1. Introduction – The Modern Two Point Standard
It’s increasingly difficult to buy a sub-par sling, but that wasn’t always the case – as anyone who’s used a three point sling on an AR15 configuration rifle will tell you.
With that said, it’s also increasingly difficult to decide which sling is best. The modern standard is a two point adjustable sling, usually with some kind of pad, but without the trailing webbing of the previous generation.
2. Product Differentiation
Who doesn’t make a sling like that? How do we differentiate?
One way is by brand. Like so many things nowadays, the consumer can simply buy into an identifiable, trusted brand. It makes life easier and it’s not a bad strategy.
Another method (the one I prefer) is more nuanced. It revolves around the marginal gains leveraged by a sling’s design; because none of the top brands of 2020 will design something which – while conforming to the modern two point standard – won’t exhibit at least one unique selling point.
With Spiritus Systems’ SIERRATAC Padded Sling (provided for review and available from Tactical Kit), one such feature is its slider.
3. Feature Set
Spiritus’ is a proprietary slider, which travels forwards to tighten the sling to the user’s body and backwards to loosen it (as is traditional). However, it’s CNC milled from billet aluminium which means it’s light but strong – as well as unique.
Using the slider, it’s easy to lengthen or shorten the sling, providing a solid indexing point which is surprisingly unobtrusive when not in use. It’s also incredibly simple (as all great ideas are), composed of a single component with no springs or moving parts to gum up or break. The black anodised finish is also spot on – high quality.
Is it a snag hazard? Maybe ask yourself the alternative question: do you snag a lot of stuff? If so, and if it were me, I’d want to severely limit anything which could potentially snag, which means most two point adjustable slings on the market are out of the question.
Short answer to the snagging question is, for me it’s fine. It’s no different to the majority of two point slings I’ve used. After all, the slider’s index point is barely a thumb’s width tall – less than 1″.
3.2 Shoulder Pad
One area that’s benefitted from particular attention to snag reduction is the 24″ long, 1.5″ wide shoulder pad.
There’s no abrupt beginning or end to the pad. It exhibits a shallow, blended taper at both ends, with the junctions from webbing to pad reinforced.
This is slick and unobtrusive design and construction. For example there’s no edging, so the pad is particularly easy on the neck when not wearing a protective collar.
The pad itself is nice and thin in both width and height, with none of the bulk of the previous generation of two point padded slings.
Encapsulating the pad’s closed cell foam is smooth 500D Cordura – which simply glides over apparel and webbing.
A look at the pad’s reverse (against the user) would have you believe it exhibits a chafing seam.
Run a thumb over the seam and its clear the converse is true. It’s deceptively soft and absolutely does not cause a hot spot in use.
3.3 Other Features
In terms of largely generic features, Spiritus has sensibly gone for one plastic tri-glide per end and its here you add hardware and adjust the sling for overall length.
A few things about this setup that I like. First, I favour plastic tri-glides over large, heavy duty steel ones because for me they move better over back panels and other webbing.
Secondly, I think two tri-glides per end is overkill. I simply feed loose webbing back through a single tri-glide in the reverse direction to lock things down, as can be seen in the pic above.
Lastly, two points of overall sling adjustment are enough. I’m not keen on slings where there’s a third adjustment point at one end of the pad. For me its superfluous, adding weight and a potential snag point.
Instead, Spiritus makes the connection with a low profile steel tri-glide (part of the sling’s self-contained adjustment mechanism).
Bear in mind that the QD and snaphook in these pics were added so I could use the sling – it comes without adaptors. Here you’re looking for attachments to suit a 1″ sling, because that’s the width of the webbing.
What would make you buy this sling – its features or its brand?
To be fair, this is a sling with features worthy of Spiritus. It’s self-evident why the company partnered with SIERRATAC to bring this newest iteration of the product to market, rather than reinventing the wheel.
The slider – which is absolutely, 100% bona fide unique – is a compelling feature; as useful as it is well-engineered. It’s also interesting that while the doctrine here is positively anti-tail (the sling’s adjustment mechanism is self-contained, as mentioned, with no trailing webbing), SIERRATAC acknowledges in its design that some users may want to increase leverage on the slider by adding a webbing or paracord fulcrum. The slot in the slider isn’t just there to save weight.
What would I do differently? Regular readers will know that I limit my reviews largely to the interpretation of product design. However, what I would really like to see here is a tanodized slider. There’s no real practical element to that, just a nice to have in aesthetic terms.
As usual, Spriritus produces the SIERRATAC sling in a multiplicity of colours. The one I have for review is Multicam Arid.