Kit Talk: IFAKs
Shoot, Move, Communicate, and Survive.
"Every Soldier, regardless of rank, position, and MOS must be able to shoot, move, communicate, and survive in order to contribute to the team and survive in combat."
Survive: Be able to take care of yourself by applying first aid and also adapting to environmental factors. Sustaining the wounded with what they have on them immediately and working to get to the next level of equipment/aid.
Everyone who has worn a plate carrier has known the importance of needing an IFAK on them and realized the awkward shape/ size can be a detriment to efficiency when shooting and moving. US Army issued IFAKs are chunky blocks that just seem to be a bit too big and in the way (especially if you had that crusty Command Sergeants Major who dictated you wear it in the most inconvenient location on your kit).
Luckily the gear world has come up with a huge variety of pouches sold commercially off the shelf to help fit your needs of having what you need on you, easily accessible, and securely located out of the way.
For years I used an ATS rip-a-way IFAK loaded with my units required items and it never had a great location on my Crye JPC. I tried moving it in multiple locations so it didn't block an arm movement or stick out excessively far when laying prone, but just dealt with it. While working overseas it seemed that we had an abundance of IFAKs always within arms reach (one per seat in a HILUX, Land Cruiser, or MATV/ RG31) and wearing this chonk block was not the most practical. After consulting with the 18Ds I was better able to reduce the overall size some and tailor down the kit to exactly what I would need based on the mission sets and skill level. This helped some, but still I decided to hunt for a better way of stowing all this gear.
For my second deployment I used a Blue Force Gear Micro IFAK mounted to my belt with a Tourniquet mounted to my plate carrier along with the ATS fully loaded IFAK on my 3day pack that came with me everywhere. This kept everything I needed to keep the red blood cells inside my body immediately, but not much else. Inside I have a two pack chest seal, Combat Gauze, dense packed gauze, and a decompression needle; along with an IFAK rubber banded to the belt and an additional in my leg pocket.
When walking around the Firebases, Mission Support Sites, or in town working with locals or partner force more often than not I would leave my plate carrier in the vehicles but leave my Batman belt on. Locating my primary IFAK to my belt just made sense.
After competing in many tactical style shooting competitions, and countless hours training in kit I opted for an alternative option for my IFAK. Recently I came across the Raidworx IFAK. The shape and mounting solution seemed like a good idea, so why not try it.
I found it to work best on my micro chest rig when not using an entire plate carrier due to its low profile. It also works well under a plate carrier that uses large velcro panel cummerbunds such as my Crye JPC. It leaves about an inch and half gap from where the mag flap folds over the velcro.
Only downside I found with this system is using it on my Spiritus LV119 with only the placard velcro holding it on (MOLLE TUBE cummerbund). Without the side velcro it pushes out all different style placards just too far and less secure feeling.
Still looking for a better plate carrier IFAK, I found the Forward Observation Group Roll 1TM made by FERRO CONCEPTs. This style mounts beneath the rear plate bag in otherwise unused space, perfect for what I need on my plate carrier. It holds everything I could want, mounts securely, and is easily deployed from either side. After many hours training with it, I have no issues and only praise to give for this IFAK.
Now that you have your personal kit med supplies sorted out, how about for those around you? Unit SOPs generally have a requirement for a MED kit to be in a vehicle or building and this has carried over to my personal life as well. I have a stocked kit that I have used on numerous occasions while camping, off-roading, at the shooting range, or at the house to treat or stabilize injuries until they can get to a higher level of care. I have a fully stocked TACOPS M-9 Assault Medical Backpack that I toss in the truck when traveling and it keeps everything I am trained on neatly organized and at the ready.
No matter where you choose to mount an IFAK or store a MED kit, all of the examples above share commonalities in durability, modularity, and ease of use. With all IFAKs and MED kits tailor them to your level of skill and incorporate them into your training, you are your own first responder!
Plate Carrier: Ferro Concepts Roll 1TM
Micro Rig: Raidworx
Belt: Blue Force Gear Micro Trauma or (not pictured) Coyote Tactical Solutions S.T.O.M.P
Vehicle/House: TACOPS M-9 Assault Medical Backpack or other quality organized bag MED bag.