I’m a big fan of what the fine folks at CTOMS do.
They have just posted the testing they had done on two buckles. And I thought their findings were important enough to pass on.
The buckles in question are AustriAlpin’s Cobra Buckle:
And the ADF Raptor Buckle:
While there are some hipster bag makers out there using them in an absurdly overkill manner, the idea behind these buckles is to use them in critical applications – fall arrest harnesses, rappelling gear, parachuting rigs. Not only are they designed to withstand tremendous forces, but more importantly, to not open under load.
They tend to be a more expensive option, (another reason why hipster bag makers using a $25 buckle when a 25¢ buckle will suffice is so laughable), but if your life depends on it, that price is perfectly acceptable.
AustriAlpin’s offerings, as the name alludes to, come from Austria. American Direct Fabrication came along and offered a made in the U.S.A. option.
CTOMS did some tests last year on Raptor Buckles, that showed them breaking at a rating less than what is stamped on the buckle itself.
Raptor™ Buckle – Put to the Test
They just posted the results of some testing they had done of both buckles by an independent testing facility. Again, the results show Raptor Buckles breaking at a rating less than what is stamped on the buckle itself.
Cobra vs. Raptor – Head to Head
At this point in my life I have no real need for buckles like this. Sure I could use them in something I make, but truly, they would be overkill. But like I said, if you really do do things that require a buckle like this, you want to make absolutely certain that they perform as promised.
The last paragraph in the most recent article sums it up well.
“Some will argue that the Raptor Buckle is still ‘strong enough’, but I think this has become a question of integrity and accountability. If it was simply a head-to-head, one product is almost always going to be better than the other and, in this case, that appears to be so. In a free and open market, competition is a good thing and that difference in quality might be offset by price, location of manufacture, and other preferred criteria when making purchase decisions. The problem though is that pesky stamped rating that is the same between the two buckles/companies, except that the Raptor Buckle seems to have trouble meeting it, except in questionable test configurations. My question is, if you were a company, why wouldn’t you do exhaustive testing on your product in proper configuration?”