If there are ever any benefits that come from war, specifically protracted ground combat, it would be the advances in trauma medicine and equipment narrowly focused on life-saving interventions.
On the equipment side, the acceptance of tourniquets has been the biggest. Following their acceptance, their widespread adoption and use with the military, law enforcement, fire/EMS services, and the medical community has been very significant. There have been countless lives saved because of tourniquets and, sadly, lives lost when they were not used soon enough or even at all. Many of these tourniquet saves have been due to gunfire and fragmentation from improvised explosive devices – but not all. Others have been from wounds sustained in catastrophic accidents like those involving cars or aircraft with various types of penetrating trauma.
Parallel to the proliferation of tourniquets has been the movement and repositioning of gear by law enforcement officers. No longer are officers carrying all their equipment on the duty belt. The profession sees more officers using drop leg holsters for handguns, Tasers, and other leg-mounted pouches.
Recently, Alien Gear brought the Taq-Strap Integrated Tourniquet to market, and it replaces your existing leg straps from your holster and your sub-load panels for magazines, medical gear, protective masks, or anything similar. The Taq-Strap is made from 1.5” wide webbing and has the ratcheting buckle from the M2 tourniquet. The M2 tourniquet and its ratcheting buckle have already been approved by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC).
When worn as designed, the Taq-Straps will sit near the top of your thighs and the ratcheting buckle will be facing forward.
Alien Gear notes that with the Taq-Strap already on your legs, it greatly minimizes the time needed to put on a tourniquet and then tighten it enough for it to be effective. This also means the wearer could tighten it with only one hand, whether they can focus their attention on the task or not. The company says this can be done in as few as five seconds from the time of wounding. Additionally, one’s ability to see the tourniquet is immaterial since it is already attached and because the user can keep their eyes up as they watch their surroundings, all of which means better situational awareness.
The developer of the Taq-Strap is Randy Watts, who has over 20 years of experience in the U.S. Navy and domestic law enforcement.
Watts’ Taq-Strap allows the officer to keep their safety equipment on and still benefit from the applied tourniquet. Alien Gear and Watts have mentioned that the Taq-Strap is a temporary device until one is out of the line of fire or has been evacuated to a level of treatment beyond self-aid or buddy-aid. Once there, both recommend replacing the Taq-Strap with a purpose tourniquet and going through the remainder of traditional trauma treatment protocols such as those under the TCCC doctrine.
The Taq-Strap Integrated Tourniquet comes in both black and coyote tan, with a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $85, which may vary depending on the specific holster attachment needs.