There’s one thing that my fiancee has been complaining about since day one: my keychain. Like many other males I had way too many keys and had determined that the best way to carry them was on a carabiner attached to a belt loop on my pants. This method ensured that the keys were easy to access yet securely attached to my person but had the unfortunate effect that I jingled everywhere I went, which was apparently unacceptable. I needed a better solution. Enter: the KeyBar.
I had seen an advertisement for the KeyBar online in a couple places and it sounded like a good idea. A compact organizer for my keys that would keep them from poking my legs? Sign me up! So I plopped down my hard earned cash and ordered a set from the website.
The KeyBar is a device that sandwiches your keys between two aluminum or titanium covers, using a set of screws to keep it all together. The kit comes with three lengths of screws which fit 4, 8, or 12 keys, and more washers than you can shake a stick at. The website recommends putting one washer right against each of the sides, but putting them between each key as well tends to make things easier to use.
The design of this thing is pretty neat. The ends of the KeyBar are just big enough to enclose most keys, but not too big that they wont fit comfortably in the lock. Keys spin freely enough to get them out fairly quickly but not freely enough that they start spinning on their own in your pocket.
On one side of the bar is a belt clip to allow you to wear the KeyBar just like you would a knife — in your pocket. When you’ve actually got a knife in there already this can be a little much for one pocket, and the KeyBar definitely isn’t as slim as Benchmade sharing that same pocket. That said, it doesn’t really feel huge in the pocket and doesn’t get in the way of everyday tasks.
In terms of fit and finish the titanium version of the KeyBar is lightweight and smooth, something that I’m definitely comfortable keeping in my pockets and doesn’t hurt my hand at all when pulling it out or using it in a lock.
One of the best reasons I like the KeyBar is that not only does it keep your keys organized in a nifty container but it also allows for some more extensive tools to be added to your everyday carry setup. Instead of the tiny key-sized screwdrivers available the KeyBar gives you a ton more options, like this reversible screwdriver I have for mine. Also available are carabiners, combs, and USB drives.
I can hear Robert screaming into his computer now: “what the hell does this have to do with guns?!” Glad you asked! Another feature available on the KeyBar and advertised prominently on their site is a set of tools for the 5.56 NATO cartridge. The larger tool is a chamber scraper for built up carbon, the smaller forked one is designed to be used in case of a case head separation to remove the stuck case from your chamber, and the punch is just a punch (which is still incredibly useful). What’s nice is not only that KeyBar seems pro-2A enough to highlight these tools but they are actually legitimately useful in the field.
I think I’ve found the right solution for my key retention needs. It’s a compact design that doesn’t produce any noise, gives me more functionality than a normal ring would, and has plenty of leftover space for extra tools that I really could use on a daily basis. There are some competitors on the market for the same design already but
Price: $45 (Aluminum), $65 (Titanium), $75 (treated titanium)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ease of Installation: * * * *
In some ways it’s easier than a key ring since everything drops straight down onto the screws, but getting it assembled just the way you’d like it takes a couple tries.
Usefulness: * * * *
I’ve been using it for a while now and it isn’t any slower than the traditional keychain but with the added benefits of not jingling with every step.
Overall: * * * * *
I like it. I paid my own money for one and didn’t get any freebies for this review, and I’ll continue to use it for the forseeable future. I think it’s a great solution for a problem that every guy (and gal) in the U.S. faces on a daily basis: how do I carry all my stuff without sounding like a high school janitor?