An off-duty officer taking a hunting rifle out of its case at a private shooting range in Oregon discharged the weapon, striking himself in the chest. The local news claims that he died instantly.
In most circumstances, however, gunshot wounds are survivable, if you can keep the victim alive long enough to get professional medical attention. That is the purpose of the Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) carried by the Army and Marines. It is nothing more or less than a “blowout kit” designed to patch you up long enough to get the life-saving medical care you need.
Whether you are at the range plinking targets, in the woods hunting game, or merely cleaning your gun at home, there is always the remote possibility of a negligent discharge or catastrophic weapon failure, and there is also the remote possibility of intentional act of malice ruining your day.
In any of these instances, having a blow-out kit on hand could be the difference between living and dying.
This was so vividly illustrated in Tuscon, where cops equipped with IFAKs and basic medical training kept more injured people from dying as a result of Jared Loughner’s rampage.
I suggest reading ITS Tactical’s article on developing a blow-out kit, and either build or buy your own. Ideally, I’d suggest one in your range bag, one in each vehicle (for car crashes), and one in your home. I presently have one kit, and will be saving my pennies for more and the basic medical training in how to use the key components.
I hope I never have to use an IFAK, but just like my guns, I’d prefer it to be there, and for me to have skill in using it if the needs arises.