Accessories, Gear, Off-Road, Trail Tested

Agency 6 Shackle Block – Full Overview

Updated 10/12/20 / Read Time: 5 mins

Agency 6 Hitch Recovery Shackle Block 2" Hitch Receiver

Introducing the Shackle Hitch Receiver by Agency 6 – Proudly Made in The USA with US Certified Materials – Full Review and Overview

As you start to traverse off the beaten path, odds are you have seen some things. Either you have gotten yourself stuck or you have seen others get stuck. Exploring with recovery gear and accessories is essential for pulling your fellow explorers or even yourself out.

Using a D-ring hitch receiver block (shackle hitch receiver) as a recovery point is probably one of the most common ways you can add a safe recovery point to your truck at an affordable price. Most mid-size trucks and SUVs don’t come with recovery points built on all-around, so we typically need to add or create our own.

Being that most shackle hitch receivers are affordable, dependable, and easy to use makes them a great option for many entry-level off-roaders and veteran wheelers alike. That is not to say its the only recovery point option, it’s just very common and for good reason, they just flat out work.

If you are recovering on a budget, you can also just use a hitch pin alone. That may be a touchy subject for some but in the right situation, recovering with a hitch pin is an option that you can consider.

Many explorers who hit the road less traveled typically jump to the recently reviewed Factor 55 HitchLink 2.0, however, you may have another more affordable option that has very similar same specs.

Agency 6™ Shackle Block (Single Side Hole):

Agency 6™ Shackle Block (Single Side/Top Hole):


  • Made in U.S.A – Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • US Certified 6061 T6 CNC machined aluminum.
  • Lightweight design with a workload rating of 9,500 lbs*
  • Fits all standard 2″ receivers and 3/4 screw pin shackle rings
  • 1 pin mount points for a vertical block
  • 1 pin mount point for a horizontal block

*Do not exceed the lowest weight capacity of any component (ex: vehicle, hitch receiver, etc)

Powder Coat Finish Options

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Grey

Product Options

The 2″ Single Hole (pictured here has been phased out). Agency 6 has decided to carry only the double hole. Check the price below. 

A Hitch is a Tow Point Right?

Off-Road Recovery - 4Runner Straps

Ok, let’s talk some recovery 101 right now.

There are a few basics to follow. Don’t ever loop a strap around a hitch ball or around your two “tie-down” points that are connected to your hitch receiver. If you have no other options and your tie-down points are all you have, use them as a last resort, but also use them at your own risk. Just go prepared instead.

Pictured above, I ran across a truck stuck in the mud. I threw one end of a strap over to him and then walked over. He had the strap looped around his hitch ball, yeah not a good idea. Had we yanked, that strap would have slipped right up and over the hitch ball. Damage would have been minimal in that case but in others can potentially cause damage to your trucks and or nearby bodies.

Is a Hitch a tow point? Yes and no. You have a hitch receiver on your 4Runner so you do have a tow point. Your hitch is a tow point as long as you have the right recovery accessories, a D-ring shackle hitch receiver or a hitch pin.

If you don’t have an accessory that connects securely to a strap (D-ring, soft shackle or hitch pin), then you don’t technically have a safe recovery point.

Agency 6™ Shackle Block Vs. Factor 55 Hitchlink?

So I had the Agency 6 Shackle Block and the Factor 55 Hitchlink on my Amazon wishlist, and my girl bought the Agency 6 for me. I am glad she bought that over the Factor 55, and here is why.

I stack this up against the Hitchlink for comparison because they both have similar specs. Both are made in the USA with 6000 series CNC machined aluminum, have a working load limit (WLL) of 9500lbs, fit 2″ receivers coupled with 3/4″ screw pin shackle ring fitment, and come in multiple colors.

With both products being so similar, what really sets them apart? Design and price.

I was eager to introduce this on par or beyond spec product from Agency 6 because of the price and its staggeringly impressive design.

It sits at nearly 30% less in price and just has that WOW factor design. The Shackle Block is also made (ironically enough) right down the street from me in Roseville, CA.

So what to buy: Agency 6 Shackle Block or Factor 55 Hitchlink?

When you look at the Factory 55 Hitchlink vs. the Agency 6 Shackle Block back to back, you are literally looking at same specs on paper. Factor 55 just cost roughly 30% more.

There are other cheap options like the Smitty Bilt, Rhino USA Reciever, and many others. Most of these products are made in China though. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them, it’s just nice to buy American when we can.

Agency 6™ Shackle Block with D-Ring

Agency 6™ Shackle Block with D-Ring

As expected, the Agency 6 Shackle Block does work with a D-ring. Just like many other hitch receivers, the Agency 6 fits all standard 2″ receivers and 3/4 screw pin shackle rings.

