Vertx has a new belt that will shortly be available. It uses contour webbing that tapers down from 1 3/4″ to 1″ and the American made side-release Raptor Buckles from JBC Corp instead of the more common Cobra buckle. The Vertx Raptor belt (may not be the actual title) is not a rigger’s belt, rather more of a range/shooter’s belt, though they do intend to eventually make one with a rigger’s harness. It provides sufficient platform for duty carry without providing too much for EDC or CCW/off-duty work.

Vertx chose to taper the webbing in once piece the way they did so there’s no attachment point (as there is in some belts where two different sized pieces of webbing are sewn together) and to allow the 1″ metal Raptor buckle (which is lower profile and lighter weight than a Cobra buckle, can be threaded through typical pant loops without removal and has a 2,000 lb. rating (assuming you wanted to lift a minivan or whatever).

The belts will  initially be available in Black, OD and Earth (the Vertx coyote)–and there may be a few at SHOT if you want to swing by their booth.

The Raptor buckle, if you’re unfamiliar with it, has an interesting back story. It was developed by a male nurse in Iraq who was having to deal day to day with inadequate three-pronged buckles on the litters they were using…more on the Raptor buckle and why Vertx chose it in a future article.

No word yet on how soon the new belt will be available for purchase but expect it soon.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jones January 4, 2013 at 6:02 am
Mr Steve Roberts January 4, 2013 at 7:43 am
Evan January 4, 2013 at 9:25 am
Jake January 4, 2013 at 10:59 am
AustriAlpin January 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Thank you for a good article.

While we welcome any comparison drawn to our COBRA products we do ask that in the interest of fairness, it be accurately represented. On that note, the raptor buckles most certainly are not 'lower profile' than our COBRA buckles. It is true that the 1" version is 0.1 oz lighter (not so for the other sizes) if that is of any consequence.

If you are interested, here is a link which compares both products side by side: (http://www.austrialpin.net/products/cobra/documents/1inchcomparisons.pdf)
Also, for the record, testing (both JBC's and other independent labs) show the 1" raptor has a breaking strength of well below 2000 lb. Caveat Emptor.

Thank you for your great site and we wish you well.

Sincerely – AustriAlpin

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Brent March 26, 2013 at 11:52 am

Raptors are available at MissionSpec.com http://missionspec.com/products/raptor-buckle/

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Octavio Cazares March 26, 2013 at 12:14 pm

RAPTOR buckles are random lot tested by a US government approved, 3rd party test house as part of our standard quality control procedures. Recent testing is posted on our site: http://www.raptorbuckle.com for your review. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at (757) 697-0019 or at ocazares@jbccorp.com Thank you.

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Benjamin May 12, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Yes AustriAlpin, please include a link to a completely unbiased side by side comparison, conveniently hosted on your own site.

True the Raptor Buckles may not have an overall lower profile than Cobra Buckles, however, I did notice one important detail. The one part of a Cobra Buckle that protrudes beyond the buckle, are the actual releases that detach the buckle. That doesn't make me feel to safe. I much prefer the Raptor buckle design, since the release buttons are recessed inside the dimensions of the actual buckle. Add to that, the fact that the Raptor is significantly cheaper. Perhaps your site could offer a side by side comparison of the price difference with a nifty graph.

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Benjamin May 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm

You want us to believe the comparisons you made, and yet you ignore the truth of even the most basic facts. You suggest that Raptor Buckles are made of a mysterious, and implied inferior, "Unknown Aluminum Alloy". Surely you had access to the Cobra Buckle's manufacturer's website and the packaging of the product that was so called compared, which states it is made of the same 7075 Aluminum Alloy as your Cobra Buckles. It makes me question some, or rather all the other comparisons you made.

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J Craig May 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Two comments….

First: I read Benjamin's comments and figured I'd double check the figures on AustriAlpin's website. I couldn't find any fault with the comparisons. Maybe Ben should have done the same before he sarcastically defamed them for being up to no good. As for the pricing comments he made… that didn't vet out either. Sounds like Ben might be batting for the dinosaurs…..

