Jail Bird vs. Steelheart
The new Jail Bird from Mature Metal (nicknamed JB2) has been on me now for about a month and I feel as though that’s given me enough of an impression to be able to compare it fully to my usual predicament, the Steelworxx Steelheart (AKA, Steelheart Short – or SH-S for short). For those of you who have been around a while, you’ll probably remember that this isn’t my first time in a Jail Bird. Belle let me wear one back at the end of 2010 that I eventually stopped wearing due to fit issues stemming both from the measurements I sent to Mature Metal and some of the design characteristics of the device. This time around, though, I’m happy to report that I have no qualms whatsoever recommending a Jail Bird configured like the one I have on right now.
How it’s different
There are three primary differences between the first and second Jail Bird:
- The base ring is a pair of fused 1/4″ rings. I found the single ring to be too thin on the original causing it to be less comfortable than the SH-S’ thicker ring. Since the additional ring added 1/4″ to the length of the device, the cage on the new one is 1/4″ shorter than the old.
- The post onto which the cage secures has been moved to the top of the ring instead of on the face of the ring as it usually is. This allows the top of the cage to align to the top of the base ring which, in turn, fixes a few issues I found with the original.
- The base ring is slightly ovoid in shape rather than circular. In addition, its diameter is 2-3 mm larger than than the first Jail Bird and the SH-S.
I get into some more detail around the issues I had with the first Jail Bird here.
Comparison to the Steelheart Short
I’d like to be able to post pictures of the JB2 compared to the old one but I can’t since I’ve somehow lost the original device. Instead, I’ll post images of it compared to the SH-S.
The supremely nerdy might be interested to know that the SH-S weighs in at 200 grams (with PA fixing and ring) while the JB2 is only 182 grams. Obviously, that’s what these devices weigh. They’re custom and each will be different. But, they’re both customized to the same penis, so you could reasonably expect that percentage difference to hold true. It’s doesn’t seem like a lot, but the JB2 is noticeably lighter than the SH-S. For further comparison purposes, a CB6K (including a black Masterlock and KSD-G3 anti-pullout device) is a mere 78 grams. The CB5K is a feathery 30 grams.
Sizing them up
Fit is everything when it comes to a chastity device’s comfort and there’s nothing more important than the size of the base ring.
For the JB2, we ordered the double base ring with a 43mm diameter. The first time around, we got a 40mm single ring which is the same as the SH-S. I’ve found, over time, that 40mm is probably just a titch too small and the JB’s narrower gauge ring exacerbated the fit issue. While a few millimeters doesn’t sound like much, when it comes to chastity devices, little differences can turn into a big deal.
Also, this time around, we opted for the oval ring as opposed to the perfectly round one. This has the effect of adding a millimeter or two on the sides of the ring while making the gap between the bottom of the ring and cage a little smaller. I’d estimate the gap between the SH-S and the JB2 to be about 20% smaller. Part of that difference is due to their designs, but it’s also the oval versus round rings. In any event, the additional space on the sides goes a little easier on the testicular plumbing when the system is at full pressure. I do find that I need more frequent applications of lubricant under the ring and that I find it biting more than the SH-S down there. I attribute that to the smaller gap and the thicker ring. It’s not so bad that I’d want the ring to be any larger or that I find it to be a real problem, but it is a bit of a manageable issue.
At the end of the day, the JB2’s ring is more comfortable than that on the SH-S (I also find that sleeping through the morning wood is a lot easier). Now that Belle has a second go-to device to make me wear long-term, I will likely request that we send the Steelheart back to the Fatherland for a slightly larger ring.
As you can see in the images above, the tube and cage appear to be about the same size. In wearing them, though, the cage has a noticebaly smaller amount of usable space. This is because the SH-S, with its thin walls and smooth interior, allows the penis to hang more freely and have more room. The JB2’s cage is made of relatively thick steel bars (doubled over at the end) and that eats up quite a bit of the interior. In the SH-S, though, the penis shares its space with the PA fixing and ring. So, all things taken into account, I’ll say that the JB2 feels tighter in the cage than the SH-S does in the tube. That’s not a good or a bad thing since I think the SH-S is pretty well fitted in that regard and needs to be somewhat different because of the security hardware, but it does have implications with regard to stealth which I’ll get into later.
As I’ve said in the past, it’s the supreme anti-intuitive element of chastity fitting advice that it’s almost always better to have a shorter tube than a longer one. The closer you can get to your “normal” flaccid size, the better. The JB2 is almost exactly the same size inside as the penis typically is when it’s soft. Almost. It might have been better if it was just a little bit longer (like, maybe that 1/4″ I took out to accommodate the double ring). What happens is the end of the penis pushes through the square at the end of the cage made from its four bars and, as it turns out, that skin is very sensitive. Especially for me since it’s usually in the dark confines of the protective SH-S tube. I’ve found that going commando in anything other than loose fitting pants is off the table. Even when I’m wearing underwear, the little nub of head flesh will occasionally rub itself against the fabric. It’s not necessarily painful, but it’s not comfortable either. Sometimes, though, a tiny bit of that flesh will get caught between the cage and the fabric and pinch like the dickens. It took me a long time to figure out what was causing that since my usual quick adjustment didn’t stop the pinching.
In any event, this is not a huge problem and could be made to go away if it bothered me so much that I’d ask Belle to let me send it back for a small adjustment. It doesn’t so I haven’t. Since the SH-S has its own pinching issues from time to time, I can’t really say that one of these devices it better than the other in that regard.