Agency 6™ Shackle Block with Soft Shackle

Agency 6™ Shackle Block with Soft Shackle

When you think of a recovery hitch receivers some may default to a D-ring (hard shackle), but you can also use a soft shackle.

Although D-rings remain supreme, the growth of soft shackles is on the rise. It’s important to note though, the loading derating differs with soft shackles, e.g. inline is 100%, 45 degrees is 70%, 90 degrees is 50%. There are also many different sizes of soft shackles. Pictured above is a Bubba Rope Gator-Jaw Pro Synthetic Soft Shackle (52,300LB Breaking Strength Desert Tan & Gray).

It’s not that soft shackles or hard shackles are any better than each other. They are both great tools for the box. The soft shackles for me are sometimes easier to slip big strap loops and seat well. They also avoid binding/pinch at severe angles.

The challenge with soft shackles is degradation over time, but as long as you take care of your equipment this should be an afterthought.

They can be useful with factory tow points tie downs on other trucks (absolute last resort) if you need to pull from. Most newer vehicles have a tow point readily available, but often it is an odd shape or wedged tight in the air underneath the body. This can be difficult to use with a steel shackle. But a soft shackle sometimes works perfectly.

In any case, the Agency 6 Shackle Block works with both hard and soft shackles.

Questions or Comments? Leave them below!

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3 months ago

Was wondering how this compared to the F55. Made is Sacramento sold me. I live in Elk Grove and got a 4th Gen recently.

Don K
Don K
1 year ago

Has anyone had problems fitting these in 2019 or 2020 4Runners? I have the 2” double hole block, and used it no problem for pulling another 4Runner out of snow (guessing 4 or 5 yr old 5th Gen.) Tried to insert into my 2019 TRD Offroad and it gets stuck about .5” in. My brother just got a 2020 TRD Offroad and same issue.

2 years ago

So a company comes out- said company with a number after it making a product exactly like other company with a number in their name, and you think it’s better only because of the price?? Sounds like a rip off artist to me. Including their company name. I’ll stick with the original and the actual innovators in Offroad recovery. A6 gets an F in my book and the design looks like a clustered chew toy. Nothing like the elegant Factor 55 products.

Tomasz Rubaj
Tomasz Rubaj
2 years ago

Is this shackle block a possible Hi-Lift point? Meaning if I have right Hi-Lift accessories could i lift the rear using hitch and shackle block? Just curious if anybody have some experience/knowledge of how much weight can the hitch receiver take

Jake E Hall
Jake E Hall
2 years ago

What is so negative about using just a hitch pin? Factor55 had their receiver mount test by the military and the fail was a double shear of the pin. If that’s the fail point why add an additional piece of expensive hardware?

2 years ago
Reply to  Jake E Hall

Hey jake! I LOVE LOVE LOVE physics! And especially phsyics with relation to off roading or recovery equipment. The quick and easy answer is that double shear requires twice as much force on the system to fail than a single shear. When you have a hitch pin in your receiver, connected to the recovery strap, that strap will create a SINGULAR point on the hitch pin where the shear force is accumulated. By putting in a receiver block like a Factor55 or Agency6, it creates a double shear scenario, where the shear force is spread out across 2 shear planes. By spreading the load out to 2 shear planes rather than one, you can effectively, in theory, double the TOTAL LOAD on the system. So, say a pin did a double shear in a test, at 50,000lbs. That same pin in a single shear situation (such as with a strap), would theoretically shear at 25,000lbs. Keep in mind, it still takes that 25,000lb load to shear the pin, but in a double shear, you are spreading the load across 2 shear planes, thus doubling the total load capacity of the pin 🙂 COOL RIGHT?!?!?! Here is a cool experiment and article you can do if you want to play around with it!

2 years ago

Yah, I keep my recovery gear in bins strapped in. Don’the leave home without it. Live in Oregon on the central coast. Never know up here especially in the winter. Lot of weight to carry around but I have airbags so no big deal. Purchased the ones I saw here and I love’em. I like the A6 and will get one soon.

2 years ago

Don’the leave it in the receiver?????? I think???

2 years ago

Brennan, where are you at in NorCal? I’m in San Rafael, just got my Runner a month ago, and am looking for ideas on places to go get it dirty!

1 year ago

I’m in the South Sacramento area. Any ideas and places around here you can recommend?

2 years ago

I love the idea of this for my runner. Do you keep yours in the truck when not in use? I’m worried about it getting stolen. Maybe someone makes a lockable hitch pin….

2 years ago
Reply to  Rob

I was able to find a lockable hitch pin system at Lowes for pretty cheap. Thats what I use to keep my shackle hitch on my 4runner with peace of mind, and not having to worry about taking it on and off constantly. Looks good too!

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