The BFM Trauma Kit Concept

| August 20, 2014 | 3 Comments

Nature abhors a vacuum.

– Aristotle

I find the following to be true: I will attempt to pack any container to the point of overflow. I find this to be especially true in building a trauma kit. For the purposes of this article, a “trauma kit” is an assemblage of medical tools meant to deployed to deal with injuries sustained in a fight.

At first I started small, mostly because I had limited knowledge and limited funds. I had a tourniquet, an Israeli bandage, some sterile gauze rolls, and medical shears. Over time I added chest seals, medical gauze, non-sterile bandage wrap, hemostatic agents (which I later removed), a second tourniquet, chemlight sticks, an emergency blanket, medical tape, and a ham sandwich.

I started building bigger and bigger kits. My first kit went on my chest rig. I wound up building a bag for The She Shepherd’s car. I have a trauma kit that I took to and from work for about a year, and anywhere I went the bag went with me. I keep that in my Jeep now. I also have two smaller kits that go in my SBR / PDW bags for every day carry.

There was a point where I looked at any of these kits and thought, “this is too big to take with me.” So I started making excuses for not taking them with me.

I also know that while The She Shepherd carries a purse or sling pack every day, she doesn’t want to cram a larger kit in there.

My current thinking is the BFM — or the Bare Fucking Minimum — you’d need to address one wound to the extremities and possibly the body.


This is my definition of the BFM: one tourniquet and one Israeli bandage. Your definition will probably vary, based on what you wear, your environment, your level of training, and your willingness to tote along extra equipment.

I like the Cav Arms Slick-T tourniquet the best because it is small, easy to use, and affordable. You can buy a pair of them for about $28 before shipping from One Source Tactical.

The Israeli bandage is a trauma care kit staple, and canbe had on for about $6 per.

This is the most basic setup, with a hair tie elastic holding the two together. It’s the thinnest of carry options.


This option is what I settled on personally. It’s an inexpensive AR15 magazine pouch made by NC Star. I bought this pouch expressly for the BFM, so I have no idea if it’s a durable piece of kit for its intended purpose. However, it’s more than rugged enough to hold a bandage and a tourniquet. $7 on Amazon.

The downside to this (and my last option) is that it doubles the size of the first method. However, using a container like this is more sturdy, especially in a crowded purse or backpack.


The HSGI bleeder / blowout kit (right) is the best made and most featured filled, but it is also the biggest and most expensive. It may tempt you fill it full of stuff, and then you’ve stepped away from the BFM concept.

What do you carry as your “BFM” kit? Is there something else that you think is absolutely essential that I left out? Remember, we want to keep it as small and simple as possible.


About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

3 Comments on "The BFM Trauma Kit Concept"

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  1. Kyliewyotie says:

    I too have gone through many variations of my kits. I also have a larger kit (meant to address more than just fight injuries) in my jeep. We go often very deep off road into the swamp and having my vehicle kit gives me some options.

    For my BFM I choose to buy a premade kit from the instructor I took a 3 day trauma medicine class from. I’m not here to plug for people, but dark angel medical was company. And pocket Doc is a great instructor/dood. I carry his Pocket kit with me everywhere (but I wear it on my belt.) It conceals under my t shirt with no issues, and is light weight and unobtrusive.

    The contents of my pocket kit are a SWAT-T tourniquet, an izzy bandage, QuikClot Combat Gauze (Z fold), gloves and 2 Imodium tabs (cause that can be an emergency imo.)

    I am curious to why you removed your hemostatic agents? Was it powdered form or the impregnated gauze type?

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      It was the powder. We removed them after reading several accounts from people who used them. They stated that they weren’t always effective and caused problems during surgery and recovery.

      The impregnated gauze is supposed to be better, but we don’t have any.

  2. Nice write up! I use a similar system, but I wear “purpose built” clothing. The Duluth Trading Company Fire Hose Pants have nice multi-layered cargo pockets. I carry an IBD and a CAT in them everywhere I go.

    For a compact TQ check out the SOFT-W. It can be folded up very small and I think it’s better than the CavArms. I would carry those if I didn’t already own several CATs.

    I think that hemostatic agents in a civilized/city environment where EMS is a phone call away have limited use. If you want them you can get nice sponge or gauze from Adventure Medical and Quick Clot.

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