TQ Prerequisite? IQ.

I’m not a medic, the fact I have some basic training doesn’t mean I’m going to tell anyone how to use equipment that can do as much harm as good.

The one tourniquet I’ve repeatedly been instructed on and practised with is the CAT and it’s the only design I’d feel confident in being able to employ effectively if the time came. Personally I don’t anticipate ever having to use such an item in my life time, but if I’m ever putting together a medical kit and decide to add a TQ, this would be the one I’d buy again. It’s gone through a lot of iterations over the years and changes in doctrine within the military, but I like the simplicity and I feel simplicity is key for the vast majority of us.

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The thing I really like most is the fact that if you break it down in terms of the initial application, the CAT is literally just a riggers’ style belt, except you use it for artery clamping instead of holding up trousers. There’s no technique to learn at all in terms of how you tie it around a limb, it is just the same as putting any strap through a tri-glide and securing the tail back on itself. You don’t even need to have the tail loose and route it at all if you don’t want, you can leave the routing already set, just open it slightly to go over the affected area then yank it back down again. This is something that can’t quite be said for the RATS, TK-4 or anything else where the buckle has an open side and the tail is stored freely from said buckle/routing piece.

I’ve never seen arterial spray from a human, but I’ve seen a video of the artery being cut in a sedated pig during a course in work and it’s genuinely hard to believe. For those who’ve not seen it, the most relevant analogy would be putting your thumb over the end of a hose to block off most of the pipe. Even a fraction of a second wasted is too much, which is again why I would personally prefer to have a CAT to hand in the unlikely event I ever needed to staunch arterial blood loss.

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I appreciate lots of other people have other preferences and training and of course storage location can be a factor depending on what you’re doing. I certainly wouldn’t mind giving the SOF-T wide a look. But overall as things stand, given the training and practice I have, this TQ is top of my list.

The only advice I’d actually give is as follows: Don’t fall for social media marketing and go buying gear like this, putting it in a pocket and thinking you’re good. There’s a lot of rules for safe and effective tourniquet application. I don’t carry medical kit myself everyday either, all I personally do is try to be conscientious of always wearing a belt and never wearing a useless skinny one. 1.5″ width as a minimum, around 2″ preferably. It’s never a TQ substitute but in the event of a truly life-threatening bleed I know I’ve got something at least rather than being utterly helpless. Don’t take this as legal advice of course I’m not a nurse or doctor, just seek out good First Aid training (pretty sure there are even free courses out there). Best to learn things like CPR and how to deal with shock, burns, fractures/breaks, choking, extremes of heat/cold and allergic reactions.

As with so many things, the best way to avoid bleeding in the first place is to avoid any sort of altercation and not do stupid shit around pointy objects.

G sWagon

Have to say a very big thanks to my mate Jon at Geissele Automatics, LLCfor sending over 16 actual pounds of swag to dish out to the other lads in work.

I’ve been lucky enough to handle a few Geissele products that I’ve not been able to post up here myself, but I think you can find all their latest work for US SOF by browsing around other media outlets in the military guns/gear sphere. Either way having looked around at a lot of the competition I’d have to say that when it comes to overall engineering quality and true reliability in use, Geissele are the doing the best work of any firearms company I’ve come across. I say that primarily because HK were my previous No 1 rating, but I’ve seen Geissele take HK factory parts and products and identify every little issue those have then proceed iron them out until the steel is as close to perfect as you’ll find.

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Crye Online

Crye have, for some reason, never done social media before now.  A couple of days ago they started an Instagram account and now finally they’re on Facebook.  Twitter and YouTube should be coming if not already.

On the one hand their commercial sales no doubt make up a small fraction of their overall business so they never ‘needed’ social media, but then that’s always been the case with various other companies in the world of firearms and tactical gear and they’re all very active in the usual places.  I’ve seen people on forums and pages say “oh they’re not the power house they once were with SOF wearing patagonia and drifire” but anyone who’s not parts of the supply chain and thinks they know about everything the military buys (especially SF contracts) definitely has a vastly over-inflated opinion of their own knowledge base.

Of the few interviews I’ve seen coming out of CP, they’ve been doing nothing but expand and buy up more square footage from the very start.  I can only presume they’ve either hired in somebody new to doing public relations type stuff or they had a meeting and somebody said “hey why aren’t we going this?” and now they are doing this.

https://www.facebook.com/CryeOfficial/

No-Pew Tuesday

My inbox has been a bit explode-y since SHOT and the many many clips I have from Shoot Las Vegas are taking a long old time to edit for the various outlets I’m going to post them on, so I’m afraid that YouTube video is getting pushed back to next Tuesday. Sorry folks, I think you’ll find the wait is worth it in the end though, nice little montage coming to the channel.

In the mean time, quick one for my fellow England-based plastic fake-war combatants, myself and Passive Shooter will be at Ambush Adventures ‘The Billet’ site this Sunday, so if you happen to be going or live close enough to come please get involved and come see how comedically terrible of an airsoft player I really am.

