More and more frequently I’m seeing better-informed and better-trained law enforcement officers and gun-owning citizens opting to carry a tourniquet or even a full “officer down” kit with  a tourniquet and pressure dressing, such as those from TacMed SolutionsNorth American Rescue, and others.

It makes perfect, logical sense as a concealed carrier to make basic medical gear part of your everyday carry gear, just like you carry your gun. After all, those circumstances that justify the legal use of your firearm in a self-defense context are those situations where you are under lethal force attack, and you (or someone you love) may very well end up shot or stabbed before you’re able to end the threat.

It simply makes sense to carry one of the two most-proven tourniquets on the market (either the SOFTT-W or the CAT), and either a OLAES or  Israeli Bandage, especially when a tourniquet and one of these two bandages costs less than two boxes of premium defensive ammunition and can save the most precious thing you own… your life.

A great way to carry your tourniquet is the Flat Pack Carrier from PHLster. I use one, and cannot recommend it enough.

The hardest part about effectively using this essential medical gear is finding good training in your area. Ideally, you’ll be able to find a dedicated class, but that might not be possible everywhere.

You may be able to get is a medical brief as part of of an advanced defensive firearms course, like the medical brief that was part of the Defense Against Street Crimes class I took at Gunsite Academy. It went so far as to incorporate tourniquet application into shooting drills and force-on-force scenarios.

If you can’t find either a dedicated class or an integrated class in your area, both TacMedSolutions and North American Rescue have Youtube videos that can provide you with at least a basic understanding of how to use these essential medical supplies.

One last note: I’d strongly suggest obtaining a separate training tourniquet and bandage for practice. Tourniquets designed to be are “one time use only” items, so investing in a dedicated training tourniquet (typically in a different color, such as blue) and a separate training bandage (it won’t be sterile after you use it for practice) is the smartest move.