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Comparing Vulcan Gripper Strength Ratings to Torsion Spring Gripper Strength Ratings

Important Gripper Acronyms / Terms Featured in this Article:

  • TSG – Torsion Spring Gripper(s) – Grippers like the Captains of Crush Grippers
  • Straight Coil Spring Grippers – Grippers like the Vulcan or V2
  • RGC – Redneck Gripper Calibrator, a device which Rates Gripper Strength at Close
  • Richard MacLean – Person who pimped out his RGC to rate Vulcans
  • HG – Heavy Grips Grippers
  • CoC – Captains of Crush Grippers, registered trademark of IronMind Enterprises
  • #3, #4, etc – CoC Grippers from IronMind
  • Level 3, Level 4, etc – Settings on the Vulcan or V2 Gripper
  • Black Spring – Current spring issued with V2 Grippers. Equivalent to Gold, Silver Black Dip, possibly others.

How to Compare the Vulcan / V2 to Torsion Spring Grippers

There has been a decent amount of information put out regarding the strength levels and the ratings of Torsion Spring Grippers like the IronMind Captains of Crush and other similar grippers. With the development of the RGC device which is able to rate these grippers by testing how much weight it takes to touch the handles together, we are now able to compare grippers from different companies, despite the different numbering systems that the companies use.

In the following video, I talk at length about the results that we have found from rating grippers using the RGC device.

This video is LONG, but it is also LOADED with Info to Help You Understand the Process

However, with all of the information out there for TSG ratings, where this type of information has fallen short is with the Vulcan V2 Gripper, and many people want to understand this better. They want to know where the various levels of the Vulcan V2 Gripper stand against the Torsion Spring Grippers.

Below is a chart that was put together by Richard MacLean. It shows strength ratings of the springs on the Vulcan V2 Gripper across various settings. But, before you check it out, you must understand a few important points…

Important Details about Gripper Strength Ratings

1. All springs vary somewhat. Some springs can be just naturally harder than others, even springs from the same batches. Frequent use, stretching the springs out on the hardest settings, and poor care or irresponsible use can all have an effect, but for the most part these numbers can be used to judge what you have as well.

2. Torsion Springs (regular hand grippers) act differently from Coil Springs (Vulcan). With Torsion Spring Grippers, when you squeeze them, there is also some twisting that can take place, so you have to redirect force in order to make the handles move together. With Coil Springs, they primarily just stretch and lengthen. The point is, the springs act differently, so you have to take that into consideration as well.

What is Included in the Table

So, let me explain exactly what the table below shows. In Column A, you will see the ratings results from Richard M. on a fresh spring with very few closes on it. He tested the spring all the way out to Level 24. In Column B, he tested the same spring again, this time going all the way to 27.

You will see that the strength levels dropped at almost all of the settings on the second time through, most likely because going out to Level 24 weakened the spring somewhat, dropping the numbers.

This spring weakening (to this degree) will most likely not take place in your training with the Vulcan or V2 because there will be no need for you to go out to Level 24. Also, if you do go out to Level 24, you won’t be holding it there for an extended time, which may have taken place during the strength rating process. Upon writing this article, I know of NO ONE in the world who has ever closed this Gripper at Level 24.

Long story short, to get an estimate of the strength level of your Vulcan and Spring, provided you have not use the spring way out on the ends and done foot stomping or chest crushing, and as long as you aren’t hanging weight off the spring to deliberately weaken it, your spring is probably closer to the first run of numbers that Richard produced.

Also, take note that Richard used a Silver Black Dipped Spring on his V2, which has been rated equal in strength to the Black Spring and the Gold Spring. So if you have those springs, you can bank on very similar strength ratings.

Rich MacLean’s V2 RGC Ratings Results

Here are the numbers that Richard MacLean found during his testing.

  Column A|     Column B |
  Fresh Spring|     Seasoned Spring |
  L3 = 66.8   |     L3=55.6 |
  L4 = 72.7   |    L4=61.1 |
  L5 = 72.7   |    L5=61.1 |
  L6 = 79.0   |    L6=64.7 |
  L7 = 84.8   |    L7=72.1 |
  L8 = 88.0   |    L8=75.2 |
  L9 = 95.5   |    L9=80.8 |
L10 = 102.2   |   L10=88.2 |
L11 = 106.6   |   L11=89.0 |
L12 = 114.5   |   L12=97.2 |
L13 = 119.8   |   L13=104.7 |
L14 = 121.5   |   L14=107.3 |
L15 = 131.7   |   L15=115.2 |

L16 = 139.1   |   L16=122.9 |
L17 = 141.9   |   L17=126.5 |
L18 = 150.7   |   L18=133.8 |
L19 = 159.4   |   L19=142.9 |
L20 = 160.9   |   L20=146.5 |
L21 = 172.0   |   L21=153.8 |
L22 = 177.7   |   L22=165.0 |
L23 = 182.2   |   L23=167.9 |
L24 = 187.7   |   L24=175.5 |
                       L25=184.3 |
                       L26=189.2 |
                       L27=197.4 |

Big thanks to Richard MacLean for not only producing these results, but also for letting me post the results here.

Comparing Vulcan V2 Ratings to Torsion Spring Grippers

Unfortunately, if you are looking to use those numbers as direct comparisons to Torsion Spring Grippers, then you are out of luck. With the Vulcan, the force at close reads out much lower than with a torsion spring gripper.

For instance, the bolded numbers above are the ranges that I usually equate to the feel of a #3 Gripper, levels 13 to 15, depending on the stiffness of the spring.

