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How to Properly Set Up and Wear a Combat Tourniquet

Disclaimer:  These are only suggestions or proper setup and wear of the combat tourniquet.  All personnel using a tourniquet should consult their medic, doctor, healthcare provider and tourniquet manufacturer on the proper wear, setup and use of the tourniquet prior to use. After seeing countless soldiers walking around in combat zones, improperly wearing their tourniquets, we thought we would put together a quick guide to getting your kit set up properly.

Soldiers are often handed tourniquets and given no instruction on its proper wear or use and then take that piece of kit into combat under the notion that they will figure it out when the time comes.  Unfortunately, the tourniquet, like any other piece of life-saving equipment is something that you have to pragmatically approach in setup and use.  This is especially important when you consider that an arterial bleed can cause someone to lose consciousness in 15 seconds and completely bleed out in 30-45 seconds.

If operators are not actively practicing the use of applying the tourniquet from their kit then they should consider making it a part of their training plan.  Below is a simple guide on how to properly set up and place a combat tourniquet on your gear.

Step 1- The setup of your tourniquet is crucial in ensuring it can be quickly placed onto the injured limb.  Under no circumstances should soldiers be walking around theater with the plastic wrap still covering their tourniquets or if they haven’t properly set up the tourniquet for immediate use. Inspection: When you are first issued a tourniquet you should inspect its components for cracks, tears or deformities.

This is especially important for users living in dry, hot, desert environments that cause the plastics to break easily. Preparation:  After inspecting the tourniquet you should prepare it for immediate deployment.  The idea behind the set up is to make the tourniquet so that it can be used with one hand in the event that it needs to be applied to one of your arms.

To prepare the tourniquet for employment first weave the tourniquet strap through ONE loop on the attached buckle.  This will allow you to cinch the tourniquet down using one hand.  If you weave through both buckles you will not be able to cinch the tourniquet down as quickly.  Once the tourniquet is cinched down and the velcro has adhered to itself there will be enough friction to keep it from moving. If you are using the RATS Tourniquet you can create your cinch loop prior to storage as well for even quicker application.

Sizing: Size the tourniquet so that it is open/wide enough to fit over your largest extremity (usually your leg) as well as fit over any equipment you might have on such as a drop leg holster or boots.  The tail end should be very short since it will adhere to the velcro on the tourniquet. If the tail is too long and adhered to too much velcro you will not be able to grab it and cinch it down using one hand.

Take the tail end of the tourniquet and fold it over on itself, creating a small tab for you to grab.  This is important given that if you are using the tourniquet, your dexterity will be limited due to gloves, blood or dirt.

Finally “S” roll the tourniquet onto itself so that it will open when pulled from your kit.

Step 2 – Placement: Placing the tourniquet on your kit is as equally as important in ensuring you can employ it in a timely manner.  Many soldiers downrange place their tourniquets in their top right or top left cargo pocket of their duty uniform; this should be avoided considering that if the opposite arm in which the tourniquet is being carried becomes injured it would not be able to reach up and grab the tourniquet from the pocket.

All tourniquets should be placed where both hands can easily reach them and release with minimal effort! One of the most important things when considering placement of the tourniquet is ease of employment.  Rubber bands, tourniquet holders and even hair ties are great ways of keeping your tourniquet on your kit while still being able to rip it off when needed.  Note: If using rubber bands or hair ties to keep your tourniquet on your kit always ensure you replace them every few days.

Rubber bands will easily break, especially when left out in the elements. A few common places for your tourniquet include the middle of your plate carrier, behind your back, centered on your belt, lower left or right pant leg cargo pocket, buttstock of a rifle, inside a vehicle door handle and on the outside of the aid bag.  I personally keep two tourniquets on me at all time, one on my tourniquet holder located behind my back on my belt and the second in my lower cargo pocket pants leg.

The reason I keep these in the said locations is to ensure that one, I have a tourniquet on my persons at all time and two, I have more than one tourniquet on me at all times in the event that I need to apply it to two extremities or to another casualty. Placing the tourniquet on your body armor:

Placing the tourniquet on your belt (best option for low vis operations)

Placement on rifle:

Placement in pocket: Important considerations: When operating in a semi or non-permissive environment you should have a tourniquet on you at all times.  In many cases, personnel operating overseas will gucci their kit with several tourniquets, none of which are carried on their first line of equipment.  This causes personnel to walk around the base with no ability to stop massive bleeders and leaves them vulnerable when IDF or Green on Blue attacks occur.

