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View Full Version : Review: TSSI M-4 Special Operations Medical Pack


Maple Flag
06-14-2004, 22:04
I just today received from TSSI their proprietary design M-4 Spec Ops medical bag.

http://www.tacsurv.com/catalog_images/2002CAT_frameset.html

At $175 for a 1,260 cubic inch medical bag, the price is not low, but is more than reasonable especially considering this bag is not open to sales to the general public (which is TSSI’s general policy). Here are my thoughts and observations on this piece of kit:

Purpose

At 1,260 cubic inches, this bag has less volume than standard M-5 bags (although Tactical Tailor’s M-5 bag interestingly has slightly less volume than TSSI’s M-4). TSSI bills their M-4 as a midway compromise between M-3 bags and M-5 bags. The main design objective seems to be to create a medical pack purpose built for carrying on top of a ruck. As long as you’re willing to give up about 800 cubic inches of volume (vs. an M-5 pack) for that feature, the M-4 delivers. The bag can also be carried brief case style, as a patrol pack (unpadded straps), and as a (large) fanny pack, giving it more options for carry than an M-5 pack. All the strapping can be tucked away when not needed.


Construction

Although I did not find the Eagle Industries tag on my bag, it is my understanding that Eagle makes these for TSSI. The construction seems consistent with Eagle’s work, which is fine by all accounts.


Nice Design Features

It is always nice when a product reaches you with more features than were originally advertised. The pouch design is well thought out, and makes maximum use of the materials by leaving lots of unadvertised slots behind and between mesh pockets which provide welcome additional compartmenting if you want. I was also pleased to see a full size (full height and width of the bag) pocket hidden behind the “dressing and bandage compartment” that is not mentioned in TSSI’s list of features. I almost missed finding this one as it closes up very inconspicuously when empty. This pocket is ideal for large flat items like SAM splints and a large space blanket (which is what I put in mine).

Also nice to see (from my perspective anyway) is a resistance to overkill with elastic looping. I’ve heard others complain about elastic overkill, so I know I am not alone on this. The airway panel (removable via Velcro by the way) offers 10 large loops and 4 small loops, which is a good balance for my needs. Two mesh pockets sewn right onto the airway panel also speak to their “pockets over elastic” approach.

Overall, TSSI managed to fit 13 pockets and compartments (plus a clear plastic 8”x11”window for data and documents) into a 1,260 C.I. bag without making any of the pockets too small to be of use. I’m impressed.

Other nice features:

-All open compartments are oriented the same direction so that the bag can be hung in the open positions without the contents spilling out.

-All zippers have silent paracord pulls

-Carry handles Velcro down to reduce snagging hazard (the designer(s) have clearly spent some time in the woods…)


Recommended Improvements

This would be an advertisement, not a review, if I weren’t critical of something, so here goes:

-The main zipper rain flap on my bag is on the wrong side to stop rain when mounted on a ruck. When I compare my bag to TSSI photos, the photos have the flap on the correct side. I must have the special one of a kind collectors edition…

-A wider strip of Alice webbing on the face would be nice. There is room for more than four columns, why not use it?

-While we’re at it, a soft side Velcro patch there would be nice too.

-Lastly, due to the bags smaller volume, there can be a tendency to cram it to the point that the main zipper and seams could be stressed. Some compression straps might be of added benefit.

Summary

Despite the pack being smaller than an M-5, you can fit a surprising amount of equipment and supplies into this bag.

Here’s the list of what my bag has in it at the moment:

Stethoscope
BP Cuff
Penlight
6 x OPA
3 x NPA
Lube
4 x tongue depressors
Pocket mask
1 x waterproof med box (7” x 5” x 3”)
2 x ACS
2 x light sticks
Scissors
Shears
Hemostat
2 x tape rolls
3 x Ace bandages
3 x Rolls of Coban
6 x gauze rolls
2 x SAM splints
6 x Tegaderm sheets
6 x Antiseptic towelettes
2 x Second Skin sheets
3 x triangular bandage
Safety pins
8 x 6” x 6” compresses
6 x 7” x 12” pressure dressing
1 bag of boo-boo supplies
1 bag of PPE gloves
1 x large space blanket
1 x small foil space blanket
SOAP note book
Data sheets

The above fills out the bag to very full, but not “splitting apart at the seams” full.