Second,

As for Octavio's comments…. I'm too sure about this guy. Very interesting article on the web from CTOMS who did some private testing. Sounds like JBC might be pulling wool over our eyes… that or they don't know what the hell they are talking about. Check this out: http://privatebloggins.ca/?p=809

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Benjamin May 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm

You suck at factual rebuttals. Obviously, I'm only interested in "honest" facts. This isn't an Apple/PC debate. I don't care which is better, I just don't like being lied to, by you, or AustriAlpin. The point is, you can't find fault if you ONLY look at AustriAlpin's comp. If you only look at AustriAlpin's own comparison, it looks superior in every single way. Even being relatively unfamiliar with Raptor buckles, I immediately noticed they ignore that both are made of the same 7075 Alloy, and incorrectly suggest in a side by side that the Raptor is inferior because it is made of a mysterious "unknown material". It makes me question the other "facts" they compare between. I expect pros and cons of competing products, which is why I'm always excited to see competition. I currently only own Cobra Buckles, but I like what competition will bring in terms of competitive price and innovation.

You also claim that my Price comparison doesn't "vet out". It's pretty easy to do the math. AustriAlpin's Cobra costs more, but US Made Raptor Buckles are much cheaper. I can buy a 1.75" Raptor buckle on Amazon Prime FBA for under $20 (Price Fluctuates from $18.95-$19,35) with Free 2 day Shipping. Show me the same price for a Cobra Buckle?

For some uses, I may prefer one style of one buckle more than another. I would like to make my choice based on honest, factual comparisons, so I may make an informed decision. While both have high weight ratings, it may turn out that one is rated for even more weight, and therefore perhaps a better choice for line safety devices. For a pistol belt, many of which don't even feature a riggers attachment point, the 9kn straight pull break strength of a Raptor is more than adequate. I like the profile and recessed release leavers of the Raptor. I am excited to see the true pros and cons of both brands, but until then, I don't see Raptor slamming the Cobra. Just seams like a cheap shot from AustriAlpin, if they are worried about the Raptor, I want to know why.

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Will May 21, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I am pretty sure I saw a test report from JH Holland who is an ISO certified facility that put out some damn good ratings. I personally don't give a crap about ratings because I am using it as an adjunct, not a primary because I don't want my spine separated at my pelvic girdle. I think it looks good and it is cheaper than Cobra.

So if someone finds something different than those test results prove it and post it. There is is enough money to go around…

OUT

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Octavio Cazares May 24, 2013 at 9:11 am

We are accustomed to seeing a surge of negative chatter from our competitors whenever we experience an increase in sales and presence in a new market. Seemingly, the posting of negative comments is motivated by self-interest and the desire to preserve market territory. However, it is irresponsible to post biased and unsubstantiated statements about competitor products. Our most recent testing is published on our website, http://www.raptorbuckle.com and speaks for itself.

We offer the following in response to CTOMS claims and testing. Two 1.75”/45mm samples were given to Chris at CTOMS 2 years ago. Apparently, the need to quickly test the samples two years later did not allow for time to conduct a thorough and documented evaluation. It could be disputed that two buckles are not a large enough sampling and where have the buckles been in the past two years is unknown; whether they have been used or if they have been damaged. These are just a few critical factors in conducting a valid evaluation. But most critical, is that testing was not conducted to conform to the manner in which the buckles are intended to be used. The most common use for this type of side release buckle is belts, body harnesses, and slings all of which uses the Looped or indirect configuration. The buckles are marked for 9Kn/2000lbs indirect and 18Kn/4000lbs direct, all which are explained on our website above. We will be doing some more testing of the direct configurations soon which will be placed on the above website. Check back in a few weeks for our published results.

Our “Critical Use” customers, to include the Army, State Department, Oakley, and others do their own testing. Regardless of testing conducted by our customers, testing has been conducted on every lot manufactured first.

