The Petzl Am'D Twist Lock carabiner is a versatile D-shaped locker that offers something for everybody. It is larger than the typical HMS shape that is so often seen paired with a belay device, but not as large as the big lockers like the Black Diamond RockLock Screwgate. It is the only twist lock style auto-locking carabiner in this review, an option that is appealing to those looking to ensure closure in critical locations like belays and personal anchor tethers. It comes in three gate closure options: traditional screw, twist lock and ball lock. The oversized D shape is a very strong one, and the Am'D is only second in strength to the Omega Pacific ISO Standard Locking D, but at a much lower weight, making this strength-to-weight ratio very favorable. The newest version of the Am'd uses I-beam construction, reducing its weight, but it also became less durable as a belay biner. If you are looking for a budget option for belaying or for top roping, look at a more solid stock locker like the Mad Rock Ultra-Tech HMS.
Petzl Am'D Twist-Lock Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Great size-to-weight ratio, keylock, all around performance
Cons: Not as friendly for leftys or small hands, not as functional as HMS shapes
Our Analysis and Test Results
This locking carabiner is an all-around locking carabiner that performed well during a variety of applications during our review. We tested the twist lock version and were impressed at its use with belay devices, no matter the style, and appreciated the assurance that the gate would not open by accident or due to gate shutter. It has an I-beam type construction but still bulks up on material around the rope-bearing areas at either end of the spine, giving it a bit better durability when used for top rope anchors or belaying and rappelling. The oval shape that the I-beam construction imparts increases the friction when used as a belay locker or when belaying seconds in guide mode. For these, using a rounder stock like on the Black Diamond RockLock Screwgate will give a smoother feed.
Ease of Locking and Unlocking
The Petzl Am'D Twist Lock is one of only two auto-locking carabiners in this review, alongside the Black Diamond Vaporlock Magnetron. While the auto-locking feature is not always the best or most convenient choice, we do like it in some cases. Clipping into your belay device to belay or rappel, or attaching your personal tether to anchor when cleaning a pitch, or rappelling a multi-pitch route are a some of the scenarios where we found it handy to have the auto-lock function.
The Petzl Twist Lock is smooth to open, requiring only a quarter turn to open. This might be a hazard if leaving this unattended at a top rope anchor where the locker might be lying on the rock; using an auto-locker is not a substitute for redundancy. The twist lock is ergonomically shaped and features small cutouts to increase grip, especially when using gloves. But the cutouts don't go all the way around, so left-handed users don't get the same benefit.
This large locker is one of the biggest in the review, though not as huge as the BD Rocklock Screwgate. Its size makes it useful for a variety of uses, though we would not want to have to carry more than a couple of these up a long route or deep into the backcountry. For such big size, though, Petzl maintains a relatively lightweight with the Am'd, and at 70 grams is still light enough to consider bringing them along instead of the also auto-locking BD Vaporlock Magnetron, or the even smaller and lighter Edelrid Pure Screw.
With a gate clearance of 2.5 cm, the Petzl Am'd has the widest opening of any locker in our review. We really liked this fact when we had to clip into fat master points on anchors that were made from thick static rope or cordalettes, or at fixed anchors comprised of many slings. It also made it easy to capture multiple bight knots, such as when clipping backup knots ascending ropes with mechanical ascenders. The BD RockLock has a slightly smaller opening with 2.3 cm of clearance.
Gate Hang Up
We like the narrow keylock nose on this contender, a feature that makes clipping bolts, gear, and ropes under load a breeze. This is a standard feature on locking carabiners nowadays, and regardless of what locker you decide on it does not make any sense to choose a traditional notched nose design.
The Am'D is a good all-around locking carabiner that gives its users peace of mind thanks to an auto-locking twist lock closure system. Having a couple of these large D-shaped carabiners for use at anchors and for belaying makes life a lot easier and less cluttered. The Am'D performs well across a variety of applications and could be considered as a jack-of-all-trades.
For $21, this is not an inexpensive locking carabiner. It is less expensive than our other auto-locking carabiner reviewed here, the BD Vaporlock Magnetron, by $10. It is a good, though not great value, but if you are searching for an auto-locker, which are generally pricier than screw lockers, we recommend the Am'D.
Climbers who are looking for a full-sized, functional locking carabiner that is a capable performer with a reasonable weight will like what the Petzl Am'd offers.
Petzl Am'D Screwlock
- Cost - $15 ($5 less expensive)
- Same shape as Twist Lock model
- Red safety stripe
— Ryan Huetter