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The Gripper Hierarchy
Filed In : Articles

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?


Questions such as these are why you have to join THE GRIPBOARD. Everything regarding Grip Strength has been discussed. If there is something that hasn’t, then you should bring it up.

In most cases, all you have to do is use the search function and you get what you need.
Recently, a member on the Gripboard, Sultan_of_Spin, dug up a gem of a thread, originally started by Stalwart Sentinel. Within the post was the succession of Grippers from the easiest, the IronMind Guide, to the toughest, the RBWT (Robert Baraban’s World’s Toughest).

Here is the hierarchy according to Stalwart Sentinel’s research. 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.

  1. IM Guide 60 lbs
  2. RB70
  3. IM Sport 80 lbs
  4. HG100
  5. .225 BB Beginner 100 lbs
  6. HG150
  7. .225 COC T 100 lbs
  8. RB130N
  9. RB100
  10. RB160N
  11. RB130
  12. RB180N
  13. .235 BB Advanced 140 lbs
  14. .235 COC #1 140 lbs
  15. HG200
  16. .241 COC 2004 #1 153 lbs
  17. PDA243
  18. .250 COC 2006 #1.5 168 lbs
  19. .250 BB Super Advanced 173 lbs
  20. GM1 cert gripper
  21. RB210N
  22. HG250
  23. RB160
  24. .260 BB Master 195 lbs
  25. .260 COC #2 195 lbs
  26. RB180
  27. RB240N
  28. PDA262
  29. RB260N
  30. .273 COC 2006 #2.5 238 lbs
  31. HG300
  32. .275 BB Super Master 255 lbs
  33. GM2 cert gripper
  34. RB210
  35. HG400
  36. .281 BB Grand Master 280lbs
  37. .281 COC #3 280 lbs
  38. .277 RB240
  39. .283 COC 2005 #3 290 lbs
  40. GM3 cert gripper
  41. RB300N
  42. HG350
  43. .277 RB260
  44. .295 spring, 1/4″ mount, 2.75 width MMG1 * 306 lbs
  45. .295 spring, 3/16″ mount, 2.75 width MMG2 * 315 lbs
  46. .295 BB Elite 320 lbs
  47. .294 COC 2006 #3.5 323 lbs
  48. RB330N
  49. .306 spring, 1/4″ mount, 2.75 width MMG3 * 335 lbs
  50. .295 RB300
  51. .306 spring, 3/16″ mount, 2.75 width MMG4 * 345 lbs
  52. .306 BB Super Elite 345 lbs
  53. .312 BB Grand Elite 365 lbs
  54. RB330
  55. .312 COC #4 365 lbs
  56. .353 HG500
  57. RB365
  58. .331 BB Pro 430 lbs
  59. .345 BB World Class 470 lbs
  60. .353? BB Galaxy 565 lbs
  61. .362 BB Super Galaxy
  62. .375 BB Grand Galaxy
  63. RBWT

Source: Here


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 – Grippermania.com 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.
Recently, there was an innovation put together by Greg Amidon and Dave Morton that tests the amount of weight needed to close a gripper, called the Redneck Gripper Calibrator. Click the link to read a .pdf about this device.

In the future, I plan to get one of these devices to begin rating my own grippers, but at this time I do not have any information to contribute about it. Look for more down the line.

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