Gear Review: Rescue Essentials 5.11 UCR IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit)

” If you’re going to put holes in people, you better know how to close them up.” That’s something I’ve thought, and many others have as well. It’s why we have Direct Action Medical courses – to remedy that deficit in training and thinking – like the Dark Angel Medical Course.  And whether or not you carry, I firmly believe you should know how to deal with traumatic injuries – especially in today’s dangerous climate.

We’ve done plenty of reviews on IFAKs, with many more coming down the pike – like Px Hero’s JAFO II IFAK.  One of my personal favorites is this one on the review block – Rescue Essential 5.11 UCR IFAK. Let’s start from the outside and work our way in for this review.

Firstly, the 5.11 UCR IFAK comes with a 5.11 Tactical pouch, which is MOLLE capable, as well as having some very unique load-out options. The kit itself zips and velcros shut, keeping the contents intact, and can be worn on a battle belt, secured to a pack, or directly to a place carrier if that’s your style. As you can see in the picture to the left, you have a bunch of mini compartments inside of the kit itself, with a red bungee to stop your pressure bandage or TQ from going flying out if you rip it open in a hurry – which obviously if you need it, it will be quick. WHat I really like about the design of the pouch itself, aside from being robust, MOLLE ready, and deceptively spacious, is the bungee cord on the top. This allows you to secure it to a seat in your car, which as many readers have asked “What is the best IFAK for a car?”, answers the question. This is your guy.

Within the kit you get everything you need to deal with a personal or third party trauma, from gunshot wounds to lacerations to a closed airway. You get the attached below stocked in the package:

1  5.11 Tactical UCR IFAK Pouch

2  Pair Nitrile Gloves (Lrg)

1  NAR Combat Application Tourniquet (Gen 7, Black)

1  Celox Rapid Hemostatic Gauze

1  NAR Emergency Trauma Dressing (4″)

1  NAR Hyfin Compact Vent Chest Seal, Twin Pack

1  Nasopharyngeal Airway (28Fr) w/ lube

1  Hypothermia Blanket

1  EMT Shears (5.5″)

Now, by the numbers, you get two pairs of gloves, which is outstanding engineering since you may have more than one person you need to help. Then you get an official NAR CAT (combat application tourniquet), ToCCC approved and any corpsman will recommend this as opposed to a knockoff or other TQ. They are easy to operate, and save lives. Proven in the heat of combat and stemming from the Somali incursion of the 90s – think Blackhawk Down – the CAT is a proven method of stopping people from bleeding out, with enough surface area to minimize nerve damage. You also get CELOX rapid hemostatic gauze to stop bleeds and urge clotting, and a NAR trauma dressing to apply pressure and cover wounds. I also love the fact that you get Hyfin Vent Chest Seals – two of them. These are a MUST in my opinion for a medkit that will see the chance of a gunshot – like one for your range bag. If you are a corpsman or First Responder, you need these. They are vented to prevent the user from having to “burp” the seal when pressure builds up from a pnuemothorax issue. The nasopharyngeal airway (NPA for short)  is 28 french diameter, and comes with lube. That’s the only minor issue I have with the kit, but its by no means a deal breaker – I like prelubed NPA’s, since it’s one less thing you have to do, and if the airway is closing or obstructed, every second counts! That being said, it takes literally a second to lube the NPA for insertion. You also get a mylar blanket to prevent shock and retain warmth for your patient, as well as a small sharpie for writing the time you put on a TQ or mark a patients chest for EMS/Medevac. In addition, you get some solid EMT shears which – as we have referenced – can cut through a penny; plenty strong for cutting through civilian clothes or cammies.

All of the above fits snugly into the 5.11 pouch and is accessible and not crammed. There are sewn partitions which allow you to have a modicum of organization.

Overall, the kit is outstanding, and a great addition to your car, bug out bag, range bag, or gear. Not a boo boo kit, this IFAK is designed to mitigate trauma and life threatening injuries. That being said, if you don’t know how to use them – under fire isn’t the time to learn. Please, get some training. I have taken the Dark Angel Medical course and can attest that it is thorough, accessible, and practically applicable, with robust classroom and role-play training.

Pros, what we like: The inclusion of NAR (North American Rescue) gear which is battle tested like Combat Application Tourniquets and pressure bandages. You also get 2 pairs of gloves, shears, hemostatic gauze, and shears, as well as an NPA. So, you can deal with bleeding, punctures/gunshots to the torso, heavy bleeds, and a closed airway and much more. It’s a perfect kit for your car, bag, or range loadout. 

Cons, what we don’t like: I’m nitpicking, but I wish the NPA was prelubed. That said, it takes a second or less to lube the NPA for insertion. This is not even a factor in my opinion. Get trained if you haven’t, and scoop up one of these. 

UPDATE 11/2017: This IFAK is still in my car as my go-to blowout kit. The only thing it lacks is a decompression needle, like my Blue Force TKN, but it has Hyfin Chest Seals. Overall, this is one of the best, most compact yet comprehensive IFAKs I own, and I’m confident with it being in my car, especially with the CAT TQ. You can handle pretty much any traumatic event, except for a compressed pnuemo-thorax, but with the chest seals, it’s pretty close to having a decompression needle. In times like these, you need to have an IFAK on your person, or close to you, and this one does the trick. 


Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.

His where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit, Barbells for Bullies, which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.
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