Trauma Shears Dilemma

I started out with the basic trauma shears that cost only a couple of dollars, but soon realized I wanted something a little more “substantial” and upgraded to the basic titanium shears I currently carry. They do the job adequately, but there are some other interesting options out there and I am looking for some reasoned opinions (or Christmas present suggestions.)

I am impressed by the Leatherman Raptor that can be purchased for around $60 here in the US. They would be like my own little “Transformer” riding it’s very own holster on my belt. However, I have to admit that I kinda fear being seen as a “wacker” with it.

Then there is the RipShears for only about $25 (or a couple extra for the “glow-in-the-dark” version.) These seem very sound with a great track record (and fewer moving parts) but maybe a little bulky.

Both add features like an O2 wench (or window punch or reflex hammer…) but honestly is that necessary? What is your experience or advice?


  • jim says:

    I purchased the raptors a short time ago. They are worth every penny. The holster is solid, though a tad bulky. They cut extremely well and i have had the chance to use the ring cutter, which cut the pt’s ring like butter. Don’t worry about being a “whacker” there is no honor in being unprepared.

  • E.E.Wojcik says:

    I carry a little pair of bandage scissors that I received as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. So far they’ve preformed well. Usually, they get used for the little things like opening packaging on oxygen masks or clipping away gauze from a poorly done home bandage, but the couple of times I’ve called on them for removing denim (jeans) and heavy Jersey (sweatshirts), they’ve glided through the material with ease. Of course, it helps that one of my hobbies is sewing, and I can look for and spot weak areas in the material. I know a few EMTs who are just as skilled with a pocket knife as I am with my little scissors. I think there is a lot more riding on the skill of the operator than the tool used.

  • Gareth says:

    I have just taken possession of a pair of Leatherman Raptors. They’re a beautiful piece of engineering as you’d expect from Leatherman with lots of features, but beware they are heavy and bulky in comparison to standard shears. Ask me in a month whether I’m still happy to carry them on my duty belt with the extra bulk and weight. Hope that helps.

  • Justin J. Rebbert says:

    I also got the Leatherman Raptor when it first came out. I actually got promoted to supervisor at my private service after I ordered them but before I received them, so I don’t get out on the road much anymore and have never used them as actual trauma shears. But they are high-quality, as you’d expect from Leatherman. They are very purposeful, with nothing you don’t need (bottle opener, saw, screw driver, etc) on a device of this type. The holster is a bit bulky, which comes with being made for more than one way of wearing.

  • southernyankee says:

    As an alternate, consider the Crisis Hook Knife by Gerber. It may not cut some of the thinner, non-tensioned material like kerlix or cling, but there’s nothing faster for cutting heavy clothing off a patient. Comparable is the Talon Trek Plus, but that is far bulkier.

  • David says:

    My wife recently got me the Leatherman Raptors. I’ve been in EMS for 15 years. These shears are the best I’ve ever used. I have not used the ring cutter, seat belt cutter or the window punch as of yet but am looking for any opportunity. The shears themselves may be heavy but that’s because they are built very well. Being folded and in the holder does not take up much space. I even have a Leatherman Wave next to them.

  • tom d says:

    After 25 years, I haven’t found anything better than the orange credit card sized seatbelt cutter…..less than 5$, not heartbreaking if its lost or stolen and cuts through everything including leather and nylon strapping…..haven’t met a seam or material it won’t glide through.

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