I will have to add SAM XT to the list!
I just received my SAM XT (Extremity Tourniquet) today. I immediately opened the packaging and put it to the test against some of the others.
First test was to apply it to myself without reading instructions. It goes on very quickly, even one-handed. The plastic buckle clicks in place when it wraps sufficiently tight and the windlass needs only minimal turns to tighten from there. That's it. It actually seemed too simple.
First impressions are that it is very well made. It comes from SAM Medical Design of Wilsonville OR; the same company who manufactures other emergency medical products such as the SAM Junctional Tourniquet, SAM splint and SAM chest seal. It is hard to determine the quality of products such as this based just on photos, so I was more than favorably impressed when I got it out of the package. The velcro is high quality, the plastic appears to be high impact polymer, the windlass nylon is wide and the windlass rod is metal. I thought the holes might be a weak point in the design but that proved not to be the case. The strap is VERY strong.
When I first put it on myself, i was initially confused because of how simple it is to apply. You wrap it around your arm or leg, loop the strap through the wide opening of the plastic buckle and pull it back on itself. It automatically clicks into place when the correct tension is reached.
I actually had to read the instructions to make sure I wasn't missing anything. Just playing with it and feeding the strap through the buckle actually seemed TOO easy. What I didn't realize until I actually put it around my leg for real is that the pins will protrude through the spring-loaded buckle and lock it into place automatically when the correct tension is reached. It takes less time to apply than it does to read the previous sentence.
All it takes after the strap is tight is a few turns of the windlass, and it is applied.
The release is equally intuitive; one simply pulls up on the buckle at the tab. On my first test, I tried to get it to release accidentally, but could not. Even with the loose end dangling and not looped back on itself, the buckle would not accidentally release while under tension.
A tourniquet will cause pain when applied properly (and after it is released) so I admit I only left it on for a few seconds and didn't tighten the windlass all the way. (Further tests will follow.) But I can still feel it in my leg and my arm an hour after it was applied, even for those only few seconds on each.
Further tests planned will be locking under tension after cold soaking it at minus 20 degrees Celsius, heating it to 40 degrees C, soaking it in water overnight and burying it in mud to see if it locks automatically without cleaning. Just for fun, I will then test it to destruction just to see what kind of tension it can withstand. The practical application of this final test may not be entirely clear, but I have two anyway so I might as well see what it takes to break either the strap or the buckle.
I am a huge fan of the CAT tourniquet, and have one in each color. (No, it's not to coordinate with my various outfits. The blue one is dedicated to training purposes.) The SAM XT comes in black and orange and there is no blue version, but I would highly recommend one unwrap their new SAM XT and try it out once or twice. There probably isn't as much need for a specially-colored training version, simply because it is so simple to understand and easy to apply that five minutes will be all the training anyone will ever need.
SAM Medical recommends it be discarded after actual use, and as with any tourniquet used for training and not just a few trial fittings, one should not trust it for field use afterwards.
Overall, I like it. Let's see what it takes to break this, and it will take a lot to push the CAT off the top of my personal list, but so far, I am impressed.
Thanks for the review! I put one in my cart last week, then took it out and bought another SOFT T W since I am familiar. Good to know about the SAM XT for future though.
Originally Posted by Chickenhawks
Here are the results of further testing of the SAM XT.
I tested it in very cold and very hot conditions, and it worked just fine. I submerged it in mud for two days. No problem. I poured fine dust on it. No problem. I soaked mosquito repellant containing DEET on the strap and buckle - one of the tests that separate NATO Stanag tests from the easier Mil-Spec tests of firearms and accessories - and found no problem.
Confession. I got so bored with testing this thing that I decided to break it.
There is no way I could test this on a human being because the pain it would cause when tightened far beyond its design intent would be extreme. I suspect even a dummy would complain. So I wrapped it around my hydraulic 3-ton floor jack that I happened to have sitting around from changing out the winter tires on my SUV. I jacked it up about 8 inches so it would be near the end of the strap travel, wrapped it tight until it clicked, and laid the remaining 6 inch tongue along the velcro strap. I then over-torqued the windlass far beyond what anyone would require to stop the blood flow. No breakage.
I then cranked up the jack to about 14 inches high. The velcro screamed a bit in protest but it never came apart. I actually used the same strength as what I used to crank up one corner of a full-size SUV, and the damn thing wouldn't break. It wouldn't even come apart.
In fact, it was still in good enough shape to use for training purposes.
This is a very impressive performance. I would guess I cranked that jack to at least several tons of pressure, and nothing broke or came apart.
While I have never tested a CAT the same way, I suspect it would preform similarly. Maybe someone else can take an old CAT or SOF-T wide and see if they can break it in a hydraulic floor jack. The practical application of this test is pretty much nil because the potential breaking strength of a good tourniquet would be hundreds of times more than necessary to stop blood flow.
But, wow, was that impressive. I am not throwing away my CATs, but the SAM XT is my new go-to TQ, and one I can now comfortably recommend to anyone who asks.
Anyone else wanna have some fun and see what it takes to break these things?
Very cool. Thanks for posting your results. I am going to pick one up to check out.
Originally Posted by Chickenhawks
Let me know what you think.
I am working on a magazine article on the latest technology and techniques. The field of combat medicine is ever evolving, and what I said four years ago, may not apply as equally today.