back to article US Navy SEAL uniforms: Now with built-in tourniquets

Elite US special-forces troops have now been equipped with special uniforms featuring up to eight built-in drawstring tourniquet systems. Reports have it that thousands of the new anti-bloodloss trouserlegs and sleeves are already in use on the front lines in southwest Asia. Integrated Tourniquet System™ pic courtesy of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Horses for courses, I suppose

    I thought that current trauma-treatment advice was not to use tourniquet due to the increased likelihood of limb damage turning into limb loss due to tissue death below the tourniquet. I suppose it's a sliding scale: if direct pressure won't cut it, and they'll die without it, pull the ripcord.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TWAT in title?


  3. Alex


    "The majority of preventable deaths come from loss of blood resulting from leg and arm wounds that is not protected by body armor"

    Um.. then why not develop flexible armour for those areas then.... A healthy, able soldier is better than an incapacitaded one.. especailly considering he/she still has use of said limb!

    I suppose it's a way forward... in some respects.

  4. David Willis
    Black Helicopters

    suite jacket cuff buttons?

    I can but repeat the title in confusion.

    When did the military start using "suite jackets" and when did they start deploying "cuff buttons".

    Has anybody warned the ex-communist block of this dangerous military escallation?

    For goodness sake, whist flailing ones arms (for example beating off a bee/wasp/Russell Brand) in a public place you could possibly "have somebodys eye out" with a "cuff button".

    Surely the metropolitan police (shoot em in the head, shoot them till their dead) should be made aware immediatly, Jackie Smith may need to have them banned imediatly as terrorist weapons of mass destruction.

  5. Simon Painter

    I remember reading a Royal Marine medical manual...

    The advice was:

    "No matter how severe the head injury is, NEVER apply a tourniquet around the neck".

  6. TJ
    Thumb Up


    This is a genius design, and props should be given.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Shoddy research Mr Page

    Count 1: Just coz "sleeve buttons history" googles to H2G2 don't make it true. It could all be folk garbage, but the snotty nose bit is accepted wisdom. Fredrick the Great gets more credit in the 18th C. More likely an aristo would want to do this than a revolutionary?

    Count 2: Tampons might be good in bullet wounds (assuming they are from a decent calibre), sanitary towels are more general purpose. Did you ever get to look inside a field dressing while you wore a black suit & white cap?

    Mine's the one with no buttons and nasty looking sleeves please

  8. Trevor Watt


    We were using them when I was serving in the British army in 1982. Nothing new there, they are ideal for large puncture wounds.

  9. Jon


    is short for "The War Against Terror"

  10. radian
    Paris Hilton

    @AC - TWAT in title


    I don't know. Maybe its something to do with the tampon reference but I too would ilke clarification.

    I'd just like to say that my lunch today consists of a Twix and a bottle of water. This is a new low for me.

  11. mutt1170
    IT Angle

    @Horses for courses

    As you said, advice for non-amputating injuries is to NOT apply a tourniquet for the reasons you state.

    However in a combat situation when a femoral artery gets ruptured you're faced with two choices

    1) Apply tourniquet to stop or slow the bleeding and run the risk of losing the limb

    2) Bleed out VERY quickly and DIE.

    Not much of a choice really?


    I'll let the IT angle go cos it's giving us Information about new battlefield Technology

  12. Steve


    I always wondered why they were called seals...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Horses for courses, I suppose


    "I thought that current trauma-treatment advice was not to use tourniquet"

    Maybe, but that's because modern urban living puts us within easy reach of an ambulance at (almost) all times. The situation's a bit different 100 miles behind enemy lines with the searchlights flashing around you.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    Y'know, putting "Um...why not" before a complex request doesn't make it any easier. Body, why not just push for world peace. Duh. It's one, affordable solution to a problem. Others will come along with the right technology.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    I don't know what the definition of "twat" is over there in the empire, but over here in the colonies....*blush*

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Equipment shortages?

    >"When an ITS-clad trooper, in the course of putting foot to ass for his country, "

    Geeze, shouldn't they maybe kit the poor buggers out with a pair of boots first?

  17. Michael
    Black Helicopters


    Have you forgotten about The War Against Terror already?

    You obviously need to spend some time in a re-education camp.

  18. George

    A fair enough point Alex but...

    That sort of armour (note the u 'merikans!) you speak about is the dream of the military but a soft flexible armour capable of deflecting even handguns is some way off.

    And special forces tend not wear armour at all when on advanced operations as its often quite restrictive.

    I hope it works as it seems a good idea in theory at least.

  19. Lewis Page (Written by Reg staff)

    the TWAT

    I was thinking 'the Total War Against Terror'. I normally prefer the Wars on Stuff, to get the War on Drugs in too, but there wasn't room.

    And you anonymous man, yes I did open up lots of field dressings - we used to carry extras to use as kindling on the commando course. We also used to get them in some of the diver medical kits - I have used them for minor blood a couple of times. So I've used them while wearing my black rubber suit and various headgear including my green beret - but never a white cap that I can recall.

