Let’s start with some honesty, I was sent the MED1 by Tactical Kit for review, along with the 1110 Gear tourniquet holder. Since leaving the forces, I don’t have a huge need for a personal medical kit any more, but the beauty of tactical gear is that you don’t need to listen to the manufacturer, they’re not your supervisor. I’ve been given this item on loan, which means I can stay objective as if I don’t like the MED1, I just send it back.
To begin with, it’s worth noting that this pouch, like the Orion belt and I assume T-Rex’s dump pouch, is OEM’d by Coyote Tactical Solutions on behalf of T-Rex arms. Coyote Tactical are renowned as a premium gear manufacturer, and whilst I have had teething problems with other products they’ve made for T-Rex in the past (see my review of the old Orion belt here), this was mainly due to the materials used, and not the standard of how it was put together. Taking a closer look at the MED1, it is clear that CTS haven’t dropped the ball with this one as the stitching is impeccable throughout, and there has clearly been time and effort put into the laser cutting on the back of the pouch which we’ll touch more on later.
When the MED1 arrived, I was really surprised to see the mounting system wasn’t Molle, but consists of several belt loops of different sizes. I’m not a fan of belt-mounted options like that on the Blue Force Gear (BFG) range, that use velcro wraps to attach to your belt, as velcro wears out and I’ve never been 100% convinced that it will hold on indefinitely. So for the MED1 to have more permanent loops is a nice compromise. The other happy surprise I found on the MED1 is that T-Rex have addressed the issue I found on the Orion, in that the laminate fabric started to wear pretty quickly in the corners. The simple solution of pre-cutting holes into the ends of each slot provides enough breathing room to stop the laminate from being stressed and ripping as easily.
The annoying thing about this pouch, is that I needed it this time last year on Op TORAL. As anyone who’s been on the holiday tour will know, you are required to carry a slimmed down IFAK with you at all times, consisting of an Emergency Care Bandage (ECB), Tourniquet (TQ) and Fentanyl Lozenge (FL). At the time I crammed this into a BFG small utility pouch, instead of using the bag of shit issued VIRTUS medical pouch. While this was a workable solution, it was hard Molle’d onto my Orion, and didn’t lend itself to quick deployment. This is where I think the MED1 would have been ideal, as many of the guys on my tour were doing away with any serious belt kit, opting to carry their pistols on gun belts and magazines on their body armour.
The MED1 is built for speed and to keep a low profile. With it’s belt loop attachment, it would have been a perfect candidate to slot onto my belt and leave there for the duration of the tour. In terms of what it can carry, it’s not huge. For my testing I managed to squeeze two ECB’s inside, and made full use of the large elastic straps to sling a TQ. In comparison to the BFG Micro TKN, the MED1 can take a larger load, and while it might have an extra step to release it, the gear is definitely held more securely while in transit.
I’ve found that the release system for the MED1 is…interesting. Within the pouch there is an elastic caddy with a long webbing ponytail, designed to hold all the necessary essentials together when ripped out of the pouch. The issue with this is that you have to undo one of the zips in order to pull the caddy out. This is a double edged sword really, as the zips do a very good job of keeping your all important medical supplies safe for the 99% of the time you don’t need them, but might slow you down that 1% of the time you really do. That being said, with drilling, practice and maybe a beefing up of the paracord zip-pull, I think I could get used to the system, despite it leaving something to be desired of its velcro or ripcord secured cousins.
So, leaving the medical world behind, I mentioned flipping off the manufacturers and putting whatever you like into your pouches. A lot of people get bogged down with reading labels and considering them to be gospel, but the MED1 doubles up really nicely as a slim utility pouch. I decided to try running it as a belt mounted pouch for my dems kit and found it to be a really good system when combined with a dump pouch. Carrying the clacker and charges internally, with approximately 25m of black and tan coiled up into the underslung elastic, this setup provides a really quick deployment method, especially when backed up with a dump pouch to quickly stow the black and tan after the charge is fired.
In conclusion, the T-Rex MED1 is an ideal candidate for those who need to carry a small to medium personal med kit all day, every day. Personally, I really wish I’d had this during my time on Op TORAL, as this was the perfect operational environment for it. It is minimalist in its design, and in solid colour variants doesn’t scream military, making it a good choice for emergency services or civilian use. To help justify buying it to the other half, it also functions very well as a utility, or could be used as a bum-bag of sorts while out exploring.
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Thanks for reading my thoughts on the T-Rex Arms MED1, if you would like one for yourself, head over to Tactical Kit who stock them in the UK, and who provided this one for testing. If you have any questions, as always, head over to my Instagram account: @thegeardocrow.