Monday, March 19, 2018

Product Review: Tac-Force EMT Rescue Knife

I have been on a “Cheap Tools” kick lately. There are tools that I occasionally need to be able to give away or loan out without knowing if they will come back, but I still need them to do the job if something happens. I have two sisters who would love to be prepared, but have limited time, energy, and budget to research the appropriate tools, and can’t afford the costs of super premium gear.

The latest tool that caught my eye is a pocket knife/seat belt cutter/ glass breaker. I feel that the combination of these three items is a good “getting out of a car crash” set of tools, and there is no real advantage to purchasing them separately.

I like to carry the Benchmade Triage, but at over $150, it’s a little pricey. Given the people for whom I am purchasing this (my sisters, for example), I don’t expect it to need all of the nicer features that my Benchmade has, or to be as durable. It needs a blade lock, a seat belt cutter, and a glass breaker; beyond that, the rest is basically gravy.

I looked at my various options and decided to purchase the Tac-Force Spring Assist EMT Rescue Knife. As of this moment it costs less than $8 with free shipping for Amazon Prime members and has just under a thousand reviews with a 4.5 star average, so I figured it was worth a gamble.

  • Not as bulky as a lot of the cheap imports that I have toyed with.
  • Spring assist works well. I spent a couple of hours flipping it out and re-folding the blade, in order to see if it would break, and it seems to be fine.
  • Knife cuts well. Not as nice a cut as a high end blade, but just fine for opening boxes or cutting strapping in warehouse work. It also dulls faster than my nicer knives.
  • The price is about the same as a dedicated glass breaker, or a dedicated seat belt cutter, or a dedicated inexpensive pocket knife. For that price point, it seems quite good.
  • Test cuts on nylon strapping shows the seat belt cutter seems to work fine, even if it requires keeping tension on the strapping.
  • Glass breaker works well on scrap (non automotive) glass. I would love to know how well it works as an automotive glass breaker, so if anyone wants to test that and let me know, I would be interested.

  • If weight or bulk is an issue, there are better (if more expensive) options.
  • Ergonomics are not exactly perfect. This is radically better than nothing, but I would much rather have a better handle than this if I ever had to use it for an extended period.
  • The blade lock is a liner lock, and starts out really stiff. It is bad enough that some people with lower hand strength are not able to close it before it is “broken in”, so be aware of that. I recommend opening it and closing it 30-50 times before sticking it in your emergency kit, since that seems to make it easier to use.
  • The quality of build is only so-so. I would not use this as an EDC, because I would not expect it to last longer than a year, or possibly two, in my pocket with regular use.
  • The seat belt cutter is not the pocket knife blade, but is instead a dedicated blade in a covered housing. If you ever need to sharpen it, it appears that you have to disassemble the knife.

Overall: 4/5 stars (3 for quality, 1 for price)
If you are looking for an inexpensive, functional emergency tool, the Tac-Force EMT Rescue Knife works well. It has no frills, but it does the job. If you have very little budget, and want a reasonable tool, it should work fine.

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