Remember, just because the mission stopped doesn’t mean the war stopped, be ready to perform first aid at all times. In short, when you need to use your tourniquet you have the rest of your life to figure out if you set it up properly or not.  To ensure quick application operators should always practice taking their tourniquet from their kit and applying it to their different extremities in 15 seconds or less.  We try to incorporate the placement of tourniquets into our stress shoots and combat scenarios to ensure each operator has the proper setup. We have numerous options available on our website that will allow you to quickly access your tourniquet in a life or death situation.

Learn more at tacticalequipment.com

Why You Should Buy Made In The USA

A lot of Americans downplay the need to buy products Made in the USA, mainly because as a society we have become accustomed to wanting things cheap and now.  We will often overlook the morals of a purchase in order to get a product made overseas at 10% the cost of the Made in the USA product, disregarding the implications of that purchase and how it will affect our fellow citizen, nation and the overall international arena.

What people most often forget is the purchase of any product generates profit.  This profit goes to someone and or some government.  From the sale of every product, there are taxes that you are directly or indirectly paying/contributing to and these taxes are used to fuel economies and personal interests.

Think of it like this: if I buy a product made in China I am essentially giving money to a Chinese citizen and the Chinese government.  This revenue is then used as a bargaining tool for the Chinese government to build warships, armies, more factories, roads, and even hospitals as well as increase their international strength and political influence.  Even the money that goes to a Chinese citizen is subsequently taxed by the government and also used for nation building and hegemonic growth.  You could also look at the case of Pakistan.

When you buy a product made in Pakistan, that money goes to the Pakistani government, a nation well known for contributing to terrorist activities.  This is not to make the link that if you buy from Pakistan you are supporting terrorism, but it does give a little thought/insight as to where those profits might end up.

While it is impossible to know where exactly your money ends up from a purchase it is safe to say that the purchase of a product from a foreign country contributes directly to that country’s economy and political interests. While the profits generated from the purchase of a product go to another nation’s gain it also detracts from our own.

At present, the United States Economy is in a state of disarray and it’s our own fault.  Because of our societal tendencies to want things cheaper, we have pushed our production to nation states who can pay sweatshop workers to crank-out products at twice the speed and for a quarter of the price while at the same time creating a greater profit margin for the company.

Typically, US manufacturing or retail businesses will graduate to overseas production where they are guaranteed the ability to double their production at a fraction of the cost and their actions will almost always go unnoticed.

We have gone as far as making the US Olympic uniforms in China and reports suggest that $3.2million worth of our nation’s flags were made overseas.  Even the Apple MacBook I am writing this blog on was made overseas.  We as a nation have officially sold out to a consumer mindset and have thus begun the decline of the USA as we know it. The good news is, there is still hope.

There is still something you as an American can do, every day, to help rebuild our economy and to help dig ourselves out of a 16 trillion dollar debt.  When you buy products that are Made in the USA you are not only supporting US business but you are supporting US interests both at home and abroad.




Our nation currently suffers a 4.3% unemployment rate.  That means that 7 million reported Americans are currently out of work.  We understand this number doesn’t mean there are 7 million Americans that can’t get jobs because (there are a some who choose not to work); however, it does reflect a large number who desire to work but can’t find decent jobs.

The bottom line is, when you buy a product Made in the USA you create jobs in the USA.  As RE Factor Tactical grows we continually hire American workers and since we manufacture almost all of our products in the USA, we can offer different positions such as receptionists, labor workers, and engineers to Americans.

When our company is taxed our taxes go to the US economy and the revenue we make for our company is spent on the US economy. Now, I know there might be a few of you already chomping at the bit to write a rebuttal telling us how if your profits go to the USA and then the US Government gives money to Pakistan in military aid or Egypt’s newly established contentious government then you are essentially doing the same thing as buying overseas.  And to a certain extent that may be true.  However, when you buy a product made in the USA those funds ALSO go to schools, hospitals, national defense and all of the other amenities we enjoy as Americans.

