I said in an earlier piece words to the effect that all modern two point padded slings represent roughly the same thing, and that consumers choose between them merely by brand; or by features which are – at best – marginal variations on a common theme.
I need to revisit that, because T.REX ARMS has done something which is different enough to challenge my assumptions.
T.REX’s unique feature is not the slider assembly – the mechanism by which the sling is let out and tightened to the user – not in itself, anyway. But keep reading because there is an unconventional twist…
I first saw the slider per se used here and the same slider with pull tab here. It’s a standard, lightweight, black plastic item which you can pick up anywhere that sells specialised, Berry Compliant tactical haberdashery. Made by American Cord and Webbing it’s an SB-W Wide Profile Slide 1”.
A high quality moulding, it’s manufactured in one piece without moving parts. Presumably it is less likely to fail mechanically and also less likely to gum up over time with detritus.
With all that said, it’s not commonly used in two point slings and I’m glad T.REX has selected it, because in this implementation it has an unconventional feature.
It can be configured to be pushed away, or pulled towards the user to tighten the sling.
T.REX characterises these mutually exclusive states as Standard Throw and Reverse Throw, respectively.
The usual action for tightening a two point adjustable sling is a push motion (i.e. Standard Throw) – moving the slider away from the user. But if you think about it, that’s counter-intuitive. So, I do recommend at least trying the alternative configuration: pull to tighten (i.e. Reverse Throw).
There are full instructions on how to configure the sling this way, with a lot of other helpful tips on sling attachment and sizing in T.REX’s excellent video on the subject. It’s just one of the things they do really well, so is absolutely worth watching to the end.
With the addition of the pull tab to the slider (which is unobtrusive and, being composed of 1″ wide laminate, collapses out of the way when required) the mechanism gets a highly palpable index point and much needed leverage. It’s easy to find the tab even with gloved hands, and a doddle to operate.
I do find this type of slider slower to articulate than the more widely used ITW Spring Loaded Cam Buckle, but not to a troubling extent. And just to note that I find it quicker/easier to completely cinch the sling in Standard Throw configuration, as opposed to Reverse Throw.
3. Shoulder Pad
While a cursory glance may persuade some that the T.REX Sling exhibits a pad much like any other, it really doesn’t.
The pad is another of the product’s unconventional highlights.
The pad’s unique feature is something which faces and therefore directly interacts with the user – an underside of breathable 3D spacer mesh.
It gives the pad an aerated feel while keeping it light, thin and flexible. This isn’t like a 90s skate shoe – all padding and no board feel. It’s literally a stripe of padding which runs along the centre of the pad, bordered by low friction edging.
The pad’s plan view exhibits a shallow, snag-free chamfer at one end (attached to the rear of the weapon). This is redolent of a couple of other slings on the market, but that’s where the similarity ends.
The other end features a burly connector – part of the sling’s self-contained adjustment mechanism; because aside from the slider’s necessary pull tab there’s no loose tail on this sling.
The union between pad and the 1″ webbing which makes up the balance of the sling is similarly burly. Even though these overbuilt features are on the underside of the sling, I’m yet to encounter chafing.
The pad is 21″ long and 1.5″ at its widest. Its size and construction works well for me in terms of comfort, and in terms of avoiding hang ups (e.g. the sling snagging on back panels).
Also, because the pad is singularly flexible, I’ve yet to encounter a situation where the pad rides up my neck. That’s a new thing, so full marks.
Obviously the longer you wear any sling the greater the chances of discomfort, but early indications with the T.REX Sling are encouraging.
The sling’s webbing is pliable and 1″ wide, as mentioned previously. It slips through the slider without snagging, but locks in place the moment the slider is released.
Each end comes complete with a single plastic tri-glide, to cut down on bulk. Note that in these pics I’ve added a 1″ QD adapter for the front of the rifle and a snap hook for the rear. These are not included with the sling (which is sold without adaptors) and therefore represent an additional cost.
It’s really worth watching T.REX’s product video because they go into great detail about sling setup. This is something I get a bit OCD about, so it’s good to have a recommended baseline to work from.
The company’s recommendation is to place the front tri-glide 5″ in from the webbing end.
This allows enough excess to thread through the tri-glide, fold back on itself and thread again – to lock the structure firmly in place.
At the rear, it’s recommended to leave a 1″ gap between pad and tri-glide.
Then, measured from the centre of the tri-glide. T.REX recommends that the tip of the rear sling adaptor is set roughly 3″ out.
Bear in mind that overall sizing of the sling is achieved at these ends. Many users will choose to trim and re-seal the webbing to get the right length, or tidy any excess with tape. Here I’ve kept the length but tidied it away with McNett Camoform.
5. Sling Retention
Another unconventional feature, the T.REX’s Sling comes complete with two retainers – used to dress the sling to the weapon, to keep it out of the way until required.
These are composed of bungee and some rather cool squeeze-to-adjust ITW Fixlock toggles.
The idea is that when one or both of these retainers are placed on the weapon, the sling can be folded and retained by them. Simple but effective and not normally something that’s bundled with slings.
Here I’m just using just one retainer, at the front end – placed in front of the Magpul RSA QD.
A quick pull from the rear sees the sling deployed and ready to don overhead.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’ve seen it all – hence my originally held position that all adjustable two point slings are pretty much the same, with just branding or nuanced features to separate them. Hands on with this sling, therefore, was a surprise. Suitably shocked out of my complacency, its clear now that T.REX ARMS has looked at solutions differently and with fresh eyes.
Innovative slider dynamics, pad construction and bundled retainers aside, what occurs to me is that this is a deceptively minimalist padded sling. Rare for a sling with a pad, in use it almost feels like it’s not there – until you need it.
What I find fascinating is that this sling has been designed by someone with a solid background in civilian shooting. Like most good ideas, it won’t be long before it crosses over more visibly to other applications. It makes me think of Jeff Gurwitch’s series of articles entitled The Competition to Combat Crossover, which demonstrated the migration of cutting edge civilian competition hardware to military use. Excellent product design is universal.
Aside from design, the company also excels in narrative content in support of their products. As I’ve said a couple of times already, do watch T.REX’s video about this sling. It’s full of stuff that wouldn’t have occurred to me – like the shooter’s support hand being in a more advantageous position to take control of the front of the rifle, when the sling is configured in Reverse Throw (pushing the slider out to extend the sling).