We love playing ‘Stump The Band’ around here. If there’s a question we can’t answer ourselves, we know we can crowd-source the answer in a jiffy. Reader JAS wants to know:
Which knife will cut a seatbelt with a single swipe every single time?
Good question, JAS. Here’s the scoop:
If you’re carrying a general-purpose blade, a blunt-tipped knife with serrations is a much better plan than anything pointy or plain-edged. But there’s a special-purpose rescue blade which will cut through any seat belt or webbing quickly and efficiently in a single swipe. It’s not much good for anything else except for cutting animal hides and very small ropes, and it’s not found on most pocketknives or EDC knives,
It’s called the ‘Seatbelt Hook’ or a webbing hook, and the actual cutting part usually looks a lot like this:
Benchmade’s ‘Safety Cutter’ is a great example of the species, and it’s also on my mind because I met the guy who makes and sharpens every single one of them. The ‘Safety Cutter’ is a stand-alone tool, but many EMS and police-designed knives have a primary cutting blade and a secondary hook blade like this for safely cutting through clothing and webbing.
‘Captain Hook’ (okay, they don’t dare actually call him that) buys webbing like this by the mile just so he can cut it to ribbons. If one of his webbing hooks doesn’t cut cleanly, he goes back to the bench and sharpens it until it does.
This was a pretty clean test. Joe pulled this hook through the seatbelt webbing with almost no effort at all, and this is how it’s meant to happen.
And this is how it would be used in the field. It won’t slice through padded leather boots, but this kind of blade makes really short work of even the sturdiest webbing and clothing.
If you’re an EMT or any kind of first responder you’ve probably got one of these in your kit already. The rest of us? Not so much.