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              Defensive Concepts
   Article of the Month
                                          The RATS Tourniquet - A short T&E                            

A full disclosure: I posted a version of this on the blog It's no secret that I am a staff instructor for SI, so, while there are other sources for this piece of gear, I'll only steer you to SI's site if you want to purchase any.

     I'd recently been looking for a better tourniquet solution for every day carry. I take a day pack with me to my current job, it has a trauma kit with a CAT in it. However, there are times when I have to leave the bag in my office and I could be a good 1/4 mile away if I needed it. Yes, I learned a long time ago how to tie off with a bandanna and I can make a TQ, one handed with a 'biner and keyring. It's good to know how to improvise and gear isn't a substitute for skill. However, having quality gear makes a difference on both sides of a warrior's skill set. My search for a solution intensified after I returned from a recent overseas trip. While there, I lived in cargo pants so it was easy to carry a CAT or SOF-T size TQ. Here, it's business casual at work and jeans around the homestead. I needed something more compact. 

      I'd seen the RATS before and initially dismissed it. I thought that you'd create more tissue damage with the thin band or not develop enough compression to shut off a femoral bleed or the clamp/clip wouldn't hold. I was researching both online and talking to resources I know and learned that a few folks who's opinions I trust, were carrying the thing. Thinking I may have missed something, I added one to a recent purchase from Suarez International.

      The TQ arrived in short order. First thing was without any carrier or additional gear I could wind it up and stuff it in the empty back pocket of my jeans and it rode there all day comfortably. Next, in the same way I wouldn't carry a firearm I hadn't confirmed zero on, I test my other gear as well. I grabbed a pulse ox meter from work. I put the meter on my toe, got a baseline pulse of 58 and O2 saturation of 99%. I applied the RATS per the instructions and watched the numbers drop to nothing. Was it comfortable? It's a tourniquet, of course it wasn't. But, it was easy and quick to apply, it shut down blood flow and the clip held. I was also able to do all this one handed. My final concern was whether or not I'd be able to tighten the TQ down if my hands were bloody. I was concerned that the band would slip out and I wouldn't be able to produce enough compression to shut down an arterial bleed. A couple of fresh pork chops helped me out. I had about four ounces of blood from the meat collected. I covered my hands in the blood and was able to tie off with out any problems using either one or two hands. I know, I'm not halal now, but then I never was. 

      After testing it out, I've added the RATS to my everyday carry. It is compact, unobtrusive and above all, it works. Will it replace the more conventional models? No, while it works, I still believe the others to be more secure when applied. In a civilian environment, however, it does have one other advantage besides compactness. The conventional models work well on adults, they were designed for military applications after all. With smaller framed creatures, like children,  they don't compress well enough to always stop bleeding. That is an advantage in my world.  I would recommend the RATS to you for your kit.