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Rescue knives

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by toemke, May 25, 2012.

  1. toemke

    toemke Loaded Pockets

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    As a firefighter with an interest in knives I got my hands on a couple of different rescue knives, and I think it's time that I do a comparison of them and share my thoughts on these types of knives in general.
    The knives I'm going to review are the Benchmade 915 Triage, the Victorinox Rescue Tool, the Blackhawk Hawkhook and the Böker Magnum First Responder.
    [​IMG]


    Seat belt cutters
    Most dedicated seat belt cutters don't work as they should and that's why I prefer a serrated edge for cutting webbing, ropes and textile in general, even in rescue situations. The exception to this rule is of course the cutting hook on the triage. This hook is wide enough to fit smaller ropes and is razor sharp. The hook part on the Blackhawk isn't as good, but the serrated edge next to it it makes up for it. The big problem with all cutting hooks is to make the initial cut, after that almost all of them tear easily through anything. While the Benchmade's hook easily does this initial cut on its own, the Hawkhook can hold up with it's serrated part. The Victorinox has a dedicated serrated blade instead of a hook. Not only is the tip blunt, but the edge is bent inwards, so when pressure is put on by the knife, the seat belt can't slip off the blade.
    I have to say that all three manufacturers executed their concept very well and although using three different methods their cutting ability is practically on par.
    This is where I have to completely trash the Böker. Although the concept is the same as the Benchmade, the execution is horrible. The hook is tiny and has almost no cutting power. It takes a lot of effort even to cut paracord.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Glass breaker
    (Un)fortunately I only had the chance to use the Victorinox and it worked pretty well despite the fact that the glass breaker isn't made out of carbide. I saw several cheap rescue knives fail on the same occasion (thank God it was only on an exercise). The Hawkhook is intended to be used like a hammer, which is a neat concept, but the glass breaker is the same material as the blade without any treatment so I'm not totally convinced that it would work on a pinch. The breaker on the Triage seems blunter than the rest, but since it's carbide it would probably work well. The Böker seems fine in this field, but the whole knife is so tiny, that it's hard to get a decent grip on it for window braking and without gloves your hand would be more exposed than with the rest.
    [​IMG]


    The blade and the rest
    The Triage has a modified sheepsfoot blade. It's a pleasure to use, but could be a bit more pointier. The Victorinox has beside the partially serrated blade and the aforementioned tools an awl, a philips and regular screwdriver and a glass saw. The Hawkhook has a screwdriver and a bottle opener incorporated in the main blade. The main blade on the Böker is actually quite nice with decent 440 steel and a recurved drop point shape. It also has a can opener which not only is a bit weird on a rescue knife, but completely unusable.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Closing thoughts
    I mostly concentrated on the rescue abilities of these knives: the seatbelt cutters and the glassbreakers. While the Benchmade, the Victorinox and the Hawkhook are all well suited for their purpose, I prefer the Triage and the Victorinox. The Triage is my main EDC blade and I have modded the Victorinox for use on the job.
    [​IMG]
    I only bought and included the Böker here as a gimick and have since given it away to a buddy.
    Hope this post is useful and please share your thoughts and experience.
     
  2. Analog.Upload

    Analog.Upload Loaded Pockets

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    how well to you at least do these compare to the fixed dedicated type of seatbelt cutters on the market?
     
  3. Kombi

    Kombi Loaded Pockets

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    While I'm not a emergency responder of any sort, I really appreciated this review.

    A question I would ask is do you feel it's a good ideal for civilians to carry tools like these?
     
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  4. xbanker
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    xbanker Geriatric Admin
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    Good info Peter. Thank you. Now I'm even more convinced that my Vic Rescue Tool was a wise purchase. ;)
     
  5. Amikeb

    Amikeb Loaded Pockets

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    Liked. Great post.


    Posted from mobile device, excuse typing :)
     
  6. Gnarly
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    Gnarly Loaded Pockets

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  7. SAKplumber
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    SAKplumber EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Thanks for the thread and the review.
    Thanks for the link Gnarly. I've often thought the same thing. doesn't matter what you've got when you can't get to it to use it.
     
  8. toemke

    toemke Loaded Pockets

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    It really depends on the manufacturer and how much thought and effort they put in their product. Benchmades fixed belt cutters are definitely worth their price, while other models from reputable companies like ZT and Leatherman are probably good too. Most cheap belt cutter have cheap steel and will go dull after a couple of uses. That's okay if you just buy it to have it in the car and never use it for anything, it will work when you need it. But if you use it regularly (cutting cordage, webbing, cloth) you need something you can sharpen, and most cheap cutter only have a slot, which you really can't access.

    Depends. If you carry a well maintained EDC knife, you will be able to free someone from his/her seat belt. Dedicated belt cutters are safer, since they don't pose any danger of cutting the victim of an accident. If you don't EDC a rescue tool it is worth to have one in the car, not just for yourself, but if your the witness of an accident. But get one with a window punch.

