Victorinox Rescue Tool

Swiss Army Rescue Tool

The Victorinox Rescue Tool was created by a fireman who needed a tool he could easily use to break the glass on a vehicle, cut through said glass, and slice through seatbelts like butter.  He believed that no one was better equipped to build such an all-in-one tool as Victorinox, so we now have the Victorinox Swiss Army Rescue Tool!

This tool is something that we keep in both of our vehicles.  In many ways, it’s similar to the Victorinox Swiss Army Soldier, but the tools here are specifically for rescuing yourself or others.  I keep mine in the center console and make sure everyone in the vehicle knows it’s there and will even run through how to use it.  If the driver is knocked out, killed, or too incapacitated to use it, then I want the passengers to also know how to use it.

And, yes, it works.  I tested the glass breaker and seatbelt cutter on an old junker that had literally fallen apart, and even I could smash that glass with this thing.  My uncle had to use the seatbelt cutter tool once to free himself from a really bad accident.  More on that at the end of the post, but trust me, it works.

There’s a video at the bottom about how to use it.

Specs

  • Height: 0.8 in
  • Length: 4.4 in
  • Width: 1.4 in
  • Weight: 5.9 oz
  • Material: Polyamide
  • Features: 13
  • Blade Lockable: Yes

Tools

  • Serrated Blade
  • Seat Belt Cutter
  • Disk Saw
  • Window-Breaker
  • Reamer/Punch
  • Bottle-Opener
  • Wire-Stripper
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Tweezers
  • Toothpick

TL;DR

Even if you hate Swiss Army Knives and Victorinox, this is the one tool that should be the exception.  Seriously, I’m not nearly the Swiss Army Knife fan that Reese is and I insist that one of these be found in both of our vehicles.  I recommend them to friends and family and have gifted them to many over the years.  This is a powerful tool that could save your life one day.

Table of Contents

First Impressions

This tool should come with every new vehicle, in my opinion.  Think about it, but there are years and years of safety research being poured into each new car that gets manufactured.  Fancy new electronic equipment is being fitted into new vehicles that do wild things like let you know if it’s safe to change lanes, give you a look at what’s behind you that mirrors can never match, and way more.

Now, all of this is designed to prevent accidents.  Good on manufacturers, but even if we start seeing fewer accidents on the road, that doesn’t mean we’re at a point where they’re going to be 100% prevented.  For all the technology that helps us avoid accidents and helps mitigate the effect of an accident, there are still those moments after a crash where all the techno stuff in the world isn’t going to actually extract you from the vehicle.

This is, therefore, the best thing Victorinox has ever made in the opinion of this humble blogger.

There are a number of separate tools you can get to help rescue yourself or someone else from a car, burning building, or some other catastrophe, but I’d like to have all of the tools at my disposal.  I don’t want to fish around for a seatbelt cutter and then a glass breaker, I’d like to use the same tool to free myself of my locked seatbelt and smash the glass on my truck.

This tool comes in a simple box and a glossy user guide that includes pictures of how to use the tool.  I recommend, however, that you check out the video from Victorinox (I’ll make sure to insert it at the end of this post) just so you can see it in action.

The pictures in the manual are also a little different from the actual tool.  It’s like they changed the design a little bit and then forgot to update the user guide.  Perhaps if you buy yours new, it’ll be updated – I got mine and unboxed it some time ago.

This version of the Victorinox Swiss Army Rescue Tool looks like it used the Swiss Army Soldier as a base template and built off of there.  It’s about the same size and weight, but with some of the secondary tools swapped out for rescue tools.

This tool also feels strong.  It’s thick, sturdy, and includes a belt loop.  We keep ours in the center console, but if you’re a first responder or firefighter, I can see you wanting to keep it on your person.

We’ll go into all of the tools so you can see why this tool goes beyond most other rescue tools.

Tools

Victorinox isn’t Spyderco or Benchmade; they don’t use high-end alloys.  However, they’re still known for their quality and the Victorinox Rescue Tool is no different.  It comes with a bunch of tools that make it easy to escape from a vehicle or any urban catastrophe.  In fact, if I lived in a city, I’d be tempted to keep on in my truck and one on my person.

We do keep one in our house, just in case a fire breaks out and we have to escape from a sticky situation.

Seriously, the only major downside to the Victorinox Rescue Tool is that some of the tools were a little tricky for me to get out without practice.  Most of the tools are designed to be deployed with one hand, but I had to rehearse a bit before I could do it myself.

So, I’m going to change things up a bit.  When we’ve reviewed multi-tools in the past, we typically use this section to just give an overview of the tools and how they perform.  I mean, if you’ve seen a corkscrew on one Victorinox pocket knife, you’ve seen them on all of their pocket knives.

Swiss Army Knife makers tend to have a standard template for each tool, so the difference between one SAK and the next is the configuration of tools and how well you can access this.  The Victorinox Swiss Army Rescue Tool, however, is a somewhat different animal.  Therefore, I’ll be running through each tool individually.  Let me know in the comments if you like this template better.

Blade

If you remember the old Soldier Swiss Army Knife or own a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Trekker, then you’ll recognize this blade.  It’s partially serrated and locks, which is excellent for emergencies.  Check your knife laws, though, because some cities and states would probably take issue with it, even if it’s clearly meant for saving lives.

Anyway, I like my Swiss Army Trekker a lot, so I’m sure this blade is just as fantastic.  I prefer serrations on a blade, although these are true serrations.  The Victorinox Rescue Tool’s blade has waves, not the kind of serrations you might think of when you imagine a bread knife.

