First aid kit for the shooting range

First Aid Kit for Your Range Bag

In your lifetime you are ten times more likely to find yourself in a position to save a life using first aid vs. using a gun.[1] You elect to carry a gun to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious injury and death. Even more critical to have close at hand is an individual first aid kit (IFAK) and the knowledge to use it.

The types of medical supplies to have accessible while shooting on the range are the same items you should have for your other activities on the go. I take along the same portable kit for shooting, driving, and wilderness hiking.

Of course you can go the route of buying fully stocked kits. Two purveyors offering top-tier quality and value are Fieldcraft Survival and North American Rescue.

You can also assemble your own kit from scratch and draw on products from multiple vendors. No matter what supplies you select, you should train periodically with the exact equipment you carry. Be familiar with every item and go through the motions of hands-on practice at least once a year.

I am a minimalist and I’m also particular about selecting each item in my kit. I tote the bare minimum supplies for trauma first aid, and I seek out product quality and ultimate portability. Below is the full inventory of my kit. I share this for the purpose of giving some inspiration to anyone who is considering building out their own first aid provisions. All together I paid $200 for this load. I don’t engage in any affiliate links or ads, so these recommendations are based on personal choice to protect myself and family, not on any desire to advertise or monetize.

Blue Force Gear Medium Vertical Utility Pouch

I pack everything in a pouch from Blue Force Gear. This Medium Vertical Utility Pouch ($56) comes in multiple colors and measures 2.5” x 10.5” x 6”. It’s lightweight with durable construction, but nothing uniquely special about its functionality. Any other similar size pouch would do. I stitched on a cheap medical patch from Amazon so it’s clear what is inside. If ever I’m an incoherent injury victim I would hope for others at the scene to realize that there are medical supplies at hand.

For items to stop the bleed, I pack:

Combat application tourniquet CAT Gen 7

Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T) Gen 7 ($30) from North American Rescue. It’s the official tourniquet of the U.S. Army, built for portability and for use with one hand if you are in the predicament to self-administer. A competing alternative, just as good, is the SOF Tactical Tourniquet from Tactical Medical Solutions, available at a similar price.

H&H Compressed Gauze

For packing wounds, I include two units of H&H Compressed Gauze (2 @ $5/ea). Each unfolds to 4.5” by 12’.

QuikClot by Z-Medica

Then it’s more gauze -- one pack of QuikClot by Z-Medica ($20). That unfurls to 3" by 4'. This gauze is infused with kaolin, an inorganic mineral that accelerates the natural clotting process.

Thin H Bandage Compression Dressing

Gauze is used in tandem with a compression dressing to stop severe blood loss. For compression I carry the H&H Thin H Bandage Compression Dressing ($10). In this sterile sealed bag you get a 4” by 7.5” gauze pad (…yet more gauze) and a strong elastic strap. The strap has an attached plastic cleat in the shape of an ‘H’ that is used for holding it tightly in place after wrapping.

Miltex Scissors Model 5-998

Duct tape is handy for helping to secure compression dressings and to hold pressure on gauze. I use H&H Flat Fold Duct Tape ($2) with a total of 2” by 100” in a flat pack.

Trauma scissors are needed for cutting off clothing and for cutting bandages and tape. I’ve experimented with various models ranging from $3 to $70. Over time I’ve settled on the 6.5” Miltex Scissors, Model 5-998 ($20). These are German stainless steel, German engineering, and made in Germany. They hold their tolerances and their cutting edges better than any others I’ve carried.

H&H Wound Seal Kit

Additionally I include one H&H Wound Seal Kit ($11). This is a 6”x8” sealing dressing with adhesive that can stick to the surrounding skin even through blood and debris. In the same pack there is a 4”x7.5” gauze pad, identical to the one included with the H Bandage above (…and yet more gauze).

Antiseptic, Antibiotic, Band-Aids, Splinter Tweezers

I squeeze in four more items for good measure. None are as essential as the supplies listed above, but they are small and easy to accommodate:

We’ll conclude with three non-obvious recommendations for acquiring first aid supplies and training:

[1] Based on comparative data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics and compilation of various studies on defensive gun uses.

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