Well first of all JR, WELCOME TO iRV2!!! We hope that your visits here will be enjoyable and informative!
I have a SLC3905, and I've always run with a Reese hitch- trick is to keep them lubed up. And if you get the 20k, there's a little trick in painting the outside of the "claws", as you call them, with red or similar color paint so you can easily verify they are closed. But really, if you can lock the handbar, you're pretty well OK with that happening. I don't have a diagram of the inner-workings of it, but I've never had any problems with my Reeses.
Good luck with your new SLC...and welcome to the SLC Club! Check out some of my mod pics in my sig...it'll keep ya busier than a 3-peckered billygoat!