Product review: 2 new tourniquets to consider

Keep these products in mind as you equip your trauma kit or IFAK


New additions have recently been added to the possible list of viable tourniquets. While these have not yet been approved by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC), they are definitely worth looking at. 

Tacmed Solutions SOF Tourniquet

The newest version of Tacmed Solutions’ SOF Tourniquet is lighter and stronger than the battle-tested, previous version. After years of extensive research, user feedback and materials testing, the company upgraded its flagship model.

From my perspective, having one in hand, it is clearly lighter, almost exactly one ounce lighter. The windlass is smaller in diameter, but longer than the Gen 4. The buckle (previously metal) has been redesigned using a sturdy plastic. It is easy to use and still offers great functionality of unbuckling to get around a limb where you cannot access the foot or hand to slide the tourniquet over. 

The webbing has also been upgraded for strength and now includes some color contrasted stitching as a slack indicator. This bit of stitching lets the user know they still need to pull the tail tighter before they began winding the windlass. The SOF still operates the same with users pulling the tail tight three inches above the wound, twisting the windlass until bleeding stops, securing the windlass in the TRAC (tourniquet retention assistance clip) and then securing it with the Tri-Ring Lock.

Current MSRP is $29.93 on the Tacmed Solutions website.

The new SOF tourniquet is about the same size as previous version, but lighter. (Photo/Sean Curtis)
The SOF tourniquet buckle is lightweight but still very strong and easy to use. (Photo/Sean Curtis)
The contrast-colored stitching on the SOF tourniquet serves as a slack indicator – if you can see it, you need to pull the tail tighter before winding the windlass. (Photo/Sean Curtis)
The RapidStop has a slightly longer profile than other tourniquets but is made of quality materials. (Photo/Sean Curtis)
The instructions are easy: Pull the RapidStop Tourniquet 2-3 inches above the wound on the limb, grab the tail (#1) and pull until tight, then ratchet (#2) the buckle until bleeding stops. Then, wrap the tail and tuck it around the limb. (Photo/Sean Curtis)

The RapidStop Tourniquet

While some of the current tourniquets on the market evolved from far flung battlefields, the RapidStop was an idea born much closer – in Boston. MIT students who were at the Boston Marathon bombing designed this tourniquet with the idea that it should have fast application and be difficult to remove. 

This tourniquet is a little longer than other models in its stowed configuration, but it is made of quality materials. The plastic buckle is a triangular configuration and thick enough to be strong. It mates securely with a pin on the end of the tourniquet. Users then pull the tail of the tourniquet (labelled 1) to tighten it on the limb. Once this is accomplished, or once the tourniquet is slid into place over the limb, the user simply operates a buckle that creeps the band closed, tightening around the limb. The buckle advances down a toothed track until blood flow is occluded. The tail is then wrapped and tucked around the limb.

I have seen these tourniquets on sale for $34.99 at various retailers.

Summary

Tacmed Solutions has been making and improving tourniquets for quite some time. The newest version of the SOF features refinements and enhancements on the previously approved model. While the RapidStop is the relative newcomer on the block, the MIT students used good materials in the implementation and the concept is very sound. Keep these products in mind as tourniquet alternatives to consider and always buy from reputable websites or distributors as poor quality imitations can fail.

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