The Tactical Sling Catch from Strike Industries is a fairly clever widget that attaches to your plate carrier or chest rig and promises to help keep your sling off of your neck. It is a very simple solution to a common problem and it works with some caveats.
The Tactical Sling Catch (TSC) consists of only 3 pieces: the black plastic sling catch and 2 strips of the Velcro that are used to attach it to your shoulder strap. It has a ledge that is intended to prevent it from pulling off of the shoulder strap and some fairly sharp spikes on the underside that are intended to prevent it from sliding on the shoulder strap.
The hook that captures your sling is fairly large and easy to hook your sling into. It is large enough to work with padded slings though it works best with non-padded slings (more on that later). It is flexible enough that you would probably never break it but sturdy enough to keep from bending under the weight of a rifle.
Installation is very easy but you will want to take some care that you are installing the Velcro strips correctly and that you install the Velcro strips as tightly as possible. The installation is described very well in this video provided by Strike Industries (installation starts at 2:42):
The purpose of the TSC is simple. It is intended to keep the sling off of your neck. It isn’t really explicitly stated but it seems to be more of an administrative tool for those times when the rifle is at rest. The sling is worn as usually and if the wearer is not actively using their rifle, they can easily reach up and pull the sling into the TSC. Once they need to actively use the rifle, the TSC will not inhibit movement of the rifle by either allowing the sling to slide through or releasing it.
Observations from Use
The Tactical Sling Catch works if the right conditions exist. I had a couple of issues with it occasionally rolling inward. Some of the issues were my fault and some were just the reality that a device like this just isn’t going to fit every shoulder strap.
Plate carrier and chest rig straps are hardly standard across the industry. They vary widely in width, thickness, amount of padding, and shape. In order for the TSC to work, you will need a strap that is fairly wide and has sufficient thickness and rigidity to stand up to the weight of the rifle pulling on it. Smaller or thinner straps won’t really retain the TSC. Overly padded or extra wide straps may not produce good results either. You can’t really count this against the TSC since it would be impossible to make a device like this work on every plate carrier. It just isn’t going to happen.
I tested the TSC on a Diamondback Tactical Fast Attack Plate Carrier which happens to have the perfect shoulder strap set up for use with the TSC. Once I figured out how tight I needed to get the Velcro strips (as tight as possible), it worked pretty well. It traps your sling and keeps it off of your neck. The sling will occasionally jump out of the hook if you are moving the rifle around a lot. This is rare and I consider it a non-issue since I view the TSC as more of an administrative tool for keeping the sling off your neck when the rifle is at rest. It you are moving and shooting, it may jump out of the hook and that is probably best since it will increase your mobility with the rifle.
Padded slings will bind in the TSC. The sling needs to be able to slide through the TSC to allow a full range of motion. If you use a padded sling, you probably don’t really need to keep the sling off your neck anyway.
The Tactical Sling Catch works but with more caveats than I was expecting. If you have a plate carrier that will work well with it and a non-padded sling, it will probably work very well for you. I can’t speak to the usefulness of the TSC in military or police circles but it might literally prevent a pain in the neck during a carbine course by keeping the sling off of your neck during all the time spent standing on the line.
Check out the Tactical Sling Catch at StrikeIndustries.com.