Choosing the Best Tourniquets for Novice or Inexperienced Users
May 25, 2023 | Christian Schauf
Choosing the Best Tourniquets for Novice or Inexperienced Users

In emergency situations where severe bleeding occurs, the proper use of a tourniquet can be a life-saving skill. Whether it's a car accident, a workplace injury, or an outdoor mishap, having access to a reliable tourniquet and knowing how to use it correctly is crucial. It’s also worth noting that training is extremely important for any of the products below - as proper application is critical to getting through an emergency with a minimal loss of blood and damage to flesh in the surrounding area.  

For novice or inexperienced users, selecting the right tourniquet can be a daunting task. In this blog, we will explore some of the best tourniquets available in the market, specifically designed for those who may not have extensive medical training.

Before we delve into specific recommendations, let's understand why choosing the right tourniquet is vital. A tourniquet is a device used to stop severe bleeding by compressing the blood vessels above the injury. It should be easily applicable, effective in controlling bleeding, and safe for the user. Novice users need tourniquets that are intuitive, efficient, and require minimal training to use correctly.


1. CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet):  The Combat Application Tourniquet, commonly known as the CAT tourniquet, is widely recognized as one of the most reliable and user-friendly tourniquets on the market. It features a windlass system that allows for quick and effective application. The CAT tourniquet is designed to be applied with one hand, which is especially useful for self-application. Its durability and effectiveness have made it a popular choice for military and civilian use alike.

2. RATS (Rapid Application Tourniquet System)  The Rapid Application Tourniquet System, or RATS tourniquet, is a compact and simple-to-use option suitable for novice users. Unlike windlass-based tourniquets, the RATS tourniquet employs a buckle system, allowing for quick application. It is lightweight, portable, and can be applied with one hand. While the RATS tourniquet may not provide the same level of occlusion as windlass-based models, it is a valuable tool for immediate bleeding control until advanced medical care is available.

3. The Slishman Wrap is an unconventional approach to a tourniquet that we really like for novice users.  Its intuitive design provides a one-size-fits all product that can be applied one-handed.  It also results in less tissue damage due to a wide adjustable compression wrap.  It also works for other injuries, such as holding a splint in place, longitudinal arm or leg lacerations.  It allows for placement of gauze underneath and less likely to be dislodged during transportation. 

4. SOFTT-W (Special Operations Forces Tactical Tourniquet - Wide):  The SOFTT-W tourniquet is another excellent option for novice users. Like the CAT tourniquet, it utilizes a windlass system for effective compression. It also features a wider strap, which enhances its stability and reduces pressure points on the injured limb. The SOFTT-W tourniquet is easy to apply and has been extensively tested in real-world scenarios, demonstrating its reliability.

5. SAM XT (SAM Extremity Tourniquet):  The SAM XT tourniquet offers a unique approach to tourniquet application. It utilizes a ratcheting system, which allows for precise adjustment of compression pressure. The intuitive design includes visual cues to ensure proper tightening, making it suitable for inexperienced users. The SAM XT tourniquet's versatility and ease of use have earned it a place among recommended options for both military and civilian applications.

When it comes to selecting the best tourniquets for novice or inexperienced users, several reliable options stand out.  Remember that proper training in tourniquet application and usage is crucial, even with user-friendly models. Novice users should familiarize themselves with the chosen tourniquet and practice its application to ensure confidence and efficiency during critical situations.