Tactical Tailor

Caveat Emptor – Counterfeit Tourniquets Are Still An Issue

We first mentioned counterfeit Combat Application Tourniquets back in 2010 and they had already been a problem for awhile. Recently, there has been a rash of these fake products showing up in various supply chains of law enforcement and first responder agencies. For example, this clinical bulletin was issued just this week by the New Hampshire Department of Safety.


According to North American Rescue, they’ve identified six different counterfeit CATs.  While this link offers a great comparison between a genuine CAT and a counterfeit, the simplest thing to check is the windlass.  If it isn’t stiff, ask for a real one.  

20 Responses to “Caveat Emptor – Counterfeit Tourniquets Are Still An Issue”

  1. some_guy says:

    This is why I hate those airsoft geardos who create a market for knock off gear.

    • Ab5olut3zero says:

      Ain’t just airsoft guys. Most of the mil-simmers I know carry the real thing.

      • d says:

        WTF is a mil-simmer?

        • A LARP-er with toy guns in lieu of fake swords.

          • Ab5olut3zero says:

            One who in lieu of training with real-world weapons (as simunitions are relatively tightly controlled and prohibitively expenaive) uses mil-spec equipment or a near-copy to simulate miltary equipment. Usually these include body armor, radios, PTW weapons, and low-capacity magazines limited to real-world-accurate round counts. Many of us are former military or reserve-component and use airsoft to supplement our regular training.

            Seriously- wtf is this website community’s problem with airsofters and reserve-component Servicemen?

            • Big, big gap between what you described above and what I was alluding to. I was knocking milsim, not training.

            • straps says:

              This Citizen Soldier perceives no hostility here. Please let’s don’t create any.

              The beef is FAKE life safety equipment sold as REAL life safety equipment.

              The skepticism toward airsoft users (beyond the weird fetishism of martial culture) is that a microscopic minority use it as a beneficial FoF training tool as a part of a larger individual/team/collective training program. Even if it’s just harmless fun to burn off some youthful (or not-so-youthful) energy, nobody’s judging, so long as “players” don’t insinuate themselves into discussions among “shooters.” THAT’S where the problems start.

    • Patrick says:

      Did anyone mention milsim v. “real steel” in the article of what get’s people fired up a few days ago? Because if not, they should have.

    • Daniel says:

      I know i’m just over here disagreeing with “some guy” on the internet, but I don’t think this issue has much, if anything, to do with airsofters. I assume it’s a simple case of people wanting to get something for the cheapest price possible and companies taking advantage of that to turn a profit.

      Full disclosure, I’m a former “airsoft geardo” who doesn’t use TQs often, but when I do, I prefer the real thing.

      • SSD says:

        They were created as props for milsim/dress up.

        • Daniel says:

          Never saw any back when I played. That’s just bizarre to me! I know when I was looking to purchase a few for the kit in my jeep, I browsed Amazon/Ebay and saw several for significantly lower prices than through legit retailers. The idea of them being used for milsim never dawned on me. I figured it was just a way to sell cheap crap to cheapskates.

          FWIW, I went with a couple wide SOF-Ts, and working with them in training has been great.

  2. Disco says:

    Whoever is making counterfeit life saving gear needs to be brutally beaten and then ‘treated’ with their own phony junk.

    I’d really hate to buy something in good faith from a vendor, toss it in my ambu bag, get on scene to someone who desperately needs a TQ and find out all too late that it is some phony garbage.

  3. Patrick says:

    Who’s going to eBay and Amazon to buy first aid equipment anyways. I’m sure Ming Xao Leng from Qinghai province is taking real good care to make sure your tourniquet is up to spec.

    • Erik says:

      I think that about sums it up. First aid is one of those items where you just don’t cheap out if you can help it. It’s not quite like buying a cheapo pouch where if that fails, you are, at most, out a can of dip.

    • Brett says:

      That’s the bad thing. If somebody dies, there are no repercussions for the scum producing this junk.

  4. mike says:

    As mentioned previously a lot of airsofters are running around with real, and often really nice, tourniquets. It seems this may be more a product of MIL/LE supply personnel with too little money and too little time/expertise to scrutinize the product they are getting for the price. If you don’t know better the price seems crazy not to take. It’s not until one fails that people are really alerted to the idea their life-saving equipment could be counterfeit or sub-par. I mean supply wouldn’t issue you crap, right?

    • SSD says:

      It doesn’t matter what milsim aficionados are carrying. What matters is that fake products were created and presented as the real thing. Unfortunately, someone buys them and issues them out thinking they are real when they are really just props.

  5. BS says:

    Sometime in the past on of companies out of Poland delivered multiple pieces of counterfeit CAT tourniquets to Polish Armed Forces. These were even issued the NSN number and were (maybe still are) issued to soldiers deployed.

    I tried to inform the NARP about that but after some initial talks they never responed.

  6. Buckaroomedic says:

    I wonder how many people even know how to make a proper, improvised tourniquet any more?

    This is some scary news that these knock-offs have made their way onto first responder vehicles.

    Interesting, how in the memo there is really no info on how to ID the fake TQ’s or even a link to NAR’s website.

  7. Kord says:

    I’m not in LE or Military, however, I provide services to both. Far too often I have come across counterfeit equipment that the owner thought was real. I have also spent a lot of time trying to find an easy way to identify the counterfeit Cat’s. What I’ve found is that a lot of the gear (vests, pouches, carriers) you can find in the material or the stitch work (some is just bad choice of material and stitching is great) but with the CAT’s they’re reproducing the labels and stitching them up to look exactly like the real ones and the fail point has been the windlass (in my limited research online and talking with medic’s)

    Like the alert said, make sure your supplier can trace it back to North American Rescue or buy direct.