First off let’s get something straight; tourniquets (TQ) are your first line defense against major bleeding from the arms or legs. If you don’t know why that is or if this is new information to you, no matter your occupation; you need to get trained up on current hemorrhage control practices. We’ve got over a dozen years of war on two different fronts that proves the old saying “tourniquets are a last resort” is just not true. For most of us, we know how important a TQ is to have strapped to the buttstock of your rifle, the first thing you see when you open your IFAK, or have stashed in your EDC med kit that you carry on you 24/7.
“You mean I have to carry a TQ “on” my body?” Yes, cowboy, I sure do! More importantly do you even know how and when to use that thing ya got stuffed in your back pocket? A quality tourniquet should absolutely be part of your Every Day Carry kit. Notice I said “quality”. Before you ask, let me give you an example of what a quality tourniquet is; it’s a Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) made by North American Rescue (narescue.com) or a Special Operations Forces Tactical Tourniquet-Wide (SOFT T-Wide) made by Tactical Medical Solutions (tacmedsolutions.com). I’m not going to bash another manufacture’s product and this article isn’t a pissing match between tourniquet “X” and tourniquet “Y”. What I’m ranting about here is that I want y’all to start thinking about your tourniquets like you do your defensive pistol that you carry concealed every day.
As someone that values their own life and their family’s lives; you carry a firearm on your body as part of your EDC kit. You carry a solid, reliable, functioning pistol; right? Then why for Odin’s sake, do you 1. Not carry a TQ at all or 2. You carry a weak, non-reliable, non-functioning tourniquet? I want you all to start thinking about your tourniquet like you do your sidearm. Stop thinking of your tourniquet like some red-headed step child piece of kit.
Ask yourself this; “If I was in a gunfight, would I want a cute little Kel-Tec .32 caliber that fits in my back pocket because it’s small & light and doesn’t take up much space in my skinny jeans? Or do I want a Glock 19 hugging my body via Raven Concealment Systems with 16 rounds of “In Your FACE!”?
Well, I see that SOFT T-Wide as a Glock… a reliable piece of kit that is going to do its job when I need it to. Even if I’m upside-down in three feet of water with NVG’s on; they are going to work. That small rolled up piece of bicycle-inner tube-like thing or that jock strap with two shower hooks ain’t gonna do much for controlling major bleeding… under stress… with one hand… in the dark… in the ditch on the side of the road.
Some of you have spent thousands of dollars on firearms, defensive firearms training, and firearm accessories over the past several years. Which I’m all for and as big, bearded, barreled chested freedom-loving patriots; we should. But for those of us living stateside, when was the last gunfight you got into? Now how many car wrecks did you see on your way to work this week? Not taking away from firearms or training with them. According to the stats from the CDC and American Heart Association, Americans are dying of cardiac related disease and receiving serious traumatic injuries from car wrecks a heck of a lot more than GSW’s from bad guys. Just like all those shooting classes you took so you could master that skill and weapon when your life depended on it most; you should view medical gear and training the same. I beg of you, please go get some medical training from a reputable instructor/company.
So tomorrow when you start to throw all that gear on, make sure at a minimum you’ve got a TQ… a solid tourniquet, as part of your EDC. You’ve taken the time to get yourself ready for what the day has planned, might as well be ready to beat death back with a stick. Just like your firearm, a tourniquet could save your life or someone else’s.