Follow the jump for my review of the Rigid Chastity Halfshell male chastity device (complete with the usual NSFW images and video)…
The market for male chastity devices continues to proliferate. It’s impossible to know if interest in and use of them is also growing since there’s no reliable source of data on the subject that I know of, but if the number of options and manufacturers is any indication, they must be getting more popular. Besides those of which I’m personally aware, I keep seeing both bespoke and mass-produced devices on Tumblr that are totally new to me. One of these relatively new players is a small, self-described “family company” from just outside Warsaw, Poland called Rigid Chastity.
I discovered Rigid and ordered a device from them in August. I settled on the Halfshell because Belle prefers closed tube designs and the Halfshell, of all their devices, looks the most like the Steelheart. In fact, many of their products look like Steelworxx offerings. As I said in August, at first glance, Rigid may appear to be a simple Steelworxx clone (not counting the one that looks like the love child of Steelworxx and Mature Metal). But Rigid, based on their product line, is more focused towards those with Prince Albert piercings (like me) and they have devised a system of utilizing a PA to ensure chastity security that, as far as I know, is unique.
I’ll take a step back here and give a quick primer on the plusses and minuses of locking a chastity device through a PA piercing. Obviously, when steel is inserted through a hole in your body and then locked in place, it’s going to be very difficult to remove. That would be the most obvious plus. Also, a lot of guys (like yours truly) find the idea of a totally inescapable device to be ridiculously hot. Much, much hotter than one you can pull out from (and, I contend, any device that isn’t fixed through a hole in your body is one you can escape from).
The issue comes from the fact that penises, especially when flaccid, actually have a lot more variability in their length than might otherwise be assumed without careful observation. There are ligaments in the penis that suspend it when erect but also pull in towards the body when cold or during some forms of exertion. This “play” in the length of a flaccid penis can be, in my experience, 20-50% of its normal flaccid length. Some guys actually “turtle” in those situations and the penis totally retracts into the body. The normal give and take might only be less than an inch, but those tendons are pretty fucking insistent and don’t stop pulling just because the end of the penis is being held in place by something through a PA. This can be excruciating as the PA is pulled against. In the long run, even non-painful pulling can increase the size of a PA hole or even lead to the dreaded migration of the PA piercing (don’t Google it).
This issue with painful pulling and non-fixed penis lengths is what led me to design the fixing that’s inside the Steelheart I usually wear (Steelworxx sells it as an add-on). Long story short, it’s a U-shaped bar that fits inside the tube and through the PA ring so that the ring can travel up and down the bar as it needs to. This allows the penis freedom of movement inside the tube and keeps the ring from being pulled. The downside is that it’s more stuff in the tube and the bars of the fixing can catch penis skin against the inside of the tube leading to pinching or abrasions which have a hard time healing in that environment. Also, the ring through the PA being more or less free to move around can lead to a clanking sound where one would normally not expect to find one. So it’s not perfect, but it does provide for a totally secure and reasonably comfortable chastity experience.
Rigid’s solution to PA security is both genius and, as far as I know, unique in its design. Their fixing does away with the need for wearing a PA ring. Nor is it a separate part that goes through the PA once the device is on, secured with its own lock. Theirs is basically a penis ring that has two hollow tubes that fit over posts on the A-ring. It goes on before the “shell” (I’d call it a tube, but it’s mostly open on the bottom) and has a short bar that runs along the bottom of the penis and up through the PA itself (that part comes in various sizes to fit differently gauged piercings). Once the shell is in place, there’s no room inside its end to push the penis off the fixing. Absolute total security. But also zero ability for the penis to retract.
That lack of movement is what I was most concerned about when ordering the Halfshell. I originally ordered the device to be 70mm long, measured from the back of the A-ring to the tip of the tube along the top. This is the same as the Steelheart Short (the second, shorter Steelheart I’ve worn and the one Belle keeps me in most of the time). But after some feedback from those who also have the device and some worrying of my own, I requested they make it 65mm long. Unfortunately, the 70mm device was already past fabrication, but fortunately for me, they made me another without charge.
So, to recap, the first Steelheart I wore was a now-unfathomable 105mm long. The shortened and more comfortable Steelheart Short was 70mm. The Halfshell is 65mm. The diameter of the A-ring is 44mm (compared to the Steelheart’s 40mm) and the internal diameter of the shell is 37mm (compared to the Steelheart’s 35mm). I don’t need that much room in the tube but 37mm was a preset option and the next one lower (32mm) would have been too narrow.
