John, see if you can borrow or visit someone who has them and get a sense of where you are. I haven't worked on C of C grippers in a while, but when I did, I felt like I got pretty close to closing the #2 in fairly short order, and your grip sounds stronger than mine already.
Phil and others, around mid February I purchased the CofC T, 1, and 2. I had the same questions as the OP. I have been GTG with my grippers. When I first received the grippers I could not close the 2, however I could do 2 reps with my right hand, 1 rep with my left han with the 1, and 5-7 reps, bilaterally, with the T. Last week, I did 1 rep, bilaterally, with the 2, and didn't try for more. I use both the T and the 1 while GTG, 5-7 easy reps with the T or 1-3 reps with the 1. Sometimes I invert the gripper or do 3-5 second holds. I tried a few "slow-twitch " 30-60 second reps for experimentation, but I am not sure if slow-twitch training even applies top grip strength. Basically, I'm just having fun with my new toys. I keep them in my desk at work and just pull one out and have at it, any way I feel. Not too regimented, but fun!
Yes! When I can close the 2- five times, I will order 3 more grippers. The plan is to get a 1.5, 2.5, and 3. I contemplated the 1.5 before I ordered, but then realized my brain was over involved with a question that I could never answer without simply test driving a gripper. So, I pulled the trigger, good or bad, on the 2. Either way, I will own a 1.5. I hope this helps!
I have a #1 and a #2. When I was using them regularly, I could probably get 3-4 reps with the #1. But with the #2, I think I was lucky to get close to parallel. It's a pretty big jump from the #1 to the #2.
They didn't have the #1.5 at the time, but it would probably be worth getting.
"Rob, a good point. Tiring systemically because it is a full body effort when done correctly and because hands have such a disproportionately large representation in the brain." -Pavel
Here's an illustration that really helps visualize what Pavel is talking about regarding the hands having a disproportionately large representation in the brain. The first time I saw a version of this sensory and motor homunculus years ago, it was a real "ah ha!" moment for me.
<a title="Sensory and Motor Homonculus. Click for Picture Library search results and image details" href="http://piclib.nhm.ac.uk/results.asp?search=1&screenwidth=1241&pixperpage=40&searchtxtkeys=Homunculus&lastsearchtxtkeys=&withinresults=&lstformats=&lstorients=All+Orientations&chkpho=&chkill=&chkpor=&chkarc=&chkfos=&chkspe=&chksem=&chkmodrel=">Sensory and Motor Homonculus.</a> Models showing what a man's body would look like if each part grew in proportion to the area of the cortex of the brain concerned with its movement and sensory perception.
You really can't go wrong even buying the Trainer. I'm all for buying harder grippers to continually move up (or with the goal of getting stronger) but some guys just don't have the goal to get really strong on the grippers. If the Trainer is super easy, but a #1. But if you don't have the money to buy a #1 yet, just move your hand up toward the spring of the gripper and it will increase in difficulty very quickly.
I work with a guy who can close the #2. He usually only carries a Trainer with him though. That way he won't take dozens of attempts on his #2 throughout the day. He knows that leads to burnout - for him. Not for everyone. Anyway, he does GTG-style sets of 5 with his Trainer throughout the day. And if they feel really easy, which they usually do - since he can close the #2 - he moves his hand slightly up the handle toward the spring to make it more of a challenge.
Even working with the Trainer has raised his everyday gripper ability. Maybe not his top end strength. But he's more concerned with being able to (for instance) close a #1 for 100 singles vs. being able to close the #2 for a single and then being fried.