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Grappling Hook

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 to.

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 M4/M16 rifle.

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.

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