Having the right medical gear can mean the difference in saving a life. We all know the importance of carrying a tourniquet. The new Tourniquet Holder from 5.11l® is designed to provide secure protected carry and rapid access for the Combat Application Tourniquet® (C-A-T®).
The C-A-T needs no introduction to most readers. Now in its 7th generation, the CoTCCC recommended C-A-T has been the Official Tourniquet of the US Army since 2005. The patented C-A-T is a true one-handed tourniquet. It has proven to be 100% effective by the US Army’s Institute of Surgical Research. Although there are other CoTCCC recommended tourniquets, I have settled on the C-A-T as my primary tourniquet due to its ease of self-application.
Although the CoTCCC is looking at tourniquets for use on adults, the C-A-T has been found to be suitable for hemorrhage control in school aged children for use on the upper and lower extremities (Pediatrics June 2019,143 (6) e20183447; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2018-3447). North American Rescue, US distributor for the C-A-T, states that the C-A-T has been shown to be effective on limbs as small as five inches in circumference. I have a SWAT-T™ elastic wrap tourniquet in my kit as a backup, which may be employed for pediatric applications with smaller circumference limbs and for higher axillary and groin applications not suitable for the C-A-T.
The patented 5.11 Tourniquet Holder was developed in collaboration with Mike Glover, CEO of Fieldcraft Survival. Mike is a former Special Forces Sergeant Major. During his 20 years in the US Army he served in a variety of positions, including Weapons Sergeant, Sniper, Assaulter, JTAC, Freefall Jump Master, Sniper Team Sergeant, and Operations Sergeant Major in US Army Special Operations. It was Mike’s passion for survival training that led him to start Fieldcraft Survival.
I make it a practice of carrying two tourniquets at a minimum — at least one in my IFAK/trauma kit and another on my person. Dropping a C-A-T in my pocket limits access and makes it difficult for others to locate. Rubber banding it to my gear doesn’t protect the tourniquet and is prone to snagging, failure and loss. A purpose-built tourniquet holder is the best answer. But, as with so many things, all tourniquet holders are not created equal.
Mike and the Fieldcraft Survival team developed the 5.11 Tourniquet Holder to provide increased accessibility to the tourniquet and reduce failures in the field. Mike states that the tourniquet holder was designed by creating a solution to a problem identified by a stress shoot from while training law enforcement. The team they were training had a holder that became detached from their belt mid stress shoot or about one minute in. The holder did not have enough retention and strength in terms of how it was retained on the belt. When their upper body stressed the holder, it snapped off.
When a piece of equipment is life saving, there can be no room for fail points. No exceptions to that. They started identifying what the issues were and after a year of R&D they were able to design the holder we have now. In the design process, they sourced subject matter experts including special operations and law enforcement, as well as tactical medical experts in order to make it the best tourniquet holder on the market.
The 5.11 Tourniquet Holder is a rugged, injection molded polycarbonate holder for the C-A-T Gen 7. It’s backward compatible to earlier C-A-T generations and designed for belt or MOLLE/PALS mounting. It measures 5.9”H x 2.5″L x 1.7″D (14.99 x 6.35 x 4.32 cm). The design has been very well thought out. It has some unique features that set it apart from other tourniquet holders on the market.
The 5.11 Tourniquet Holder features a proprietary dual-access design with tension grasp feature that keeps the C-A-T securely retained and allows rapid deployment from top and bottom. It has been engineered to allow easy release of the C-A-T single routing buckle when clearing the holder. The tradeoff with the easy access is some exposure to the elements.
The 5.11 Tourniquet Holder has a windlass clip protector shroud designed to shield the C-A-T Velcro® windlass clip and help prevent it from snagging on clothing or other objects. A big complaint with other holders was officers having shirts overtime degrade the windlass shroud, thus compromising the integrity of retaining the windlass rod.
The 5.11 Tourniquet Holder has also been engineered to allow the C-A-T to be removed from the front of the holder in the event that the top is blocked. When officers in training are simulating injury they are often in a comfortable position. But if you are traumatically injured, you might be in a fetal position compressing your upper body over the only way to pull the tourniquet out. Mike recommends egress of the tourniquet from the front of the holder only in extremis. This is to avoid unduly stressing the holder, although the polymer is resilient.
The 5.11 Tourniquet Holder comes with interchangeable belt and MOLLE/PALS clips. The clips are constructed of high-strength stainless steel for durability, rigidity and retention. They’re not prone to rust and provide greater flexibility under stress. The clips form the backbone of the holder.
The belt clip fits belts up to 2.25” (5.72 cm) wide.
The belt clip fits belts up to 2.25” (5.72 cm) wide. Although originally designed for outside the waistband (OWB) belt carry, the belt clip also works well for inside the waistband (IWB) carry, by simply turning the 5.11 Tourniquet Holder around.
The holder features a single screw point on the bottom for easy assembly when changing between the belt and MOLLE/PALS clips. It’s held in place by the screw and a lip that fits over the back to edge of the holder. The captured clip retains the holder as part of the overall system.
Mike and the Fieldcraft Survival team set out to make the best tourniquet holder on the market for first responders. I believe that they have met that goal with the 5.11 Tourniquet Holder. The 5.11 Tourniquet Holder has a suggested retail of $39.99. It’s currently available in black only.
CAT Resources – Combat Tourniquet
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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