Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death in people aged 44 or less in the US. It is also estimated that 82% of deaths from battlefield hemorrhage may be survivable with better treatment options. In this study, two biomaterial hemostats having disparate mechanisms were evaluated in a large animal lethal hemorrhage model and compared to a commercial product and standard cotton gauze. We hypothesized that the biomaterial with a biologically active mechanism, as opposed to a mechanical mechanism, would be the most effective in this model. Using a published study protocol, the femoral artery in swine was punctured and treated. KeraStat™ (KeraNetics) and Nanosan®-Sorb (SNS Nano) hemostats were compared to a commercial chitosan dressing (second generation Hemcon®) and cotton gauze. Both KeraStat and Nanosan increased survival, significantly increased mean arterial pressure (MAP), and significantly decreased shock index compared to both controls. The Hemcon dressing was no different than gauze. Platelet adhesion assays suggested that the KeraStat mechanism of action involves β1 integrin mediated platelet adhesion while Nanosan-Sorb operates similar to one reported mechanism for Hemcon, absorbing fluid and concentrating clotting components. The Nanosan also swelled considerably and created pressure within the wound site even after direct pressure was removed. © 2013 The Author(s).