Web Blast Extra: Gifts For Grunts

The grunts gift guide for 2012.
From the home front to the tip of the spear.

I started writing a plea to remember our troops deployed overseas at Christmastime — and then paused and thought about who I’m talkin’ to here. With you folks, there’s no pleading necessary: you know, you remember and you give. For many of you, sending “CARE Packages” is routine, and as December approaches, the only difference is you tuck a Christmas card into those parcels.

If you’re sending to family or friends, you know what they need. If you want to send to “friends you haven’t met yet,” I strongly urge you to go to AnySoldier.com. It’s a family-operated 501c3 outfit dedicated to getting the most-needed support to our deployed personnel from all the services: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Requests come directly from the troops and, believe me, their needs vary wildly depending on exactly where they’re deployed under what conditions, and the makeup of their units. Pay special attention to AnySoldier’s “What to Send,” “What not to Send,” and holiday shipping info.

Please be aware too in 2012, for the first time in AnySoldier’s decade of service, they’ve run into debt. It’s a straight up worthy outfit, so I hope you’ll consider a donation to them as well. That’s what I want for Christmas, so never mind sending me those fuzzy slippers! Connor OUT

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Jim Toner is a hardcore handgunner, head honcho of Toner Machining Technologies, and a big supporter of our troops. Jim had them in mind, along with cops and outdoorsmen, when he designed the TMT Wallet. Made of a rugged proprietary polymer, it’s O-ring sealed, it floats, and is packed with features like a pen, tweezers, toothpick, compass, a glass breaker, hidden compartments and more; too much to list here. The TMT Wallet is light and compact, but has lots of room for a grunt’s most cherished goodies.

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Built virtually “grunt-proof” for use in the harshest environments, Tuff-Writer’s Frontline Series Tactical Pens make great gifts. Precision machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and hard anodized to military specs, they’re smooth writers and tough defensive tools too. Pressurized Fisher cartridges perform at any angle, even upside down, just like some soldiers we know!

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“A Grayman knife for every Grunt” is a great goal, and this trio offers three terrific options. You’ve seen and read about their tank-tough titanium folders, the 4″ blade Satu and 3″ blade Dua in past issues of Handgunner, but don’t overlook the newly redesigned 6″ fixed-blade Ground Pounder. The 1/4″ thick 1095 steel blade and heavy duty G10 handle scales make it tough enough for any field or fighting task.

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The troops love their iPhone 4s and so do I. Great device, but I quickly went through three “skins” — cases for ’em — and they were too flimsy or too bulky, too slippery, or they interfered with the controls. Then I tried the Battle Case from Strike Industries and haven’t taken it off. Slim but tough and grippy, even the feature I thought might be cheesy — the “rapid reload” loop — turned out to be extremely handy. Available in black, OD and FDE, each comes with two screen protectors and there’s even an optional Kevlar insert, not to stop bullets, but for increased shock protection. If your grunt giftee has an iPhone 4 or 4S, it’s the perfect add on.

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The quality and effectiveness of cleaning kits from Otis Technologies is unquestioned, and their new MSR/AR Cleaning System is the most complete compact dedicated setup for M16s and M4s I know of. Here’s everything a trigger puller needs for a fast field cleaning or deep maintenance back at base, including specialized tools like the BONE Tool for cleaning the bolt and carrier and the Mongoose G2 brush for effective cleaning of copper deposits and other fouling. Neat, complete and priced sweet!

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Beat the ban on lithium batteries! Buy your grunt the most versatile compact lighting system designed for combat use — Streamlight’s Sidewinder Compact II, which runs on either a lithium CR123A, a lithium AA, or, a standard alkaline AA battery! Then, send lots of alkaline AAs before they’re banned too. Four separate light sources including IR and ergonomic controls easily operable without “eyeballs-on,” low to high output and a double-click strobe mode, all in a shock-suppressed unit which attaches to helmets, headstraps or any MOLLE gear.

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Weird picture, huh? That’s a Povidone-Iodine swabstick and prep pad. Just about everywhere we have boots on the ground, even the smallest nick or cut can lead to a nasty infection, and Povidone-Iodine is the best preventative treatment — but hard to get. The best and cheapest source I’ve found is Allegro Medical online, offering 50 individually sealed PVP-I swabsticks (#560407) and 100 PVP-I prep pads (#560405). Keep some and send lots! Go online and check out my “Connor’s Med Kit” Web Blast for more info. ( See below )

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The CQB Tool by Spartan Blades USA was developed at the request of USSOCOM as a “Get Offa’ Me!” knife for use when a warrior is locked in mortal combat so close that neither combatant can get a muzzle between them, and it’s the perfect tool for the job. Thin but strong and superbly ergonomic, it’s 7″ of 154CM steel and a terrific Christmas gift!


