Comparing Buckles and Shackles for Paracord Projects

For those involved in various connective uses of paracord, the two most popular choices here are shackles and buckles. Whether for a paracord survival bracelet, a belt or any other item that requires looping and potential weight support, these two items are the two most common utilized.

At Paracord Galaxy, we’re proud to offer a wide array of paracord accessories in addition to our paracord rope and other materials, including both paracord buckles and shackles for you to browse. Let’s go over some of the basics, pros and cons of each, plus how to make your choice for your next project.

buckles shackles paracord projects


When we talk about shackles, we’re referring to an item with a metal loop and a threaded pin. Some shackles will also include a second half that allows for resizing of a given bracelet or piece. Some of the general benefits of shackles include:

  • Strength: Shackles are made of strong metal, usually a grade of steel. There are industrial shackle formats that will hold over 200 pounds by themselves.
  • Adjustable: Many kinds of shackles, as we mentioned above, come with adjustable halves that make sizing easier.
  • Versatility: Whether you’re jerry-rigging some gear, supporting weight or performing an emergency task, closed metal shackles are often enormously valuable in their versatility.

Now, there are some definite potential downsides to shackles when being used for certain projects, including:

  • Use issues: Especially for those who will be utilizing paracord in situations where they only have one hand available, shackles can be tough to manipulate. When speed is essential, there are times where the process of attaching shackles can be a detriment.
  • Parts: Shackles come with very small parts, particularly the screw, which can be easy to lose and may require replacement in some cases.


Buckles, on the other hand, are generally made of plastic (metal formats are possible, however). They mostly are made for use with flat webbing. Some of their benefits for paracord projects include:

  • Ease of use: Unlike shackles, buckles are very easy to attach and release, even with just one hand. They’re perfect for speed needs or situations where you don’t have both hands available.
  • Smoothness: Buckles do not come with sharp pieces or any parts that are commonly lost or stuck on clothing.

There are also some potential downsides to buckles:

  • Strength: Buckles will not hold up to the same level of force as shackles, though 5/8” buckles are still relatively strong.
  • Aesthetics: Buckles look a bit cheaper due to their plastic material.
  • Pinching: Some buckles may pinch, especially if you’re a particularly hairy person

For more on buckles versus shackles for your next paracord project, or to learn about any of our paracord 550 cord or other products, speak to the staff at Paracord Galaxy today.