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What’s Better? CAT Vs. SOF-T Wide

Trying to decide what the best tourniquet is for you? The Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) is often viewed as the best device for controlling life-threatening bleeds and is trusted by medical professions all around the world. The SOF-T Wide is also just as trusted, but not quite so widely used. This doesn’t mean it’s inferior.

The CAT has the benefit of being the first to the market and was picked up by the US and British militaries for combat applications and so it enjoys great data supporting its effectiveness.

The SOF-T Wide came onto the scene a short time later, but since it was approved by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC) after the CAT, it isn’t as widely recognized, but still deserves your consideration in my opinion.

I have used both TQ’s in real world applications and I have some opinions that might help you decide which is the right TQ for you.

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How to Make a Improvised Tourniquet That Will Actually Work

In Part 1 of this little series about Improvised TQs, I talked about why they often don’t work well to control bleeding.

If you haven’t read that article, I suggest going and checking it out before reading this one, so you know the limitations of improvised tourniquets.

But even though they aren’t very trustworthy, knowing how to make your own TQ is a great skill to have and something you should always have floating around in the back of your mind.

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How Long Can You Leave A Tourniquet Before Amputation?

Tourniquets are a frequent topic of discussion on the Mountain Man Medical YouTube channel and I’ve been seeing a lot of rumors. Most of these rumors come from the old ways of doing things.

All medicine is constantly changing, year to year and sometimes month to month as scientists and doctors search for the best way to keep a person alive, and trauma is no exception.

If you haven’t had any medical training for a few years you might not be up to date on the latest techniques for managing trauma. One of the most common myths I see pop up is this:

“Tourniquets are a last resort. If you apply a TQ, the victims injured limb will be amputated.”

Not only is this wrong, but it’s very dangerous.

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The SWAT-T is the Best Backup Tourniquet

Having a commercial, purpose-made tourniquet ready to go in an emergency is essential for keeping someone alive. Trying to build your own on the spot takes time you don’t have and won’t be nearly as effective as something like the CAT.

And no, your belt is not an acceptable substitute of a quality tourniquet. I run into people all the time that say they would just use their belt to control a life-threatening bleed because they haven’t stopped to think about how it might actually be done.

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