line. Yes, accidents are rare and usually of the “boo boo” variety. More than likely, you’ve doctored up more than one scope-eye victim with your personal gear instead of heading all the way back to the clubhouse or office.

If the unthinkable happens, though, you may not have the right equipment in your kit to plug a serious leak. The time and distance it takes to get to the clubhouse/office could prove fatal and there’s a slight chance there are no trauma bandages there, anyway. Good luck stopping a serious leak with finger cots and Band-Aids.

Thankfully, there’s an eloquent and affordable solution offered by a group of former Green Beret medics who witnessed the effectiveness of individual first-aid kits (IFAKs) during their deployments. TMS Outdoors products harness the power of lifesaving IFAKs in civilian-friendly gear.

Bulky and heavy kits don’t cut it in combat, and even civilians leave oversized gear behind first. The company recognizes that fact, so all of its kits are “low drag.” Its Hunter’s Trauma Kit Operator Advanced, for example, measures 7 1/4 x4 5/8x3 1/4 inches and tips the scale at only 13.88 ounces. Yet, it contains an SOF Tourniquet, Tramedic Trauma Bandage, Petro Gauze and tape board, antibiotic ointment, non-latex gloves, QuickClot Sport, lip balm, and, of course, Band-Aids.

The case’s clamshell-style design opens into two halves, providing quick, no fumbling, access to all the gear. It’s made of heavy nylon to survive years of abuse and is molle attachable. In addition, 2-inch zipper pulls minimize headaches when wearing gloves. Instructions are also included, although you probably won’t have the time to read them if the unthinkable happens—so consider taking a first-aid course.

MSRP on this model is $89.99 at Cabela’s, or a less expensive alternative is to simply add the company’s Operator Advanced Trauma Kit to your current first-aid gear. Personally, I’m retiring my old version. It’s fat, heavy, makes me feel like a mouse looking for cheese every time I navigate its maze of layers and compartments and—despite the bulk—won’t handle a serious case of the leaks.

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