TTAG reader and YouTuber Greg Davis writes:

In the last year, I’ve seen two shooters put extra holes in their body – one is a very experienced and competent IDPA shooter (20,000= rounds a year kind of guy). The other was quite an interesting guy. Anyway. Blowout kits are easy to put together for as little as $30. It’s one of those must have range bag items that gets little press or discussion while it really can be a lifesaver. Seventy percent of gunshot wounds are survivable with quick and proper treatment. [I don’t sell any of the items mentioned in the video. I just like making original content related to shooting and shooting sports.]

26 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: How To Treat a Gunshot Wound

  1. That’s a great tip. I always have a med pouch with a tourniquet, quick clot, Israeli bandage, tape, bandage and a pair of medical sheers in my truck at all times. Started doing that after I had to try and stop the bleeding out of a guys throat and face after a motorcycle wrecked right in front of me. I guess it did some good because he was still alive when the paramedics arrived and they managed to get him to the hospital and save his life. Having quick access to such tools is important for daily life, whether its a gun exploding in a friends face or a family member that just got there arm ripped off in a car accident. These sorts of accidents happen everyday.

    • +1. I keep a blowout kit with me in my vehicle at all times as well as in my range bag. ETA, I also try to keep one with me any time I’m in a public place that some people may consider a soft target, like church. My large bible cover makes for a handy place to pack some life saving tools, in both a physical and spiritual sense.

  2. Saw this video the other day and thought it was pretty good, I really want to go get some paramedic classes at my local CC or something cost effective but thorough.

  3. God bless him for trying to educate folks about the tactical treatment of GSWs until the professionals arrive.

    However, too damn many people have a table full of crap in the kits and they don’t have even a clue how to use it.

    “What do I need to put in my kit?” my students ask me.

    I tell them to go out and get some training and then they’ll know exactly what they need and know exactly how to use it.

    Start with an Israeli Battle Dressing and work your way up. With even minimal training, it’s a life-saving tool for use on and off a range to slow or stop bleeding, even if you haven’t seen the good youtube video on how to employ it and practiced using it. With training, you can use that IBD as a dressing, tourniquet, sling, flutter valve for a chest shield (with some tape) and more.

    Unless you’re an EMT, stick the the basics until the pros arrive. If it’s really bad and you’re in the sticks, get the bleeding under control, package the patient as best you can, and meet an ambulance on the way to the hospital. Scoop and run.

    Be careful and stay safe. And it doesn’t hurt to get some good, solid first aid training for dealing with GSWs as part of or in addition to all of your training learning how to poke holes in bad people.

    John

    ETA: If I had to pick two things to have, I’d pick the CAT tourniquet second only to my IBDs.

  4. Do yourself a favor. Learn the indications for a tourniquet and then the appropriate application of said tourniquet. Buy a couple tourniquets and call it good. Leave the other tools like quickclot and hemcon up to people with real training.

    Unless you are far off the beaten path, someone is not going to bleed to death from an extremity wound unless they need a tourniquet anyway. The dichotmoy is: Is this person bleeding to death or not. If yes, apply tourniquet. If no, get them to an ER and don’t play medic unless you know what your doing.

    If someone is bleeding to death from a chest/abdomen penetrating injury you are likely just wasting your time screwing around with quickclot and other things (unless you know how to put in a chest tube). Get them to real medical care.

    The above advice applies to gunshot wounds alone. MVAs and other traumas vary.

  5. A basic FA course is good for everyone.
    dont forget about direct pressure and a dressing firmly held on a wound. For a static incident that should suffice for almost all extremity wounds

    For internal wounds surgical intervention is required in severe cases, so always have a rapid transit plan, including knowing where the nearest helispot is at.

    • A medic instructor always said “they don’t need all of the fancy things we can do – they need hot lights and cold steel.”

      They need a surgeon.

      You’re right – if it’s bleeding, plug it – and get a fast trip to the ER. Funny how with all of our advanced EMS field care, people often do the best if they’re thrown in the back seat and taken to the nearest hospital if you’re in an urban center. Whole different ballgame if you’re like me, 45 minutes to the nearest ER and a helo ride to the trauma center.

  6. Wow, I got featured. My goal was to keep this video to 5 minutes, which was just not possible. Yes, there is a table full of stuff, which all gets explained. I would hope that no one is carrying all of this in a range bag. Jody, the EMT in the video, recommended a few items that should cost under $30. If you watch to the end, where the training dummy comes out, you’ll see that there were only three items used and that really about all your kit needs.

    There was so much more video that got shot but left off the edit. We continued on with makeshift treatments, using shirts, belts, and other improvised techniques. I wish I could have used it all.

  7. Combat tourniquet, two of the Israeli Bandages (hey, I’ll admit it, it’s cool to get mail with an Israeli return address – makes the postman wonder…) and a combat gauze impregnated with the updated quick clot compound. Carry it with me everywhere.

