This article is about a great piece of kit built by a great company that is, alas, no longer building gear. The ankle option is a good one, though, and not just for medical stuff — so pay attention. Mad Duo
US Palm AIFAK: Ankle Carry, Not Just for J-Frame Wheel Guns Anymore
Story By: Tom Marshall, Photos By: Erin Colleen
The evolution of concealed carry has, in recent years, taken to an approach we’re huge fans of. Those of us who’ve EDC’ed rucks, IBAs, duty belts and patrol bags have known for years that a compact pistol and a couple extra bullets just isn’t enough. The real world’s infinite variables demand more forethought, and more preparedness. Fortunately, those lessons are now making their way into the knowledge banks of the responsibly armed citizen community. A number of high-profile incidents over the last several years highlight potential disasters that have been successfully thwarted by quick-thinking citizens willing to be more involved in safeguarding their own safety.
But there’s a flipside to every coin. What comes with being prepared versus simply being armed is the ever-increasing complexity of the carry “loadout”. To put it another way, the more situations we want to be prepared for, the more stuff we have to carry. For better or worse, the idea of citizens wearing full gun belts fell out of fashion somewhere around the 1880s. Just like so many fashion trends, we think (hope) it’s destined to make a comeback. Until then, the race is on for more compact, efficient and innovative methods to carry what we need.
Enter US Primary Armament Logistics and Manufacturing, or US PALM for short. Known primarily for their built-like-a-tank AK mags, they’ve stepped their game up exponentially over the last couple years and now offer a complete line of products designed for what professionals would call “low signature load carriage”. The line includes belts, bags and their ankle-based carry systems. They sent us a sample of their AIFAK – Ankle Individual First Aid Kit.
The platform is a stretchy cuff that secures around your ankle via hook-and-loop with pockets sewn across its length. What you put in it is up to you; for our test, we were able to fit 90% of a deployment-ready blowout kit around our lower leg. Here’s what we put in ours:
-HyFin compact chest seals (pack of 2)
-Celox rapid ribbon
-36” strip of duct tape with hi-viz rubber band
When compared to our mil-issued IFAK from OIF ’09-’10 the only things missing are Z-fold gauze, NPA with surgi-lube and a chest needle. We could probably have fit the needle and NPA if we really tried, and we may or may not keep a travel bottle of KY in the glove box anyway. (Some emergencies are personal. Don’t judge.)
We got our AIFAK right after SHOT Show and have been running it pretty faithfully ever since. Whether your pants are made by Wrangle, Kuhl or Jos. A. Banks, the AIFAK fits comfortable and prints minimally. In fact, short of wearing skinny jeans the AIFAK will fit under almost any pant leg with no obvious presentation. Previously, we’d tried a number of other options that just didn’t work in civilian attire. Belt-mounted IFAKs make you look like tactical-creepy-uncle no matter how hard you try not to. Back pocket works, but severely restricts what you can carry. There’s the man-bag, which can be a pain to lug around everywhere and may not be permitted in places like malls and movie theaters. Pre-staging stuff in your car is a great secondary care option but will likely be out of reach at the exact moment your day turns to dog shit. All in all we think the ankle cuff is the best compromise between being the point man or the gray man. It’s clean, comfortable, and concealable under any dress code.
The only time it became uncomfortable was during a 7-hour rehearsal of vehicle bailouts in preparation for exigent circumstances. Lessons learned: 1) it can get hung up on a vehicle console if you’re not used to wearing it and 2) if you’re going to wear the AIFAK for extended periods, you might not want to go with ankle socks that day.
Despite that friction point (get it?) we’re still in love with US PALM’s EDC medical solution. It’s elegantly simple and offers immense response capacity when loaded properly.
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About the Author:
About the Author: Tom Marshall is an interesting miscegenation of background experiences. He’s a former active duty US Army officer, but before that was a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY. Before accepting his commission as a 2LT, Midshipman Marshall spent a year travelling the world on a variety of merchant shipping vessels, including several months attached to Military Sealift Command. After returning from sea, he spent a summer working at the HQ training facility for Blackwater USA.
Tom spent four years in the Cavalry with a Stryker Brigade, including a one-year tour to Iraq with 4th BCT, 2nd Infantry (“Raiders”). Among other assignments he worked S-3 before taking over a Recce Platoon. He earned the rank of Captain and spent his final year in a HQ Company XO billet. After departing the military he spent about a year and a half working security at a federally-contracted Corrections facility before going back overseas in a PMC job working security and force protection for government personnel working in high threat environments around the world. Tom has written for Guns & Ammo, World of Firepower, SWAT Magazine, Black Sheep Warrior, RECOIL Magazine, and Emerge Social, a PR firm specializing in digital brand management for firearms-industry clients. Despite being an officer we actually trust him (mostly) with a compass. Tom Marshall may or may not have been the inspiration for the best selling issue of Urecco. You can follow him on Facebook at /TMAuthor/ or on Instagram, @tom.marshall.author.
About the Photographer: Erin is a shootingly squared away, desert-dwelling Nerd (the kind that merits a capital N) with a preternaturally strong love of music and a taste for absinthe. Hummingbirds are drawn to her like moths to light, which is weird, but something we interpret as a sign of good character. Plus, she never fails to pick the best bourbon or beer we never heard of once we hit the bar, so what’s not to like?
About the Author: Erin is a shootingly squared away, desert-dwelling Nerd (the kind that merits a capital N) with a preternaturally strong love of music and a taste for absinthe. Hummingbirds are drawn to her like moths to light, which is weird, but something we interpret as a sign of good character. Plus, she never fails to pick the best bourbon or beer we never heard of once we hit the bar, so what’s not to like?