August 18, 2013

Victorinox SwissTool RS (Rescue & Survival) Multi Tool Review

Victorinox has been in the cutlery business for well over a hundred years now. They started with their famous, and well known, Swiss Army knife. The Swiss Army Knife was probably the most successful multi tool ever created. So when Victorinox started building multi tools people took them serious. They have become successful and have also become more and more popular over the years. The Victorinox Company hasn’t had the same popularity as other brands like Gerber and Leatherman, but their tools are top quality and shouldn’t be ignored.

The reason most of us own multi tools is the simplicity of a tool box in your pocket. Some folks own one for house chores; others such as construction professionals use them daily. This is how most people see multi tools, something to be used to tighten a nut, open a package, or fix a loose screw. That’s what these tools are designed for, and that works for most tasks.

There is a growing community of hunters, campers, hikers and adventurers in general who utilize multi tools. Police, military and first responders have also taken a liking to multi tools. These multi tools are designed for construction and working purposes, but have been adapted for their needs as well. How much more could these folks do with a tool actually designed for their use?

The Victorinox SwissTool Rescue- Survival is designed for the outdoors enthusiast and first responders. I am pretty surprised more companies haven’t jumped at the chance to build a tool like this. First off, the fit and finish like all Victorinox tools is superb. The stainless steel looks amazing, and the design is very sleek and very elegant. Victorinox company builds there multi tools like a fine sedan, built for both looks and performance.

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The Victorinox SwissTool RS houses an impressive array of tools. The tools are well built, and feel very solid. Having tools that won’t bend or break is probably the most important feature a survival multi tool needs. In honor of the Rescue / Survival’s purpose I took the weapon through a battery of tests one may find in a survival situation.

First, let’s focus on what would happen if we were in a car accident in a rural area without the ability to call for help. Well, the Victorinox Rescue Tool weights a hefty ten ounces, and surpasses the full sized category and goes into the Extra-large section. So what does these ten ounces help you with? Well, I wanted to simulate being trapped in a car, so I went to a junkyard. With the owner’s permission he sent me to a destroyed car that met my specifications.

The ten ounces of the multi tool body smashed through a passenger side window. I don’t suggest doing this for fun, as it took a few blows and wasn’t very comfortable, and quite dangerous. The window did smash though. I started using the pliers to clear the away the remaining glass. The pliers are tough, but like all Victorinox tools aren’t extremely needle nosed. The teeth grip firmly, and the handles are plenty comfortable by my huge hands.

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Next I buckled myself in and pulled out the belt cutter. With just a few tries I cut the seat belt. I was impressed at how well the small belt cutter worked. The angle was awkward, but this was not fault of the tool. So, this was how I escaped from the vehicle. Now, let’s say I’m injured and need to gain access to wounded area. Instead of cutting my jeans, I brought a small piece of denim to test the scissors. The scissors on the Victorinox RS are beefy and longer than your average multi tool scissors. They sliced through two layers of denim, then three, then four, and then I was out of denim. I then cut the remainder of the seat belt, that was a little trickier and much slower than the belt cutter, but eventually it worked.

The next tool to test was the main blade. The knife is a crucial part to any multi tool, and has to perform well. The blade is a straight blade with no serration on my model. The blade is similar to a Swiss Army knife blade.  Now, is it sharp? You’re damn straight it is. The blade worked to cut fabric, and sharpen a decent stick. I carved notches and stripped the bark off a limb.

You also have three screw drivers, small, medium and large. A variety of screw drivers on hand are always handy. Of course a can opener is one tool you don’t want to be without when you’re hungry and looking at a can of beans. The saw featured an aggressive tooth pattern, and was quite capable when it came to chewing up limbs.

Also a major contributor in my love for this multi-tool is the ability to open every tool one handed, besides the pliers of course. The tools are also spring assisted to make them easier to open, which is especially handy for those with small hands.

The Rescue Survival comes with a nylon belt sheath. The belt sheath features a snap closure, and is designed to stand up and stay open so the tool can be returned easily one handed. The R/S also has an engraved ruler on the body, and a bottle opener. A few smaller tools I didn’t have a chance to test were the reamer, strong crate opener, and the chisel.

One tool I though should be included is a fire starter. Perhaps a removable fire starter could be added. The tool would benefit so much from this simple tool. Other than that I have no real complaints regarding the R/S. It is a big tool, and not very comfortable in the pocket and some with small hands might not find the multi tool as comfortable as my huge paws did.

The Victorinox Swiss Rescue / Survival tool is an extremely well made tool. The R/S is a perfect companion for the back packer, soldier or EMS. Keeping one in the glove box is a great idea to stay prepared. Anyway you use it, you can depend on it.