We’ve done plenty of reviews on IFAKs, with many more coming down the pike – like Px Hero’s JAFO II IFAK. One of my personal favorites is this one on the review block – Rescue Essential 5.11 UCR IFAK. Let’s start from the outside and work our way in for this review.
Firstly, the 5.11 UCR IFAK comes with a 5.11 Tactical pouch, which is MOLLE capable, as well as having some very unique load-out options. The kit itself zips and velcros shut, keeping the contents intact, and can be worn on a battle belt, secured to a pack, or directly to a place carrier if that’s your style. As you can see in the picture to the left, you have a bunch of mini compartments inside of the kit itself, with a red bungee to stop your pressure bandage or TQ from going flying out if you rip it open in a hurry – which obviously if you need it, it will be quick. WHat I really like about the design of the pouch itself, aside from being robust, MOLLE ready, and deceptively spacious, is the bungee cord on the top. This allows you to secure it to a seat in your car, which as many readers have asked “What is the best IFAK for a car?”, answers the question. This is your guy.
Now, by the numbers, you get two pairs of gloves, which is outstanding engineering since you may have more than one person you need to help. Then you get an official NAR CAT (combat application tourniquet), ToCCC approved and any corpsman will recommend this as opposed to a knockoff or other TQ. They are easy to operate, and save lives. Proven in the heat of combat and stemming from the Somali incursion of the 90s – think Blackhawk Down – the CAT is a proven method of stopping people from bleeding out, with enough surface area to minimize nerve damage. You also get CELOX rapid hemostatic gauze to stop bleeds and urge clotting, and a NAR trauma dressing to apply pressure and cover wounds. I also love the fact that you get Hyfin Vent Chest Seals – two of them. These are a MUST in my opinion for a medkit that will see the chance of a gunshot – like one for your range bag. If you are a corpsman or First Responder, you need these. They are vented to prevent the user from having to “burp” the seal when pressure builds up from a pnuemothorax issue. The nasopharyngeal airway (NPA for short) is 28 french diameter, and comes with lube. That’s the only minor issue I have with the kit, but its by no means a deal breaker – I like prelubed NPA’s, since it’s one less thing you have to do, and if the airway is closing or obstructed, every second counts! That being said, it takes literally a second to lube the NPA for insertion. You also get a mylar blanket to prevent shock and retain warmth for your patient, as well as a small sharpie for writing the time you put on a TQ or mark a patients chest for EMS/Medevac. In addition, you get some solid EMT shears which – as we have referenced – can cut through a penny; plenty strong for cutting through civilian clothes or cammies.
Overall, the kit is outstanding, and a great addition to your car, bug out bag, range bag, or gear. Not a boo boo kit, this IFAK is designed to mitigate trauma and life threatening injuries. That being said, if you don’t know how to use them – under fire isn’t the time to learn. Please, get some training. I have taken the Dark Angel Medical course and can attest that it is thorough, accessible, and practically applicable, with robust classroom and role-play training.