A grappling hook is hook attached to a securing rope through a
central shaft with a hole; a typical design consists of 3 to 4 prongs. The main function of a grappling hook is to
engage a surface, and this is done by throwing or shooting the hook to a targeted surface. The climber can then
pull oneself up the rope.
As early as Sengoku Period (15th – 17th century Japan), ninjas were already using
a hooked rope known as kaginawa to climb walls and siege enemy fortresses or to entangle opponents. In naval
warfare, grappling hooks were used to draw in an enemy boat by engaging its rigging. Sailors could throw the
grappling hooks to the enemy boat and then climb or swing over to that ship to do hand to hand battle, or they
could pull hard on the ropes in an effort to pull down or break whatever parts of the enemy ship it was attached
Today, grappling hooks have expanded into more varied uses. Combat engineers
use them to detonate booby traps in minefields. Mountaineers rely on them to scale mountains and cliff
faces. Rescue teams use them for open sea and building rescues.
While traditional grappling hooks need to be thrown by hand, most military
versions are propelled by compressed air or rocket launchers. Some models are attached to and launched from an
A grappling hook is either retractable or fixed. A retractable grappling hook is
typically designed for individual and handheld use, and its hooks fold or retract so it becomes smaller for easier
storage and carrying. When collapsed, most retractable models weigh less than 2 pounds and measure 8 inches in
length. Larger models tend to be fixed types, with hooks that do not fold or collapse.