    I’m a former paramedic and now a physician assistant so I do have a little background. But most of the important lifesaving actions are pretty simple. There are good resources online that are actual military-based medical training, pick and choose info that is reasonable for your needs. You don’t necessarily need to know how to intubate someone while hanging upside-down in a car, but knowing how to control bleeding and maintain and airway without screwing up someone’s spine are very basic skills that anyone can learn.

    Tactical medicine is like a firearm. The chance that you’ll actually need it in an emergency? Very slight. The results of not knowing what to do if you DO need it? Catastrophic.

    Some gun ranges/training centers offer a “tactical medicine” class for those so interested.

    There are many “official” resources online, again, you need to pick and choose from the info available, and learn and practice only those skills that are really necessary and most likely to be needed. That means looking at things like Combat Lifesaver and skipping the advanced material, taking to heart the “Oh Cr@p he’s bleeding” information.

    From the Michigan Tech University ROTC website, for instance:
    http://www.mtu.edu/arotc/cadet-portal/docs/ISO871_Student_Self_Study.pdf

    We are at ranges a lot, but we’re more likely to face a medical injury in our everyday life. I think it’s important for everyone to have some level of competence in basic medical care for the “oh $hit” moment we all face at some time in our lives.

  8. Any gun shot to a limb you just want to apply a tourniquet immediately. You got 4hours before problems with tissue damage will occur. And 2-3 inches above the wound is a outdated practice. You want to get the tourniquet as high as possible. Prevents slipping better and takes less force to stop the bleeding.

  9. I carry a first-aid kit in my car everywhere I go. It doesn’t have any of those Israeli bandages, but I think I’m going to add them.

  10. “In the last year, I’ve seen two shooters put extra holes in their body …”

    … and both of them fell over dead instantaneously with guns being “death rays” and all, right?

    /end_sarcasm

  11. I have only seen one gun injury at a range in 20 years of shooting, rebounding bullet fragments when shooting too close to steel. I have seen more injuries from staple guns and dropping ammo cases on feet.
    All ranges should have a medical kit available. I keep dressings in my gun bag and car.
    Most hunting accidents I see (I work in a hospital) are falling out of tree stands.

  12. What is the fascination with all things Israeli on TTAG? With the exception of Bar Rafaeli, I don’t get it.

    Posting anon, to avoid the flames.

    • They actually make some pretty great stuff. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t buy all of their military equipment for them. Allot of their weapons and combat related gear is superb. The Israeli bandage that keeps getting mentioned was actually adopted by the US military and is in common use throughout the US, regarded as the best combat bandage there is.

      • Thank you for the informative answer, New Continental Army. (Not being sarcastic, that was honestly informative)

    • No, I didn’t know what one was, but New Continental Army took a moment and wrote me a reply – like a normal person, unlike yourself – explaining what one is.

      I’m sure there are a myriad things about which you know nothing, such as moderate food intake and women.

  13. Used to maintain certification in Wilderness Medicine; for most cases, stabilize & get to the ER inside the “golden hour” – after that, bad things can start to happen. When out in the boonies, have ambulance waiting at the trailhead, possibly have local fire/rescue/wilderness first responders meet you halfway down the trail. EMTs can do wonders if the individual isn’t too far gone when they arrive. Shock & bleeding are things almost anyone can treat for.

  14. @Paul T McCain

    You are officially using the tactics of the left. Asking why everyone here is fascinated with Israeli things is “anti-Semitic”?

    You’re acting like the leftists who proclaim everything to be “racist”. You can’t have it both ways, you corpulent, laughable, smug, phony.

    I’ve always avoided ad-hominem with you; but you have gone too far and are just a complete goof.

  15. @Paul T McCain

    You are officially using the tactics of the left. Asking why everyone here is fascinated with Israeli things is “anti-Semitic”?

    You’re acting like the leftists who proclaim everything to be “racist”. You can’t have it both ways, you corpulent, laughable, smug, phony.

    I’ve always avoided ad-hominem with you, but you have gone too far and are just a complete goof.

  16. It is something most people don’t think about during recreational shooting, but it happens unfortunately more often than we’d like. I’m a paramedic in a rural county in south GA, and have been on a couple of those hunting accident calls. I have even had an experience myself at the local range. I had a fragmented piece(1/4″ wide) of a 9mm ricochet off a steel silhouette and penetrate about 1 1/2″ into my right thigh. Luckily I always have a jump bag handy, and the damage was superficial but it just goes to show its not always the muzzle end that will hurt you.

  17. Having a blowout kit or any sort of first aid at all times i the key. Especially in your vehicle. Also, I think in our society there is not enough focus on educating people on how to treat gun wound. There has been many cases where proper education on self treatment would save lives. We wrote an article that goes over basic steps on how to treat a gun wound. You can find it here if you want to check it out: http://nationalcarryacademy.com/gunshot-wounds-first-aid/ The important thing is that we should put more importance on educating people.
    – Jaro

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