The Tale Of A Nasty Nick

— And How To Nullify The Nastiness —

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Caption: One little nick, untreated…

Take a long look at the photo, folks. This is the result of a tiny nick on the left index finger with a new pocket knife. The owner of that sliced-up hand is a county sheriff in the Midwest; a 32-year law enforcement veteran, a frequent instructor at Gunsite Academy, and a well-informed, careful man. But this cut was so small and seemingly inconsequential that he literally wiped his finger on his pants and moved on. How many times have you done that?

The incident occurred on December 20, 2010. He had just purchased a bunch of new folding knives as Christmas gifts for his deputies and was checking them out when the nick occurred. On Christmas morning he woke up with a knot in his armpit. That was Saturday, and on Monday he saw a doctor. The knot was still there and significant swelling had developed. The doc prescribed oral antibiotics. The sheriff was better on Tuesday, but 24 hours later the situation worsened and he returned to his physician. The doc immediately sent him to a hand specialist surgical center.

There, a surgeon performed a little exploratory operation and found nothing specific; nothing notable. The sheriff returned for treatment and observation regularly for over a week, but things only got worse, as infection ran up his forearm and his elbow swelled up. Another surgeon at the hand center was called in. He found the sheath of his patient’s flexor tendon housed a staph infection and explained that first, the infection had to be brought under control, and then further surgery was necessary to keep from losing the finger and perhaps more.

After several days of intravenous antibiotic treatments the infection was better but the sheriff had very little use of his index finger. More extensive surgery was mandated. Being the kinda guy he is, our pal didn’t want to sleep through the fun. Numbed with an arm block, he not only watched the whole procedure, but chatted with the surgeon and sent text messages to his wife. Cool, but when he texted “Honey, I can feel him moving the tendon,” she fired back “Stop telling me that — I’m going to puke!” When the surgeon finally closed, the sheriff took the photo with his iPhone.
Months of therapy followed, and the sheriff couldn’t press a trigger with his left hand until May. It seems he’ll never regain full strength and flexibility, but as he says, “I still have it and continue to work with it.”

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Povidone prep pads and swabsticks belong in every aid pack.

Proper Field Prep and Treatment

The photo was shared with a few friends and then it leaked out on the web. After morphing through the usual internet mutations, a well-intended but misinformed fellow shooter distributed it recently with a flawed story as to the background, and urging readers to clean all such wounds with alcohol prep pads. That’s when the sheriff corrected the account, and Dr. Chuck Kerber weighed in.

Dr. Kerber is a former flight surgeon, a multiple-course Gunsite grad and a respected neurointerventional surgeon. If you’re not familiar with the title, no sweat; I didn’t know it either. Basically, that’s a brain surgeon who employs robotic surgery via arteries and veins without having to open up the skull. In addition to his high-tech practice, he’s also an excellent blood-and-sand doc who can treat you in a mud-floored tent as well as in a metro hospital operating theater — just the kind of guy you want on your team. He was quick to point out that “Alcohol in fact damages tissue, thus prolongs healing, and importantly, fails to kill important bacteria,” adding, “We sure don’t use alcohol to bathe and clean wounds in the emergency room — and that should tell everybody something.”

Dr. Kerber recommends cleansing even the smallest wounds with good ol’ unsophisticated but highly effective soap and warm water. Beyond that, rather than alcohol pads, he encourages use of Povidone Iodine prep pads, and I was pleased to see he even recommends my supplier: Allegro Medical. You’ll find them at www.allegromedical.com. More about them later, okay?

Povidone is an organically bound form of iodine, and it’s probably the most effective wound cleanser you can get. It’s less toxic to injured skin and muscle than tincture of iodine and, so far, no bacteria have been found to develop resistance to it. Povidone Iodine (PVP-I) is classified as a broad-spectrum bactericide, and it’s also effective against yeasts, molds, viruses, fungi and protozoa. Basically, that means you can — and should — use it on cuts, punctures, lacerations, abrasions and even sores — just about any problem that breaks the skin — and be religious about it! Am I goin’ overboard here? No.

It’s a new and ever more dangerous world out there, folks. Rapidly-mutating viruses and agile, adaptive drug-resistant bacteria pop up daily. Staph infections run rampant, and more and more often, people are dying or losing limbs from the simplest wounds and injuries. Proper cleansing and treatment of minor wounds is just an extension of the same mindset which dictates you have extinguishers to deal with fire, and guns to deal with predators.

