Back in September 2021 some of the TFB crew were in Refugio Texas for an event. At that event, Brad Gilpin of Blue Force Gear taught us a combat medicine course. Basically how to treat gunshot wounds. At the end of the course, we all got our own Micro Trauma Kits. Brad had set them up with the advanced supplies but he took the chest darts out since we didn’t need those. My Micro Trauma Kit has been sitting unused in my FJ Cruiser and sometimes out on the range with me or in my backpack when I am traveling. I never thought I would have to use it let alone on myself but Murphy’s law reared its ugly head.
Blue Force Gear @ TFB:
Editor’s Note: This event was not a pre-approved TFB content production and is only being shared as an after action report on the need for safety procedures, medical equipment, and training. It goes without saying, whether you are shooting single-shot rimfire rifles or launching amateur rockets, the safety of yourself and others is paramount. Follow all local, state, and federal laws.
Brad’s Trauma Course
Even though I took this class almost a year and a half ago, I still remember most of it.
Brad Gilpin is the director of medical programs for Blue Force Gear. He spent the day teaching us about common trauma problems and tools to address them.
Blood loss is one of the major traumas that are life-threatening. There are two ways to treat them quickly. Tourniquet is one such tool and is used to control blood loss on limbs.
The other type is to use gauze to pack a deep wound. This information will become useful later.
Here are the different Micro Trauma Kits that Brad brought to the class.
Brad is holding their Micro Trauma Kit Now! Plus+
After the classroom instruction we got, we went upstairs to the open balcony and practiced stuffing gauze into rubber dummies with various wounds. We also practiced applying tourniquets on each other.
Micro Trauma Kit NOW! Saves My Ass
Recently I sacrificed my body for science. I was helping John Wild document his M202 Flash rocket launcher. I was trying to capture slow-motion footage of the third rocket that we tested. The rocket failed and crashed behind me. The projectiles are 3D-printed plastic and are filled with chalk. When the rocket crashed, the rocket motor still had plenty of fuel to burn. It just happen to fly straight to my left ass cheek. I was hiding behind a ballistic shield but it never dawned on us that the rocket could fly backwards and hit me from the rear. Queue all the “I got shot in the buttocks” memes. I felt the impact and it only felt like I was hit by a blunt object. Akin to a baseball traveling at high speed like maybe from a pitching machine. Below is what hit me.
We were using private land and the land owner, Dustin, is medically trained. Lucas D. and Luke C. were there as well. Lucas D. was trained as an EMT a while ago and Luke was in the same course that I took with Brad Gilpin. When the rocket motor hit me, it rotated. The metal fins scratched my hip and the still-burning rocket motor flash burned my clothes. It burned through my brand new Helikon Tex Wolfhound jacket, Arcteryx LEAF Naga Hoodie, and the black cotton t-shirt underneath. The cotton t-shirt helped to keep the Naga Hoodie from melting into my skin. It had melted to the shirt a bit.
Dustin was the first person to reach me and he noticed my bum was injured. I reached back with my hand and felt wetness. I was expecting blood but when I looked at my hand it looked wet like I had touched vegetable oil. Dustin said the rocket had taken a chunk out and that we needed an IFAK. Luke had ridden with me and Lucas had ridden with John so neither of them had their IFAKs with them. I told them I have one in my FJ Cruiser and it was the closest vehicle to where we were. I actually have three IFAKs in my FJ, but I only know what the BFG Micro Trauma Kit NOW! has in it and it is the easiest to access. While Luke was getting the IFAK, they were checking if I had feeling in my legs and if I could move my toes. I felt ok considering and ignorant of the severity of my wounds I wanted to keep filming and testing.
When Luke found my BFG Micro Trauma Kit NOW!, he expressed excitement since he has the same kit and knew how to use the BFG Micro Trauma Kit NOW! He opened it up and grabbed the Quick Clot Combat Gauze and used that to pack the wound in my left butt cheek.
Luke also grabbed the mini compression bandage to hold the gauze in my ass.
Once they finished packing my wound, they cleared out the back of my FJ Cruiser and I laid down on my right side. Luke drove and Lucas rode shotgun. With his medical training, he was prepared to tend to me in case there were any changes to my condition.
The rocket motor took a much more sizable chunk of skin and fatty tissue out of my butt cheek. The ER doctors and nurses commented on the good job of packing my wound. Luke kept me company in the ER and he helped answer some of their questions. Of course, the medical team was curious about what happened. It was a “model rocket accident”. No need to confuse them with words like “rocket launcher”.
Here is the BFG Micro Trauma Kit NOW!. It was augmented with BFG’s shear hammock. Which holds a tourniquet and EMT shears on the trauma kit.
I had the trauma kit stored in this mesh pocket in the rear cargo area of my FJ Cruiser.
Even with things in the cargo area, the BFG Micro Trauma Kit NOW! is easily accessible.
The Micro Trauma Kit NOW! is comprised of a sleeve with the actual kit wrapped up like a sort of velcro burrito.
These pictures were taken after the rocket incident so they are missing the combat gauze, rubber gloves, and mini compression bandage.
You can see how the shear hammock is attached using velcro loops.
Here are my other first aid kits. This one is just your run of the mill boo boo first aid kit. Not suited for trauma.
This IFAK is mounted to a Grey Man Tactical headrest helmet rack. I can hang my helmet but still have access to this IFAK. This IFAK was given to me and it is single-use. You pull the retained pull cord and the pouch opens up. The cord is attached to a vacuum-sealed bag with various trauma items inside. But once you rip that bag open you cannot reuse it.
The BFG Micro Trauma Kit NOW! is great because it is modular. You can add or remove what you want and it is small enough to keep handy.
Here is the video from the rocket accident. I was downrange hiding behind a tripod and ballistic shield. At the time the worst thing would be the rocket hitting the shield. Which would glance off it. No one thought that the rocket would crash behind me and have the motor fly back to hit me. In all the other previous tests the rockets flew straight so the risk seemed manageable at the time. This was a freak accident.
I am fortunate that I was with people who were medically trained and that I had the right tools at the right time. I highly recommend getting a good IFAK and keeping them where you can access them. We should have had a proper safety meeting prior to testing rockets where everyone knows where the medical tools would be. Luke did his best to find my IFAK but he didn’t know where it was until I told him. Thankfully my wounds were not life-threatening. As Garand Thumb likes to say “Get training”. Trauma classes are not as exciting as a firearm class but they are important. I am thankful to Brad Gilpin for teaching us the basics and while I did not have to administer first aid on myself, I know I could do it and I know how to do it.
For more information about Blue Force Gear’s trauma kits, go to their website.