Device déjà vu

A couple Twitter followers took me to task for reviewing the Badass Workroom BA-31P:

IMO, I define a “knock-off” as an exact copy of a product designed to appear to be that product. The male chastity device market is awash in these. Once upon a time, they were fake CB6Ks and then they were fake Holy Trainers (replete with the name “Holy Trainer” stamped on them), and now you see fake Cobras and devices that look like Evotion’s. In fact, you still see all of those. And that’s just plastic.

In my original review of the Rigid Halfshell, I said…

All in all, their products appear to be knock-offs of Mature Metal and Steelworxx designs at perhaps slightly better prices (though it’s hard to tell with currency fluctuations and option costs) which, all by itself, would make them barely worth a mention. But. They have a PA security design I’ve never seen before and it’s really interesting.

And that, to me in today’s market, is where “knock-offs” diverge from “inspired by.” A lot of the stuff on Rigid’s site looked like things other makers were offering. And a lot of stuff on the BAWR site look like things other makers are offering. But in both their cases, they have taken bits of those other devices and put them together in new ways. Hence, the BA-31P. It is, in my experience, unique. As I said, a cross between the Steelheart and the Halfshell. Not either. Both. And by making that leap of design — a leap nobody else has made, AFAIK — they’ve made something unique.

It’s not a 100% straightforward issue, to be sure. Patent and trademark lawyers make good money arguing about prior art all day long. All I can do is apply how I see it. In the case of the BA-31P, we find a new and unique combination of past designs. Good enough for me to think of that as a new, legitimate thing.

A case that I don’t think is difficult to call is that of the metal “Holy Trainer” I reviewed back in 2017. This was a product that was marketed as a device from the Holy Trainer maker, but in metal. It was the same design, after all, so…plausible? However, Holy Trainer only works in resin. They don’t make metal devices. And this specific device was awful. It literally injured me. Clearly, this is the worst kind of knock-off, even though one could argue making the design in metal was a new innovation. Perhaps. But they tried to pass it off as being something it was not (made by the Holy Trainer people) and, on top of that, it was total shit. It could hurt whoever would buy it and that would, by extension, hurt Holy Trainer’s brand.

But then I think of the brass barrel lock used by Steelworxx in many of their devices. When I bought my first Steelheart in 2009, I was unaware of any other maker using them. Steelworxx could have been the first (or maybe they weren’t, I dunno). Certainly, it was a very uncommon feature at the time. Now, you find it everywhere. Rigid uses them, the Holy Trainer has it, the Cobra and Evotion devices use them. It’s, like, the default way to lock a male chastity device. As is should be. It’s better than a small padlock in lots of ways. Are every one the devices I mentioned (and the perhaps hundreds of others I didn’t) all “knock-offs” of the Steelworxx design? Of course not.

In one alternate timeline, Steelworxx could have patented the approach. Perhaps, I’m not a lawyer. And that could have kept everyone else from copying their innovation. But that didn’t happen and, I’d say, the community of male chastity device wearers are better off for it.

Another example is the proprietary screw mentioned in the first tweet above. Lori’s devices had them ages ago. So did Mature Metal. And so does Steelwerks. And so does BAWR. And so does the men’s room stall I use at the office. Custom screw heads to make entry harder is not an own-able idea. The specific design of them could be. If BAWR was making S-screws like Steelwerks, that would be a clear knock-off. But they aren’t making those. They’re implementing a feature used by many other makers.

The last thing I’ll say about all this is the aspect of BAWR’s offering I mentioned in the first paragraph of my review. I was able to order a fully custom metal device and receive it within one calendar month. I have heard from dozens of guys who have ordered from Steelworxx and Rigid, specifically, who have waited 10 times as long (or longer) to receive their devices. This has been going on for years. I assume this is because both of them are overwhelmed by demand. In either case, they’re reported to be very poor at communication, so it’s hard to know. So, in a world where the two makers who have been apparently damaged by BAWR’s “copying” can’t even make devices in anything like a marginally reasonable timeframe for the customers they have, it’s literally the free market’s job to allow someone else to take advantage of the unmet demand. And BAWR has done that. They make a quality, custom product that many people want and cannot get. Capitalism doing its thing.

I don’t pretend this is all black and white. There’s a lot of fuzziness each person can interpret their own way. I have long been an advocate of not buying the cheapest devices available and supporting innovative makers. I long advocated for Steelworxx and Rigid and even Mature Metal. I also am a big fan of the Holy Trainer and Evotion devices and the Cobra. These are all makers who have innovated in their own ways. I do not think people should buy $20 versions of their devices. But people will and do and they have their reasons. I am saying I would not.

I also acknowledge that BAWR does have devices that could be called copies of others’ designs. But, like Rigid, they also have their own innovations they’ve added to the mix. And they can deliver which I know for a fact their all-metal custom peers struggle with.

Steelworxx, Rigid, Mature Metal, Badass Workroom…a lot of makers have devices that look like one another’s designs. They all get inspiration from one another. It’s all familiar. It’s up to you what you do with that. It’s up to you who you support with your money. I have no issue supporting BAWR because they offer the one combination of features I have wanted for years. Nobody else does, to this day. I don’t care what language they speak or what continent they’re making them on. They put exactly what I wanted out there at a fair price and in good quality.

