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Field Test: Tactical Sling Comparison (cont'd.)

Written by Jennifer Gavigan

Specter Gear

The #136 BLK SOP Sling M-4 Black from Specter Gear features 1.5-inch wide webbing on the strap. Another feature is the ability to be set up for left- or right-handed operators. The adapter strap feature also allows the user to experiment with custom mounting solutions. The Transition Release Buckle (TRB) allows the sling to be extended to instantly create slack that allows for left-right shoulder transitions. The Emergency Release Buckle (ERB) is available on this sling as an optional feature. The MSRP is $35.00.

In range of adjustment, Sergeant Franklin Robinson of the New Castle County, DE Police Department, gave Specter Gear’s SOP sling a 5, citing it would fit a number of different size officers and would adjust down for plainclothes carry. It tied with 5.11 and Tactical Tailor for the best score in flexibility, scoring all 4’s and 5’s from the testers. The majority of the officers described this sling as versatile, easy to carry, with the ability to maintain control. “I found it especially easy to adjust this sling for deployment from a vehicle,” said Captain Perry Brookshire of the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, Wentworth, NC.

Most of the reviewers thought the Specter Gear sling was comfortable; however, one officer felt the heavier system made for a bulky feel and added weight. In the Employing the Rifle category, the sling received mixed reviews. Flynn said with the excess material, things seemed to get in the way of trying to transition quickly. On the flip side, Robinson liked the TRB feature because it allowed the operator to switch to off-hand by simply opening the buckle.

Several of the testers mentioned the strong webbing on the Specter Gear sling as a plus in the Durability and Strength category. Most thought it was quiet in the Silence of Operation category due to the no metal on metal. In terms of Function, Robinson liked the variety of carry options while Officer Graeme Morris of Captain Chaffee’s team said it was too bulky for his taste.

Tactical Tailor®

Tactical Tailor’s CQB Single Point Sling BLK #61019-2 is an ambidextrous single-point sling with elastic cord added to each side of the weapon attachment point. The elastic creates tension that keeps the weapon secured close to the body when released with little or no slack in the sling. It is designed to be used with weapons equipped with sling mounts behind the receiver and will fit most loop-style attachment points. Additional features include: heavy-duty nylon webbing, steel powder coated HK-style hook and a Fastex buckle to allow the weapon to be dropped without removing the sling. It is available in tan and black. The MSRP is $49.95.

The CQB Single Point Sling from Tactical Tailor took top honors out of all the slings tested, with an overall score of 4.7. The Tactical Tailor sling scored the highest in seven of the 10 categories. For range of adjustment, “this sling was an excellent fit for both large and small officers regardless of height,” Flynn said.

The reviewers especially liked its removal capability; it garnered an overall score of 5 for that category. In the Ease of Installation category, Deputy Jason Dexter of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Fowler, IN also thought Tactical Tailor’s sling was “very easy and quick to place on the rifle.” According to Flynn, bringing the weapon up to firing position was easy regardless of stance or shooting position when talking about its flexibility.

In the Comfort category, Sergeant Robinson gave it a 5, citing its extra-wide shoulder strap that distributed weight and prevented the sling from riding up. Brookshire said Tactical Tailor’s sling was his favorite, describing it as “sturdy, quiet and comfortable.”

Urban-E.R.T.

The Urban-Sentry One Point Sling from Urban-E.R.T. is ambidextrous and adjustable to fit over gear with the Cinch Strap™. The Urban-E.R.T. modular sling system can convert the sling from a right-handed shooter’s sling to accommodate the left-handed shooter. The Urban-Sentry sling comes standard with a Side Release Buckle Break Away to enable the emergency breakaway of the entire weapon system if needed. The MSRP is $53.95.

Urban-E.R.T.’s sling was tied for fourth place with the Wilderness Tactical sling. The reviewers disagreed slightly on its range of adjustment. Some thought adjustments were easy to make and could fit small or large frames. However, others felt adjustments seemed fairly limited. “I would like to see a quicker way to release the buckle system when loosening the sling,” said Lieutenant Tad Oakley of Sheriff Martin’s team.

All of the testers liked the Urban-Sentry’s wide straps in the Comfort category because it distributed the weight. This sling scored all 5’s in the Ease of Installation category, except for one officer who thought it had too many attachments. “I couldn’t figure them all out, and the directions looked like a textbook,” Lucia commented. All agreed the sling removal was easy, especially with the quick-release feature.

The majority of the reviewers scored the Urban-Sentry high in durability and strength, as well as in the Silence of Operation category. In function, Officers Smith and McManaway of Taylor’s team thought the Urban-E.R.T. sling was ideal for patrol and SWAT operations, likening it to wearing a seatbelt.

Wilderness Tactical Products

The Wilderness Giles Single-Point Slings are currently in use with the U.S. Army, Navy, USMC and Air Force units, as well as law enforcement SWAT teams. The Giles Single-Point slings allow full support-side shoulder usage for tactical cornering. In addition, the patented Single-Point Slings offer operators another option for slinging CQB weapons.

Using GG&G’s attachment plates or Agency Adapters, you can mount the slings to CAR-15 / M-4-type carbines, full-stock AR-15 / M16 rifles, Remington 870, Mossberg 590 and Benelli shotguns. A large 1 1/4-inch side-release emergency release buckle is standard. The MSRP is $38.95 for the Giles Sling Car-15 Type-2 Oval RH Black and $30.95 for the Giles Sling Car-15 Type-2 Tri-Glide RH Black.

The Wilderness slings tied for fourth place with the Urban E.R.T slings. The Wilderness slings scored all 4’s and 5’s in range of adjustment; however, some of the testers thought they were slightly restrictive with tactical or cold-weather gear on. The majority of the officers who tested them thought they were comfortable, noting the carry / shoulder padding. Opinions varied on the flexibility of the Wilderness slings. Dexter said his weapon hung too low with the Oval sling, while Officer Gabrielsen of Chaffee’s team gave his Tri-Glide sling a 5 for its multiple carry options.

In the Employing the Rifle category, Robinson said the Oval sling was “extremely efficient to employ on strong side but more difficult on support side.” Most of the officers didn’t have a problem in the Ease of Installation or Sling Removal categories, but a couple of the testers didn’t care for the Velcro®. Officer Mark Gabrielsen of Chaffee’s team said the Velcro on the Tri-Glide sling grabbed onto the glove surface, making it hard to remove the sling.

The Wilderness slings scored well in durability and strength and in the Silence of Operation category. Most thought the slings were quiet because of the plastic hardware and no metal on metal connections. “Extremely efficient to employ on strong side, more difficult on support side,” Robinson said after using the Oval sling.

Conclusion

Although Tactical Tailor’s sling was the clear overall winner, all the slings were comparable in some areas, as noted by the tie for second place between 5.11 Tactical and BlackHawk and the tie for fourth place between Urban-E.R.T. and Wilderness. As with any testing program, the opinions differed slightly due to personal preference. The reviewers liked certain slings for different reasons. Some thought the slings should be specifically used for SWAT, while others preferred them for all law enforcement applications. The same sling may not work for every officer; it is best to choose the right sling for each individual. We extend our sincere thanks to our panel of testers. Their time and efforts are greatly appreciated.

Jennifer Gavigan has been writing for Tactical Response magazine for more than five years, providing readers with cutting-edge tactical information. She can be reached at jengavigan@comcast.net.

Published in Tactical Response, Mar/Apr 2009

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