I’m happy to report that the length is apparently perfect. I have only twice felt even the barest pulling on the fixing in a week of wearing it and neither instance was painful in any way or lasted more than a few seconds. The trick, I think, is to have a device short enough that the “normal” flaccid length of the penis is just longer so, when it wants to retract, there’s already some built-in slack. If you’re going to order a Halfshell, be very careful in not ordering it too long.
The interior diameter of the tube/shell is larger than the Steelheart which, along with the shell’s cut-away design, makes it feel downright cavernous inside. But since the PA fixing keeps the penis stable in one position, I never feel the bouncing around sensation I get from the Steelheart if I wear it without the PA fixing inside. It’s more like the Looker 02 in that way. The penis is pinned in place like an insect specimen in a museum.
The A-ring is, at this point in my life, exactly the right size for me. The 40mm ring on the Steelheart absolutely needs to be retired and replaced with something this size. Whereas the Steelheart wakes me up nearly every day at least a little (and sometimes quite a lot), the Halfshell does not. If I do wake up in that 3-5:00 AM window, I can definitely feel the constriction of the device as the penis tries to get hard, but it’s not painful. Personally, I’ve come to associate that tight and constrained feeling as the normal and best condition for me to be in, so it’s a very pleasant sensation. I don’t feel anything in particular in the PA at those times.
So, with all that said, I’ll now hit on the five basic attributes I use to judge chastity devices: Cost, aesthetic, fit/comfort, security, hygiene, and stealth.
The Halfshell costs $315. The only option is an “S” hook PA fixing for those who are uncircumcised which would make the price $320. Shipping to the USA from Poland was an additional $15.
The Steelheart, by comparison, with an integrated lock and PA fixing, is €277 (not including VAT). Current exchange rates make that $244, without shipping. A Jail Bird from Mature Metal is $340 without any extras or shipping. So, the Halfshell is more expensive than the Steelheart but cheaper by a bit than the Jail Bird. The Jail Bird doesn’t offer a standard PA fixing option nor does it have an integrated lock.
The Halfshell, viewed in comparison with those two, is absolutely fairly priced. The fit and finish is very good. I can find no faults with it that impact function or comfort. It even has a high polish on the inside of the shell. Combined with the novel PA fixing deign, I think the Halfshell is a great deal.
Of course, aesthetic is totally subjective. That said, I find I prefer the cleaner, simpler look of the Steelheart to that of the Halfshell. Not by a lot, though.
The Halfshell is open on the bottom of the tube which has some benefits, but I prefer the look of a closed tube. In addition there’s a lot going on around the lock with the PA fixing being a third part and how the shell connects to the A-ring that causes the device to look complicated and busy. It might be possible for some of the gaps to be closed to clean up the look and perhaps the shell could be made to expose less of the penis, but some of this is inherent with the design.
All that being said, I find the Halfshell to be cute in a way I didn’t expect. While it is smaller than the Steelheart, the illusion of being even smaller than that is created by the shell not covering as much of the penis as the Steelheart tube does. The whole package creates a perky look that nicely plays into the aspect of male chastity that’s about diminishing the penis, both physically and emotionally.
As I already said, I think this device is very well fitted to my body with the A-ring and overall length being the two most critical measurements. Were the device much longer, I’m afraid it’d pull on my piercing. So, assuming you can measure and fit it as well as I have apparently done, the Halfshell will feel great. There are no exposed edges that pinch or cut at all. There were no burrs or other manufacturing anomalies to irritate. It’s very obvious that this was made by a hand that knows what a locked cock feels like and where one can be made uncomfortable in unintended ways. I have had it on continuously since it arrived (about a week now) and have had no discomfort at all (besides the obviously intentional kind).
One small problem I’ve found is that it can be hard to get the device to lock. It fits together in a very specific way and the tolerance is very low if the parts are misaligned. As you can see in the video, some fiddling is required to get everything to line up so the lock locks.
Getting it on can be somewhat tricky (and granted, I’ve only put it on twice so far). If the penis is at all plump (as mine was when I made the demonstration video), it can come right off the PA fixing. With one hand, I needed to hold the penis in place and not let the fixing pull out while with the other I put the shell in place. The move doesn’t exactly require a Cirque du Soleil-level of dexterity and flexibility, but you know.
Another thing I discovered accidentally is, unlike other devices, the lock is really the only thing keeping the shell in place. Once the lock is removed or if you take your hand away before the lock is inserted, the shell flies right off. I now have two small nicks in the perfect gloss of the shell as my lesson. When I removed the lock for the first time, the shell sprang away and clattered loudly to the floor. Oops.
A benefit of the half-shell Halfshell is it feels much lighter than the Steelheart Short. There’s just less metal to weigh it down. While I do like the feel of the Steelheart’s heft, it means I usually have to wear underwear or else develop irritation where it hangs from my body. The Halfshell is easier to wear commando in that regard. In fact, it feels pretty much the same with and without underwear which is not something I can say about the Steelheart.
