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Private Bloggins – Cobra vs. Raptor – Head to Head

A while back, CTOMS, through their Private Bloggins site, posted an article featuring self testing of the Raptor buckle in order to determine if it was a suitable replacement for the AustriAplin Cobra buckles in use on their X-belts and M-harnesses.

Recently, they’ve written a follow up to that original round of testing. This time, instead of conducting their own comparative testing, they posted the results of a study conducted by independent testing company TÜV SÜD at the request of AustriAlpin. AustriAlpin supplied 5 Cobra and Raptor buckles of each size for evaluation; the Raptor buckles were sourced by 3rd parties from online suppliers of the buckles.

Through the testing results, it was determined that Raptor Buckles bend and brake consistently below the direct pull stamped rating. Those interested in viewing TÜV SÜD’s test results can view them by clicking the image below:

AustriAlpin test

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10 Responses to “Private Bloggins – Cobra vs. Raptor – Head to Head”

  1. jbgleason says:

    “Independent Testing firm” hmmmm. No. We see this all the time in the medical world. A company pays a third party for a study/test and, shocker, the test comes out favorable for the guy who paid.

    Show me data from a non-interested third party who obtained product samples of BOTH products and who doesn’t have a dog in the fight.

    FYI. I heard there had been some recent libel, cease and desist, lawyer slap fighting going on between these two.

    • SSD says:

      The thing about tests that cost money…Nobody does those for free. You have basically just implied that TÜV SÜD is on-the-take; a respected, international company that conducts testing for a wide variety of industries.

      Do you have any actual proof to back your suspicions? Or this just a “hunch” based on your professional opinion? And by professional, I mean that you are qualified in some form of materials science, or have experience in test and evaluation procedures? Hell, it be happy if you were a Rigger or Mountain Guide.

      If you don’t have any of those qualifications but insist that the conclusions of the people who do are invalid, it’s time to take a knee, take a deep breath and come to the realization that even though the internet gives you a voice, it doesn’t mean that your opinion holds the same weight as that of an expert. Finally, just because malfeasance exists in one industry, doesn’t mean it runs rampant.

      SSD values your opinion on things you are great at. And, we love to hear valid questions about products. What we aren’t impressed with, are uninformed statements, with no proof to back them up, that are stated as fact.

    • I just did an independent test, without payment, after reviewing your product and SSD’s product, since I have no dog in the fight, and my findings revealed…….

      SHOCKER….

      YOU JUST GOT BITCH SLAPPED FOR A POORLY THOUGHT OUT COMMENT.

      Full report to follow.

  2. ChrisK says:

    Medical testing usually involves complex physiology, and I certainly agree that there is too much bias injected into many studies. But this is simple physics. Pull something until it breaks and measure the force. There are two ways to alter results – modify the test method or manipulate the components. Test method for TUV SUD is sound. It is the same way I tested them and we’ve never conversed! The J. Holland test method is not. I simply can’t understand why they would stitch the running end down and use non-corresponding sized webbing.

    SSD addressed the accusations of component manipulation very well. I really doubt TUV SUD is going to put their reputation on the line for this little test. Quite honestly if the first defensive retort is an accusations of tampering without evidence, I think everyone is intelligent enough to understand the strength of that defense.

    As for the ‘non-interested party’ with ‘no dog in this fight’, why would they care to spending money on testing something they weren’t interested in? The closest thing right now is me, which is why I wrote the article. I have no financial or other interest in either company. I am simply a potential customer of both products wanting to assess the best component for a product that I design. I did evaluations of the buckles that were given to me as samples. And my results were consistent with TUV SUD’s.

    • JB Gleason says:

      Clarifying, I wasn’t referrring to your study. I read that before and place much more weight in it (you openly disclosed your status as a seller of their products). I was solely commenting as to the “new” study cited in the article which is the one commissioned by AustriAlpin. I get the whole “it’s expensive” thing and no one is saying there is a conspiracy. What I am saying is any time someone pays for a test you need to look at it pretty damn closely. Respected firm or not, they are a for profit business and they won’t go far consistently pooping on their customers.

      What I would like to see is a test commissioned by an end user (military), climbing association or other truly independent body.

      And Brannon, you can kiss it, I have heard plenty of things come out of your mouth that were less than well thought out. Haha.

    • AustriAlpin says:

      JB,
      It would seem others have answered your comments with regards to the integrity of the TUV SUD results.

      As for your final comment in your first posting: You are correct, we did receive a cease and desist letter from the manufacture of the Raptor buckle, ADF manufacturing. What you likely didn’t hear however is that this letter was received in response to our most recent communication to the manufacturer and distributor urging them to issue a product recall in light of the ongoing evidence that their product does not perform to the strength rating with which they label and promote it. The letter we received from ADF did not address the issues raised by the TUV SUD report and only proffered the J. Holland tests in refutation. That said, CTOMS has well documented the faults associated with the test reports issued by the Raptor promoters and, as a long-time member of many PPE professional organizations, we share that educated opinion.