SHOT Loot Crate

It’s #MoraleMondays so I’d better post the SHOT merch eh? Here comes one beast of a list. Thanks to..

1947, LLC – Managing partners of Brand & Oppenheimer Co., Inc. Aimpoint AB Heckler & Koch GLOCK Primary Arms, LLC Holosun Shield SnugpakG&G Armament FirstSpear ITS Tactical Magpul Industries Corp. MultiCamHot Shots Calendar ZRO Delta Battle Arms Development DRIFIRE Gentex Corporation Midwest Industries, Inc. CMMG Mechanix Wear House GamersAero Precision Outdoor Research Samson Manufacturing Femme Fatale Airsoft KRISS USA Lantac USA Blue Force Gear, Inc. Troy IndustriesKnight’s Armament Company Ho-Tac Tactical TNVC, Inc Geissele Automatics, LLC Soldier Systems Daily SLR Rifleworks Raptor Tactical PetzlMilSpecMonkey Velocity Systems/Mayflower R&C Tactical Outfitters Aztec Training Services Hill People Gear RapDom Tactical Redwolf AirsoftWounded Warrior Project Victorinox Weapons Grade Waifus KWA Performance Industries, Inc. Polenar Tactical and 20 more I’m unable to tag because there’s a facebook limit.

Swag is cool and all, but more importantly thanks to the above for taking your time talking to me in a show that is consistently insanely busy, shaking hands and swapping business cards. There’s a whole lot of very good people and businesses represented within that list.

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SHOT 18 Beginnings

After a lot of screwing around this afternoon waiting on NSSF to get their act together I have my badge, I’m in. Down to the FirstSpear range day tomorrow with Kit Badger and Femme Fatale Airsoft, maybe one other range as well but we’ll see how it works out since the logistics are a serious pig. Then it’s Tuesday the show floor opens and I turn in to Pac Man scooping up all the gear in every room before moving on to the next. The ghosts are stupid, lazy morons with wheelie carts stopping suddenly and without warning right in front of me, trying to take out my ankles.

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I actually put in my registration to attend the show a good few months back, a couple of months before I even started on the change over of the blog URL and the naming changes on all the social media. At that point the writing on the badge was pretty much locked in (or at least not easily changeable in some simple manner) which meant I committed myself to putting in the effort needed to make all the changes to the website, Instagram, youtube, this page, all my forum signatures and every single video description with all of those URLs in. I definitely under estimated how difficult some of those things would be, especially changing the page name with facebook’s stupid policies, but having a name that people will actually be able to say is just such a nice change from the previous 2 years.

The long article(s) I mentioned not long ago are scheduled be publishing somewhere quite prominent just a few days after the show wraps up and again having a name for everything that most people can actually get their heads around (unlike the before) just makes way more sense on every level.

Tomorrow is really the true beginning of this hectic week and it’s likely to be a pretty long day, so fingers crossed basically that all the transport works as it should and I may be able to start putting up some content in the evening. If not then rest assured it won’t be lagging too far behind.

Vegas Survival Guide – Preamble

The childish MS paint map to SHOT Show I wish I’d had when I first went. To say it’s super basic and pared back on the details would be a monstrous under exaggeration, but personally this is what I needed back in 2016 when I first went. I spent probably half the show that year just trying to get the basic bearings on the place, bouncing from one both to another with my head on fire not knowing where I was and where to turn next. It wasn’t until going the 2nd time last year I actually got my head around everything and the difference was very noticeable.

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The place is genuinely massive and there are an absolute shed ton more corridors, stairwells and doorways more than I’ve shown here, but once you realise the whole thing is basically broken down in to only a few ‘blocks’ that contain 80% the same stuff within them, navigating and being efficient with your time and motion becomes so much infinitely easier I really can’t express it in words.

I also have the bare bones notes jotted down for a ‘Vegas/Shot Survival Guide’ based on all the tips and experiences I’ve accumulated so far. I’ll look in to actually fleshing out that article after I’m back from this year’s show. It’s probably not so big of a deal to Americans who’ve been to Vegas before, but as a foreigner I found there to be a very steep learning curve in simply navigating and understanding such a crazy city. Knowing what’s good, what to avoid and all the best ways to manage your time and money are truly crucial.

Crowd Funding

After a LOT of deliberation (good couple of years at this point) I’ve decided to break my silence as it were as far as Patreon is concerned. This is something I’ve well and truly been on the fence about for a long old time, for a couple of reasons. First off I try to keep the recurring monthly costs leaving my bank account absolutely minimal, because it’s too easy to let those ‘small’ amounts stack up and hinder me in terms of acquiring the things I really want – I’d much rather regularly squirrel money in to a savings account myself of my own accord. Secondly because there are an absolute ton of people out there with patreon accounts and deciding which ones to support has been very tricky for me indeed. There are dozens and dozens of creators out there who I like, a couple of them I’m lucky enough to meet and/or talk with now and then, and if I was superbly rich and could buy everything I wanted to post about myself without any concern I’d buy in to the top tier for every one of those people’s Patreon pages. This is the real world however.