Another big benefit of the half-shell design over that of the Steelheart’s full tube approach is that little bit of skin underneath and at the base of the penis right where it transitions to the scrotum. Other devices I’ve worn (like the CB-6000) can cause pinching there and eventually lead to an abrasion that requires the device to come off. On the Halfshell, there’s nothing there to rub so it’s impossible to develop that little sore. A significant comfort improvement.
Devices fixed to a PA are, as I’ve already said, totally secure. The design of the Halfshell makes wiggling off of the PA fixing impossible. While I can fit my finger under the shell and feel the fixing, both where it goes into and comes out of the piercing, I can also feel that the tiny gap between the end of the fixing and the inside of the shell is far too narrow to do anything with (while also being so small as to avoid any pinching). Absent a key or some kind of heavy tool, the Halfshell isn’t going anywhere.
The whole point of chastity security is to ensure the locked penis cannot feel pleasure and/or achieve orgasm without the keyholder’s knowledge. Due to its more open design, the bottom of the penis up near the penis head can be accessed. At least for me, stimulation of that area specifically is required to orgasm, so I wondered if I’d be able to get off while locked, even without being able to stroke or have a complete erection. In short, no, I personally cannot come from the stimulation that’s possible in the Halfshell. That said, the stimulation I can get away with is pleasurable. Enough that I feel like I’m breaking Belle’s rule against playing with the penis when I do it. Unlike edging, though, all this will lead to is an even more intense feeling of being turned-on. I would never “accidentally” come this way. Regardless, I’m trying to avoid that kind of activity now that I’ve done my testing for this review.
The Halfshell uses the same integrated brass cylinder lock as the Holy Trainer and the Steelworxx devices. Interestingly, it’s mounted “upside-down” relative to those. Instead of the locking mechanism being visible when looking down on the device, it’s underneath so all one sees when looking down is the steel segments of the shell and the A-ring together. Not sure exactly why it’s made this way. On the Steelheart, a new lock can have very sharp edges and if the device rolls up when being worn or in some other way presses the lock against skin, it can bite. I had to sand down the edges of the lock Belle uses to avoid that. Installed this way, that’s impossible. And the lock is mounted such that it’s too far away from the penis shaft to make contact. A byproduct of this kind of installation is that the device might actually be slightly more secure. Even if one could find a way to break or defeat the lock mounted as it usually is, it would be much harder mounted like this. The lock itself is totally hidden and inaccessible.
Being mostly open underneath and near the A-ring, the Halfshell is very easy to clean. About as easy as the Jail Bird since water can get all over the place and there isn’t much to get in the way.
However, the design of the tube has one large hole with a series of smaller holes surrounding. That makes urinating while standing very problematic. About 75% of the time, things work out fine, but that last 25% is a bitch. Errant streams of urine spring forth at random angles, especially as the urgency to pee increases. I’ve resorted to sitting every time I pee now, even in public, just to save myself the embarrassment of pissing myself (and yeah, I totally did). That’s a bummer.
Were I to do it over, I’d ask for the side holes to be omitted. I suspect urine might run out the back of the shell in that case, but at least it would be more predictable.
The Halfshell does well here. There is essentially no sound from the device as it all locks up tight. I haven’t heard a clink out of it as I’ve worn it around the house under pajama bottoms and sweats.
From a visual standpoint, I find the Halfshell to exceed how well the Steelheart hides under jeans and other pants. Part of this is that it’s physically smaller, but it also seems to lay with less forward protrusion. Sometimes, the Steelheart or even the Holy Trainer will end up pointing forward in my pants when I’m sitting making a more obvious bulge. The Halfshell more often is pointing down making a more natural-looking bulge. During the week I’ve had it on, it’s rarely been as obvious as the Steelheart usually is.
Of course, I’m not that worried about any device being seen through clothing and I don’t think you should be, either. Regardless, though, the Halfshell I’m wearing is pretty darn stealthy.
The question as to how often I’ll wear the Halfshell is, of course, not one I can answer. That’s up to Belle completely. I hope she likes the look of it as much as I like wearing it, though.
Bottom line, even with the issues around urinating and the slightly more complicated appearance, I think the Rigid Chastity Halfshell is the best device I’ve ever worn. It’s incredibly comfortable, supremely secure, makes erections feel exactly how they should while locked up and without unpleasant discomfort. The build quality is excellent and the customer service I received from Rigid was terrific. If you have a PA piercing, I highly recommend you consider a Rigid Chastity device.