    I also helped sew up a fairly squirty scalp wound once. Needless to say, we took care to add the customary comedy button for the hapless patient to discover afterwards.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Tampons

    These days they use funky blood clotting teabags or even "sprinkle on wound" magic pixie dust. I assume the reason these things are tried out by special forces is that all medical aid they receive will have had the opportunity for some training.

  21. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Semantic Pedantics.......

    "TWAT short for "The War Against Terror"" ... By [Boffin] Jon Posted Wednesday 29th October 2008 13:06 GMT

    Any advance on ...."That War Arousing Terror"?

  22. Tim Robson

    Intravenous drug use

    While this technology might sound great for a needle drug user, there is one possible problem: How easy is it to undo the tourniquet mode? I mean, it just says to pull and it becomes a tourniquet, so, since it's a pure constriction deal, and it's likely designed to not come off easily, which is part of what they want, making me think this might be slightly problematic for them.

    For law enforcement, I could see SWAT teams getting them, definitely, but regular police officers might not be the fastest to pick them up. Expense alone would likely dictate that the average cop on the corner (sitting in his temperature controlled car, of course) won't be seeing these any time soon.

  23. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Shoddy reasearch - Count 2.

    Thanks for that. I've just had a mental picture of a grunt in the supermarket asking some puzzled shelf-stacker where the 7.62mm tampons are......

  24. Dougthedug

    Old idea

    The Vietnamese used to tie cord round their limb joints before they went to fight against the US forces in order to have ready tourniquets when they needed them.

    It's good to see it's only taken the US 45 years to catch up.

    I'll get me tourney coat.

  25. radian

    Twix for lunch = reduced brain power

    TWAT = The War Against Terror

    I should've got that.

    I need a holiday.

  26. XML slave
    Black Helicopters

    RE:A fair enough point Alex but...

    "That sort of armour (note the u 'merikans!) you speak about is the dream of the military but a soft flexible armour capable of deflecting even handguns is some way off."

    An excellent point, and I'll even go further with it. The current Interceptor vest with shatter-plate inserts is ridiculously heavy and restricting. It's capable of stopping 7.62mm rounds from an AK-47, but only because of those ceramic inserts (or the shot was at a shallow angle). Having ceramic plates to cover the thigh's could prevent some of these injuries, but it's going to slow down soldiers even further.

    Having worn the Interceptor in the sandbox during the four hottest months of the year I can say this. We were required to wear those vests, but most of the time to trade out protection for mobility we detached the groin and neck protection as well as removing the ceramic plates in the torso piece. (even thought we were frequently ordered not to) It gets ridiculously hot there where a 48 C day would be a cool blessing, so adding more insulation doesn't seem overly appealing to me. I shall shush now.

  27. Alex

    @AC: "@Alex"

    A reasonable "um" considering there's a US company that has made a non-restrictive armour vest that was going to be put into production for full body armour (note the "full"). I thin kI'm right in saying it's the chap that showcases his body armour by pointing a gun on himself and then firing - to prove it works... Nutter, but a good way of proving his armour works.

    "Um", why not put your caustic comments to good use to "um" world peace instead ;o)

  28. Al


    ... is the treatment of a wound by putting a plug into it. I'll stop there before it gets messy.

  29. Tim


    A bottle of water? I greatly enjoyed the glass of Anglian tap, which accompanied my ham & tomato sandwiches, homemade steak pie, and 2 pieces of lemon sponge, very nicely indeed. You may find that tap water is better suited to the taste of the biscuity part of the twix too. I'll consider that further as I have my mid-afternoon Kentish Russett; is it me or are they unusually big this year? .


  30. Paul Nugent
    Paris Hilton

    @David Willis


    Thanks for giving me an unpleasant mental image with the Beating Off Russell Brand comment. I really needed that.

    Paris, well......

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    You might be thinking of Richard Davis of the Second Chance body armo(u)r company.

    I wore body-armor with ceramic plates front and back over there for a year - and we all carried tampons and maxi-pads apart from the Israeli trauma bandages we were issued. Handy things, those tampons - super-absorbent and plugs the hole, staunching blood-loss and helping to maintain blood-pressure.

    Paris, because she's a bleedin' twat.

  32. radian
    Paris Hilton

    @ Tim

    Your lunch sounds yummy.

    I think I'll stick with the bottled water though. Working in London means there's a good chance the tap water has passed through several politicians already.

    That thought alone is enough to bring my Twix up.

    Where's the 'I had a crap lunch and metioned it in the comments section of the Register' icon?

  33. Anonymous Coward


    My caving first aid kit that I always carry underground comprises of a small roll of Gaffa tape with 3 tampons inserted into its centre. Gaffa tape as it's the only thing that seems to stick in the damp and there is enough to tape broken legs together or tape an arm across the chest. And tampons because they are highly absorbent, are round to provide protection around penetrating fractures and provide more pressure as they soak up blood and expand. I don't suggest using these techniques at home, but then an ambulance will be with you in less than 20 minutes. Underground it could be more than 5 hours before my Cave Rescue collegues could reach me, so the priorities are very different.

