glass breaker/seatbelt cutter on folding knives
I've noticed that even cheap $10 knives have decided to add the glass breaking spike and seatbelt cutting blade to a lot of folding knives. In theory, I like the idea- added function without any big downsides. However, I have little real world experience in needing either tool, so I have some questions to you guys who actually respond to emergencies.
Glass breaker- Have/do you use the small spike glass breakers? Do they work well? The only time I had to break a car window, I used a mighty front kick. Is the average person really likely to need a special tool to break a window of their car or somebody elses'? Would a hard hammerfist with a closed knife without a window breaker still do the trick?
Seatbelt cutter- they usually are a small slot with an angled blade, and the idea is that you can pull them through a seatbelt and it's safer than sawing through it with the knife. Are these scenarios common? Can you really just pull the blade through the belt to cut it? It seems like this would be more difficult than it would appear.
Any overall opinions of the window breaker/seatbelt cutter trend?
Well, yes, the glass breaker could be very useful. It seems to me that the size of a spike doesn't mean much, but the "sharpness" of its point matters. It seems to me difficult to use a mighty front kick when you're inside of a car. And it depends also on the thickness of the glass and on its size. Once, when I was about 15, I tried to break the sideglass of a car with the punch, but it was, say, "playing". I mean, I felt my fist pushing there, but it bounced back after a while. I believe that a glass breaker can save you time and energie in an emergency
About the beltcutters - I've never used those, but it seems to me, that it should work well when the belt is tight. Else it should be jammed inside of a beltcutter. If it wont work, you've got a "sling cutter" on your example picture. IMHO
As a firefighter I have used both, in saying so opinons within my occupation vary on these items, but I will give you my 2 cents.
Glass breaker, bad idea hands too close to the glass. In my case I had used them until, while gaining access to admin aid while we were cutting a guy out of a car I used the glass breaker and ended up with 15 stiches in the hand. I cut the base of my thumb nearly to to the bone. These days I use a tool that keeps my hands out of the glass zone. Part of the problem was the condition of the car and a fluke, nevertheless why, when there are any number of tools that work better with no risk.
Seatbelt cutter, too much of a "tool for the job," not enough function to make any sense towards carrying it. I can cut a belt just as fast with a knife and do any number of other things, whereas the seatbelt cutter just takes up space. (Even if that is just making the knife bigger.)
My experience has been to keep it simple. Know your tools and you can solve any problem. Don't have a tool specific for every application, not only is it costly but is not effective in the real world.
I guess, it was your bad luck, but you might agree with me, that if you haven't got any better tools, glass breaker does the job - it breaks the glass. The car glass should be triplex or hardened. The hardened glass will be harder to break by force, but it could be broken with a hard metal tip. If you have no glass breaker, a nail could help, no nail, you'll use your hands and feet. You've probably broke through the glass with your hand, because used too much power. Anyway, even hardened glass shouldn't make serious damage, it's made hardened for such reason. But, it happens, you know. Wish you more good luck than bad.)
Originally Posted by Aaron Fields
Glass breakers work fine.
In my case it was one of the spring loaded versions, so me getting cut wasn't due becasue of "too much power." I got cut because of Murphy's Law.
In addition, with my case breaking the glass is not the end of the job, so getting cut to the point the hand is not 100%. I still had work to do.
I am not sure what situations would arise that a foot wouldn't work if no other tool is an option. In this case, even the back end of a standard knife will work as well as the glass breaker, at least in my experience. (that being 100's of car extrications, fires etc where clearing glass is a must.)
All that being said, if a glass breaker is an item that makes sense for a person why not they are not expensive.
One of those "what if" scenarios I've seen from the glassbreaker folks is if you end up in your car sinking into water, since if your windows/locks are electrical you might be unable to get out. Mythbusters did some tests with this, and found that the major problems was that the pressure outside the doors/windows is too high to push against, until the car fills up and the pressure is equalized. I was wondering if a glass breaker/window punch could actually be a bigger problem then, since you'd have broken glass (safety glass, but still) getting shot into your face at high pressure.
What's your experience using these things?
Originally Posted by Bad
Originally Posted by Aaron Fields
Excellent advice, there.
I've never experienced such problem, but it seems clear to me, that if you will not put your face in front of the window, you'll be fine. If you'll be lucky to punch through the glass that's under pressure, probably no glass bits will reach your face.
I was wondering if a glass breaker/window punch could actually be a bigger problem then, since you'd have broken glass (safety glass, but still) getting shot into your face at high pressure.
About the back end of a standard knife, yes, it will work better, than a punch, but should work worse, than a breaker, cause the point here is to make a big pressure on a small surface. Maybe those Mythbusters showed some equations explaining it better.
About the price of those tools - I know nothing about it, I don't even know, how can I count it.
I have no experience in breaking the glass under pressure, but I broke some and I've worked with glass.
not on a knife but I do carry one of these on a keyring.
I am also at risk of being sweeped off a flooded road into a creek.
It is one of the spring loaded jobs. I have tried it out on an abandoned car and cut my way out of the seatbelt and through the window no dramas.
But using it I would recomend wrapping your hand in your T shirt if you have time.
But also for australia I can carry this where I would not be able to carry a knife.
My cheap knife has both these items on it.
I've used the glass breaker at the local junk yard one day just to test it out. It works quite well and breaks the glass with a fraction of the energy it would take with something else/ your hands and feet. It's a great addition that adds very little size or expense to the knife. Mine is designed so the folded up knife works as a hammer handle with the knub as the head.
I'm not happy with the seatbelt ripper. It's a great idea, but mine just doesn't work well. The little blade is either not sharp enough or is at a wierd angle, because it doesn't cut very well.
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