Rob Pincus

RATS Tourniquet Use

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   4  mins

The RATS Tourniquet is a relatively new emergency medical device. RATS stands for Rapid Application Tourniquet System. It’s a convenient tourniquet that’s easy to use and carry, and it has the potential to actually work.

The RATS Difference

The RATS Tourniquet, which is fluorescent orange in color, works by allowing multiple wraps of the relatively thin dressing to create enough surface-pressure area to cause the tourniquet effect that is needed to stop bleeding. Although it’s a new product that has not been combat proven, the manufacturer has done extensive testing with the RATS Tourniquet. Read more about the testing and endorsements here.

Among your self-defense tools and accessories, you should also carry some emergency medical gear. Because the RATS Tourniquet is so light and small, there are many ways it can be easily carried: in a pocket, a vehicle, an emergency medical kit, even wrapped around something.

It can be used with two hands or one hand, making it convenient for self-application. One-handed application is demonstrated.

It’s advertised as being able to apply to very small limbs, including those of children and K-9s—victims on whom traditional tourniquets would be much harder to use.


Because the RATS Tourniquet is made of thin and heavy cords, medical professionals have expressed concern that it may cause tearing of the flesh, either externally or internally. This would increase blood flow rather than stopping it, defeating the purpose of the tourniquet.

The RATS Tourniquet fits somewhere between the traditional tourniquet and improvised tourniquets like belts and cords. Should you add it to your self-defense gear? Our advice is to give it consideration. Talk to medical professionals about it and read up on who is endorsing it and who is not. As with all potentially life-saving gear, do plenty of research before making a decision.

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