We’re a fan of the idea that, “if you carry something to make holes, then you better be able to patch holes.” After all, firearms are inherently dangerous, and sometimes things happen beyond our control, no matter how safe we try to be. Because of that reality I always make sure to carry an IFAK (individual first aid kit) when I’m at the range, either in my range bag, or if in a carbine class, on my plate carrier (where I keep an additional pressure dressing and tourniquet at all times). I also carry a tourniquet as part of my every day carry (EDC), and it’s simply something I take with me along with my handgun and cell phone when I leave the house. Most of my industry friends do as well.
Fortunately, one of those industry friends had her tourniquet handy recently when another student took a ricocheting bullet jacket fragment off a brand new steel target (sometimes fragments come back, despite proper target placement and angling). The jagged section of copper jacket struck the radial artery in her wrist, according to the story as shared on 88 Tactical’s Facebook page.
Steve “Yeti” Fisher, of Sentinel Concepts doesn’t get phased by much, and he calmly borrowed the CAT tourniquet provided by another student at the proper location (as high on the limb as possible) and then they put a pressure dressing around the wound itself on her wrist. They then posed for a picture before EMS arrived to take her to the hospital.
The shooter, herself a firearms instructor and competitive shooter for a number of years, was calm throughout the incident, and expects to be back on the firing line as soon as her injuries heal.
They appear calm because of the number of well-trained and properly-equipped folks in that group. They had the right medical gear, the training, and the confidence that they could handle the problem… and they did.
I doubt the scene would have been quite as composed if we were instead looking at a more average group of occasional recreational shooters who may not have any tactical medical training, and who wouldn’t likely have tourniquets and pressure dressings as standard equipment in their range bags.
People panicking when they try to improvise a tourniquet out of a belt or shoelaces (both of which hurt like Hell and are vastly inferior to professionally made products), likely placing it on the wrong spot, and attempting to staunch a squirter with a tee shirt or dirty gun rag without really knowing what they’re doing is a recipe for a really bad time for all concerned.