David Horne has pointed out in many cases I have read that with the Black, Gold, and Silver Black Dip spring, level 13 is right near the difficulty of a #3, when the spring is fairly new.

Now, if you have used the same spring on a Vulcan, a V2, and a Wrist Developer and do one of those movements every workout, then the strength of the spring might be a bit reduced due to all the use, and so the squeeze may not feel like #3 strength until you get up around Level 15.

Either way, that range is what you want to shoot for if you are gearing up for closing the #3.

Other Comparisons and Estimates

We can also assume that a Level 22 is also pretty close to a #4 Gripper close. This is based on the fact that I have seen video of Paul Knight closing both a #4 and Vulcan Level 22. Harder #4’s would be up in the range of Level 24 or higher. These are just my personal estimations.

David Horne lists the following estimates on his site:

  • #2 = Level 7-8
  • #2.5 = Level 10-11
  • #3 = Level 13-14
  • #3.5 = Level 17-18
  • #4 = Level 20-21

Remember, these estimations are for the Black, Gold, or Silver Black Dip springs. There may indeed be other springs that are equal in strength that I am not familiar with. I am just going on my own experience with them.

In addition, if you do not have IronMind CoC Grippers, in order to estimate where your Vulcan closing strength lies against Torsion Spring Grippers, you can use the estimates above and compare them against results taken from testing done with other similar Grippers.

For instance, if you know that your Beef Builder Elite Gripper rates at 159 on an RGC, then that is slightly above most #3 grippers, which these days come out around high 140’s and low 150’s. A 159 TSG would probably be around a Level 16 on a Vulcan (estimating).

I hope this post has been helpful for you. If you are in need of any further explanation, please let me know – since this topic has been such a source of confusion for so many people, I would be glad to go back and add in details where they are needed. Please just leave a comment below.

Thanks and all the best in your training.


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10 Responses to “Comparing Vulcan Gripper Strength Ratings to Torsion Spring Gripper Strength Ratings”

  1. Gary Gray Says:


    Thank you very much for the Video and rating information.
    It must have taken you hours to put all of this together. I must have been day dreaming when I closed the HG-150 several times, thinking I was closing 150 lb. (I’m really glad I also ordered the White Spring with the purchase of your Valcan V2) (The Video of Lee Hayward closing the HG-350 only said he was closing the HG-350, it didn’t say he was closing 350 lb.)

  2. william Says:

    Thanks for posting this for everyone. I wish i had this info when i bought my first gripper.It was the heavy grips and i thought the weight they were rated at were spot on. i was wrong. Live and learn i guess. On the rating of the comparison of the CoC to the V2. i would say it depends on the spring, and the V2 has a different feel to them that makes it hard to judge. Mine is on the easy side, but not by much. Thanks again for all the videos tha tyou post, and am looking forward to what is next.

  3. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Yes, this video and article were quite an endeavor, Gary, but I am glad to help out my loyal customers like yourselves. I enjoy going the extra mile for those who have done so for me.

    I have seen that Lee has videos on Grippers and that he sometimes runs giveaways with the Heavy Grips grippers, but I am not sure of his level of expertise with them. If he is closing a 350, that is a damn good close. I would love to have someone like Lee get more involved with the Sport of Grip. He has a very large, loyal following, and he could really help the sport grow.

    Thanks again Gary. All the best in your training.


  4. Jedd Johnson Says:

    The width of the handle set on the V2 makes the set feel harder in that range, so I hear what you are saying brother. Don’t feel bad about buying into the HG ratings. Honestly, there is a lot of misunderstanding out there about the numbers. Keep training hard and thanks for all your support.

    What other kind of training information are you looking for buddy?


  5. Rob Says:

    Great post Jedd. thanks mate!

  6. Kevin Knapp Says:

    Thanks Jedd for the info! Great work

  7. Gripper Ratings Comparison - All Things Gym Says:

    […] Jedd Johnson compares strength ratings of various grippers. […]

  8. Braghtworst Says:

    I have a question, good sir- I am somewhat confused by your describing “levels” for the difficulty of the V2 Vulcan. I gather you are referring to the notches the spring sits in on the non-handle side, but I do not understand how you assigned the number value to them- how do you determine them on the Vulcan? I see that my Vulcan has 22 total notches, yet you mention levels beyond that number (24, 27 E.G), and odd numbers- for the odd numbers is that just setting the spring one notch lower (or higher) on only one side?

    My take of it is this- I assign a number value from one to eleven on each side, and add those two numbers together depending on where each side of the spring sits to get my “level”, (disregarding spring strength). Is this correct?

  9. Jedd Johnson Says:

    For the V2, with a Black, Gold, or any spring of the equivalent strength, when the spring sits at the bottom notches (1,1) it is considered Level 3, because these springs are harder than all the other springs that are sold (except the Crom spring).

    From there, the spring is moved up one notch in the back for Level 4. The back is the loading arm on the same side as the shorter handle.

    For Level 5, the spring is moved back down in the back and up one in the front.

    For Level 6, the spring is moved back up in the back, so that it sits at notch 2 in both the front and the back.

    The loading continues like this all the way up the loading arms, always moving the back side up one first (Levels 4, 7, 10, 13, etc). With the spring higher in the front the levels are 5, 8, 11, 14, etc.

    I hope this helps.


  10. Phil Says:

    This is an extremely useful video.

    Can I recommend that the numbers in the video be transcribed onto the website as well for easy access and archive?

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