Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Strike Industries - Tactical Sling Catch

Image swiped from Strike Industries

Here is s great little accessory I picked up recently, that I wanted to share with you all. I saw this reviewed by the great guys at Jerking The Trigger and Soldier Systems and whilst this puts me pretty far behind the pack, I don't mind, because basically, I'm a hobbyist, and my "what if" postulating is a bit distant from what most of their readers face. However, this is, as I said, a great little accessory.

Here's the situation, you have your item of choice on a sling, over your shoulder and across your body. The strap may have padding, it may be nice, soft nylon tubing, or may be a strap of heavy canvas. Either way, you are lugging important and precious kit on a strap that is using your neck as a fulcrum. No matter how soft, wide or padded, once you get moving, it sways, bumps and begins to chafe, saw, pinch or dig into your neck.

That becomes a lingering distraction, uncomfortable, and consistent. You've got a pack on, a chest rig, or some kind of vest, because that's what you're loaded up with. That just adds to the problem. What to do?

This is where the Tactical Sling Catch by Strike Industries comes in. What they have produced is a piece of reinforced PX polymer, which forms a hook to keep your sling up off your neck, and bear its load.
The catch is light and just flexible enough to be resilient enough, but stiff enough to carry the weight of your slung item of choice, be it a 35mm Cannon or the most specifically, the lead-spitting kind. The catch has three main components, the primary of which is the outward facing sling catch, which is broad, deep and tall enough to accommodate a variety of slings securely, without being a snag-risk for the environment as you move about. Two loop wells allow the twin 6" hook and loop strips to be fed through to attach it (More on this later).

The "outward" edge of the base plate has on its underside a harness retaining hook, two wedge shaped projections which catch the edge of whatever you mount the sling catch to, and help keep it from sliding inwards towards your neck. I found this secondary retention really assisted when I put a load on my 215 Gear sling. I had worried that the whole sling catch accessory would just rotate around on my shoulder piece, but with that retainer, it held fast. Under the base plate were six little spikes, which further added to the stability of the catch.

The primary means of attachment however is the two strips of hook-and loop supplied. One hook, one loop field, each 6" long. This gives enough room to wrap through the two loop-wells, around the shoulder piece, and back onto each other to give a very secure, adjustable connection. You can see here that I ran those strips through the PALS/MOLLE loops that were on the top of my rig's shoulder strap and from there, cinched it up tight under the shoulder strap. Lateral and horizontal movement halted!

The PX plastic is low-friction, and well molded, with rounded edges and wide angles wherever there will be sliding action. I found that I could move my sling around freely, remove it smoothly, and bring my item of choice up to bear quickly without even noticing it was there. When jogging about, ducking, weaving with the sling slack, it stayed "mounted" and didn't slip free, so that when I then when "hands free" the catch did its job smoothly. Similarly, when I had tension on the sling, bringing to bear, the sling catch was doubly useful, as it did indeed keep the sling off the side of my neck, and kept me from yanking my head, or chafing my neck.

I'm really impressed with this catch. I can recommend it to anyone who wears a sling for any length of time. My big-lens camera weilding soul-sealer friends might be just as interested as my "running about in cammo" friends. I can see these being useful to the hiker, tourists, camping, or anyone who has to sling something for extended periods of time. I'm thinking of getting a couple more, to affix to my bags and other rigs. Well worth it.

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