Don’t let it fool you.  This knife can cut through just about anything you throw at it!  It’s also a locking blade, which means that in an emergency, it’s not likely to fold on you.  Victorinox usually doesn’t have locking blades, but they must’ve realized that it was important for a rescue tool to stay open when you’re trying to save lives.

Seatbelt Cutter

The seatbelt cutter doesn’t have a pointed tip, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally stabbing yourself or someone else when you use it.  And it’s sharp!  When I practiced with it on our old beater, it sliced through that belt like hot butter.

Like the main blade, the seatbelt cutter is wavier than serrated.  It makes quick work of seatbelts and I suspect that it could also be used to effectively and safely cut away clothing from someone injured. I hope I never have to find out, of course.

Disk Saw

The saw on the Victorinox Rescue Tool is a bit different from the standard wood saw that other Swiss Army Knives are fitted with.  This saw is meant for cutting through glass, like that on a windshield.  It takes some force to do it, but this tool, like all the others on this Swiss Army Knife, does most of the heavy lifting.  I don’t think I’d try cutting through glass with a standard SAK saw if I could help it.

I can see your arm getting a little tired trying to slice through a windshield with this, but in an actual emergency, adrenaline will probably take care of most fatigue.  This saw is good at what it does, and I’ve never seen another rescue tool that employs one of these.  Sometimes you need to do more than shatter glass.

The disk saw can be easily removed, so you can replace it once it’s been used.  This way you never have to worry about whether your tool is sharp enough to do the job again.

Window Breaker

This little thing smashes through shatter-proof glass like no one’s business.  I’m pretty sure anyone can use it effectively.  If you need to, you can remove it from the Victorinox Rescue Tool with pliers.  Basically, if you ever use it to break glass, you could dull the tip and will need to replace it to keep it effective.

Anyway, this packs quite a punch.  Luckily, the entire rescue tool is made of sturdy stuff that can take that kind of beating.  I had no trouble breaking my test glass with it.

Reamer/Punch

Most of Victorinox’s larger Swiss Army Knives have this little tool.  I can’t think of why you’d use this in an emergency situation and believe that it’s just part of the Victorinox brand more than it is because a rescuer would actually use this in a pinch.

Then again, what do I know?  I’m not MacGyver.

I suppose I can take this time to explain when you want an awl/reamer/punch.  They’re for punching holes in leather, wood, and other soft material.  This makes them different from a metalworker’s reamer, which is about finishing drilled holes.

Sometimes they’ll have a little eyehole for thread, but the Victorinox Rescue Tool doesn’t have that feature.  You can use them for some funky sewing!

Bottle Opener, Wire Stripper, and Flathead Screwdriver

Since these functions are both part of the same tool, I won’t review them separately.  We know how useful they are in your day-to-day life, but in the Victorinox Rescue Tool, the company took their standard template and gave it a new function: pry bar.

In the video Victorinox released, you can see how this would by used to pry off stubborn glass.  You might be able to use it to pry a door as well, as it’s quite tough.  I can see it being used for things outside of just escaping a crash.

Phillips Screwdriver

This is basically the same as it is on any other SAK.  As with the reamer, I can’t see that I would reach for this tool in an emergency situation, but it’s there in case you need it.  Like the reamer, I think this is included more because of the Victorinox brand.

Tweezers and Toothpick

Like the Phillips screwdriver, these are here because this is a Victorinox product.  However, I can see tweezers coming in handy in case you have to pick out some glass shards after smashing through your windows.  Basically, once the danger is over, this tool might be useful.

Handle

The handle glows in the dark, which is the best thing ever.  Not only does it signal to anyone who pulls you over that this isn’t a knife you’re trying to conceal and conduct nefarious deeds with, but if you get into an accident at night, you can easily find it.

Like all of the tools on this knife, this is a sturdy handle.  It makes applying the force you need to use the tools easier than if the handle was flimsy or hollowed-out plastic.

Carrying and Deployment

A new Victorinox Rescue Tool comes with a pouch for carrying, although you can also use the loop to connect it to your belt.  We keep ours in our central console, so I can’t speak to how it feels to be carried in your pocket or on your waist.

As for deployment, the blade can be deployed with one hand.  It took a little practice for me to be able to do this, but I’m really bad at one-handed deployment in general.

Some of the other tools are a little trickier to deploy.  This is done for safety, but in an emergency, I would be frustrated trying to get some of these tools out.  I can see not getting the seatbelt cutter out immediately and then being more prone to mistakes because I get flustered kind of easily.

All the more reason to practice a lot so you just have to rely on muscle memory in a real emergency.  Once I got it down, I’m convinced that I and everyone else can use this tool effectively to rescue themselves and/or others in a crash.  I can also see it being used for effective urban survival scenarios.

Basically, just practice with it for a while and you’ll figure out how to deploy everything with ease and won’t get flustered and panicky in a legit emergency situation.

Final Thoughts

Unless something new hits the market that blows my mind, I’ll never use another kind of rescue tool.  The Victorinox Rescue Tool is fantastic, even if you don’t care for Swiss Army Knives.  It could save your life one day.

I probably should’ve put this story at the beginning of the article, but my aunt was in a terrible accident a few years ago.  A car hydroplaned into her lane and smashed into her as she was going home from vacation.  The woman driving the other car died instantly, and my aunt suffered a nasty back injury that kept her in the hospital for a week.

As for my uncle, who was driving the car, he was able to free himself and get help thanks to this tool.

I wish car accidents would become a thing of the past so that these kinds of accidents don’t ever happen again.  But until we manage to avoid them entirely, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

You Don't Have a Victorinox Rescue Tool Yet?

When it comes to an emergency, you'll wish you had it. Hopefully, you never wind up in an emergency, though.
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