Is this the ultimate personal tool for EMS?
The Leatherman Raptor's smart design and the sweetest scissors ever make this multi-tool worth a look
By Dan White
I confess I was a little excited opening the box of my new Leatherman Raptor. After reading some reviews and watching some online videos, I was eagerly anticipating its arrival. I was not disappointed.
The Raptor is a pure EMS tool. It benefits from an enormous amount of design input from working EMS professionals. It probably helped that most EMS providers already own some kind of Leatherman.
The Raptor includes six different functions in a compact folding tool. It measures 5 inches folded and weighs less than six ounces. It combines 420HC stainless steel shears with a strap cutter, ring cutter, oxygen wrench, ruler and glass breaker. It also features an easily replaced pocket clip and rugged injection molded holster that I’ll cover in a minute.
Take out the tools
First the scissors, which are the sweetest I’ve ever used. The blades fold out and lock into place. They are even better than the spring-loaded German cast scissors I carried for years. They are stronger and sharper than any pair of typical trauma scissors.
I tested them out on some old jeans, then T-shirts, leather and nylon. No matter what material you cut, it just separates without a fuss. No tearing or hanging up on lighter fabrics. These things cut like a dream.
Next I worked out the oxygen wrench. It is part of the strap or seat belt cutter. It folds out into action one-handed and with the liner lock can be closed one-handed too. It worked perfectly on my assortment of old steel and aluminum cylinders. Even if your tanks all have post-valve toggles, sooner or later you will need it.
The seat belt cutter worked fine on nylon or polypropylene webbing. I’m a big fan of pushing the little red button on the seat belt buckle, but it could still come in handy one day.
The ring cutter could also be useful, but I suspect it would work best on lighter wedding bands and women’s rings. For heavy men’s rings or platinum bands, I’d still recommend a rotary blade ring cutter.
The 5cm ruler will probably prove useful and is a great idea for more detailed wound descriptions. The carbide-tipped glass breaker on the handle will rarely if ever be used, but it’s a nice thing to have available.
Put away the blades
The last thing I want to tell you about is the excellent sheath. A lot of thought went into this design. You can store your Raptor folded up or unfolded. The pocket clip secures the Raptor in the sheath when it is folded. When it is unfolded, it snaps into the sheath and locks in place.
This is great for EMS because you can carry your scissors folded most of the time for better comfort but store them quickly after use on the street while still unfolded. This will improve retention and then be very convenient to clean afterwards.
After you have cut a bloody pair of pants, you need a safe place to put your scissors. The open-ended sheath can then be easily rinsed and decontaminated later. The sheath is also MOLLE compatible and can be adjusted to mount in any orientation.
As a cutting tool alone, the Leatherman Raptor stands tall. It is an innovative tool with an outstanding design. Even better is the high quality of materials and construction. For more information check out The911Medic’s video review.