With its super secure triple-action auto-locking gate, stainless steel insert covering the most wear-prone areas of the basket, and an easy to manipulate internal spring bar that prevents the locker from rotating out of ideal position, the Edelrid HMS Bulletproof Triple FG is the best locking carabiner you can buy for belaying. It is also a fantastic choice for top-roping through, as the "bulletproof" steel insert is far more durable than the underlying aluminum and provides a wide, round, smooth surface for the rope to run over. While it's constructed with I-beam stock to reduce weight, it is still a bit heavy for us to consider hauling along on multi-pitch climbs, but would without doubt be our recommendation for a new climber looking for a solid locker to pair with their belay device.
Edelrid HMS Bulletproof Triple FG Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Triple-action auto-locking gate, stainless steel insert increases durability, internal spring bar prevents cross-loading or rotation.
Cons: Heavy, expensive, hard to unlock with one hand.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
While any HMS/pear-shaped locker, such as our Editors' Choice winning Petzl Attache, will work perfectly fine for belaying, three of the locking carabiners tested in this review are designed specifically for that purpose, and include features designed to increase performance while belaying. Of these three, the Edelrid HMS Bulletproof Triple FG is the best by a long shot, with each of its unique features significantly contributing to the overall value of the 'biner. By comparison, the features added to the others — a plastic gate guard on the DMM Belay Master 2, and the added friction hook on the Petzl Freino — don't seem to have nearly the same practical value or performance level. With the exception of weight, which probably can't be helped when stainless steel is included, there is nothing we don't love about this locker.
Overall utility is an assessment of both how well a locker does at its intended purpose, as well as how versatile it is. After our in-the-field testing, we felt that the Edelrid HMS is second only to the Petzl Attache for this metric. It is designed for belaying, and thrives for this purpose. In particular, the internal spring bar is a great help preventing the 'biner from sliding around to a different orientation where it could potentially get cross-loaded, and is far quicker and easier to implement than the plastic keeper bar on the DMM Belay Master 2.
However, among the belay lockers, it is far and away the most versatile. The steel insert makes it an ideal choice for high-friction uses such as rappelling and as a top-rope anchor, and it lacks anything extra sticking off that might catch in slings or clothing, such as the plastic keeper bar found on the Belay Master 2. Admittedly, the weight diminishes our desire to take it on long climbs, but it is more versatile than most compact lightweight offset-D lockers, and can be used just fine in cold or snowy conditions.
Ease of Unlocking and Locking
This locker is the only one we tested that requires triple-action to unlock and open the gate, and so perhaps it is not surprising that we found it to be the single most difficult one to unlock. In order to unlock it you first push the sliding locker bar upwards, toward the nose. Then twist 90 degrees, and open the gate. Sliding the bar upward is the real tricky part, and is nearly impossible to do with one hand, requiring one to use either two hands, or to pin the top of the locker against the rock or some other surface to push against. This extra step added a significant amount of difficulty over the double-action twist lock found on the Petzl Freino.
On the other hand, locking this carabiner could not be easier! You don't have to do anything, as it automatically locks itself the moment its spring-loaded gate slams shut.
Compactness and Weight
When operating under the premise that lighter and smaller is better, the HMS Bulletproof Triple is not going to win any awards. At 87g, it is tied with the Petzl Freino for the second heaviest locker, with the Belay Master 2 weighing about seven more grams.
Considering the added weight that necessarily comes with including stainless steel, which weighs far more than the aluminum that most lockers are exclusively made with, its weight isn't all that unimpressive. I-beam shaped aluminum fills out the rest of the design, helping to keep it respectable.
If you are one of those climbers who simply can't help but obsessively check or wonder whether your locking carabiners are still locked, then perhaps this is the locker for you. When assessing for gate security, no other locker is even close.
The gate of this locker is locked, all of the time, no matter what, as long as it is closed. This can actually be a bit annoying when trying to quickly remove it from a gear loop on your harness, because you must unlock it first. Compared to the Black Diamond Vaporlock Magnetron, it is even harder to unlock, and stands virtually no chance of ever coming open on its own.
This is one large locker, and thankfully also comes with 2.4cm of gate clearance, the second most of any that we measured behind only the Petzl Attache. While not the most critical of features, a lot of gate clearance simply means that it's easier to open and close the gate when there are multiple ropes or a hitch filling the basket.
This locker is designed to be used while belaying, and especially belaying with an ATC or similar device, where the bulletproof insert can provide the most benefit. It also makes for a great rappel 'biner, and an ideal choice for top-rope anchors. Think of it as a stainless steel locker that is simply a lot lighter. While it can effectively be used on multi-pitch routes to build anchors, its large size and weight mean that there are more efficient options available.
Retailing for $36, this is the second most expensive locker we tested. Among auto-lockers, it costs more than the BD Vaporlock Magnetron and the DMM Belay Master 2. Considering the steel insert, you are probably more likely to lose this locker before you retire it because it has worn out. For this reason it presents good value in our opinion, although budget conscious climbers can surely find something more affordable that will work just fine.
The Edelrid HMS Bulletproof Triple FG has many unique features not found on other lockers we tested, or many other lockers at all, and which add value. It is our Top Pick as a Belay Locker, and the one we would recommend buying if that is your primary purpose. For the security conscious, or those who simply don't want an aluminum locker that will wear out in the desert really fast, it also presents a great value.
— Andy Wellman