Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: Benchmade - 8Med Rescue hook

Back in April I picked up a couple of Benchmade safety hooks from, one I have already discussed, and the other, I put in the MOLLE visor panel in my car and promptly forgot to cover. I knew it was there, part of my cross-check when I get in the vehicle is to check where my essential kit is, and there it was, one day when I was wondering what to cover next.

As with the 5hook, and the Gerber strap cutter I covered before it, the principle element to these tools is the safe-on-skin cutter at the business end but this particular tool has more going for it than just a blade. This is the 8Med Rescue Hook.

Made of a single piece of 440c steel, which is a pretty standard tool steel, Is made long enough to take a full knife type grip, with a ring at the far end to loop a finger through, along with a crenelated spine and three ergonomic finger notches in the leading side.

The finger grips are sufficiently widely spaced that it can be operated easily with full fingered gloves, surgical gloves or even bare handed with ease. I found that I could wield this with both my little finger in the ring, or reversed, with my index finger through the ring, not dissimilar to how I might wield my other Benchmade blade, the CQB Dagger

The blade has the same 0.5" "length" as is sharpened not only on the inside of the back, but also the arms of the edge, meaning that it will cut at an angle, before the main belly of the hook bites in. Especially handy if you are cutting in an awkward possition. The blades reported to have a hardness of 58-60 HRC which should not only keep the cutting hook keen (as they aren't easy to sharpen) but also to maintain the wrench slot from deforming when opening cylinders. More on that in a moment.

This model (as there are several in the Benchmark 8 range) has several additional features that the basic models lack. First up is the O2 wrench, which enables you to open compressed oxygen cylinders, it's placement means you get the whole length of the tool as a leaver to assist in this, as needed, without compromising your grip, or need to remove the tool from your hand, especially useful in a crisis when motor skills might be compromised.
It also features a notch at the tip, which Benchmade describes as a "syringe popper". I wracked my brains about this, and looked at some of my medical kit, as well as some of the lab supplies I have access to at work, and am as mystified as these guys... 

There is also a  notch inside the finger ring that should also fit an O2 regulator, but I'd be more likely to use it to keep a lanyard tape secured. 

On security, the hook comes with a soft case, which is fitted with PALS/MOLLE compatible loops on the back, which doesn't add to the profile significantly, but expands the connection options. The interesting thing about the case is the elasticised cap. With a hook-and-loop closure to begin with, this case has an additional feature, in the band of elastic wrapping around the top of the case enabling you to pop the top and the elastic snags the lid out of the way, to prevent incidental restriction to the finger loop.

I really like this hook, it fits the hand nicely, allowing a full, solid grip for rapid and continual cutting action, key when you need to rapidly strip a casualty, or in my case, might need to rescue someone in distress from a harness or bound up in rope. Having this in my car gives me a sense of security that I have an escape tool handy, for myself, my kids and other occupants of my car or those at the scene of an accident or disaster I come across. 

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