A lot of folks haven't heard yet of the Dark Angel D.A.R.K. (Direct Action Response Kit) despite it being rightfully included in the Best of SHOT Show 2012 from NRA's American Warrior magazine. I'm ordering one, and if all goes well (depends on whether I'm cleared hot to attend) I'll be able to give you a thorough review at the end of the month, but also will be able to opine intelligently (no comments from the peanut gallery) about the 'Bullets and Bandages' class they're teaching in TX in a couple weeks.
Dark Angel has a reputation as a pretty squared away organization. They are described as thoroughly knowing their business and they have a great philosophy. They not only build and provide excellent kit (the D.A.R.K.), they make their students practice using that kit (or other stuff like it) on the range and in training. The D.A.R.K. takes up approximately the same amount of space as a rifle mag pouch and contains, in their words, "Everything you might need and nothing you don't." Tourniquet, Quik-Clot Combat Gauze, Israeli bandage...you get the pictures (details below) in a proprietary pouch built to differentiate between your medical stuff and your mags.
FYI, if you're interested, the course I'm hoping to attend is down in Austin the weekend of the 23rd at the Best of the West Range. So we're clear, that's not an endorsement, just passing along the info.
Now I'm gonna step out of my lane just a little bit and engage in a brief rant. There are a couple of things (medically speaking) that have always pissed me off. The first is shoddy training. A troop or a cop will just say, "Okay I'm simulating a bandage here," the O/C says okay and off they go. Really? How is that preparing you to care for a guy who might be shrieking and writhing around, while some asshole shoots at you? The second is the number of guys who still don't carry even a rudimentary blow-out kit of some kind. You'd think after over a decade of war, many veterans of which go into law enforcement, that everyone - cops and military alike - would always have something on their person. I don't care if it's a bandage, some duct tape, a tampon and a box of Tic-Tacs, something. Cops are far worse about this than soldiers of course. I've heard tactical officers say "well, we have TacMeds, and EMS is staged outside the inner perimeter and blah blah blah..." which of course is not an adequate answer. I've heard many patrol officers say "well, I keep an IFAK and a trauma kit in my car, one in the back seat and another in the trunk," which I'm thinking might not do them any good if they're bleeding out up by the car they just stopped or on the side of the building where they were shot after a 300 meter foot chase. Sure, there's a real estate issue. Space on a class A duty uniform belt is at a premium. Pistol, mags, flashlight, cuffs, radio, Taser, baton, extra cuffs, etc. I get. However, I've got a 34" waist (33" when there aren't any damn Girl Scout cookies in the house) and I still manage to carry a small kit in addition to a third pistol mag and two cuffs. I also keep curlex wrapped around the trauma plate in my vest. Is that the best solution? No, but it beats bleeding out while listening to the sirens of the boys and girls coming hard to try to save you. Now, I'm not suggesting every flatfoot in a patrol car needs to have a D.A.R.K. on their rig (that's unrealistic) but it wouldn't hurt to throw on in or on your rapid deployment bag, and keep something on your person at all time to stop that embarrassing (and potentially fatal) leakage.
If you're curious, this is what the D.A.R.K. contains:
1) Custom Pouch from EGL with captive lid system and bungee lacing for TQ, chest decompression needles, markers, light sticks, and other items.2) CAT-The most widely fielded tourniquet in the combat operations theater. Easy to use and quick to deploy, this tourniquet is one of the most effective on the market and is the first line defense against life-threatening extremity hemorrhage.
3) Trauma shears- 7.5" blades, black oxide coated with Coyote Tan Handles. Enables the user to quickly remove clothing or other objects for prompt visualization, inspection and treatment of any injuries.
The Insert: 4) Gloves- one pair, nitrile, latex-free gloves to protect you from blood or other bodily fluids.
5) HALO Seals-by PMI-Packaged two to a pack, these are super adhesive and will maintain a solid, occlusive seal in the most austere conditions.
6) Nasal Airway, 28 Fr—a basic airway adjunct to assist in maintaining a patent airway.
7) QuikClot Combat Gauze LE—Z-folded, super absorbent 12' length of gauze with the added benefit of a proven haemostatic agent built in order to achieve hemostasis in the event of a massive hemorrhage.
8) H&H PriMed Gauze—12’ of gauze packed into a very small package allowing for additional packing material over the hemostatic gauze should it be needed.
9) 4” Israeli Bandage—Absorbency, Compression, Focused pressure. An extremely versatile, modular bandage in a small package.