At this time, I’ve opted to support Forgotten Weapons and Kit Badger. Two websites/YouTube channels which inhabit a similar-ish firearms realm, but one with a well established following and one that is comparatively new. My primary reasoning for these decisions is quite simple, it’s about the amount of knowledge I’m gaining from a given channel or site. There are many, many other content creators out there whose articles, videos and images I enjoy immensely and many I learn from as well, but overall the 2 mentioned are doing what I assess to be the best jobs in terms of teaching me the things I really want to learn. Of course there are also other factors and my belief is both Ian and Ivan are down-to-earth, decent members of the human race who firmly believe in integrity. I believe they’re also people who want to impart knowledge for the benefit of others, rather than merely becoming internet famous and I don’t support people who I think engage in that.

I hope and would like to think many of you reading this are here because you’re learning things (as I do every day) and because you want to understand gear, firearms and other related topics. Obviously there’s some posts that are purely for the hell of it mixed in there because nobody ever learned anything from a plaid combat shirt, but all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.

I’ve been subscribed to the Forgotten Weapons’ channel for many years now. I found it a long time ago based on a thumbnail that popped up for a video detailing an extremely unusual black power based light weapon that featured multiple chambers allowing for multiple shots in rapid succession, something that was of course quite rare for the time period. I’d seen an example of the same type of gun myself at the National Firearms Centre attached to the Royal Armouries in Leeds and at that time it was my first experience of any black powder-era gun that could actually fire more than one shot without reloading, previously I’d honestly believed no such thing ever existed.

Ivan over at Kit Bager looks at firearms through a more modern lens of hunting, recreation and personal protection. He showcases exactly the sorts of weapons and related activities I’d like to do but am either entirely barred from partaking in, or would have to go to really great lengths to partake in. He’s also former military (and civilian contractor) and an avid outdoorsman who reviews all sorts of outdoor and tactical gear from a perspective of both experience and grounded common sense. His videos also look that good that Soldier Systems Daily features them fairly often and I am glad of that in particular.

Now sometimes I do question Patreon purely in the same sense as I do YouTube, because most of these large companies are very much afraid of being painted with a brush of over-reaction by certain elements in the media. It was radical, extremist and terrorist related content that caused YouTube to lose tons of ad revenue and all type of channels lost out because of that. However based on an aggregate of a lot of different articles created by people who know, policies of demonisation have particularly hit channels related to firearms; not to mention those covering other things like knives, airsoft and anything similar that’s bad and evil and upsets people for no logical reason. So my concern is that the same thing could happen to Patreon and from what I know it did already happened to KickStarter a long time back; and I would call KickStarter Patreon in reverse.

However as things stand Patreon seems fairly neutral and sensible in its’ policies. I don’t think anyone ‘needs’ to support any creators they follow in a monetary fashion because those channels and blogs can always put up a paywall if they so choose. My stance is that it’s worth considering who you really learn from or enjoy the most, then maybe chipping in if it is appropriate. That helps to support the people you personally deem most worthy of that support in order that they keep creating the content you want to see.

Personally of course I don’t have a Patreon page, I used to make a small amount of money from YouTube, around £100-150 every 6 months very roughly, but that’s all gone now on account of the decreased amount of ad money available and the fact various work issues meant I had to take a fair break from really putting up any videos. I don’t think the patron based funding thing is ever going to be right to me because I don’t have a really nailed down schedule of regularity for publishing content. This is just a hobby for me personally and it might spoil my enjoyment of it if it became about making any money instead of just doing it because I like it. But if the ‘follower’ numbers were to somehow magically increase drastically in a few years the system I’d employ would be along these lines:

-All funds received each month go in to a pot that builds up
-Once said pot reaches an appropriate amount, I’d open up a post to any and all suggestions from the patrons on which gear items they want to see reviewed
-Once the money is there (or if close I’d add in some of my own) a specific vote based on the most popular suggestions from the earlier input would be undertaken
-The winning piece of kit from said vote is purchased, tried/tested and a review post on the blog or video uploaded
-That item is then given away to a patron

To me, running that as a cycle would make by far the most sense given that I’m not somebody doing this as my actual job and I genuinely don’t even have the storage space to keep the gear that was purchased.

Let me know what you all think of this particular subject and your feelings on any and all of the points raised above. I’m just one person and I appreciate perspectives other than my own coming in.

Occasional Visitor

Only item I own from Special Operations Equipment. Certainly the most pointless thing I posses.

But when you want a mascot to take away on any detachment or deployment, what better? They come in various sizes but I went for the XL of course. They also come in lots of colours and patterns, but the choice there was even more obvious.

He has a nickname, but I’m not going to post it here.

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Tactical Food Chain

Ever wondered where you fall in the natural pecking order of tactical stuff on the internet? Well wonder no more, the REmf TAc Research and Devlopment sub-division is working around the clock to produce answers for all your burning questions.

Top is best of course and you work down from there.

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