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The XShear cuts to the heart of the matter

If you are an officer with an IFAK, or a SWAT operator with higher medical training, you will want to upgrade to these shears

Tactical shears XShear Sean Curtis review 7

Mounting XShears to your IFAK with a Tactical Holster will make sure they are there when you need them.

Sean Curtis

Over the years there have been many attempts to create multiple-function tools that offer incredible value. However, the “mission creep” can create less-than-ideal options for a lot of different jobs. These efforts often make you appreciate something that is nearly perfected for the task at hand, the proverbial right tool for the right job.

In this product review, that right tool is called XShear and it is an amazing piece of kit for officers with some medical training.

You don’t have to be a member of a TEMS (Tactical Emergency Medical Services) team, or SWAT operator to make use of this great pair of shears in your daily battles against the forces of chaos.

The XShear story

Wes Brubaker started out as an EMT-B and followed the meteoric path of the adrenaline junkie addicted to helping others by drinking from the firehose. After starting at a local volunteer department, he loved it and went on to become a paramedic. That wasn’t enough so he became an RN through a bridge program, worked at a Level I trauma center, then ultimately went on to become a flight nurse where he still serves today. Wes has seen a lot of trauma and has worked in a variety of places where resources haven’t always been tip-top. It was through this experience that the idea for XShear was born in 2016.

[Read: Why all cops should take advantage of FLETC’s tactical medical training]

Don’t cut my boots!

When I first started as an EMT, I quickly learned the vast difference between good gear and poor gear. I was issued a stethoscope, but the one I bought later allowed me to hear so much more. Wes knew this same struggle when it came to the crucial art of removing clothing from injured patients – good trauma shears are worth their weight in gold. Medical personnel know it is crucial to expose the injury so you can conduct a full assessment. Sometimes this means cutting off pants, thick coats, boots, or even bullet-resistant vests. You cannot always pull clothing off when trauma may have compromised the body parts they cover, so a good pair of shears can help you see what’s going on without causing further injury.

In 2016 Wes knew he had to do something about the shears he was using. The normal pairs he was using just weren’t lasting very long or were too bulky and heavy. Working with his father-in-law who is a master of design, the pair created a prototype. After finding a high-end scissor manufacturer in Taiwan, XShear was born.

Onward and upward

So how much better is the design? In my somewhat professional opinion, it’s significant.

The handles have wonderfully sized loops and a comfortable coating and are anti-slip as well. The angle of the bite is impressive and it allows you to slip under tight clothing or even footwear to make cuts. The bottom tip of the jaw is rounded to not damage the patient while you plunge for your cut.

The blades themselves are twice as thick as the typical shears that are commonly issued and they are extremely sharp, allowing you to cut through tough boot leather or multiple layers of clothing if needed. Finally, the heavy-duty center bolt is designed to not slip and not back out.

On top of this, XShear offers a 90-day money-back guarantee and warranties the XShear for five years. The shears come in orange, red, pink and black, all with titanium-coated black blades. There is also a blue and gray version available. Excitingly, XShear recently came out with a couple of holster options.

Know when to hold ‘em

A while back I attended rifle training with an ex-special forces member of the Israeli Defense Force. I had wisely upgraded my IFAK with an XShear and tucked it in the MOLLE on the side of my bag. I have an old adage about testing gear; take a hard run with your gear to make sure it holds up well. I did, and the shears went flying. Thankfully, XShear has come up with a couple of great options since then.

The XShear Tactical Holster is forged of ABS plastic, is MOLLE compatible and has a positive lock retention system for your favorite pair of XShears. The holster can also mount easily to a belt and it really retains the shears firmly. You have to pinch the tabs at the top (i.e., retention device) in order to release the cutters.

In addition, XShear also created an external pocket-type holster made of durable foam-covered fabric. Called the XShear Soft Holster, this model is intended for more comfortable applications that don’t have the same tactical requirement for retention. I can tell you though, I stuck a pair of shears in this holster and flung them upside-down without the shears coming out. The soft holster also has a belt clip.

The perfect tool for the job

Sometimes a multi-tool is sub-standard and you need the perfect tool for the job. There are a few options out there when it comes to cutting off clothing to expose injuries. XShear is one of the best you can buy. Nothing on the website is more than $40 and the investment is comparatively small for the absolute performance you receive.

If you are an officer with an IFAK, upgrade to these shears. If you are a SWAT operator with higher medical training, you won’t be sorry about these. Any TEMS out there, I’m guessing you already know, but if not, pick some up soon. The gear you may be cutting is extra tough, XShears just may save the day.


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Sean Curtis is a law enforcement professional with over two decades of experience, serving with SWAT, diving and swift water rescue teams in Colorado. He has also served in wildland fire, search and rescue, EMS and emergency management.