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Grip Rewind – The Gripper Hierarchy


Here is an article I previously posted on the Straight To The Bar site and My Blog. Many people have been asking me about the differences between various Grippers, so I figured I would just toss this post back up!

Have you wondered: What is the hardest gripper? Where do my grippers lie? What grippers can I get to bridge the gap between what I am closing now and my goal gripper? Well, this list will help you out, then…

Here is the hierarchy according to research done by one of the members of the GripBoard. Take in mind that grippers with the same name can vary. For instance, due to changes made in spring material, the original Heavy Grips 300 I have is much tougher than the newer one I have. Still, even with variance in mind, this is an excellent list to base your purchases and training choices upon.

IM Guide 60 lbs RB70
IM Sport 80 lbs
.225 BB Beginner 100 lbs
.225 COC T 100 lbs
.235 BB Advanced 140 lbs
.235 COC #1 140 lbs
.241 COC 2004 #1 153 lbs
.250 COC 2006 #1.5 168 lbs
.250 BB Super Advanced 173 lbs
GM1 cert gripper
.260 BB Master 195 lbs
.260 COC #2 195 lbs
.273 COC 2006 #2.5 238 lbs
.275 BB Super Master 255 lbs
GM2 cert gripper
.281 BB Grand Master 280lbs
.281 COC #3 280 lbs
.277 RB240
.283 COC 2005 #3 290 lbs
GM3 cert gripper
.277 RB260
.295 spring, 1/4” mount, 2.75 width MMG1 * 306 lbs
.295 spring, 3/16” mount, 2.75 width MMG2 * 315 lbs
.295 BB Elite 320 lbs
.294 COC 2006 #3.5 323 lbs
.306 spring, 1/4” mount, 2.75 width MMG3 * 335 lbs
.295 RB300
.306 spring, 3/16” mount, 2.75 width MMG4 * 345 lbs
.306 BB Super Elite 345 lbs
.312 BB Grand Elite 365 lbs
.312 COC #4 365 lbs
.353 HG500
.331 BB Pro 430 lbs
.345 BB World Class 470 lbs
.353? BB Galaxy 565 lbs
.362 BB Super Galaxy
.375 BB Grand Galaxy

Remember, some grippers will turn out weaker than others due to inconsistencies in the manufacturing process, but this gripper scale is a very accurate guide to how grippers line up according to difficulty.

How well you keep them conditioned is also a factor. For years, I never cleaned any of my grippers, and because of this, they have gotten rusty which gradually makes them harder to close because the spring binds up somewhat.

As you can see, there is a variety of terms on this list. Here is a legend for all of the descriptors used.

The 3-place decimal number = spring size measured on a micrometer, expressed in thousandths of an inch. RB – Robert Baraban Gripper
IM – IronMind Captains of Crush
HG – Heavy Grips Gripper
COC – IronMind Captains of Crush
PDA – Piedmont Design Associates (made and sold grippers up until about 2004.)
PDA285, PDA262 – These numbers dictate spring size. PDA sold their grippers by spring size. The numbers represent thousandths of an inch.
GM – Certification Gripper (The number tells you the level)
N – Narrow. RB will make grippers with a narrow or wider handle spread.
BB – Beef Builder

Again, this information came from a thread started on the Gripboard by StalwartSentinel at this ADDRESS. I appreciate the effort he put forth in putting this list together.

I also want to point out that there is way you can get an idea of exactly how tough your grippers are called the RGC, or Redneck Gripper Calibrator. This device was designed by two gripsters, Greg Amidon and Dave Morton, and it tests the amount of weight needed to close a gripper. Check out the image, below, taken by Dave & Greg.


Hopefully, this information has been helpful, especially to those of you who have recently called and emailed.

All the best in your training,


P.S. Want more Grip-related posts? Click here.

For more posts on Grippers, click here.

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