A massive disclaimer here… I know Andy (the guy behind TacBelts UK) very well, I’d count him as a good friend and certainly a massive help with the blog (It was Andy who identified Jason Hayes’s jacket from SEAL Team CBS in The Hunt). One of my first reviews was on one of his other items, the Peltor Head Band and he’s done other bits of work for me, including several high quality laser cut patches and a few custom mods for my AVS plate carrier. See the below quick release and zip Mod…
So just be aware that my opinion shouldn’t be taken as wholly unbiased, however I will try and remain objective and give you guys a balanced review.
For a long time now I’ve been using the excellent 2 point Blue Force Gear “Vickers” VCAS padded sling, perfect for a lot of applications and overall one of most essential bits of kit in my armoury.
However, there are drawbacks to a 2 point. With a strap stretching across the length of your rifle it can become cumbersome in a dynamic environment.
Many years ago I used a Magpul MS2, not the best sling in the world but it did offer the dexterity that only comes from a single point sling. I’d toyed with the idea of getting another but I’d never truly gotten on with it as most single points suffer from the same issues.
I spoke to Andy about grabbing one of his slings, told him it would be for the MP7 and said I wasn’t sure whether to go single/2 point on the sling but I did know one thing… It had to be Multicam Black.
Andy suggested a sliding design that would keep the weapon to my side when slung but provide a stable platform, a design adapted from an older design, the PIG Drop Slider.
So the basics of the design is a loop of webbing doubled up on itself, A buckle sewn into one closed end offering a release option for the sling in the event you need to ditch the whole lot. The other part of the buckle being held within the loop formed by the webbing. This webbing being covered in an elastic sheath that both provides a small degree of padding and keeps the mated hook and loop secure and free from the issue of debris getting caught.
The slider element is formed around a shorter section of webbing sewn around a powder coated ring that glides freely along the main sling section, next to this sliding loop is another buckle… This one allowing the weapon to be removed from the main body of the sling without taking off the sling itself. In addition to this it allows multiple sling/attachment options to be made up for various requirements… A longer loop fed through the shoulder/s of a plate carrier or a short loop for plain clothes/light weight work. The attachments could be anything you agree to have made… Open loop webbing for your own attachment, QD point or my preferred attachment… H&K hooks. They might be a little noisier but they’re tough as hell and fit anything.The slider allows the slung weapon to freely drop to the lowest point in the sling, generally speaking this will be to the side and not the front of the wearer. A common issue with single points is the slung weapon is that when released, the weapon falls straight down and gives your gonads a little love tap… and as we all know, there’s no such thing as a gentle love tap to the groin area.
Now it just so happens that Rich from The Reptile House had one of the PIG slings knocking about and was kind enough to provide me with one for a comparison… Although the designs are similar (there are only ever a limited amount of ways to approach an end solution after all) the TacBelts UK sling does have a couple of things that set it apart from its spiritual ancestor…
I was expecting the PIG sling to beat the TacBelts UK one by a wide margin, that’s not a sleight against Andy’s work, you’d just expect a tactical gear manufacturer to beat the standards of a one man band significantly. Well if you know much about tactical gear then you’ll know that at their heart they’re usually small companies… Esstac, Haley, Spiritus, Crye, LBT… all started with one or two people, and there’s one or two on that list that might still be under a dozen salaried employees… big reach in a small industry. So why would I buy a TacBelts sling above the big brand name?
Firstly, colour options. I’ve already mentioned that I was after a sling in Multicam Black… The entire sling, from elastic cover to webbing is made from Multicam material, there are many colours to choose from… One thing you will get with TacBelts is a custom, made to order product. The hardware on mine was black to suit the dark colourway, with the buckles being genuine ITW Nexus items.
It might seem a little pedantic when I talk about “Genuine ITW buckles” but the king and short of it is that I’m putting a rather expensive and relatively fragile toy on the end of it. If the buckle fails, it could cost me hundreds of pounds. Genuine buckles are Milspec quality and pretty damn tough, I’ve yet to see an ITW Buckle snap or deform under load. What I was genuinely gobsmacked by is the genuine PIGs lack of Nexus hardware, it’s a good buckle but there’s nothing to indicate it’s origin, without this you don’t have a way of working out it’s max load rating… maybe a little unnecessary but if I’m putting this buckle on a £1200 Mk46 I’d like to know if it’s going to take a lot of weight.
The second thing I like about the TacBelts UK sling is the attention to detail, the elastic silenced placed over the H&K hook I requested was perfectly formed over the hook… both aesthetically pleasing and unlikely to bind up in your sling mount.
The sling is adjustable via the aforementioned hook and loop field sewn onto the length of the webbing, itself under the elastic sleeve running half the length of the sling. Andy had actually got mine pretty spot on in sizing, but if you’re exceptionally small or big then having a chat about your requirements with the man himself will allow any minor tweaks to be made.
Just like the PIG Drop Slider, the TacBelts UK Slider single point has no elastic in its main section (just the “padded band” around it), I actually like this. Elasticated slings invariably wear out and the webbing has enough give in its length to give you that anti shock dampening if you should drop your weapon.
As a straight comparison, the only thing some might point out is the lack of Bar-Tack stitching on the TacBelts UK sling as opposed to the PIG version. I’d have questioned this a year or so ago but bar-tacks can sometimes be used to give the impression of strength over legitimate strength itself. The TacBelts sling is sewn accurately and triple/quad stitched on all key stress joints, to n addition to this the ends are tucked and sealed in such a way that I can’t see the stitching becoming an issue. The PIG sling is Bar-tacked but I’ll be honest, I do t see it offering much in the way of mechanical strength, In many places it’s done in such a loose fashion that all it’s doing is preventing a stitch from coming undone underneath… where the straight stitches are doing exactly the same job as in the TacBelts UK sling.
Overall the quality is just as good overall and in many places it’s better. The tubular padding is a closer fit, the Velcro and webbing are a touch more supple (without being too flexible) and the little touches like the way the ends of the webbing are sealed against the sling make this an unlikely champ. The key thing though is that the sling slides better than the original, that’s not to say the original is bad… But the TacBelts UK sling just edges it in looks and function.
The sling might be purpose built for smaller weapons but that doesn’t mean you can’t sling up a full length rifle to it… In fact most of the relatively short amount of time I’ve had with this sling is as a sling for my MWS CQBR GBBR, the sling still fulfils it’s job and allows the slider to drop to the side with enough height to prevent the muzzle striking the floor. Admittedly this is in part due to my 6 foot 2 frame but adjusted properly the sling should offer the same for most peoples builds.
There’s a lot of sling options out there on the market, Blue Force Gear… Haley… Ferro… And even with those highly regarded options I honestly don’t think you could go wrong with the TacBelts UK offering even if you were used to any of the other high end options on the market.
Contact the man himself if you have any gear or patch requirements… He’s pretty active on IG and has a Facebook page and EBay store should you wish to check out his other work.
Facebook: TacBelts UK
Ebay Store: TacBelts UK