January 31, 2022

Tactical Medical Kits

Keeping an Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) on your person may not be an obvious addition to your day-to-day life. At least not at first glance. But these kits are absolutely essential and can be just as important as a concealed carry weapon.


Why are IFAKs so important?

Because if you’re in the vicinity of a car crash, work-related accident, or God forbid, an active shooting, having an IFAK can save lives. And at the end of the day, having the ability to save lives when calamity strikes is the reason we carry concealed in the first place. So today, we’re going to compare unpack two high-quality IFAK kits.

But instead of listing out all the components that are included, we’re going to discuss several of the pieces included in the kit, explain their significance, and discuss which IFAK provides the highest value.



There are three popular types of tourniquets that you can choose from: SWAT, SOF-T, and CAT.

The SWAT (Stretch, Wrap, and Tuck) is the most basic. This particular tourniquet is easy to apply and should take less than 60 seconds if done correctly. While this might not seem like a lot of time, every second matters when someone is bleeding out. It has a wide footprint, so you can easily cover lacerations up to 3 inches wide.

SOF-Tactical tourniquets are a step up from SWAT. To use this tourniquet, you wrap it above the wound and tighten it with the thumbscrew. It should only take 20 seconds to apply. The bleeding should stop if you use it correctly.

The best tourniquet is the Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) Gen 7. This has been the official tourniquet of the U.S. Army since the early 2000s. It’s easy enough to use that it only takes a single hand to apply. In addition, the CAT has been tested and proven to stop bleeding from hemorrhaging limbs. This is the top-of-the-line tourniquet.

Israeli Trauma Bandage

This is a single-use bandage designed to stop bleeding from hemorrhaging wounds. It has a plastic tube to hold pressure against the wound after the bandage is wrapped around the injured body part. They are sterile and come in vacuum-sealed packaging. The U.S. Military has used these for nearly two decades.

Chest Seals

The final component we’re going to discuss is the chest seals. Chest seals are intended to stop chest wounds from sucking air into the body, such as gunshot wounds. When air enters the chest, it can create pressure around the lungs and cause your lungs to collapse (which is also known as pneumothorax). However, stopping air from entering the chest is only half the puzzle. Venting air that’s already entered the chest cavity is the final step. That’s why your chest seals should always have vents built into them.


RTS Tactical Rapid Deploy IFAK

This IFAK from RTS Tactical has all the essential components you need to save lives. It comes equipped with an Israeli Trauma Bandage, vented chest seals, and a tourniquet of your choice.

  • This IFAK weighs in at 6.4 ounces making it very lightweight.
  • The base-level kit comes with a SWAT tourniquet, but for an extra $12, you can upgrade to either a SOF-T or CAT tourniquet. Considering a CAT tourniquet usually retails around $35, we think this is a significant value upgrade.
  • The base kit comes out to $139.99. Not cheap by any means, but given all the equipment included, this is a reasonable price.


Dark Angel Medical S.P.E.A.R Trauma Kit

Dark Angel’s Premier IFAK has a significantly different offering than RTS. The S.P.E.A.R kit does come with a compression bandage, chest seals, and your choice of a SOF-T or CAT tourniquet, but that’s where the similarities end. However, this kit does come with hemostatic gauze, which is a nice bonus.

  • The S.P.E.A.R kit is nearly three times heavier than the RTS kit at 17 ounces.
  • You can choose between the SOF-T or CAT tourniquet at no extra charge.
  • Costs 25% more at $199.99.


The Verdict

Both of these IFAKs are a solid choice to have around. However, we think the RTS Tactical Rapid Deploy kits are better for the price. No matter which equipment you choose, you’ll be able to save lives should the need ever occur. So take your pick. We don’t think you’ll have buyer’s remorse with either product.

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