Without revenue, our economy will continue to suffer while others flourish.  We understand not every product can come from the USA and even our Blasting Cap is made in Bangladesh (not by choice).  We also understand buying only products Made in the USA would be expensive, exhausting and most likely impossible.  Will you pay more? Sometimes.  Can you force yourself only to buy Made in the USA?  Probably not.  But when there is a choice, which there usually is, we hope you consider a product made by Americans and allow that generated revenue to help strengthen our own economy, military, education system, and overall health as a nation.

We believe that as a nation we need to re-establish ourselves as one of the leading producers of textiles, export goods and craftsmanship in the global economic battlefield.  We need to become the nation that others look to for guidance on quality and treatment of workers.  And, this all begins with nationalistic pride in ourselves and the purchasing of products that our fellow Americans create and make in the USA.

Companies committed to selling in the USA give up their own profit that could be made by going overseas for the good of the nation and job creation. For full disclosure, the following products carried in our store are not Made in the USA.  Please note that we work tirelessly to make all of our products in the USA, however, some of them can only be made overseas due to logistical reasons.

We only go overseas for production as a last resort, after all other options have been exhausted. –RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap (Made in Bangladesh.)  These are made through FlexFit, a US company whose manufacturing facility is based overseas.

Why We Made The RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap

After going through countless “tactical” hats that never fit properly and wear out quickly, RE Factor Tactical decided to take matters into our own hands and create the most advanced tactical hat on the market.  To us, a hat isn’t just something that covers your eyes from the sun, especially when used in an operational environment.  Because of this, we sought out to develop a hat that is specifically designed for use in the field.  For years the owner of REFT has been modifying Flexfit hats by sewing velcro on them for use downrange.  Because of this, we met with Flexfit and developed a hat designed specifically for the operator.  Below are just a few of the features of this hat.

Click to purchase the RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap   Problem- Many tactical hats are uncomfortable out of the box and take prolonged use before breaking in. Solution- We made our hats on a Flexfit base which offer a perfect, comfortable fit right out of the box.  The hats come in S-M and L-XL for a universal fit.

RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap

We teamed up with Flexfit to offer the highest quality possible

Problem- Most tactical hats on the market come with only one Velcro patch that frays quickly due to shoddy sewing. Solution- We asked Flexfit to embroider the outside edges of the front and rear  2.5″x3″ Velcro patches.  These allow for a more durable hat and multiple removal and adhesion of Velcro.

Embroidered edges allow for prolonged Velcro use

Problem- Most tactical hats place velcro patches on the front but nothing on top for identification from aircraft. Solution- We placed a 1″x1″ velcro patch on the top of the hat, specifically designed to accommodate an IR patch

A 1″x1″ Velcro patch on the top of the hat allows for use of an IR marker

Problem- When not using IR patches, Operators will take them off and can often lose them or forget to put them back on before a mission. Solution- We placed a 1″x1″ velcro patch on the inside of the hat for storage of the IR patch when not in use.

An interior 1″x1″ velcro square allows for storage or IR patches when not in use.

Problem- VF-17 Panels are cumbersome to carry and are often left behind due to space restrictions.  However, these are essential when marking the Operator’s location during daylight hours. Solution- We tasked Flexfit with finding the brightest neon orange possible and then integrating it into the cap.  This allows the Operator to have the ability to be seen in emergency situations or as a near recognition signal.

A VF-17 panel is sewn into the hat for emergency signaling

Problem- Most tactical hats offer no breathability in hot environments. Solution- We outfitted the back half of the Blasting Cap with a sport mesh, breathable material for rapid cooling during extraneous activity or in hot environments.

The back half of the hat comes with sport mesh for increased breathability in hot environments
The back of the hat comes with a 2.5″x3″ patch in the back

In addition to fixing common tactical hat problems, we added a few extras.  First, we reduced the pitch of the front of the hat allowing for a lower profile look.  In addition, we added the RE Factors of various explosives along the inside of the hat for quick reference for breachers, EOD and anyone else working with explosives.

Top 10 Tactical Hats

Finally, on the tag, we included the RE Factor Tactical TNT molecule logo.  To add to this, our Operators tested the hats downrange prior to releasing them on the market to ensure 100% quality and usability to the end-user.  We firmly stand behind our products since we trust our own lives to their dependability. 

