Failed ITW Tac Link & retired climbing carabiners

The Tac Links by ITW makes great key holders
The Tac Links by ITW makes great key holders

Imagination if probably the limit to the number of uses for the ITW Tac Links. While the story goes that they are made for tactical use, I use a bunch of them mostly as key chains. Sporting some really bright (orange and even yellow) colors and weighing close to nothing, they really do make ideal key holders. Cheap (round RM15 to RM20 each), they are easy to spot and certainly looks cool all around.

But all that cool features means little when¬†they started to fail on me recently. So far, I two pieces fail on me and both presents the same failure point. The spring and the kick back mechanism of the opening gate. The gate’s failure is the nail on the coffin.¬†Without it, I deem the Tac Link useless.

Close up of a working ITW Tac Link
Close up of a working ITW Tac Link
The spring and metal piece of a failed ITW Tac Link
The spring and metal piece of a failed ITW Tac Link

The first few times the spring and metal piece popped out, I manage to jam it back in. But now I realized once that happens, it is going to happen again and again. Time to throw it out. Then I remembered my lot of used carabiners. Some of which are permanently retired but for some reason, I have been hanging on to them for a long time. No good for rock climbing or any safety related application, I reckon I can use them as a replacement key holder to the failed ITW Tac Link.

Good that I have kept some of the used and retired climbing carabiners
Good that I have kept some of the used and retired climbing carabiners
Note the corrosion by rope on the carabiner. This makes the carabiner 'retired' automatically...though some would argue it is still good for use
Note the corrosion by rope on the carabiner. This makes the carabiner ‘retired’ automatically…though some would argue it is still good for use

I reckon these used and retired carabiners make the best key holders there is. They are strong and ergonomically nice to handle. I decided to use one without a screw gate as my key holder replacement and see how long it will go before it fails like the ITW Tac Link.

I think I have found my ultimate key holder
I think I have found my ultimate key holder
Some improvisation helps to keep the key in place
Some improvisation helps to keep the key in place

Finally, a replacement for my failed ITW Tac Link. So far, this used climbing carabiner has been working well for me (about 3 weeks now) and I am loving it more and more everyday. It goes on the molle straps, on pack’s grab handles, the sleeve, belt loops and just about anywhere else.