Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: ITW GrimLOC

 When you start to collect a lot of gear, gadgets and kit, the question of "how do i get this to stay on, when I stow it, but come off when I want to use it?" comes up. I've used carabiners for years and years, to attach my keys, wallet and the like to me, mostly using the lightweight accessory carabiners you find hanging by cash-registers. Occasionally I have purchased proper climbing-rated ones, for when I've either been climbing, or wanted to carry some serious gear.

The natural progression for me is to see what others are using, which lead me to these: Apparently originally designed to allow Marines to add hydration systems to their webbing, this is the ITW Grimloc, and they offer a lightweight alternative to metal carabiners for gear storage and utility.

The high strength polymer provides a corrosion resistant, solar heating thermally resistant and lightweight alternative to steel or even aluminium carabiners, for non-load rated tasks. I've read that the breaking rating on the GrimLOC is 80lbs (36kg) and this is actually a design feature.  It prevents the wearer becoming caught up in slings and gear and trapped in potentially a threatening situation. It is also strong enough to take a fair amount of rough treatment, as a sling connection point to a plate carrier, for instance, without compromising utility.
 The way it works is that the curve of the D is hinged, with a locking end which operates by a push button. This mechanism is spring loaded, and incorporates a very clever Self Purging "SP" ports along the sides of the D to eliminate sand from blocking the mechanism.

These ports, along with the deeply fluted sides of curve of the D also add to the positive grip needed for   wet or gloved hands. This also reduces mass and adds strength.

 The locking mechanism will pop open given sufficient force, but will also open with a simple one handed press on the button, and opens partially, or with a little more force locks into an open position.

I've used this to hook my phone case to, run hydration tubes and comms cables over and round my shoulder straps and even offer a quick spot to dangle a bag.

The real magic of the design however, is the built in PALS/MOLLE loop feature.

That angled slit 1/4 along the length of the bar of the D allows enough of a standard 1" webbing strap to be fed into the gap that it will be able to be slotted in, secured into position, without compromising the strength of the clip, and eliminated the dreaded "carabiner roll" where the gate can migrate away from where you want or need it, usually pinching you in the process.

Here are a couple holding my ZuluNylonGear CAOS Admin Pouch to my Platatac Bullock Echo

When fitted properly, the GrimLOC will sit in place, where you need it, for as long as you need it, and come out without any fuss or tools.

I usually fit mine such that when they open, the gate forms a hook, rather than dropping my gear down to the ground. I suppose if I really wanted to go for the "high-speed/low-drag" alternative, I could flip them around, but really, I'd prefer to keep my gear snagged to me at this stage. I know, such a Geardo ...

These are great clips, come in a variety of colours to math your kit, and fill the gap that el-cheepo accessory carabiners simply can't be trusted  to fill.

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