Sunday, March 24, 2019

The RATS Tourniquet Debacle

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
I am a tourniquet elitist, and that's because I vehemently believe that a first aid device which can mean the difference between my life and my death ought to be reliable. As far as I'm concerned, there are only two tourniquets in existence which are worth my money, and those are the Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) by North American Rescue and the SOF Tactical Tourniquet Wide (SOFTT-W) by Tactical Medical Solutions.

You'll note that neither of them are a Rapid Application Tourniquet System (RATS) tourniquet, which is half the price. The fact that I don't recommend something less expensive is a good indicator that I don't like it.

Now to be fair, the RATS is better than bleeding to death, so I suppose if you can't afford a CAT or a SOFTT-W then I guess you can carry it, but I wouldn't recommend it. And I don't say this because I claim to be an expert with medical devices; I'm not. Rather, it's because the U.S. Department of Defense Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC from now on) -- a body which has the authoritative word on whether or not a piece of medical equipment deserves a place on the battlefield -- endorses only three tourniquets, and the RATS isn't on that list.
As a point of interest, both the CAT and the SOFTT-W are on that CoTCCC list, which is why I recommend them. The third is the Emergency and Military Tourniquet (EMT), which costs $475! It's probably amazing, but most of us don't have that kind of money to spend on what is probably a one-use item, especially when there are others which are much less expensive. 
Now, some of you are probably wondering why I bothered to bring up the RATS in the first place. This is because the inventor of the RATS has been caught engaging in shady practices involving:
  • registering domains which sound like those of his competitors (for example, the CAT belongs to North American Rescue,, and he registered;
  • routing those domains to a page he owns, where he claims (falsely) that his non-endorsed tourniquet is superior to the CoTCCC-endorsed tourniquets;
  • "proving" his claims using cherry-picked data and an endorsement by the USTCCC, which is not a regulatory body but rather a commercial enterprise, and therefore nowhere near as impartial at it sounds. 
    • Or at least, USTCCC was a commercial enterprise; it seems to have disappeared entirely from the internet. Again, this is not the behavior of a reputable source!
There are links to my sources are at the end of this article if you'd like more details. 

The moral of the story: Just because something claims to be the best doesn't mean it is the best. Research before you buy, because the life you safe with your first aid gear might be a loved one's or your own. 

Further Reading
(in chronological order)


  1. I have learned that the rule if it sounds too good to be true..... pretty much holds up all the time. And some of the tourniquets that I have seen, I could make a better one out of an old belt and a few parts from my shed. You can't always judge quality based on price, but you can pretty much guess that a cheap price won't buy a quality item.

  2. I am not much of an elitest with tourneys, but I will say there is one use for a RATS style. You can use them on your dogs. Gotta prep for them too.


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