    Which forum was it?
    I've seen this one with a colleague, he got it as a merchandising gift at a firefighting trade fair. He said it works quite well, but it rusted up after a while. As mentioned, cheap cutter like the EMI or the ResQMe will do the trick in a pinch, but don't expect a lot of use out of them.
    And yes, keeping them accessible is very crucial. I recommend sticking it the behind the sun visor, if you can't reach it there after an accident, you are in no shape to rescue yourself anyway.

    Don't get a cheap rescue knife with the belt cutter integrated in the like this one or this one. This type of belt cutter is a bit more fiddly to get it to work and I'm really not convinced by the quality. There are a couple of quality knives out there with a similar design (by Fox for example), but I still don't like them.
     
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  9. tower
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    tower Loaded Pockets

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    [​IMG]
     
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  10. toemke

    toemke Loaded Pockets

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    Nice setup! Although I never handled the HoudiniPro, this is probably as good as it gets for a dedicated rescue tool: benchmade cutting hook and spring loaded window punch. I don't think the keychain version is worth getting though, it just seems too complicated to get quick and comfortable grip during cutting. It has to be idiot proof: just hook it on the belt and pull! Anything that doesn't work this way is not suitable for layman.
     
  11. herosemblem

    herosemblem Loaded Pockets

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    Tower, how is the yellow rescue tool attached?
    I am wondering if one is in an accident violent enough to possibly require a belt cutter, that the accident is also violent enough to send loose cell phones and other objects flying into the passengers' eyeballs. My favorite is a metal license plate wedged at the top of the dashboard.
    +1 for a convenient location of that yellow tool, assuming it is fairly secure.
     
  12. Kombi

    Kombi Loaded Pockets

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    Great advice, thank you. I'll make sure we add these to our cars for us, and if the need arises, others.
     
  13. tower
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    tower Loaded Pockets

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    The ERT-1 comes with a pocket clip that has a very snug grip. It is clipped on to the upright of a Rubber Duck CB mount.

    http://www.rubberduck4x4.com/store/pc/Hummer-H2-H2-CB-Mount-24p464.htm

    In a head on, it would go nowhere. The only scenario where it might possibly come free would be if I got rear ended, very violently, by a semi. I'm rolling a Hummer, so not much in the way of passenger vehicles will shake my 4 tons very much. I keep it handy there mostly in case I roll up on a wreck.
     
    Last edited by tower, May 26, 2012
  14. Gryffin
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    Gryffin Loaded Pockets

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    ¡Linky, por favór!

    I thought I was the only one to do that. I have a Res-Q-Me attached to the upper shoulderbelt bracket with a simple twist-tie, for just that reason. That Lifesaver is interesting due to it's flatness, taping that right to the belt would be even easier to get to than my set-up.
     
  15. Gnarly
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Gnarly Loaded Pockets

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    Just like whatcha get when you cross an elephant with a rhino.....elephino!

    I once tried to follow about 7 Forums; gave it up....not enough spare time.
    I believe it was in a blog or Forum or round-table punchless fight....but I've slept since then.
    As I recall, the $pendier group was won by a ZT or Benchmade dedicated 'guthook' style cutter.No knofe; just a cutter tool.
    But the $4 plactic one won the El Cheapo category (under $25,IIRC.)

    Elephino! I'm thinking it was > 5 yrs ago, so there may be new leaders by now.....
     
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  16. sveqs

    sveqs Loaded Pockets

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    great thread and nice review, Peter!

    I shouldda gotten a vic rescue tool while they were on sale here in HU :(
    I was waiting for my family to realise, remember my previously expressed interest and pick one up for christmas,
    well they didn't ... never count on relatives who power their electronic devices with cheap no-name Chinese AA's (well OK this has nothing to do with knives but with general EDC mindset)

    I have a ResQMe zip tied to my visor

    I also used to have a Boker Rescom that never left my pocket until another knife bumped it out of there--- literally, unfortunately. I carried it in my fifth jeans pocket and the other knife had a loose pocket clip, pushed upward and nudged the Rescom out. It fell on the street somewhere and I never found it again.
    Great cutter, although I have never tried in in an emergency situation. Gotta pick up a new one some day.

    @Tower - cool setup, big vehicles need big tools :) I have handled the smaller version of the Houdini, indeed, fidgety and flimsy, not to mention overpriced.

    anyone try the ExiTool by CRKT?
     
  17. SAKplumber
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    SAKplumber EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Yes, thanks!

    I like the video reveiw on their site. Looks easy enough to deal with.
     
  18. tower
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    tower Loaded Pockets

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  19. Dok J

    Dok J Loaded Pockets

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    Nice review!
    I'm using a VIC Rescue Tool as "on-duty" blade and fully agree with your thoughts about it, but maybe it's a bit complicated to use on scene because of the dedicated tools. I always end up using the breaker on a stab motion and just whip the OHO blade to cut everything I have to.

    I wish Benchmades were easier to get by this side of the pond...
     
  20. tower
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    tower Loaded Pockets

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    Pm me with exactly what you want, and I'll check prices and shipping costs.
     
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