Finally, the design of the Raptor was based on the Presto Buckle design, in cooperation with the parent company. We firmly believe “Made in the USA” is important. In fact, it’s more important than you think, for many reasons.

Anyone with questions about the RAPTOR that doesn’t want to hide behind a screen name can contact me directly at 757-697-0019 or ocazares@jbccorp.com.

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ChrisK May 25, 2013 at 7:14 am

I've always wondered why, if people aren't worried about a buckle rating, why not save the $20 bill and use a plastic buckle? Anyway…

Reposted as a reply to the same comment on Private Bloggins:

Octavio, thanks very much for replying here. I’ll reply in kind to some of your comments directed toward us.

We were in no ‘hurry’ to test these buckles as you imply. The opportunity arose, so we conducted the tests, not formally, but out of curiosity. That is fully disclosed in the article. The only documentation that was important to us was to measure MBS. I’m not sure what you are referring to as not thoroughly documented. If it is in regards to the sampling rate, though I can’t recall what it was at the time, I assure you it was not manipulated to give false readings, and was consistent with our other testing of our own systems done that day.

Sampling size is irrelevant because I don’t want to be the guy that buys the one in a million buckle that wouldn’t have passed quality control. If I pulled 100 buckles, a million buckles, and one broke 2kN lower than the stamped rating, I’d be concerned. Please send me your best quality buckles and I’ll repeat the tests.

The article states that the buckles were new when tested. I’ll also reassure you that the buckles were undamaged when tested (that is what new means). I don’t appreciate your insinuation that we would manipulate the buckle or use a damaged one to give a biased test result. Our integrity and reputation stands for itself, and questioning it reveals an insecurity on your part. At no time did we have any intentions other than noting break strength of the buckles for our own interest sake. The blog post was to let our customers know why we choose the components in the products that we do, and not others. It was not an emotional or marketing motivated post, but rather simply stating facts about testing that we conducted for our own curiosity. Opinion stated in comments on the article are that of the poster and not CTOMS’.

Your explanation and description saying that they were not tested in the way they are intended to function is actually incorrect and shows a misunderstanding of force application and testing in general. Even if intended application is in loop configuration, there is still a stamped rating for direct pull, which in ladder lock configuration, failed 2kN below the stamped rating in our test, on a new, undamaged buckle. All a direct pull does (compared to a loop config pull) is reduce the amount of force required to break the system by about half, and is a better way to test if you can isolate the weakest point of the system. Testing a manufactured harness or belt with the buckles incorporated would be conducted completely differently, including using a torso manikin and should be done product design specific.

And I do apologize if this is getting into the minutia, but to be accurate in your descriptions, as you are presenting a critical argument on a technical subject, it is not “Kn”, it is “kN” and is not “lbs” but “lbf”. Your buckles are marked 9kN Direct and 18kN Indirect (you mixed that up in your comment above, an honest error).

I couldn’t find anywhere in your posted test results, a ladder lock configuration pull test, so I’ll be interested in your new test result if you conduct and post them. My question for you though, is will you actually post them if the results are consistent with our test result? Probably not as that would be product suicide, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Personally, it doesn’t matter to me if you do the testing in direct or loop, as long as the buckle is in ladder lock mode, which is configuration of function. I can discern the difference. And quite honestly, at this point, there are other factors explained in the article that from our perspective, make any additional testing irrelevant as we’ve come to our conclusion as to the best buckle for our requirements for reasons other than strength.

I also haven’t seen any independent data published anywhere by DoD, Oakley or others, so if you’re able to make that available, I think a lot of people would be interested in that as well. Independent data is the best kind.

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Jon February 10, 2014 at 4:37 am

These Raptor buckles are crap and nothing but a copy of the Presto, to give some arrogant jerk an excuse to say he developed something and uses "made in America" as a selling point. Rarely am I ashamed of an American product, or company. Also, your argument is as week as your buckles and your reading comprehension is as nonexistent as the confident in your buckles.

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