What can be learned from the response to a self-inflicted gunshot wound during training?

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It sucks when people get hurt.

Today in my class at Frontsight, an experienced student received a self-inflicted gunshot wound (GSW) due to a negligent discharge upon presentation of the firearm to the target.  The student fell to the ground due to a wound in his right leg, and lay there motionless in considerable pain.  I was impressed by the number of experienced medical professionals who attend Frontsight as students, because within seconds, the student was being attended to by paramedics, an ER doctor and two trauma surgeons who happened to be taking a course on an adjacent range.  The student was transported to an area hospital and was apologetic for the event.  I wish him a speedy recovery.  I would also like to extend thanks to the very cohesive cadre of people who rendered aid.

Immediate Action Medical response – another skill to learn and practice

 Here is one item that may be of use to you in a blowout kit… I list several more at the bottom of the page.  Ask yourself, how much am I willing to invest in training and gear to make sure I can address a GSW-related issue that might arise during training or on the street?

I don’t want to go into an after action or incident report here…  Frontsight has been upfront about this incident in their safety reports located here (it is #13), and I should note that they beat me to the post, which is good on them.  I do want to take this opportunity to point out something that became clear to me as a result of witnessing the events unfold. It is clear to me that the vast majority of firearm owners focus on gear first, tactics second, and mindset third.  After today, I am a firm believer that there is a fourth area that every gun owner should focus on and that is gunshot wound care.  Mistakes happen, even to the best of us, and if you carry a gun, you need to be prepared to deal with the consequences of using it.  Frontsight does an excellent job of handling equipment, tactics and mindset and even goes into fairly in-depth criminal and civil liability, but only a handful of firearms schools say anything about how to deal with gunshot wounds.


Please take a moment to watch these videos, as I explain why I think training for gunshot wound management this is such an important topic.  They are a bit rough and have general pics taken from the day, but contain no gore or objectionable material.

Medical training items to consider:

You’ve paid for the equipment, you’ve paid for the ammo, and you know how to employ it.  How much medical gear do you have and more importantly, how much training do you have using it?  I hate to say it, but a novice should plan to invest at least four days in training to expect to become reasonably proficient.  Heck, In college, I spent over 160 hours training to be an EMT, and by the time I finished I was trained to barely do more than drive the rescue!  (that’s a joke, but the point is that it is a serious and complicated subject that demands a good investment of time on your part to become comfortable with)

Also, you may be asking yourself, should I buy a pre made kit or buy it piece by piece?  here’s my thoughts… kits are nice, but I want you to learn HOW to use the items in it, and often times when you just buy a kit, you get a false sense of security… possessing the kit does not impart the knowledge to use it automatically!   Here is a short list of things you might consider to get you started:

This is the kit I keep with me everywhere I go (more or less).  I recommend you consider carrying one as well.  This incident has caused me to take another look at the items I carry in my immediate action medical pouch…  but this video is a short overview of what I had with me the day this took place.  If I had been on my own, it would be better than nothing, but not by much!

Consider adding these concepts or items to your arsenal

Training:  Although I have not been to Yeager’s training, I have heard from firsthand sources that the Immediate Action Medical course is of high value.


I own this book.  While it is very comprehensive, you should be warned that there are many graphic photos.  Also, it may be a little advanced for someone with no prior medical (or even first aid) experience.  So, if you haven’t taken the equivalent of Red Cross first aid, don’t start here.


The Israeli Battle Dressing is a staple of my immediate action kit. It is shipped in a sterile vacuum sealed bag.  They are cheap… buy one, open it and practice with it.  It will no longer be sterile after you open it… but it is great training for under 10 bucks.


Celox and other clotting agents can be miracle products… but this one requires training.  I would suggest that you try the product below to see how it works in controling bleeding for small wounds and seek training on the plunger kit.


Start small with the Celox. It has many uses, but for stopping severe bleeding, you need adequate training.


Once you have recieved training, a self-contained kit like this is handy because it takes up little space on a pack or belt.  This product is vacuum sealed, which means you can’t play around with the stuff inside without compromising sterility. Do not buy this if you have little experience with the products inside, because you don’t want to find yourself learning how to use them in a real world scenario for the first time.

double disclaimer:  This site contains Amazon links.  If you buy something thru an Amazon link, Amazon throws me some pennies, and occasionally some quarters for sending you their way.

Disclaimer:  I should state that I have attended over 50 cumulative days of training at Frontsight in the last three years, and that I feel that for the most part Frontsight runs a very tight ship safety-wise.

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