      AustriAlpin takes its role and responsibility in the PPE safety industry extremely seriously. It is our history, our passion, and simply put, protecting lives is everything that we do. So when presented with this sort of mounting analytical evidence (our own in-house tests, those of CTOMS, and now that of TUV SUD) that a product, whomever’s it may be, does not stand up to its safety claims we believe that it is our moral responsibility to ‘speak up’ and act. Soldiers, Police Officers, Search and Rescue personnel, mountaineers, zip-line enthusiasts are just some of the fine people depending on this sort of PPE hardware. Wouldn’t you say, JB, that it’s our ethical obligation to blow the whistle regardless of the inevitable ‘anti-competition’ rhetoric or threats of ‘libel action’ that we might have endure in response? You may guffaw all you like but our motive is not anti-competition – it is the protection of the lives we dedicated ourselves 30+ years ago to serve.

      Finally, we couldn’t agree with you more with regards to your comment about wanting to see a totally independent body ‘commission’ a test. AustriAlpin would be more than pleased to cooperate with such an endeavor. We also challenge the makers / promoters of the Raptor buckle to submit (to an independent test house not affiliated with either party) their product for new head to head evaluation under proper test protocol (like that of TUV SUD) and to make those results freely available to the public. If we are wrong, then we’ll admit our error, apologize profusely, and eat crow pie for the rest of our years. If we are right, let the Raptor team issue a full product recall as would only be befitting.

  3. Chucker says:

    I work in medical devices also (Class III, ie: life sustaining devices) but my experience with outside testing labs seem to be very different than JBG’s. These labs are certified by outside organizations just like the medical device manufacturer has to be. Among the quality systems they are audited for on a regular basis include calibration, records and record retention, control and traceability of materials, and corrective and preventive action. The labs that I have personal experience with couldn’t care less who is sponsoring the test, what the test is for, or what the results are. By the time the test articles are handed down to the technician actually running the procedure all of that business stuff gets lost in the ether. In my career, I’ve personally had a small number of test results that weren’t favorable and at a very critical time in the development process to boot. To suggest that an organization like TUV Product Service can be manipulated in such a manner is highly unlikely… in my experience. Medical device companies hang their existence upon some of these lab results (is the selected material biocompatible?, is it sterile?, etc). The data has to be accurate.

  4. SavvySniper says:

    We purchase hardware and materials from all over the states to make our products. We spend more and go out of the way to buy from American companies. Except when it is an all around better and honest product. We have compared the metal buckles and decided on Cobra Austri Alpin. After purchasing thousands of buckles & other hardware from AA, we have not had one issue at all. Absolutely not one flaw or return on anything we bought or sold from that company. We make everything from Equine cross ties to our best quality slings using AA Cobra.

  5. The Monkey says:

    Just sayin’ if I was Raptor and felt my product was being misrepresented, I’d make some videos of tests showing they do stand up to their labeled ratings or better. I think another problem is they hold up to a good amount of weight, just not full safety working load limit weight according to these independent tests. The whole point of those limits are so those saving lives don’t have to question their gear even in extreme circumstances.

  6. ChrisK says:

    It’s easy to satisfy your curiosity when you have a slow pull test machine, sewing machine and a few Raptor Buckle samples kicking around. I did 5 tests tonight. While I might eventually post these in our blog, I thought I’d throw them up here as a preliminary before this post gets buried.

    I did two tests of 1.5” Raptors – the first in what I will call J. Holland configuration with the running end sewn down as they did. The second with the running end left loose as it would be in real world and in the TUV SUD tests. I’ll call that the Standard configuration.

    The J. Holland configuration broke at the release tab at 27.6kN, consistent with their tests.

    The Standard Loop configuration, meaning the running end was not sewn down, broke the webbing at 17.7kN. This shows me that by sewing the running end down as J. Holland did in their tests, it significantly alters the test results.

    Next I did 3 x 1.75” Raptor buckle tests. One in J. Holland configuration. One in Standard Loop configuration. And the third in Standard Direct configuration.

    The J. Holland configuration broke at the female side frame at 22.2kN, again consistent with their results.

    The Standard Loop configuration broke in the ladder lock at 20.9kN, close to the J. Holland results, and still above the stamped rating.
    The Standard Direct pull broke in the ladder lock at 8.2kN, below the stamped rating. Consistent with my previous testing and the TUV SUD testing.

    Not sure how many more times this will have to be done to convince the skeptics. But test after test shows it breaking below stamped rating in Direct configuration.