How To Safely Use Shackles


Shackles are a must-have tool in the world of off-roading. Although simplistic in design, shackles provide a crucial job. They come in various shapes and sizes; however, when it comes to safety, there is a right way and a wrong way to use them.

Recovering a stuck vehicle can be extremely dangerous if not done correctly. Manufacturers take this inherent danger very seriously; a reputable quality brand makes rigorous tests to meet safety standards and regulations before their products are available on the market.

However, manufacturers can not be held responsible for user error; it is up to you to follow safety guidelines and to arm yourself with the proper knowledge of how to use a shackle correctly.

It’s important to understand that not all recoveries will be the same; each recovery will almost always have unique obstacles and challenges. An experienced off-roader will undoubtedly tell you there is no such thing as an easy recovery.

This is why it’s crucial not only to have an arsenal of recovery gear; but also the proper knowledge on how to use them.


What Is A Shackle?


gray and red shackles


Shackles are arguably the most essential tool in your off-road recovery kit. Having a proper shackle for the correct application is crucial to safely tow, pull, and recover, a stuck vehicle.

A shackle is a specially made connector with a quick-release mechanism in the form of a pin or a soft shackle made from incredibly strong fibers.

No matter what type of shackle you intend on using, it is imperative to know how to use them correctly. 


Safety Steps When Using Shackles


Step 1

Whether you are connecting the shackle via a hitch receiver or a rated recovery point, before connecting the shackle, If using a hitch, make sure that the hitch is securely fastened using the retaining pin.

The retaining pin keeps the hitch pin from coming loose, ensuring that the shackle block stays in place. Failure to put the retaining pin on may result in injury!


Step 2

Unscrew the pin from the shackle.


Step 3

Insert the snatch strap onto the bow of the shackle. It’s crucial to make sure that the strap is parallel to the bow of the shackle; uneven placement can cause excessive stress to the strap and potentially break.


Step 4

Once the snatch strap is in place on the shackle, securely tighten the shackle pin; it is now ready to be attached to the shackle block.

During a recovery, the last thing you want to happen is to have a piece of equipment come loose.

A pro tip is to use a screwdriver to lock the shackle pin; this will ensure that the shackle pin stays in place. 


Step 5 

Before executing the recovery, ensure the snatch strap is in the correct position. The snatch strap should be straight on the bow of the shackle. However, in some cases, on recoveries with difficult angles, you may have to off-center the strap by a couple of degrees.

This is referred to as side loading and should be avoided when possible. If side loading is unavoidable, you should never go past a 45-degree angle on the shackle.


Step 6 

When using a side load, the load rating of the shackle is significantly decreased. Ensure safety by considering the reduced load compacity. A decreased load rating has the potential of failing, always practice safety when side loading. 


Step 7

Always have a spotter when possible. The key to a successful recovery is teamwork! 

Remember to stay calm and always practice safety. With the proper recovery tools and know-how, I am sure you will have a successful recovery. 


Hamer Shackles

There are many reputable brands on the market. However, my favorite is Hamer products. 

They are Industry-leading and offer all the off-road accessories to make your off-road build dreams come true. 

I recommend that you check out their website for all your off-road needs; they have everything from off-road bumpers to bull bars, skid plates, tire carriers, and much more!



Successful recoveries start with the right equipment; however, without proper know-how and knowledge, even the best equipment can only go so far.

Before embarking on your next adventure, I recommend practicing recoveries in a safe environment using the knowledge you learned from this article. 

When it comes to off-roading, you can never be too prepared! As always, be safe, and have fun!

Follow us on Facebook to enjoy our latest news and promotions at: Hamer4x4

Would you like something?