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Thread: Comparison: Rescue Knives (Too Many To List)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Hanging off a post in a cornfield in Ohio
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    Comparison: Rescue Knives (Too Many To List)


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    I guess this could be considered a test, so here it goes. I've got a nice collection of rescue knives, and thought it would be nice to compare them to see what's the best one. These are my opinions only, and I know there are some that I'm leaving out (Gerber Hinderer, Spyderco Assist, Smith & Wesson First Response, Victorinox Rescue Tool, etc.) but remember, if I don't have the knife, I can't review or compare it.
    My testing consists mainly of seatbelt material cutting and automotive window breaking, but I'll also be evaluating opening and closing (with fire gloves on), lock-up before and after use, ease of deployment (with fire gloves on), and edge retention / damage. These are not to be considered scientific tests where I measure the exact spot on the blade and then the exact pressure exerted for each cut; this is sticking the blade underneath the belt and freeing your patient. Your adrenaline will be pumping and you will fumble with the knife; maybe you won't even be able to get it unclipped quickly with thick fire gloves on.

    Let's meet the competitors, with a brief description of each...

    Meyerco Necklance River Rescue Knife

    Model 7940. $5, China-made fixed blade. Blade is 3-1/16" long 440-series stainless steel, fully serrated with a blunt tip. Handle is black glass-filled nylon with choils and a lanyard hole. Sheath is black glass-filled nylon. Friction fit, with a neck cord and a belt clip situated for handle-down carry.
    My review here...
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=693740

    Gerber EZ Out Rescue Kit

    Model 55990. $30, US-made lockback folder. Blade is 3-1/2" long 400-series stainless steel, fully serrated with a rounded tip. Opens with a thumb oval. Handle is yellow linerless Zytel with black rubber inserts; pocket clip is removable and right-hand tip-down only. Includes a standard brass window punch and black ballistic nylon sheath.
    My review here...
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=693640

    Camillus Lev-R-Lok Rescue

    Model 5851. $25, US-made lockback folder. Blade is 3" long 440-series stainless steel, fully serrated, with a rounded tip. Opens with a unique lever, placed on the handle. Handle is black linerless Zytel with a lanyard hole. No pocket clip or sheath is included.
    My review here...
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=688711

    Byrd Cara Cara Rescue

    Model BY17SBK. $25. China-made lockback folder. Blade is 4-1/8" long 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, fully serrated, with a sheepsfoot tip. Opens with a thumb hole. Handle is steel-lined black FRN with a lanyard hole. Pocket clip is movable for tip up or tip down carry, left or right-handed.
    My review here...
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=688707

    Boker Rescom

    Model 584. $25. Taiwan-made framelock folder. Blade is 1-7/8" long AUS-8 stainless steel, part serrated with a hook tip. Opens with an ambidextrous thumb disc. Handle is steel-lined FRN with a lanyard hole. Pocket clip is movable for right-hand tip up or tip down carry.
    My review here...
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=689082

    Victorinox One-Handed Fireman

    (The above photo is property of KnifeCenter)
    Model 54868. $39/ Switzerland-made linerlock folder. Blade is 3-1/2" long stainless steel, half serrated. Opens with a thumb oval. Handle is lined nylon with a keyring. Also includes toothpick, tweezers, seatbelt cutter, wood saw, corkscrew, reamer, can opener / small screwdriver, and locking bottle opener / wire stripper / large flathead screwdriver. No pocket clip or sheath is included.
    My review here...
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=557684

    Whoa, that's a lot for just the intro. Stay tuned and I'll type up the testing protocol and results...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Hanging off a post in a cornfield in Ohio
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    Deployment...

    I'll start with the opening and closing of the knives (and their tools where appropriate) with fire gloves on. The purpose of this shouldn't need to be said; please E-mail me if you have any questions regarding this step. Oh yeah, also, they've got to get in your hands somehow, so I'll cover that too.
    Knife by knife...

