An individual first aid kit, or IFAK, can give you the tools you need...
Every-day carry gear, or EDC, is all about being prepared for situations you might encounter throughout your daily routine. Some tasks, such as cutting open a box, jotting down notes, or illuminating a dark corner can be accomplished with conventional EDC tools — folding knives, tactical pens, and flashlights.
On the other hand, some events we prepare for are extremely rare. While getting mugged or carjacked is (hopefully) not a common occurrence in your life, you might carry a concealed weapon for self-defense in these unusual but life-threatening scenarios. In the same way, it’s wise to carry a blow-out kit or personal trauma kit to stop blood loss in case things really don’t go according to plan and you find yourself with a major injury.
The conundrum with EDC medical items — e.g. a tourniquet, hemostatic gauze, Israeli bandage, and gloves — is their size. These items are about as small as they can get while remaining functional, and carrying them in your pockets can be bulky and uncomfortable. In the article below from Breach Bang Clear, contributor Tom Marshall talks about the potential value of ankle carry for an EDC blow-out kit.
Editor’s Note: The following article was originally published by our friends at Breach Bang Clear. It appears here in its entirety with their permission. For more from the Mad Duo and crew, go to BreachBangClear.com or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.
The evolution of concealed carry has, in recent years, taken to an approach we’re huge fans of. Those of us who’ve EDC’ed rucks, IBAs, duty belts and patrol bags have known for years that a compact pistol and a couple extra bullets just isn’t enough. The real world’s infinite variables demand more forethought, and more preparedness. Fortunately, those lessons are now making their way into the knowledge banks of the responsibly armed citizen community. A number of high-profile incidents over the last several years highlight potential disasters that have been successfully thwarted by quick-thinking citizens willing to be more involved in safeguarding their own safety.
But there’s a flipside to every coin. What comes with being prepared versus simply being armed is the ever-increasing complexity of the carry “loadout”. To put it another way, the more situations we want to be prepared for, the more stuff we have to carry. For better or worse, the idea of citizens wearing full gun belts fell out of fashion somewhere around the 1880s. Just like so many fashion trends, we think (hope) it’s destined to make a comeback. Until then, the race is on for more compact, efficient and innovative methods to carry what we need.
Enter US Primary Armament Logistics and Manufacturing, or US PALM for short. Known primarily for their built-like-a-tank AK mags, they’ve stepped their game up exponentially over the last couple years and now offer a complete line of products designed for what professionals would call “low signature load carriage”. The line includes belts, bags and their ankle-based carry systems. They sent us a sample of their AIFAK – Ankle Individual First Aid Kit.
[Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, US PALM is no longer selling gear, so you won’t be able to buy this exact setup. However, the concepts discussed in this article remain valid. For alternative ankle carry kits, check out TacMed Solutions and North American Rescue (makers of the CAT tourniquet).]
The platform is a stretchy cuff that secures around your ankle via hook-and-loop with pockets sewn across its length. What you put in it is up to you; for our test, we were able to fit 90% of a deployment-ready blowout kit around our lower leg. Here’s what we put in ours:
When compared to our mil-issued IFAK from OIF ’09-’10 the only things missing are Z-fold gauze, NPA with surgi-lube and a chest needle. We could probably have fit the needle and NPA if we really tried, and we may or may not keep a travel bottle of KY in the glove box anyway. (Some emergencies are personal. Don’t judge.)
We got our AIFAK right after SHOT Show and have been running it pretty faithfully ever since. Whether your pants are made by Wrangle, Kuhl or Jos. A. Banks, the AIFAK fits comfortable and prints minimally. In fact, short of wearing skinny jeans the AIFAK will fit under almost any pant leg with no obvious presentation.
Previously, we’d tried a number of other options that just didn’t work in civilian attire. Belt-mounted IFAKs make you look like tactical-creepy-uncle no matter how hard you try not to. Back pocket works, but severely restricts what you can carry. There’s the man-bag, which can be a pain to lug around everywhere and may not be permitted in places like malls and movie theaters. Pre-staging stuff in your car is a great secondary care option but will likely be out of reach at the exact moment when SHTF. All in all we think the ankle cuff is the best compromise between being the point man or the gray man. It’s clean, comfortable, and concealable under any dress code.
The only time it became uncomfortable was during a 7-hour rehearsal of vehicle bailouts in preparation for exigent circumstances. Lessons learned: 1) it can get hung up on a vehicle console if you’re not used to wearing it and 2) if you’re going to wear the AIFAK for extended periods, you might not want to go with ankle socks that day.
Despite that friction point (get it?) we’re still in love with US PALM’s EDC medical solution. It’s elegantly simple and offers immense response capacity when loaded properly.