Purchase the RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap

Alternate use of the velcro for a headlamp adhesion pad

Why We Made The Trauma Shear Holster

The Trauma Shear Holster was developed after losing countless trauma shears during operations and not having them on us when it came to TCCC.  The Trauma Shear Holster is a cheap, durable and easily installable item that will keep your trauma shears on you throughout the entire operation. Adhesion methods: The Trauma Shear Holster can be adhered either using the hook Velcro on the back or by weaving in through MOLLE gear.

The Enhanced Kit Bag

The RE Factor Tactical Trauma Shear Holster is no longer available.

What to put in your E&E Bag

Why We Made The Tactical Tourniquet Holder

After spending years downrange and conducting countless missions the owners of REFT decided it was time to find a solution for carrying the Combat Tourniquet.  This came after a failure to find a product that allows the user to carry their tourniquet on a number of different platforms and access it using one hand.  After creating the prototype, the owner took the tourniquet holder downrange for testing and was initially disappointed with the results.  However, after an extensive redesign and another tested deployment REFT is proud to introduce the RE Factor Tactical Tourniquet Holder to the public.

What to Pack in your E&E Bag

We designed the tourniquet holder to be as accessible as possible.  The tabs that hold the tourniquet in place are sewn together to allow for a one-handed release, something that is crucial when accessing a tourniquet in a life or death situation.  In addition, the tabs have an elastic base to help hold the tourniquet in place using slight retention and allows for the holder to fit most issued tourniquet to include the C-A-T and SOF Tactical Tourniquet.

The tourniquet holder can be mounted to kit either through a MOLLE weave, hook Velcro adhesion or by looping the tabs around a belt or webbing.

The tabs on the tourniquet holder are spaced to adapt to standard-issue MOLLE gear.

The Enhanced Kit Bag

The hook velcro on the back allows the tourniquet holder to be mounted to low vis velcro vests, inside a vehicle, on a medical bag or any other loop velcro surface.  This also allows the tourniquet to ripped off the platform and given to someone else in a medical situation.

The Tourniquet holder can also be mounted to a belt or similar platform.  This is perfect for low vis operations or police officers as it allows the user to carry the tourniquet on their persons and still reach it using both hands. All RE Factor Tactical Tourniquet Holders are Made in the USA and retail for $18.95.  For more information or to purchase visit http://www.refactortactical.com/product-p/reft-tourniquet-holder.htm

What’s in your Go Bag?

We’ve Teamed Up With Operation Hawkeye

Virginia schoolboy Will Thomas launched Operation Hawkeye following the loss of thirty U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) warriors and a military working dog on 8.6.2011, when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter, call sign EXTORTION 17, was shot down in Afghanistan in what remains the largest single-day loss of life in Operation Enduring Freedom.
As featured in Sports Illustrated KIDS, Operation Hawkeye uses sport to honor fallen heroes and aid those left behind.  The team numbers in the tens of thousands from across the U.S. “• individuals, businesses, athletes and coaches, and media figures and writers “•working together.  OHE works closely with several nonprofit organizations serving the SOF community, and has established fundraising and programmatic accounts with the Navy SEAL Foundation, Red Circle Foundation, Air Commando Association Foundation, That Others May Live Foundation, MARSOC Foundation, Warrior Dog Foundation, among others.
Will Thomas and other mission teammates, including Tap Rack Bang Creative and COMBAT Swag, created the Project FAST ROPE paracord bracelet as part of a youth-led initiative to inform others regarding the service of America’s SOF and raise funds in support of their loved ones.  The bands are made in the USA, and are also incorporated into other Operation Hawkeye initiatives involving youth, such as the E17 Free Throw Challenge. Thomas launched Project FAST ROPE was launched through a $1,000 Disney Friends for Change Grant awarded Thomas in 2013.
RE Factor Tactical has teamed up with Operation Hawkeye to help raise money and awareness.  100% of the net proceeds of each sale of the FAST ROPE bracelet are donated to Operation Hawkeye’s program accounts within mission teammate nonprofits.
For more information on Operation Hawkeye visit www.OpHawkeye.com, and be sure to join the mission team by “liking” www.Facebook.com/OperationHawkeye.