Friday, 26 October 2012

Carabiner Rant...

Carabiners are not just for key chains. They are a wonderful invention that come a myriad of shapes and sizes. They allow us to challenge ourselves on mountain climbs, hurtle down cliff faces at breakneck speeds, move gear and casualties up and down slopes and rescue trapped people in confined spaces. Carabiners are useful for securing loads or for personnel engaging enemy with small arms from helicopters. Their uses are limited by necessity and imagination.

However, aluminum or steel carabiners do not belong on your tactical gear! A common mistake, by all trades within the military and in LEO tactical teams, is using a metal carabiner to clip a weapon or gear to a fighting rig. This is extremely dangerous.  In a blast, these metal ‘biners become missiles and shrapnel helping the enemy inflict casualties. Milspec or climbing strength ’biners are strong; they have to be for their real job. This means should you hooked in a burning or overturned vehicle by that carabiner  you will be unable to break free!! Should you have the presence of mind to carry an accessible knife, you cut yourself free, if you haven’t succumbed to the acrid fumes of the burning chemical smoke. Additionally, you are increasing your IR signature as climbing equipment is not traditionally IRR compliant. Noise is a factor; the sound of a ‘biner clipping shut is very distinctive and carries over the night air.

On the commercial market, there are many plastic carabiners and gear clips that designed for tactical use. They are made from light, IRR compliant non-spalling plastic. Designed into these ‘gear clips’ is a practical breaking strength; this way operator does not get hung up by their gear.  Additionally, should you be purchasing your own equipment, these purpose built clips are CHEAPER than a traditional climbing carabiner and on par with those small aluminum gear ‘biners.

Obviously, carabiners and metal climbing kit required for mission mobility is not the subject of this rant. This gear must be of the highest quality and repair. Using a climbing ‘biner for other than its intended purpose will cause wear and tear that would affect the reliability of the kit for its genuine purpose.

I know most people use them because they were issued or appropriated from their agency. Do not be THAT GUY. Attention to detail will save you weight, detection, and possibly your life. This is the tactical minutia that separates the operators from the ordinary.

Take care out there.

All of the polymer/plastic 'gear clips' together weigh less than the carabiner
  Additionally, their combined 'breaking strength' is a fraction of the same carabiner.

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