A Higher Standard in Webbing

Webbing Close Up

 

From a distance, or just an internet photo, it’s easy to dismiss nylon webbing. Most nylon webbing is pretty lackluster stuff, not being at all ideal for a quality rifle sling. The webbing used for the construction of RifleCraft slings was carefully chosen for several characteristics that set it apart from regular nylon webbing. When you feel and use a RifleCraft sling, the quality will be self-evident.

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RifeCraft webbing on the left.  Regular nylon strap webbing on the right.  Note the difference in texture and thickness.

 

Texture and Stiffness

RifleCraft’s sling webbing is thicker and tougher than most nylon webbing. A thinner, less stiff webbing would cause the shooting loop to easily displace as the arm is inserted for looping up.

The texture of RifleCraft’s sling webbing has also demonstrated itself to be less susceptible to fraying than the nylon used in most other slings.  The following photos are of two slings I used and abused over months.  Both were subjected to harsh conditions and hard use.

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A competitor’s 1.5″ sling webbing exhibited a tendency to fray at the edges.  Incidentally, the base price of this product (without swivels) was over double the price of an RS2 sling.

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My personal RS2 sling was dragged through mud, a cow pie, and a shallow creek during a stalk.  On another occasion it was covered in mud, but washed up nicely in the sink.

The comparatively aggressive texture of RifleCraft’s sling webbing also means that it is less apt to slide down the support arm when the sling is used as a shooting aid. The texture of the solid color webbing is practically indistinguishable from the cotton webbing used in the USGI web slings of old.  The texture of the camo webbing on my slings is similar, but they have a less fabric-like texture and are slightly stiffer.

 

1.25”, The Perfect Sling Width?

Rifle slings have been made using 1”, 1.25”, and 1.5” webbing. One critical performance criteria that is directly influenced by webbing width is carrying comfort: how the weight of the rifle is displaced over the webbing width. 1” webbing tends to dig into the shooter as the weapon is carried with the sling. 1.25” webbing is a huge improvement over 1” webbing for carrying comfort. 1.5′ webbing is, of course, better in this regard, but the difference between 1.25” and 1.5” is not as remarkable as the difference between 1” and 1.25”.

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On the left, the only 1″ sling I own.  Center is 1.25″ RifleCraft webbing.  On the right is 1.5″ webbing.

A second performance criteria that is affected by webbing width is how well the loop “sticks” on the support arm when the sling is used as a shooting aid. A sling that easily slides down the support arm compromises its effectiveness as a shooting aid. In this case, thinner webbing tends to dig into the shooters arm and keep it from sliding down it. It also allows the sling to be placed completely above the meatiest part of the tricep, which helps keep the loop locked in. 1.25” webbing is markedly better than 1.5” in this regard.

Lastly, sling swivels of all styles are only currently made in 1” and 1.25” widths (that is to say I have one 1.5” swivel before that came with a fancy handstop for a match rifle). 1.5” webbing used for slings has thus far been used with 1.25” swivels. It seems to “work” in most cases, but the webbing gets pinched, which accelerates the sling’s tendency to fray. The webbing used in these 1.5” slings is also less stiff. A 1.5” sling of what I would consider sufficient stiffness would not be as likely to work with 1.25” swivels. Why would one choose to use swivels and webbing that did not match?

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This is what happens when 1.5″ webbing is squeezed into a 1.25″ swivel after some regular use.

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Even an abused sling holds up fine when used with an appropriately sized swivel.