During the summer of 2013, I posted on several forums asking if anyone had heard of Dark Angel Medical (https://darkangelmedical.com), their reputation, etc. The general consensus was “good stuff”.
So, myself and a police officer friend of mine signed up and took their 2 day class in Chantilly, VA (this was a Sunday-Monday course). The class was held in the conference room of the Staybridge Suites in Chantilly, and the cost of the course was $425. I am not affiliated with Dark Angel Medical in any way except as a paying customer.
My friend and I drove to Chantilly early Sunday morning and then stayed at the hotel on Sunday night at a reduced rate because we were attending the workshop. The cost of the course included one of the D.A.R.K. medical kits, and when we signed up we got to choose what color molle pouch we wanted (coyote, multicam, ranger green, black, and I think Olive Drab were the choices). The kits were awaiting the students on a side shelf in the conference room when we arrived (see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU3gNaa2yMU#t=67). Please note that the kits have been updated/upgraded a bit since I took this course in 2013.
The makeup of the class of about 40 was mostly recreational shooters, among those some ex-military. There were a few local LE plus some Federal LE, and a few EMT/paramedics. Most, however, were just Joe Blow civilians like myself, outdoorsy types, etc. I should note here that I have no background in medicine. I am CPR certified, visit my doctor at least once a year, and have broken numerous bones in my life. That’s about as far as my medical knowledge extends.
As for the course itself: wow! Eye-opening and boy did I learn a lot. Kerry Davis is the founder and pretty much sole instructor, and he brings a LOT to the table. Professional, funny as hell, nice, and full of knowledge. Everyone got a thick binder with all of the PowerPoints, photos, diagrams, etc. Everyone got a loaner CAT TQ to practice with, and from time to time he would stop lecturing and just say “weak handed, get your tourniquet on your left leg, starting NOW” and then time us. Several videos we saw showed how a squirter might give you as little as 15 seconds before you pass out. By the end of class, we were putting a TQ on a partner IN TOTAL DARKNESS IN 20 SECONDS OR LESS.
The class covered everything from knife and gunshot wounds to insect and snake bites, hypothermia, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, shock, etc. The coverage was a lot wider than I anticipated. We learned how to splint breaks, move casualties, apply pressure dressings, pack wounds, apply occlusive dressings, fashion improvised tourniquets, etc., and not just the theory but got to practice each. We even got to practice inserting a nasal airway tube.
The class was, in some ways, more general than I anticipated. Though Kerry has a military background (I believe he was an Air Force flight crew medic), much of what he covered, while applicable to “tactical” scenarios, was also very applicable to hikers, mountain bikers, rock climbers, etc. Kerry also worked with Magpul Dynamics for a while and as a paramedic and a nurse. He has a great southern accent that makes his expressions even funnier: referring to one tough situation, he said it’s “like tryin’ to stick a wet noodle up a wildcat’s butt”! Indeed, by training day two I was writing down all of these expressions of his in my notebook.
In short, I would highly recommend this class. Kerry has, in the past, done the course at the Sig Academy in NH, which carries some other name like “Bullets and Bandages” or the like, and includes a 3rd day with live-fire and simunitions.
I would urge anyone, even if you don’t plan to take the course, to at least “like” them on Facebook, as he is always giving little tips on there, pop quizzes, etc. And I would also urge everyone to get a med kit (the D.A.R.K., Pocket D.A.R.K., or Pocket D.A.R.K. mini, one from another reputable company, or one you put together yourself) and put it in your range bag or carry it with you all the time.
This class would fill a big gap in the repertoire of most recreational shooters. If you train to put holes in people, you should train how to plug holes in people as well. Do you dry fire your gun? Do you dry fire your tourniquet? Both are important!