Register now to get rid of these ads!

Technical Bear Claw vs Bear Jaw

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hdonlybob, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 4,009


    I will be changing hinge latches on my '49 Ford Coupe and plan on using Bear Claw's.
    However I also see some Bear Jaw latches advertised..
    Are these two different companies ?? And if so which is better.. I notice the Bear Jaw's are cheaper...
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. BEWARE of a cost effective price coming out the PNW ! HOFFMAN GROUP
  3. flamedabone
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 5,032


    Nice HAMBer in Ohio sells extremely good quality American made bear claw latches. Check him out.

    38Chevy454 | The H.A.M.B. (

    As for the bear claw/bear jaw thing, it is just different terminology for the same thing.

  4. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 9,092


    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
    rockable and chryslerfan55 like this.

  5. ronzmtrwrx
    Joined: Sep 9, 2008
    Posts: 802


    I was always under the impression that the bear jaw was just a cheaper knock off of the original bear claw latches, but I could be wrong.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  6. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 11,646


  7. i7083
    Joined: Jan 3, 2021
    Posts: 63


    I just bought a set of HotRodLatches for my 39 Chevy coupe. They come as a complete kit and look like a quality product. Cost was right, too!
  8. Oldb
    Joined: Apr 25, 2010
    Posts: 219


    Over the years I've found that the item used as the standard for comparison, is usually the better item.

    Texas Webb, Hnstray and ronzmtrwrx like this.
  9. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 4,009


    Thanks for all the help....I had planned on using Bear Claws...and will continue to.
    Just was curious on the Bear Jaws..
  10. hotrodharry2
    Joined: Nov 19, 2008
    Posts: 717

    from Michigan

    Hnstray and Ned Ludd like this.
  11. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,945

    from Oregon

    I just read that . ^^^^^^ Scary
  12. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 3,784


    The Carolina Customs latches are good quality and work well. I've used them on two builds. Steve DeMarco is the owner and you can talk to him, if you need help.
  13. So here's the reason for bear claw vs bear jaw terminology: Hoffman Group owns and registered the name "bear claw". So nobody else can use that name. Bear jaw is just a way of sounding similar for the same type product.

    I know all too well about this......
  14. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 6,704


    People continue to buy Hoffman junk even though they've been warned over and over. Bear "Claw" is Hoffman junk. Go to and buy something worth owning.
  15. samurai mike
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 521

    samurai mike

    i think the older ford windstars have something like that if you want better quality. maybe others also.
  16. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,816


    The problem with the aftermarket latches is that they do not have the ability to add a door lock to the latch assembly. If you use their latches, you have to rely on the handles with the locks. Getting the locking handles keyed the same can be a pita as well, you pretty well have to order them that way, and then get to pat extra.

    I ended up getting a pair of modern latch setups and put forth a lot of effort making them fit into my doors. Most of the modern latch assemblies are pretty wide for the stuff we deal with. At least I have both door locks and my ignition switch all keyed the same. Gene
  17. Kiwi 4d
    Joined: Sep 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,234

    Kiwi 4d

    We bought a mini Bear claw kit ,wont shame the company, but it was sight unseen purchase , no not Hoffman . Any way parts of the kit were very poorly designed and went in file 13. The actual mini latches would be awesome on your lunch box, on a car nope too light duty , plus the position they suggested in the kit was way too low down in the door to be of much use as an anti burst in an accident. We went to much bigger beefier latches , in the main impact section. Ok a slight hump in the interior trim on the model A but they shut with a single finger now.
  18. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,408

    Ned Ludd

    I see that Hot Rod Latches are upfront about only the large-size latches meeting OEM standards, which I assume are the 2500lb/2000lb rating. It's trivia unless you're looking to use the latches as something other than door latches e.g. seat back latches.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2021
  19. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,374


    I was just on your site yesterday, look like quality units. I need to take some measurements.
  20. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,593


    I thought bear claw was some kind of a sweet roll
    Texas Webb and arkiehotrods like this.
  21. Just want to add for accuracy, I sell three sizes of latches: large, small and micro. The large and small both meet new car door latch strength requirements [Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 206]. Both of these sizes have the two-position catch - halfway, and fully closed. The micro latches are a single position catch, and do not meet the federal door latch strength requirements. I recommend these for trunk lid or similar type use, and not for door latches. But to be honest, the micro latches are still a lot better and stronger than some of the early car door latches. But since they do not meet the FMVSS 206 requirements, I do not recommend them for door latch application.

    Also it is true that my latches do not have internal locking capability. That can be provided if your outer handles have this capability. Or as most people do, use solenoids to operate the latch release lever. The force required on the release lever on my latches is only 2-3 lbs, so solenoids do not have to be huge powerful ones. The solenoids provide security, and can be actuated by a wireless entry type remote kit, or by a hidden or key switch. A magnetic switch can also be used, in same manner. Almost all installations will connect to the inner door handle to open the latch from inside the vehicle. All of the installations require some figuring out how to make the linkage connect. There are no bolt-in replacement applications.

    One more thing, the mounting bolt pattern for the latches is pretty much standardized. I have sold many sets to customers to replace their poor quality offshore latches that had the doors opening when hitting a bump or similar. Putting in my latches solved the problem, indicating it was a latch quality problem and not an installation problem. The standardized bolt pattern makes the swap relatively easy.

    Hopefully that clears up some of the confusion or questions on the latches. Feel free to PM me with any questions. Thanks to Ryan for letting me provide the information and being able to use the HAMB as one of my main sources of customers!
  22. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,315

    from Australia

    I bought latches from 38 Chevy454 , but is the name differenc a design difference? Attached is a claw and a jaw, they have different mechanisms

    Attached Files:

  23. TCTND
    Joined: Dec 27, 2019
    Posts: 301


    No pun intended, but "bear" in mind that while these latches resemble some OEM fixtures none of them were actually actually designed specifically for car doors. They are general purpose latches meant for bins, doors, hatches, etc. in many applications. That said they can work extremely well and are worlds better than any old Ford door latches. The companys that sell them for hot rod use dont manufacture them and may source them from quality makers like Tristar (Yogi's and others sell these) or hawk the cheapest crap they can get their hands on. Buy quality; your life may depend on them.
  24. Thanks for the info, Latches will be coming up soon on the list
    I have noticed you can buy repro ford but nothing for a 34 chevy
    hopefully I will figure it out on your website
  25. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 35,917


    Found a lot in Big trucks and construction equiptment
  26. The top latch is a door bear claw or bear jaw door latch. That specific size is what I call the large size. The bottom latch is what I call micro size latch and is not recommended for doors. Bottom latch does not meet FMVSS 206 requirements. Nobody should be recommending the micro size as a door latch.

    I want to provide accurate information. Which I think can be seen in my answers without BS. I can stand behind the quality of my latches having sold over 3000 sets over the past 13 years. Never have had even one single latch returned, for any reason. Including sales to customers all over the world.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Budget36 likes this.
  27. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,374


    Can these be made to work with both the outside and inside door handle? I can see how the inside is made use of. Or is normal course of use with a solenoid to open the door from outside?
  28. Catching back up on this thread. Yes the outer handle can be used to operate the release lever and open the door, along with the inside handle. Many people use solenoids as that can be easier for the linkage and also provides the security. There is nothing wrong with using the outer handle to open the door. Some cars have handles that have locking capability built into the handle. No matter what, you will need to do some fabrication to transfer the motion of the handle to the latch release lever.
    Budget36 likes this.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.