SnakeStaff Systems ETQ // Stop The Bleed

Introducing the SnakeStaff Systems ETQ, a tourniquet designed with everyday carry in mind.

SnakeStaff Systems ETQ

In the rare event that I empty my pockets with friends around, a joke about Batman’s belt or my Eagle Scout status is never far away. While some may call the contents of my pockets “excessive”, I call it just right. Of everything I carry on the daily (Letherman, Streamlight flashlight, wallet, keys, phone, CAT tourniquet, and usually my Glock 19), surprisingly, the tourniquet is the item that starts the most conversations. 

Glock 19, wallet, keys, multitool and tourniquets on table

I say it’s surprising but really, it makes sense. Everyone carries a wallet, phone, and keys. Everyone understands the usefulness of the flashlight and multitool. The tourniquet gets questioned simply because it’s not something that many people carry. Additionally, it is a politically neutral item. Unlike my Glock where someone will likely have preconceived opinions either in support or opposition, the tourniquet doesn’t carry that baggage which makes people more likely to inquire.

Situation Overview

Just in case you’re part of the majority that is generally unfamiliar with tourniquets, I’ll give you a quick rundown.

A tourniquet is a device that’s used to restrict blood flow to an appendage. If a major blood vessel in a person’s arm or leg becomes severed, a tourniquet can be applied to stop blood loss. They are commonly carried by professionals but they are accessible to everyone.

While adoption is widespread, medical myths still surround their use. For example, “Apply a tourniquet only as a last resort because the limb WILL be amputated if you use one”. That one was told to me by my scoutmaster and it has been echoed by many others since. The truth is that there is very little risk of permanent damage within the first two hours of use. After that, permanent damage is possible but, in most situations, the injured person would arrive at a hospital well within that window. Seeing how the alternative is bleeding out (which only takes three minutes), there should be no hesitation when applying a tourniquet to someone who needs one. 

SEE MORE: Medical Kits: What You Need to Know

Tried and True CAT Tourniquet

CAT tourniquet on gravel
CAT tourniquet with my homemade sleeve.

I have been carrying North American Rescue’s Gen7 CAT tourniquet for the last two years. As well as being very easy to use, it seems to be the most widely adopted by professionals. I made an elastic sleeve with a Kydex clip to carry mine inside the waistband in the eleven o’clock position. This is on the other side of the belt buckle from my Glock- which I carry in the one o’clock position. An added bonus I’ve discovered is that the tourniquet helps to balance out any printing that my pistol creates, helping me to keep both items better concealed.

SnakeStaff Systems ETQ

Recently, I bought the new SnakeStaff Systems ETQ. This tourniquet has been getting a lot of attention because of its small size. When folded it takes up about as much space as a Glock 19 magazine. This compact form factor opens up a variety of new carry options. While the ETQ has not replaced the CAT I carry every day, it has worked its way into my daily routine.

Snakestaff Systems tourniquet on table

The ETQ is similar in operation and price ($32) to the CAT but with a few added features. In addition to being more compact, the ETQ uses carabiner retention for the windless. This is simpler and more secure than the velcro used by the CAT. The ETQ also has written instructions and a QR code to an instructional video printed on the tourniquet itself. There is a small glow stick that activates when the tourniquet is tightened. This helps paramedics locate the tourniquet as they transport the patient.  

SnakeStaff Systems ETQ tourniquet size compared to North American Rescue CAT tourniquet.
CAT Top, ETQ Bottom

I made an elastic sleeve that slips over my ETQ to keep it folded and compact. This makes it easy to fit into a pocket or a bag. My favorite way to carry it is on a keychain. The carabiner-style locking mechanism for the tightening rod clips onto my keys and now I never leave home without it. I doubt this is what the designers had in mind but it works quite well.

SnakeStaff Systems ETQ tourniquet used as a keychain.

Final Thoughts on the SnakeStaff Systems ETQ

I don’t know if the ETQ will overtake the CAT in popularity but the reality is that both are excellent options. The CAT is available from and the ETQ from

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, each year about 60,000 Americans bleed to death. Compare that to the 26,031 homicides reported to the CDC in 2021 and you will see why I am so passionate about this topic. I carry my gun to protect myself and others from becoming one of the 26,031 and I carry the tourniquet not to ignore the 60,000. 

So, please consider getting a tourniquet and training on how to use it. Many Stop The Bleed classes are offered for free. You can search for one in your area at The responsibility to save a life may fall on you. Be sure you are ready.

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