Developed at the request of the military to help troops free themselves from wrecked vehicles, the Rescom offers a serrated, one-hand-opening, 1.785-inch blade of AUS-8 stainless on a handle of fiberglass-reinforced nylon. The 4.5-inch unit weighs only 2.4 ounces. (bokerusa.com; 800-835-6433)
With its basic 420HC stainless shield hook and window breaking pommel, the Gerber Strap Cutter is an emergency tool stripped down to its essentials. Measuring 4.3 inches in overall length and weighing only 2.25 ounces, the Gerber Strap Cutter is extremely portable. (gerbergear.com; 800-950-6161)
TOPS keeps it simple with its FDX Cord & Line Cutter. Billed as a must-have “insurance tool,” the FDX weighs only 2.4 ounces and has an overall length of 4.5 inches. The tool comes equipped with a Kydex sheath and a 420HC stainless hook blade. (topsknives.com; 208-542-0113)
The Brous Multi-Tool (BMT) is a handy keychain-sized multi-tool that actually includes a number of other useful features besides its seat belt cutter. These features include bottle opener, pry bar, nail puller, screwdriver and gradual hex driver. In extreme situations it can also serve as a self-defense weapon. The BMT weighs 0.5 ounces and is 2.7 inches long. (brousblades.com)
The N680 stainless primary blade of the Benchmade 9170 Auto Triage is 3.58 inches long and opens automatically (check your local laws for restrictions) while the “safety cutter” is made from 440C stainless steel. Weighing in at 7 ounces, the 9170 Auto Triage measures only 4.73 inches when closed. (benchmade.com; 800-800-7427)
Developed in cooperation with the U.S. Army, the Aircrew Survival Egress Knife (ASEK) Rescue Strap Cutter has the advantage of being an actual military-issue piece of equipment. Along with a replaceable strap cutter, the 1.5-ounce tool also offers a screwdriver tip, a ceramic sharpening rod and two oxygen tank wrench slots. (ontarioknife.com; 800-222-5233)
Buck Knives’ Redpoint Rescue features a 2.75-inch, 420HC stainless, titanium-coated blade. The rubber-coated thermoplastic handle provides both a window-breaking point and a stainless strap-cutting hook. The Redpoint Rescue weighs 2.9 ounces and can be opened with only one hand. (buckknives.com; 800-326-2825)
Gerber states that the 2.92-inch, 420HC stainless Crisis Hook was first created as a rescue tool for military first responders, but that it quickly became an everyday essential for all types of soldiers. Made to cut any kind of strap or seat belt in an instant, the tool has the advantage of a longer reach than some of its competitors. Added features on the 3.04-ounce tool include an oxygen tank wrench and a window breaker. (gerbergear.com; 800-950-6161)
SOG says this 3.2-ounce folding knife model was designed especially with rescue crews in mind. Along with a great all-purpose, one-hand-opening, 3.25-inch, spear-point blade of 420 stainless steel, the model features a window breaker, a bottle opener and a strap cutter. The last two features fold from the butt of the handle frame. (sogknives.com; 888-405-6433)
Along with a 420HC stainless strap-cutting hook, the Leatherman Cam multi-tool also offers a broad-head wrench, a bit driver, a ceramic knife and arrow sharpener and a convenient carabiner for handy field carry. The tool weighs 2.6 ounces and measures 4.8 inches overall. (leatherman.com; 800-847-8665)
The S&W M&P8BS offers a partially serrated, one-hand-opening 3.4-inch blade of 4034 stainless on a gray aluminum handle with black rubber inlays. Both a strap-cutting hook and a window breaker are mounted on the butt of the 4-ounce, 7.9-inch knife. (taylorbrandsllc.com; 800-251-0254)
Timberline’s 4.8-ounce, fixed-blade ECS Safety Cutter is carried in the company’s own Ultimate Secure Easy Release System sheath designed for belt, MOLLE or neck carry. The 0.5-inch blade is AUS-8 stainless steel and mounted on a Zytel handle. A cutout on the shaft also provides an oxygen valve wrench. (timberlineknives.com; 800-548-7427)
Based on a popular design from custom knifemaker Kit Carson, the M-16-12ZE Emergency Rescue Folder offers a 3-inch AUS-8 stainless blade with a tanto point. The spine-mounted, blade-opening “flipper” becomes a combination handguard and seat-belt cutter once the blade is extended into the “open” position. There is also a window-breaker point mounted on the glass-filled-nylon handle. The 3.6-ounce M-16-12ZE measures 7.3 inches long when fully extended. (crkt.com; 800-891-3100)
Emergencies can happen all the time. If your car flips in an accident, you might need to cut your seatbelt to escape your vehicle. This is just one example of a critical situation where you’ll need a rescue tool that can handle multiple tasks on handy, ready to act, in order to save your life and those of your loved ones.
Here are the top 13 emergency rescue tools on the market today.
This article was originally published in SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Winter 2015 magazine. Print and Digital Subscriptions available here.
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