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I acquired my SMC Grip from On Rope 1 at the 2008 Old Timers Reunion. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun’s collection.
The SMC Grip is 98 mm. tall, 73 mm. wide, and 47 mm. thick. Mine weighs 193 g.
The SMC Grip looks and functions like a Type 1 Lever Cam Ascenders, but it is marketed as a rope grab. The frame is milled from aluminum, much like the closely related PMI Progressors, the PMI Arrestor, and the Rock Exotica ascenders. The flat-based rope channel is 14.9 mm. wide. The right side has a raised mound that houses a spring-loaded pin that holds the axle in place. A small button attached to the pin with a set screw lets one retract the pin. A 4 mm. hole through the spine does not appear to serve any particular function.
The cam has 9 rounded teeth, the two on the cam heel are about 4 mm. wide and the remainder are about 7.5 mm. each. The cam teeth are about 0.6 mm. deep. The cam is held by a piece of 1.6 mm. plastic-covered cable pinned to the frame. The keeper doubles as a spring that applies a slight closing force to the cam. The cam rides on a 9.4 mm. diameter stainless steel axle that is held in place by a 1.6 mm. plastic-covered cable keeper pinned to the frame. The end of the pin is chamfered, but not enough to avoid needing to manually retract the restraining pin when assembling the Grip.
The left side of the frame is printed design with the SMC logo, "Quality Gear For Life," a "feather" logo, "PMI," "Grip," the Underwriters Laboratories Classified logo, an up-pointing arrow, "Rope Ø," "10-12.5mm," "MEETS NFPA 1983(2006 ED.)," "L" inside quotes, "MBS 5kN," and "MLN 7911."
The button for retracting the axle retaining pin is small and rounded, so it is difficult to operate with gloves or muddy hands. If the set screw on the button comes loose, the safety pin can fall out, allowing the cam axle to come free as well. This is unlikely but possible.
The instructions that come with the grip warn that it is "NOT DESIGNED FOR FALL PROTECTION"
PMI recalled this particular Grip. I have a letter from PMI dated June 24, 2008 that includes the following explanation of the problem:
We have discovered that the pin placement is such that it can be slightly bent under high load if not properly set in the center of the device per the User Instructions. While this is NOT a safety concern, it may result in difficulty removing and placing the pin correctly. PMI and SMC have identified and corrected this issue for all current and future stock on this item.
They proceeded to describe how to get a free replacement. I'm a bit puzzled by the phrase, "not properly set in the center of the device per the User Instructions," since the instructions that came with the Grip did not say anything about setting the pin in the center - in fact, they didn't give much information at all about how to use the device.