After no posts for a few weeks we are back. Since the beginning of July I (Mike) have been on the road taking classes to freshen up on skills as well as get the opportunity to work through some new concepts and network with some industry partners. To start I ran up to Alliance, OH to attend the LMS Defense No Light course and function as med support as well as cover some of the logistical support. This class was great on many levels considering I had the opportunity to get back together with my buds from LMS, meet Pat Rogers of EAG Tactical, train and network with both Stephen Hilliard from Blue Force Gear, and Clint L. from FNH, not to mention the guys from APD who were stellar hosts and tacticians. Formal AARs are available here and here (requires registration, make sure to follow instructions about posting an intro). Note: The hack for carrying chemlights on a grenade ring shown in a previous post proved to not be a solid concept. As I mentioned in the post this was untested, we tested this during class and consistently lost chemlights. I have moved to carrying mine in the elastic loops of an EAG Tactical Dump Pouch, works great.
Once class was over in Ohio I headed home to do a bit of laundry, grade some tests and head off to my part time teaching job at a local Paramedic program. Once laundry was done and I had enjoyed a few days with my family I hopped on a plane to Reno, NV to attend Firearms Instructor Development at the LMS Defense Combat Development Center located just up the road in Fernley, NV. An excellent course with a great group of warriors and the opportunity to play with some hardware while updating our software. AARs available here and here. After finishing up Instructor Dev I stuck around to help teach the Low Light course running Saturday and Sunday. The class was filled with a great group of students. The first evening was made rather “sporting” by a pretty solid dust storm rolling in but everyone endured with an even greater appreciation for full light/full visibility shooting environments. The rest of the evening and the following night presented perfect weather for a solid class. The AAR for Low Light can be found here. So after a couple hours of cleaning and packing gear and a few minutes of shuteye it was time to get back on a plane (or three) and head home in time to grade a few more tests and teach some classes.
On to this weeks Product Of The Week…
For some time now I have been working on finding a way to better streamline my gear as well as set it up in a graduated or scalable manner. Rationale being that I dont always need “everything”, meaning not all training or operational missions require a complete belt rig, plate carrier/vest/chest rig, and assault pack/assaulters med ruck/etc and setting up each component so that I have a little bit of the essentials on each line allows me to tailor my gear to the mission. For a good bit of time there was no good solution for carrying med gear on your first line. When in Iraq I usually just tossed a dressing of some sort, a tourniquet, a nasal, and a decompression needle in a cargo pocket and pressed on. It wasnt comfortable, it was bulky, and routinely caught on things when getting in and out of vehicles or crawling into the access hatches of OP/LPs. After not using a battle belt for quite some time I recently went back to using one as the designs have come a long way in the last few years. I opted for the Blue Force Gear SOC-C Modular Padded Belt Kit. I chose this kit for a number of reasons, the company is solid, it is completely American Made, it is well thought out, and gives the user the option of adding armor for added protection.
Once I got my belt setup to carry bullets I started looking at options for carrying “bandaids” (med gear). Initially I dug out an old GPS pouch and stuffed a SWAT-T and Primed gauze in it and used that. After looking at designing a 1st line med pouch I decided to order a couple of Blue Force Gear Boo Boo Pouches to see what they would hold for trauma gear. Turns out they are sized just right for a wrap TQ and some form of packing material, whether it be Primed gauze or QuikClot Combat Gauze.
Here is a few pics:
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Pouch with Primed Gauze and SWAT-T
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Pouch with Primed Gauze and TK-4 (TK-4L also fits)
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Pouch mounted on Blue Force Gear SOC-C belt, this one is mine and is packed with a SWAT-T and QC Combat Gauze.
So why did I do this and what are the benefits: I can ditch my armor and keep my belt rig on either while in a secure area or while running drills where armor is not necessary and may hamper the learning process but I can maintain a minimum of med gear. Just enough to stop a major bleeder until I can either get to my med pack or my vest or until a buddy can get reinforcements to me. As well, distributing gear across your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd lines allows for better distribution and prevents one line of gear from becoming overly cumbersome.
Where to get these pouches:
That is all for this week, got a couple of new items in plan to do detailed reviews on some established items in the next few weeks. Looking forward to it. Until next time, stay sharp, stay safe,