Are you a person who is struggling to know the difference between CAT and SOFTTs? Tourniquets are considered essential in any first aid kit, so naturally, a survivalist will want to know which one to invest in.
While CATs and SOFTTs offer the same functionality, their specs and ease of use differ.
Yes, both are very high-quality tourniquets, but the differences in mechanisms and materials are unique enough for you to debate which one is a better item to have.
If you want to know more about the differences between Cats vs SOFTTs, stick around. This article will provide you with a general overview of the two tourniquets and explain the strengths and weaknesses of each one to help you determine which would be the most ideal for you.
Let’s dive in.
What is a Tourniquet?
A tourniquet is a piece of medical equipment used to apply pressure onto a limb that has suffered from a major injury. Its purpose is to stop excess bleeding that otherwise could result in death.
Modern tourniquets are made from elastic silicon with pull straps made to be adjustable to fit any sized limb. Some also use velcro, making it easy to attach and tighten.
Tourniquets are very useful to have in first aid kits. While survivalists can improvise and make their own during an emergency, the performance of a quality tourniquet will far outmatch anything than what is used last minute to treat an injury.
The best tourniquets on the market are military-grade products such as the Combat Action Tourniquet (CAT) and the Special Operations Focus Tactical Tourniquet (SOFTT).
Each one is different in specifications and has its strengths and weakness. However, both are certified by the National Association of EMTs.Either option is considered viable, but it does boil down to specific situations and preferences.
CAT was first introduced in 2005 to the U.S. Army. It was designed for U.S. combat medics to use on the battlefields and to treat wounded soldiers.
Its primary components are thin velcro-backed webbings, a buckle, and a windlass lock hook system. The buckle system allows for fast and straightforward application and for easy slack management.
The CAT has been heavily researched and funded to be created as a high-quality and efficient product. According to statistics, it has decreased the mortality rate of wounded soldiers by 85%.
CAT is the most recognizable and trusted lmilitary-grade tourniquet because of the positive track record that it has garnered over the years. It is widely accepted among paramedics and is used in many of today’s training programs.
Check out this video example below of a soldier showing the basics of a CAT.
Pros and Cons of CATs
Using a CAT offers many benefits, but it is important to know that it is not a perfect device. Below are the pros and cons of using a CAT.
The CAT is the most widely known and used by professionals. Because of its popularity, it has more recognition and positive data to show for it compared to the SOFTT. Currently, the CAT is in its 7th gen, and with each new gen, the product gets better through minor improvements.
If you are hiking alone, then the CAT is the easiest device to apply by yourself. It is possible to use the device to its full extent without anyone else’s help.
CAT was designed to be very user-friendly. One hand can use it, while the other supports the victim’s limb. Simply adjust the loop of the bad and use the fraction adapter bucks to adjust for limb size.
Its simple design allows for quick efficiency, which is crucial for emergencies. With proper training and accessible reach, you could rescue a victim and apply pressure within seconds. Every second matters in life or death a situation.
Many also consider the CAT to be more durable than the SOFTT. It can handle more rigorous situations and environments due to being developed for battlefield use.
The CAT is not as portable as some other tournaments. Its design is a little more clunky than the SOFTT’s. The width of the CAT is 1.5 inches, while the SOFTT is only 1 inch wide.
CAT is also twice as heavy, coming in at 4.3 ounces compared to SOFTT’s 2.2 ounces.
It is possible for the components to wear over time. In some rare cases, the plastic windlass could break, making it non-usable. Some survivalists say that the windlass becomes harder to use in frigid temperatures.
Some survivalists say it is also possible for the hook and loop to become clogged and fail to latch. Reports of sand and other particles could affect its ability to latch, making it hard to secure the limb.
The Special Operations Forces Tactical Tourunquet (SOFFTT) is another tourniquet similarly marketed for special military forces. It was created in 2003 and inspired the CAT, which would later become the standard and dethrone SOFTT as the leading brand of tourniquets.
Despite losing their number one spot, SOFTTs are still very high quality and are just as trusted. They provide just as good use as CATs but with a slightly lower price point.
The main difference is that it does not use velcro but instead durable fabric mixed with other synthetic materials. The benefit of this is that it will perform better in wet, muddy, and cold environments.
SOFTT also doesn’t use a hook-and-loop system. Instead, it uses a D-ring mechanism for its windlass. Another change is the buckle. While CAT uses a traditional buckle, SOFTT uses a gator-strip buckle.
Check out the video below to see the SOfTT in use.
Pros and Cons of SOFTTs
As mentioned, SOFTTs are still very high-quality tourniquets that should not be overlooked. They offer some benefits that are better than CATs. Check out the pros and cons below.
SOFTTs are said to provide better functionality in heavy moisture environments.CAT’s velcro material can make it harder to attach when wet due to being slippery.
SOFTTs are also said to be better for people who suffer from impaired motor functions. The hook-in loop known in CATs is more of a hassle for someone with motor impairments.
The smaller weight and dimensions of the SOFTT make it a better option than CATs for those limited in space.
The windlass on the SOFTTs is actually better quality. It uses a metal windlass vs CATs plastic one that could be prone to breaking.
If you want a tourniquet that is easy to put on others, the SOFTT is the best option.
While it’s easy to help someone else with a SOFTT, it is harder to put it on yourself if you’re alone.
The SOFTT uses a rubber mand mechanism that can get tangled.
Due to SOFTT not being widely accepted as CATs, the development on improving the product isn’t as fast as CATs.
SOFTTs are said to be less user-friendly than CATs, and since CATs are more widely used, it will be harder to find training for SOFTTs.
While flexible, the material that SOFTTs are made of is slightly less flexible than CATs.
Hopefully, by now, you have a better understanding of the differences between CATs vs SOFTTs. The truth is, they are very similar to each other. They both offer the same functionality but differ primarily in ease of use and materials.
When it comes down to choosing, consider the environment you will be in and if you will be with others. If you are going to be alone, then CATs are easier to apply to yourself. If you are in a high moisture environment, consider getting a SOFTT for durability.
Whatever option you decide, just know you can not go wrong with either. Having at least one of these in your first aid kit will greatly increase your chances of surviving an accident.