What else could anyone ask for?

Cobra chastity review

Gather ‘round, children, and let me tell you about The Bad Old Days of male chastity when devices were made of hard injection molded plastic and had sharp edges and seams that would split and trap sensitive penis skin when under pressure. Note, this is after the Ancient Old Days when chastity devices were made of spare chain link fence parts or mastodon tusks and nails or whatever (looking at you, Tom). What I’m talking about is the glimmering dawn of male chastity as relatively mass-produced consumer devices. Model T chastity devices, as it were.

I mean, it’s hard for me to fathom why any of us so inclined put up with things like the CB-6000. But I’ve ragged on that thing enough on these pages and will decline to do so again. It’s enough to say we kinky people will put up with a lot of shit to scratch our twisted itches.

So I think it says more than I ever could about the mainstreaming of male chastity that we have options like the KINK3D’s Cobra. In a lot of ways, it’s the perfect realization of what a standard issue male chastity device should be.

Honestly, I’m amazed by the Cobra. It’s simple and well made and is an awesome choice for someone thinking about playing around with being on either side of a key. It is not the best device for me, but I’m grizzled and pierced and can still remember that CB6K base ring and its right angle edges. *shudder*

I got the Cobra because I was seeing it everywhere. A lot of guys in the Twitter porn were sporting it all of a sudden, and maybe it’s just me and my personal Twitter bubble, but it seemed to be really popular with the gays. So, of course, I needed to know what it was about. Mine came from Mr. S and the only difference I can see between those and how KINK3D sells them is what each size is called. I got a “tight” one which is the second smallest Mr. S option. It looks like the “N+” size on the KINK3D site where, interestingly, it’s the third smallest option.

The design of the thing is dead simple. Two pieces not counting the lock. A pair of tabs on the cage slip into a pair of slots on the ring and, of course, the two halves of where the lock goes on each. They fit together firmly and there’s a minimum chance of accidental pitching as long as you’re paying attention.

Cobra N+ next to the Holy Trainer v4 Nano

The device it begs to be compared to is the similarly stellar Holy Trainer v4. How are they the same but different?

  • The Cobra is an open cage while the Holy Trainer is a (mostly) closed tube.
  • They’re both just two parts, but the Holy Trainer fits together in one place while the Cobra has three contact points.
  • The Holy Trainer is slightly more bulky and has more plastic but, in wearing them, it doesn’t seem that way.
  • The Cobra N+ weights 27.8 grams while the Holy Trainer Nano (the closest in size to the N+) comes in at 52.5 grams. That’s a big difference but in practice it’s imperceptible.
  • The Holy Trainer is available in dozens of colors while the Cobra is available in any color you want as long as it’s dead sexy black.
  • The Holy Trainer comes in five tube sizes and has five base ring sizes (25 combinations) while the Cobra comes in eight cage sizes and seven base ring sizes (56 combinations) but also has three base ring styles (168 combinations!).
  • The Cobra is 3D printed while the Holy Trainer is injection molded “bioresin.” Neither have sharp edges.
  • The Cobra ranges in price from $155 to $185, depending on size, while the Holy Trainer goes for $165 for all sizes or $185 if you order a color other than clear, black, or pink.

At the end of the day, I don’t really see any huge advantages for either of them. The vastly larger number of size combinations for the Cobra have to give it something of a practical edge, especially for guys with non-standard penis shape/size, but the Holy Trainer has a size for most penises, too. Every other one of those attributes is either a push or personal preference thing. I find both to be very comfortable. The Cobra, also like the Holy Trainer, tends to lay flatter than options like the Evotion 8 so ends up being stealthier (if that’s important to you).

The only real downside of the Cobra I found is that it ended up being stinkier than the Holy Trainer (or any other device I wear). My theory for why that happens on me is some combination of how the cage nestles into my testicles and therefore traps urine leaking from my PA piercing. I’m not an especially squeamish one when it comes to hygiene (and, truth be told, can kind of like the funk of the Steelheart), but this was too much even for me. Easily fixed, of course, with a bit of a wash, but still noticeable.

Related, I found vertical urination to be less reliable than with the Holy Trainer due to my PA and the open cage design. If you’re not pierced, you only need to make sure the crossbar at the end of the cage isn’t in the way and you’ll be good to go.

If you do have a PA, neither the Cobra or Holy Trainer have security options to accommodate you listed on their sites. I did try a PA ring with the Cobra to enhance security but, as usual when doing this kind of thing with cage-style devices, found the instances of pinching to be intolerable.

One super clever accessory KINK3D offers is something they call the Airlock. It makes a totally metal-free, key-free, numbered locking option and is pretty genius IMO.

So, there you have it. If you have an un-pierced penis, regardless of size or shape, the Cobra is basically perfect. But so’s the Holy Trainer. So what’s more important to you? Colors? Closed versus open? Do you just like the look of one more than the other? I mean, you can’t lose with either.

Together, the Cobra and Holy Trainer are the dead-simple, no-brainer male chastity devices for both those just starting down their locked path or who have been skipping along it for years. Two options that are light years more advanced than what we had to choose from a decade ago and, I think, an indication of how mature and — dare I say — popular male chastity has become.