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Antibacterial soap, water and sterile gauze pads: Stock `em!

The Connor Plan

Muckin’ about in Third-World cesspools, I learned the hard way one of the first rules for being an effective soldier is to treat every little cut, abrasion, insect bite or sting, friction point, burn, bump, lump, pimple, budding rash and splinter aggressively and completely. Failure to do so lays you wide open to infection, and affects your ability to rest, sleep, focus and move smoothly. In combination, it hammers your already strained immune system and fragments your concentration. It’s analogous to the effect of low-level dehydration: few people die of thirst, but lots of soldiers die from the resultant diminution of decision-making ability and small-motor muscle control.

So you’re not a soldier in KickDaKanistan, but today, if you get the wrong bug in a simple cut, you could pay for it with an amputation — or your life.
All my crew uses hand sanitizer gel generously. The goop kills about 99 percent of germs, and it’s a good precautionary measure. I watch for bulk sales on the little squeeze bottles of it, usually containing about two fluid ounces, and make sure everyone has one or more bottles handy. Sure, I buy the big jugs too and often refill the palm-sized containers from them, but the gallon jugs are never convenient for in-vehicle or field use. For most people “inconvenient” means unused, unless you’ve survived a near-fatal bacterial infection. I do not recommend infection as a learning experience…

We always have a surplus of the empty squeeze bottles, and we fill those with liquid antibacterial dish soap, like Dawn. One of those and an eight or 16-ounce bottle of purified water goes in every field med kit and trauma pack. Using a sterile gauze pad for a cloth, that combo is your first-line treatment. The water should be warm for maximum effectiveness, but as long as it’s not frozen you’re good to go.

If you’re dealing with a laceration or other wound which can be gently pulled apart to expose the deepest affected tissue, carefully open the wound, then flush with water, cleanse with soapy water, then flush again. If you see small bits of foreign matter in the wound and they won’t flush out easily, take great care picking them out with sterilized fine-point splinter tweezers, and then repeat the flush-cleanse-flush process. Now it’s time to bust out the big bug-guns.

I stock lots of PVP-I prep pads and swabsticks. The prep pads are like the alcohol pads you’re familiar with, and they’re sufficient for many small, shallow wounds and surface abrasions. For deeper wounds or if you just need more liquid PVP-I for better coverage, the swabsticks, which come in single-unit sealed foil wraps, are generously soaked in PVP-I. Again, gently pull deeper wounds open just long enough to thoroughly treat with PVP-I.

I keep six of each in every med kit, hand `em out to friends, and pack some in every parcel sent to troops deployed overseas. I recommend you do the same. AllegroMedical.com is my current supplier, and they have the best prices on PVP-I that I’ve found. Today, a box of 100 medium-size prep pads (stock #560405) lists for only $4.31, and a box of 50 swabsticks (#564413) is just $9.41.

Dr. Kerber made this point and so will I: Neither of us have any financial interest in Allegro Medical nor receive anything for mentioning them. Here’s another tip from the Doc: Your knife blades can get incredibly filthy, and the PVP-I prep pads can be used to disinfect them too. Since the cutting tool you carry daily is the sticker most likely to cut you, that’s a great idea!

Here’s the wrap: Doctor Chuck says the “infection avoidance trilogy” goes like this: First, as we described here, wash wounds thoroughly (that includes PVP-I treatment) and compress the wound just enough for five to eight minutes to stop the bleeding. Second, cover the wound to prevent other, secondary bugs from getting in. Band-Aids will do the trick for minor wounds. Larger abrasions and cuts need bigger dressings. Third, immobilize the wound as much as possible. Sometimes, especially with hand wounds, this is impossible or impracticable, but try.
Next time we’ll talk about bites and stings, okay? Thanks for reading — Connor OUT

WARNING: I’m not a doctor, and this info is not intended to substitute for professional medical guidance. This is intended to address minor cuts, nicks, scratches and lacerations, not gaping machete wounds, amputations, avulsions the size of mud flaps, butchery, mayhem, and disembowelment or bullet wounds. If you can’t tell the difference between a paper cut and a spurting severed artery, please do not rely on anything I ever tell you. If you’re a moron, don’t read it at all, and if you have already, forget it. This is only intended for the 99 percent of you who have IQ’s higher than house plants and wouldn’t sue me anyway. Thank you.
By John Connor

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