Basic Gunshot Wound Kit

Alternate title: Roll your own IFAK

Back in February, oddball and I took a “First Aid for Gun Toters” class put on by our local Zombie Squad chapter. It was, in my uneducated opinion, a pretty good class. My one complaint was that the guy wasn’t selling any of the products he was pimping. :D

I hopped on Amazon a couple of weeks later and bought pretty much the minimum equipment required for a good gunshot wound kit. Actually, I bought two of each so I could keep one in my car and one in the wife’s car.


The C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet is a small tourniquet that is currently issued as individual equipment to our infantrymen. It’s easy to use and has a locking mechanism in place so that you can self-apply it.


QuikClot Combat Gauze is basically your standard gauze, only it’s infused with QuikClot. The way you’re supposed to use this, and any other gauze in a gunshot wound, is to take your finger and stuff the wound. This has the new formulation of QuikClot that doesn’t produce heat. The original formulation would actually cause serious burns in the wound, so make sure you don’t get old stuff.


The HyFin Chest Seal is used for the infamous “sucking chest wound.” The instructor told us that we could just use something like this instead, but I opted for the purpose-built (and significantly more expensive) option. UPDATE 1/5/2014: See this post for an important update about the Hyfin Chest Seal.


The famous Israeli Bandage, which I now understand how to use thanks to the class. Here’s where I have to give a shout-out to Acme Approved, the vendor that actually supplied the bandages. One of the two I originally received had a small hole in the package, rendering it non-sterile and unusable. I sent them an email, and they sent me TWO replacements! Now I have an extra that I keep in my laptop bag.

I wanted to get everything together before buying a bag, and it turns out that they fit perfectly in a quart-sized Zip-Lock bag:

That’s it. Those are the basics. I keep my kit in between the door sill and the driver’s seat in my Jeep, and the one in my wife’s car is just in her glove box. All medical equipment has an expiration date, so take note of what expires first in your kit. For me, the chest seals expire in about 18 months so I have set a reminder to buy more around that time. Prices on these items seem to fluctuate, so be sure to shop around.

I gotta tell ya, having the equipment and the knowledge to treat a GSW certainly makes me feel better. 

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