    Meyerco Necklance River Rescue
    There's only one real way to carry this with turnout gear, and that's from the neck. I really don't recommend hanging things from your neck in situations like this, but let's try. Pulling the handle downward is easy enough, but the problem lies with the knife's placement in the sheath: it will fit in with the edge facing either side, so you don't know by feel what side of the blade is facing in or out. Re-sheathing the knife is difficult with fire gloves on and with a lightweight sheath hanging from your neck. Under calm, normal (non life-threatening) circumstances, I can get it on the first or second try without looking, but only if I grab the sheath with one hand and insert the knife with the other. Using the knife was a little bit uncomfortable with the gloves on. I don't like it.

    Gerber EZ Out Rescue Kit
    Using the included sheath: First, you've got to open the Velcro flap. This is difficult with the thick gloves on, as the flap sits flush with the rest of the sheath. Extracting (and replacing) the window punch was relatively easy, but the actual knife was difficult. The combination of pocket clip tightness, sheath thickness, and not having much to grab on to made it harder than it should be. This is for both extracting and especially re-inserting it into the sheath. The extraction problem is fixed by attaching elastic cord to the tools as shown...


    Using the pocket clip: The EZ Out Rescue can be clipped to any attachment point on your turnout gear. As it comes, it's still a bit hard to get into hand. The elastic cord helps out immensely though. Re-attaching it to your turnout gear takes two hands and is a very deliberate action.
    Opening the knife was easier than it looked, given the small area of the opening slot. Either hand could get the blade into action fast, and usage was comfortable. Unlocking the knife was easy as well. I like this one.

    Camillus Lev-R-Lok Rescue
    This one didn't come with a pocket clip or sheath, so I stuck some orange 550 cord in the lanyard hole and looped it through the glove space on the turnout coat. How you do this will affect how easy it is to get into action. A break-away lanyard is a great idea here as well. The lever made opening extremely easy with the gloves on. Closing the knife, however, was a bit more awkward since the lockbar is at the butt of the handle. This requires rotating the knife in your heavily-gloved hand to reach the lock. Overall, it's okay. I love the opening, but closing is awkward.

    Byrd Cara Cara Rescue
    I carry this one tip-up with a lanyard, as tip-down or tip-up without a lanyard simply doesn't give you enough handle to grab on to with thick gloves on. It attaches to your turnout gear with two hands, of course. Opening was quick with either hand, very quick. Closing was difficult though; the lockbar is a little too shallow and the David Boye dent just makes it worse. At one point, I had to actually remove a glove to push the lock in enough to close the blade. Again, I love the opening, but the unlocking was very difficult with gloves on.

    Boker Rescom
    This is another lanyard-required knife. Tip-down is just impossible, as is tip-up with no lanyard. Like the other clip-equipped knives, this one requires two hands to get back on to your gear. The Rescom was even more difficult due to the stiff clip, and required removing a glove to get back on my turnout coat. Opening was sluggish, but got better after five or six tries. Sometimes, the glove would get pinched between the thumb disc and handle. Closing was impossible with gloved hands. I tried several different ways, but I simply could not do it.

    Victorinox One-Handed Fireman
    As with the Camillus, this one begs for a lanyard. Opening is fast and easy with either hand, but closing takes a bit getting used to since the liner is reversed (set up for left-hand use). This is perfect for me since I'm a lefty, but you righties will have to figure out a way to get it closed.
    Opening any of the other tools was impossible with the fire gloves on. I was hoping for an extended end on the belt cutter like the Victorinox Rescue Tool has, but there wasn't one on the Fireman. Every tool required a glove to come off.

    Folks, it's 5:37am and I have to stop this review for now. I'll pick it up after I'm better-rested. Thanks for reading so far, and I hope you'll come back to finish. Photos will be added as well.
    Last edited by JNieporte; 11-25-2009 at 04:39 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Hi,

    Excellent so far JNieporte! As another Fireman/EMT I'm very interested in your views on such tools. I do own a Vic Rescue which is a bit different than your Vic Fireman. No can opener and a glass breaker in it's place.

    dalee

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