“The way I see this working is it will have one of the shortest ranged melee attacks”
Yeah, not just the shortest, but in case of attacking, it would be rather a skin-deep bleeding generator than a fatal wound. So similar you said, not much damage, but high bleeding.
“It will need to be “reloaded” by having the trap reopened after each swing.”
Each swing requires the trap to be taken down, then reopened with 2 arms, than taking it back. Pretty damn long to be usable in combat if you ask me, not to mention, that a usual sword would be more useful, and would come to mind sooner than that, aand would cause fatal damage. Its rather some gang beat up tool.
You used a good name, it is excellent for petting. Wolf comes in, it pushes your arm inside while attacking you, his head goes inside the trap, then it kills him by biting his neck, not just stretching the surface. Excellent for these irritating AI coming at you every corner.