Over the years I carried different kinds of Tourniquets. Most I got free from my time as a US Marine and a private security contractor in Iraq. After training with the different styles, these are the two types that work the best. I keep the TK4 Tourniquet because it’s small and lightweight. It can be used in a pinch but takes a little practice to do one handed. My favorite is the SOF Tourniquet because it is so quick and easy to use. If you are bleeding to death, you want quick and easy above all else. Here is a quick overview on how to use both of them. Everyone should get one, practice until it becomes easy to use, and then keep it handy in case of an emergency.
The TK4 is a big rubber band with medal hooks on the end. Its advantage is that it folds up really small and weighs almost nothing. To use it simply put it over your arm or leg a couple inches above the wound, and rap it around and hook one end over the band.
Start wrapping it around the limb holding onto the lose hook. Puull against the other hook to get it started. Keep wrapping and pulling the band tight until you run out of band. Now wrap it a little further until you can hook the hooks together.
It sounds complicated, but if you get one and practice a few times and it will come. Just a side note, if you are thinking of building you own, don’t. It’s not worth the effort for the price and these have been tested by our military to actually work. The couple dollars you would save is not worth the risk of it not working when you need it. Don’t feel bad, my first thought was to build my own too. I had a Navy Corpsman (a Marine Corps field medic) explain it to me. I didn’t understand it all, but it came down to these have been tested and actually work.
My favorite to use is the SOF Tourniquet. It is not currently being issued to our military, but used by most of the private contractors and a lot of Special Forces guys. I also ran into a bunch of Army medics that where buying these out of their own pockets because they are that much better. Amazon has them for $26.95 right now.
It comes staged in the package. All you have to do is hold it up by the medal part and let the loop dangle.
Slip the loop over the limb and position it a couple inches above the wound. Pull the lose end until the band is snug against the limb. It doesn’t have to be tight, just touching all the way around. This is just a quick adjustment and how tight it is isn’t important.
This one is so simple to use, I was able to put it on myself and take pictures at the same time. I just had to use my teeth once.
Turn the handle on top. Keep turning it like a faucet until blood flow stops. It doesn’t even matter witch way you turn it, just keep turning it the same direction. This will probably hurt and the patient may or may not let you know it, depending on how severe the injuries are. It does hurt. You can see in the picture how red my hand was getting. Once the blood flow stops, hook the bar under both the triangle hooks (I could only get one) on the tourniquet and you are done.
The current military issue tourniquet works much the same way, but the buckle is harder to use and the Velcro on the end gets in the way. It is also plastic everywhere and I’m afraid of breaking it.
I carry an SOF Tourniquet and TK4 Tourniquet in my blowout kit. Check out my post from last week to everything I carry in my blowout kit.