Since I know that the audience here will not consider any review to be complete without pics, I offer the following:

http://www.picrack.com/001/other/DSCF0014.JPG

http://www.picrack.com/001/other/DSCF0015.JPG

http://www.picrack.com/001/other/DSCF0017.JPG

http://www.picrack.com/001/other/DSCF0018.JPG

http://www.picrack.com/001/other/DSCF0019.JPG

The Reaper
06-14-2004, 22:11
Excellent review!

Nice pics as well.

I believe that your assumptions are correct.

TR

NousDefionsDoc
06-14-2004, 22:26
Well done Maple.

Nice job of showing the waterproof SOAP notes too.:D

Maple Flag
06-14-2004, 22:35
Your kind words are appreciated.

Cheers.

eggroll
06-15-2004, 01:41
Looks to be a damn sight better than the LBT NSW aid bag. I am awaiting one of these in a trade from overseas, will do the same, and perhaps modify using flags suggestions.

Yes, I do believe these are made by Eagle.

EGG

The Reaper
06-15-2004, 06:47
Originally posted by eggroll
Looks to be a damn sight better than the LBT NSW aid bag. I am awaiting one of these in a trade from overseas, will do the same, and perhaps modify using flags suggestions.

Yes, I do believe these are made by Eagle.

EGG

Designed by an SF Medic, made by Eagle exclusively for TSSI, IIRC.

Very nice piece of kit.

TR

Team Sergeant
06-15-2004, 09:43
Maple Flag,

I noticed the light sticks in your med bag.

Unless the “light sticks” or “chem lights” have changed once the foil package has been compromised the light sticks days are numbered. You need to find a “hard” container to place them in so as to not spoil them. How do I know this, many night HALO jumps and many useless chem lights.

TS

Air.177
06-15-2004, 09:53
I think that one of the travel tubes made for carrying cigars would proabably work quite well for TS's purpose.

Just a thought

Maple Flag
06-15-2004, 12:21
I've been carrying light sticks just in the foil wrapper for years without any failures, which no doubt means my good luck is due to run out any day now...

Good tip. Thanks.

NousDefionsDoc
06-15-2004, 14:48
Originally posted by Air.177
I think that one of the travel tubes made for carrying cigars would proabably work quite well for TS's purpose.

Just a thought

Nice, but probably too expensive. Might try one of those plastic toothbrush holders. They sell them everywhere.

DanUCSB
06-15-2004, 15:10
Originally posted by Air.177
I think that one of the travel tubes made for carrying cigars would proabably work quite well for TS's purpose.

I was thinking just buying the cigars that come in the rigid metal case (not the swank custom-build holders). That way, you have a cheap way to keep your chemlights from popping, and a good smoke for after the mission. :cool:

Air.177
06-15-2004, 15:20
Originally posted by DanUCSB
I was thinking just buying the cigars that come in the rigid metal case (not the swank custom-build holders). That way, you have a cheap way to keep your chemlights from popping, and a good smoke for after the mission. :cool:

I like the way this man thinks. I could say that that is what I meant, but that would be stretching it a bit. Same purpose and on the cheap.

SwedeGlocker
10-06-2004, 15:37
I find the M4 medical pack to be an exellent small patrol medical pack. The only thing i would like to change is the airway panel. I would like a large mech pocket for ET tubes in their wrap and loops for oral and nasal airways. I the clear pocket on the backside there is enough space for 6 Acherman chest seals. Its where nice to have all the A and B supllies in one place. It could also be wider since its tight to zip togheter when you fill all pockets.