Safety and Training

Let’s Learn our ABC’s. Again.

First aid medical kit on wood background,copy space,top view

The ABC’s we are going to go over are for any sort of injury resulting from some form of penetration to the body that results in bleeding. This is important because I feel the majority of people reading this blog are shooters or people who are around guns, ranges, training, or other dangerous activities that could result in some form of bodily harm. So read on.

Stop the Threat

We are at the range training. Yes me, and you. All of a sudden, someone on the line starts yelling or screaming and all we see is blood-soaked pants or shirt, or whatever. What do we do? Tactically, eliminate any threat that caused the bleeding, meaning, if you are getting shot at, the best medicine you can give the injured teammate, or whoever it is, is accurate firepower down-range to eliminate the “cause” of your friend’s rapid blood loss. So do not just run to your injured person at their location; that location being known as “the X,” and try to grab them or move them until you know it is safe. Otherwise, you will have two people on the X, and so on and so on.

In this case, we teach, or are taught, the following—self-aid, buddy aid and medic aid. Self-aid, meaning help yourself, crawl, drag, roll yourself off the X no matter what, and stop the bleeding yourself with any sort of tourniquet possible. A belt, a shirt, or for those of us in the profession, always have multiple tourniquets on your kit, armor, or person somewhere. I carry one on each side of me, so if my left arm is gone, guess what, I have one on the right and vice-versa. Learn to use them. You need to be able to apply the tourniquet on your own arm or leg in under 30 seconds, after that, you will probably pass out from blood loss, and then self-aid is no longer an option, so train for this stuff while you are on your couch or at the range. It is simple.

After self aid comes buddy aid, meaning your partner, a teammate, whoever. They also need training to deal with these types of injuries and the use of the medical equipment as well in order to apply it effectively to save YOUR life. It behooves you to make sure they are learning when you are as well.

Third is medic aid or as the Devil Dogs and Squids say, “Corpsman Aid.” This is the best type, but usually comes last unless you have a medic standing right next to you. This means that someone trained in the medical profession and is an actual medic is treating you. This is the best feeling there is, but takes the longest to get, hence the importance of self-aid, buddy aid, corpsman aid.

ABC stands for what? Aggressive Bleeding Control!

Years ago, military members focused on being able to get an IV started on an injured soldier while sometimes allowing additional bleeding to occur. Over time, it was discovered that the IV was of zero importance and bleeding control saves more lives than anything else. Therefore, always stop the bleeding first. Everything else comes later. CPR? Later. IV bag? Later. Broken bone splint? Later. Stop the bleeding ASAP—now.

How do you stop the bleeding? Pressure works well on most all wounds. Use your hands and weight to compress the area. Also, invest in the following items:

  • QuikClot®. It stops bleeding almost instantly and is worth every penny you will have to pay for it.
  • A Combat Application Tourniquet, also known as a CAT, or something similar to it. This is what I carry and I can apply them to any appendage with the use of only one hand and some teeth.
  • Kerlix™ gauze rolls can be used for everything as well, so get some of those, too. Once you apply the QuikClot, put the Kerlix in the wound or over it, and go from there.

I have been to plenty of training courses and ranges where everyone has the newest, most badass optic, gun, bullet, or new piece of gear, and not one person had the most basic of a medical kit on their person or nearby. I always have one in my vehicle and when at the range, I have one nearby or on me. On the bench is fine, it will just take you a few extra steps to get to it and move to the victim. Invest in this stuff. It will save your life. Just ask anyone else here, who would like to leave a comment about any experience with any of these items or the use of the ABCs. Please stay safe, but if you don’t, use these tips.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (4)

  1. I am an instructor of paramedics and we have had quite a discussion today about the “teaching” of bleeding control. I agree with you 100%, IV and IV fluids are not the answer but direct pressure is the treatment of choice. How can we, as instructors, make the need for direct pressure our number one priority vs. mulitple bandages and fluids…

  2. Mr. Satyre: The CAt was invented several years ago and there are several variations of it that I have seen. Some with metal pivoting pieces, some with wood, some with extra velcro or tabs, etc…but they all do the same thing which is allow the user to do everything by him/her self.
    This following link to a Youtube video is the most perfect thing you will find out there on how to use one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzXNsfesUb0

  3. Awesome read: quick and straight to the point. Thanks very much. I knew about the QuikClot (have a few, but need to actually start carrying them!), but didn’t know about the other two. Can you explain the CAT a bit more? Is that something jury-rigged, or is it an actual product I can buy somewhere?

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