  34. David Eddleman


    "Um.. then why not develop flexible armour for those areas then.... A healthy, able soldier is better than an incapacitaded one.. especailly considering he/she still has use of said limb!"

    Because the best method of stopping a kinetic-energy round is a thick layer of absorbent material (kevlar) or for extra strength stacking ceramic plates (trauma plates in Interceptor, located only around the heart/lungs). Making armor that works around flexible areas without cutting out mobility is not possible with current technology. You might be able to stop a low-power round like a .32 or a .38 by wrapping the limb in kevlar, but if you get any kind of KE-focused round like a 5.56 or a 7.62 it will punch right through the protection. And let's not even talk about the restrictions caused by wrapping the limb...

  35. Brendan

    English cuff buttons!

    The history bit I learned over here in the ex-colonies was that Queen Liz the 1st disliked her soldiers with snotty sleeves, and so ordered the attachment of buttons in order to rub one's nose the wrong way, painfully.

    Of course, a properly restrictive cuff might serve to act as a tourniquet for hand injuries, so maybe they were ahead of the times?

    Pengy, for simplicity's sake!

  36. lglethal Silver badge

    Magic Spray

    I really dont know whats wrong with all of these special forces types, there so far behind the game. All they need is the magic spray that our soccer players all use!

    You've all seen our poor, tough and certainly not overpaid soccer goliaths taken down by a malicious and hugely injuring slide tackle. They roll around on the ground in agony and then comes the magic spray and suddenly there fine to carry on! Surely that's all the special forces need, lots and lots of magic spray! Im sure it would work even better then a torniquet!

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Only a flesh wound

    King Arthur: Look, you stupid Bastard. You've got no arms left.

    Black Knight: Yes I have.

    King Arthur: *Look*!

    Black Knight: It's just a flesh wound.

  38. John Benson

    It goes back farther than Vietnam

    American troops first encountered Jihad warriors in the Phillipines after the Spanish-American War. The Moro juramentados were the terror of our soldiers because they would pre-emptively apply tourniquets to their limbs and wade into a group of our soldiers, dispensing death and destruction while insensible to limb injury.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >"Um", why not put your caustic comments to good use to "um" world peace instead ;o)

    Which illustrates his point. Try not to be so patronising next time - you'll seem less of a pillock. And since it's the Internet people needn't know the truth.

  40. Neoc

    To apply or not...

    Funny, the advice I was given was to apply said tourniquet but to release it and let the blood flow briefly every 15 minutes. YMMV.

  41. Anonymous Coward


    I think the French wore brown trousers also "bit of camaflogue"

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    "you'll seem less of a pillock"

    Thus spaketh another anonymoose pillock!

    Think Alex was being slightly sarcastic.. but then you do need a high form of intelligence to understand sarcasm...

    @Alex: It's still not possible, but the ideas are there.

    Anon, because they are drawing in...!

  43. Tim

    @ radian

    So, what is' for lunch today. Lobster and Foie Gras to make up for yesterday?

  44. Marvin the Martian
    Thumb Down

    Only 8 drawstrings?

    I'd demand a string every inch, so as to choose up to where to save my body and which part to abandon to vultures & surgeons.

    On the other hand, I see the reverse scenario in close combat [probably involving JC van Damme]: evil seal-with-tourniquet appears, fisticuffs ensues, and smart cookie [JC] just stops bloodflow to a handful of baddie's limbs.

    This goes fine with the usual hardman-antisafteytech sentiment; see also e.g.: USA circuit racing with big champion opposing the restricting anti-whiplash seatbelt. Until said champion snuffs it in exactly the type of crash this belt would have saved him in.

  45. Anonymous Coward


    ... that no one thought to add a tactical to that achronym

    ITS-T or something

    second thoughts doesn't work, still might save some confusion in the heat of battle

    "quick i've been shot...pull on my ITS! "

    /coat/pocket/carry on DVD's

  46. radian


    Didn't have time for lunch today, so technically that's worse than having a Twix, I think.

    I intend to make up for it tomorrow though.

    I finish at midday on Friday so I'm going to a nice quiet pub for steak and chips and a beverage or two.

  47. Scott

    Super atomic permanent wedgie

    The prank potential is mind-boggling.

  48. Anonymous Coward


    I can just imagine it. Just go for the pockets and pull their tourniquets and watch as they all start waddling around and become incapacitated.

    Maybe instead of guns the enemy can use coat hangers on the end of a long piece of wire and fish the tourniquet string out. And god help the marines if they brush past something and accidentally pull it themselves by getting caught on something through their trousers

  49. elderlybloke


    When I was an Ambulance boy several decades ago , the reasoning was that a Tourniquet should only be used when direct pressure to the wound was ineffective . The Tourniquet would mean the loss of the limb, but the live may be saved.

    As usual you have to use common sense when treating wounds.

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