Caveat Emptor – Counterfeit Tourniquets Remain 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 a few years ago by the New Hampshire Department of Safety.


Our friends at CTOMS conducted three tests in which they self-applied two counterfeit Combat Application Tourniquet (E-CAT or Element CAT) and one real C-A-T to a healthy thigh. Continuous Doppler ultrasound was conducted to assess the distal pulse. Tourniquets were tightened until failure or it was too painful to continue to tighten.

While this video is a few years old, it demonstrates how dangerous counterfeit tourniquets are.

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.

The bottom line is, buy your tourniquets from approved sources. The buck you save, may cost a life.

5 Responses to “Caveat Emptor – Counterfeit Tourniquets Remain An Issue”

  1. Eric B says:

    Still!? Come on people, stop buying life saving equipment from Amazon or eBay. Like you said, stop trying to save a buck and get the right equipment for the job.

  2. mandingo says:

    I won’t use the names of any of the companies here, but it amazes me that legit gear manufacturers will open mega-airsoft outlets as dealers to have their products sold alongside blatantly knocked-off helmets / eyewear / vests etc.

    Do they not realize that when profits dictate, they will be knocked-off next. And profits from the sale of their legit goods will be used to expand the import operation.

    Participation in this cycle is the most deplorable thing about airsoft.

  3. Charles says:

    We have had this issue for years in Kurdistan. Chinese fake tourniquets reign supreme there. I’d say a good 90% of what we have seen on the peshmerga has been knock offs. The individual soldier has no clue and many do not care either way. Lots of politics and money on a higher level…

  4. Mike Nomad says:

    Some windlass breakage has been found due to UV exposure > materials destabilization. The TK4L is my preference. Inexpensive, simple, and effective.

  5. dv says:

    I may be mistaken, but it looks like you posted the same New Hampshire Bulletin twice in your posting… I suspect the 2nd one wasn’t suppose to be the 2015 bulletin.

    If I am mistaken, ignore me, and carry on.