Hunters and Precision shooters alike are needing new ways to carry their rifle and tripod while still being able to remove it quickly from their pack. Usually this involves securing their tripod in multiple straps on the pack or simply hand carrying their rifle which can all be a little annoying. The solution? The Old Balls Inc (OBi) Link System. A post and lock system that can be installed on your rifle, binos, gun, pretty much anything which will lock into again..pretty much anything due to the multiple different locking systems that are available. Don’t get overwhelmed with the options though, it is a simple system, trust me.
Reason for the System
My specific reasoning for this system comes from National Rifle League Hunter matches. These matches often involve a lot of hiking with a pack, all of your gear for the match, your rifle, and your tripod. Hand carrying your rifle over your shoulder definitely isn’t the most energy saving way to hike.
These matches also involve wearing this gear to start each stage and having to remove your tripod from your pack on the clock. My method of putting my tripod on the side pouch of my pack and strapping it in tight so that it doesn’t flail as I am running definitely slowed me down when it came to unstrapping said tripod. That is time taken away from ranging and engaging targets under four minutes.
Other reasoning lies with hunters that want their hands free and things easily accessible such as bear spray or to grab a pistol or binos.
I started seeing the OBi Link System around the internet but it all seemed a little overwhelming to me so I forgot about it. Until I picked up a piece from a prize table at a NRL Hunter match at the Arena in Georgia. I then became intrigued and have been impressed since.
Before going into the details below ,a simplified way of looking at this system is to think about holes and sticks. The stick or post connects into the U shaped hole or lock. OBi has simply made a system of posts and locks that will connect to your gear to make it easier to carry and to remove with a simple tug.
This system comes in many different styles such as a lock that can be run through your pack strap, a clamp lock that uses four allen screws and clamps to your pack strap, or even a grip on that grips onto the entire leg of your tripod. There are also posts that can be screwed into your bino’s and a M-LOK post that installs onto your gun. Versatile!
The overall design and materials of the system is pretty impressive as well. Everything tightens up without slipping and the posts and locks are beefy, with proof from the dudes carrying around their 25lb rifles with the OBi Link System.
- Quick Detach Post: Works as a simple push button, just like we are used to with QD slings. Simply put into your rifle QD mount and then install a lock onto your pack strap and wallah.
- Round Post M-LOK: Mounts to your M-LOK rail on your firearm. This is great if you don’t have a QD option near where you want your rifle to be mounted.
- Round Post M-LOK Mini: Mounts to your M-LOK rail on your firearm but with one M-LOK nut, not two.
- Anywhere Post: Can be mounted..anywhere. Many will poke a hole in the handle on their shooting bag and mount this post. It has a little nut type washer on the rear of the screw that is connected to the post enabling it to clamp into anything.
- Strap Post Square: Threads into 1-inch webbing and doesn’t allow side to side movement.
Do You Want Your Gear to Swivel?
There are two shapes of posts, a circle and a square post. All of the locks are U shaped. The only difference in the circle and square posts is that the circle posts allows for some movement side to side, say if you were hanging a gun or a tripod off of your pack you may want it to move with you just a bit. The square post is a little harder to drop into the U shaped lock but will not allow the item to move such as if you want to mount binoculars to your pack you would use the square post and clamp or slide through lock.
- Clamp Lock: Works by using two plates and four screws connecting the two plates. Simply take the four screws out, put one part of the plate behind your strap, the other on the front of the strap, and tighten. This works well for shorter pieces of strap. It gets very tight and stays in place.
- Slide Lock: Works by weaving your strap through the teeth in the slide lock. You will need a longer piece of strap for this to work.
- Camera Lock: Mounts using a 1/4-20 bolt. Many will use this on a camera due to the threading on the camera for a bolt.
The grip on plates and posts are probably the coolest piece of the OBi Link System just due to how it’s designed. They can be connected to anything due to the lock having a fabric strap that runs through it. Some options for use are binoculars, tripod legs, bear spray, even water bottles.
The cool thing though is how it tightens. Pull the strap tight as you would with anything. Once fully tight you then use an allen wrench and tighten down a screw tightening it even further. It literally doesn’t slide. It’s genius.
The Overall Design and Strength
Everything within the OBi Link System is made to last. It is not flimsy plastic or weak detents on the QD buttons. The items are made to last and stay in place. The plates are beefy and screws are strong (no YFS chinese screws here). OBi packages also come with the correct sized allen wrench for the screws which is a big plus.
The system is economically friendly as well because all of the plates can be mixed and matched with the locks therefore you don’t have to buy multiple systems if you just want to switch out one or the other. All of the U Shaped plates also are ARCA compatible meaning that the plates can be mounted onto your tripod with an ARCA adapter.
Options and Uses (What to Buy?)
Below are only options of what you can buy to get the prospective gear connection. There are many ways to skin the cat.
- Connecting Tripod to Pack: Grip On Circle Post and Clamp Lock
- Connecting Gun to Pack: QD button and Slide Lock
- Connection Binoculars to Pack: Grip On Circle Post and Clamp Lock
- Connecting Binoculars to Tripod BallHead: U Plate Arca and Grip On Square Post
I personally chose to buy the Grip On Circle Post for my tripod and the Clamp Lock for my pack to connect my tripod to my pack. This way when I am on the clock I can simply tug up and the tripod will be ready to be deployed. I did purchase a M-lok post but will put that on a different gun because I didn’t want to add the weight to my NRL Hunter gun as it is already right on the 12 lb limit.