One of the things I didn’t care for with the last Jail Bird was the fact that the post was attached to the face of the base ring. As you can see from the picture of the old missing-in-action JB, that leaves the cage sitting about a quarter inch lower than the base ring. It arranged everything so that the penis looked like it was resting on a little pink testicle pillow. I don’t know that it was less comfortable that way, but I didn’t like the aesthetic look of it. Also, I found the device would rotate when in my pants in a way the SH-S never does. If it was a clock, the top of the device would either be a quarter before the hour or after. Again, not a huge deal, but I didn’t like it. The JB2 looks more like I think it should, the penis stays in a more natural position relative to my balls, and it rotates less.
PA jewelry is an integral part of the SH-S but just not possible in the JB2. With the first Jail Bird, we had a small crossbar added onto which I thought I’d secure a PA ring. In practice, the ring pinched the penis between it and the cage bars and it ended up being a bust. No difference in the JB2. I tried to secure a ring to it, but had a hard time getting the tools in place and could never get ring closed. Using a higher gauge ring would be possible, but why wear a ring I can take off with only my fingers? There’s really nothing to be done about it. Obviously, this has security implications (which I get into below).
There’s really no contest here. The JB2 is much easier to keep clean and stays cleaner than the SH-S. That’s not to say the JB2 is equivalent to not wearing any device. It’s not. It still picks up urine and the lubricant needs to be washed off after day’s application. But, it is a simpler, more user-friendly design from a cleanliness point of view.
While the JB2 wins in the cleaning urine up department, it loses in the letting urine out of your body department. The SH-S is dead simple to pee in standing up. You just point and let it go. Gravity and the little round hole do the rest. The JB2, not unlike the CB6K, requires a quick check to ensure things are properly aligned before letting it fly. Even then, I’ve been unpleasantly surprised find an errant stream splashing around unexpectedly. Even though there’s no tube to catch the urine, I still pee with a paper towel in case I need to dab up the spillage.
I have additional complications caused by my PA piercing and the fact that I can’t wear any jewelry while in the JB2. I have discovered that if I insert my fingers through the cage on either side of the penis and kind of push in on the bottom of the shaft, I can close the PA sufficiently to eliminate most dripping. Doing that while ensuring the slit stays in the middle of the square at the end of the cage is tricky, but doable. Bottom line, peeing in the SH-S requires no forethought at all while in the JB2 it does.
The JB2 appears less obvious beneath clothing. It’s almost the same size as the SH-S on the outside, but its surface is not as monolithically smooth and that breaks up its profile better in the pants. Also, since it’s lighter, it doesn’t hang down as low while I’m sitting. Also also, since there’s only the device and no other movable pieces (like the PA fixing and ring on the SH-S), it’s perfectly silent. There’s not even the barest clink of a sound while doing the jumping jacks. However, because its post sticks out perpendicular to the ring (as opposed to inline as on the SH-S), it will occasionally show a little bump when I’m wearing something light like workout clothes or pajamas.
Of course, it is still there and is as inflexible as the SH-S so there’s still a bulge. Just not as much of one.
The JB2 is fitted with the security screw option since Belle doesn’t like at all how a lock on the stock version of the Jail Bird sits out on the side. Some people don’t like the screw since it’s not an actual lock with a key, but it is a security hex screw meaning it would take some planning to bust into. Also, it appears to be some kind of custom screw with a specially shaped bit and head. The first JB screw had a simpler design (round with a little nipple in the middle). This one’s not round and the bit to unscrew it only fits one way. I assume this is not something you can just pick up at Home Depot. The device came with two screws and two bits to work them.
The other day, I was standing next to Belle in the bathroom putting the JB2 back on after a few days out and I mentioned to her that it was a bit tricky getting the cage to line up with the post so that the screw would go in. I was worried I might someday strip the screw and it would get stuck. She said, “Well, that’s easy enough to fix. We just won’t take it off all that much.” Nice.
Since there’s no way to secure the device with my PA, it has the same ultimate security flaw all trapped-ball devices have. There’s nothing to keep me from pulling out the back when flaccid and slippery, though I have to say, I haven’t tried once. That’s because, as hot as a totally inescapable device is, the first line of security isn’t in your pants, it’s between your ears. You have to want to be locked or, minimally, be willing to submit to your keyholder’s control. If you can’t do that, then you shouldn’t be in a device in the first place.
That said, the JB2 feels more secure than the SH-S when the PA fixing isn’t in place. It has a more snug fit and that helps maintain the illusion of security. I assume, were I not to need the extra space for the PA bits, we could order an SH-S that was just as well fitted and secure feeling.
In the end, security is won by the SH-S since it is, actually, secure. The JB2 puts up a good front, but could be defeated just as easily as any other chastity device.
The JB2 is a far better device for me than the first Jail Bird was. It offers a different flavor of enforced chastity than the SH-S and is comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time. The customer service from Mature Metal was very good and I’d have no problem suggesting Belle buy from them again. I cannot say which device we like better since we like different things about both of them. But, in the end, that’s a pretty good endorsement since we do like the Steelheart very much and never thought we’d like another as well. I glad Belle let us get the JB2 and allows me to wear it.
29 August 2012 – Removed all implications that the JB2 belongs to me. It doesn’t. It’s Belle’s.