Cut Your Way Out in An Emergency Situation - ITS Tactical

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Cut Your Way Out in An Emergency Situation

By The ITS Crew

Benchmade Rescue Hook 01Today we’ll share our thoughts on hook knives with a review on the Benchmade Rescue Hook Model 7.

We consider a hook knife to be an invaluable piece of equipment in almost any situation.

The purpose of a rescue-hook type tool is to not only enable you to provide assistance in a rescue, but to also aid in self-rescue.

There are a myriad of different applications for a hook knife, which we’ll outline below, but primarily a hook knife provides a safe way to cut danger out.


Benchmade Rescue Hook 10The Benchmade Rescue Hook Model 7 is made from 440C Stainless Steel with a black oxide coating.

It features a rubberized coating on the handle, spine gripping threads, finger hole and an integrated cutting-edge guard.

The Model 7 weighs 1.6 oz. and measures 4.5″ tall by about 2″ at it’s widest point of the grip with a 0.5″ blade.

An optional MOLLE Compatible soft sheath measures 5″ tall x 2″ wide and attaches with a single MALICE Clip.

The sheath is available in Black, Olive and Coyote. It also has a nice bottom elastic-retention band which further secures the Rescue Hook in the sheath.

The Model 7 is made in the USA and has an NSN number, which stands for National Stock Number. It basically means that it’s a standard item available for military purchase, but is also available commercially.


Benchmade Rescue Hook 03Benchmade also offers three other versions of the Rescue Hook. The Model 5, which is essentially a shorter version of the model 7.

The model 8, which is much longer than the model 7 and the Houdini Pro, a pocket-knife like tool which features a folding hook, LED flashlight and spring-loaded glass breaker.

The Model 7 is the only hook available with rubberized coating, which we feel helps trememdously when wearing gloves or working around water. It’s also the perfect size for carrying attached to your gear or on a belt.


  • General Troop/Safety

Individual troops can use it as a strap cutter to help egress from vehicles after roll-overs, IED’s, etc. It can also be used to cut seat belts, uniforms and any other gear that gets hook up inside a vehicle. Also useful for cargo webbing, shrink wrap, cardboard boxes, etc.

  • Medical

Used to remove clothing, boots and gear from wounded soldiers for initial evaluation and immediate treatment of injuries. Also ideal for cutting bandaging, medical tubing, casts, etc. We recommend when cutting pants to start at the cuffs and cut up rather than trying to cut down from a pocket.

  • Airborne

Use it as a cut-away tool during parachute malfunctions or during a line-over situation during a jump. You certainly don’t want to pull out your knife and start cutting your way out of a malfunctioning chute, because chances are that you’re going to cut yourself in the process.

  • Military/Police

Use on detainees to remove flexi-cuffs to provide a safe alternative to using a fixed blade or folding knife, which could cut the detainee or be taken and used as a weapon against the officer/MP.

Here’s a YouTube video we made showing the Rescue Hook Model 7 in action:

Benchmade also offers a lifetime warranty and LifeSharp service on every edged weapon or tool they sell, which we’ve personally used.

All you have to pay is $5 to cover the handling and return shipping and you’ll get a nice factory-sharp knife sent back to you.

What other applications for the Rescue Hook can you think of?

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  • Great review! I would be interested in seeing you guys do the “8” so I could get an idea on the size and function. A window punch would be a decent addition.

    You said this works well on a belt as well? Does it have any noticeable bulge under an untucked shirt? I like to be prepared but I don’t want to wear a utility belt like Batman or anything!

    Great pics by the way.

    • Mike, no noticeable bulge. Stay tuned for a product that can be used to attach MALICE clips to your belt. We’ll try to work on getting an “8” too.

      Thanks for the compliment on the photos and your comments!

    • i wear mine horizontally at the small of my back, worn it for about two years or so like that. every once in a while the sheath scratches me, usualy cause it catches on something. where it is at no one notices and i don’t feel it even driving in my car.

  • Here is some of the hook family side-by-side:

    The pouch takes up one column and five rows of PALS.

    • Smashy, great side-by-side photo! Thanks for the link and your comment!

  • Brian

    Mine sits in a place of prominence(at the bottom of my gear cage). Get a fresh pair of trauma shears and attach them to a spring loaded retractor coil. The cutters fit nicely behind any molle pouch (try a snag free location). When you’re done cutting you won’t loose them (easy to do in a mass casualty scenario). Shears are cheap and pleniful. Throw away the dull ones. Can the Benchmade cut a penny in half? Parachutes? MFF- iffy. S/L you better be quick airborne!

    • Brian,

      Trauma Shears wouldn’t exactly be feasible to carry during airborne ops, whether on a lanyard or not. What exactly is the tactical need to cut a penny in half for a tool built for rescue purposes?

      Thanks for your comments,

    • The purpose is to cut a penny in half. LOL. The point I think he makes with trauma shears, is that they are really strong, and I have noticed that after cutting through different entanglements (mainly underwater) you can take off any metal that may be deformed by opening and closing them a few times. If you must have shears, buy diving shears, they are more expensive, but they last, and their center point is much stronger. I’m considering the model 7 as an add-on since it is so compact.

  • Ed

    The advantage the hook has over the shears is the lack of moving parts. I have had a brand new pair of shears pop on me at the most awkward moment.

    I bought mine for short haul helicopter ops but decided the hook wasn’t quite large enough for the line. I changed to a designated serrated fixed blade on my harness for that task.

    Nevertheless it is small, easily carried and its usefulness makes it worth the space it takes up.

  • Runflat

    Being an EMT I happen to carry a Benchmade Rescue Hook #5 when I am working on the ambulance. It does virtually everything I could want, cut clothes, cut seat belts and even open oxygen tanks (that’s why I carry a 5 not a 7, no O2 wrench). I like the Hook because it is smaller and does double duty. I carried trauma shears for a while but retired them after I got my Rescue Hook…there is always a pair on the ambulance if I really need to cut a penny anyway.

    On another note the only time I could see a need for the trauma shears over the Rescue Hook is when the patient has an imbedded object that should not be removed. That’s when having the shears to cut the object could be useful.

    How I carry my gear explains it’s usefulness, the Rescue Hook I wear, the trauma shears sit in the ambulance.

  • That’s a cool little cutting tool. Isn’t an old fashioned knife just as good though? I don’t know, what do you think? I think if you can skin a deer, you can cut a seat belt.

    • I guess the only thing is that with a regular knife, you risk cutting something you didn’t plan on cutting. Which could really suck! Haha!

  • Common Sense

    Carried one of these on deployment.  Compared to other models I have used it is the most ergonomically comfortable that I have found.

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