So in addition to being a gunnie, Matt is genuinely a nice guy. Because of this, and because I wanted a sling of my own, I've been proudly hosting an advertisement for Echo Slings on this blog.
As it turns out, Matt is struggling to make ends meet (aren't most folks these days?), and so because he's one of the tribe and makes an excellent product, I'm going to review his sling here. He didn't ask me to do this; I'm doing it because repaying kindness with kindness is the right thing to do.
Before I begin my review, I want to lead with an excerpt from Pat Cascio's review at SurvivalBlog. Some of you may call this laziness, but the results are so damn impressive that this testimonial needs to be the centerpoint of Echo Sling's advertising:
[...] one of my German Shepherds, "Sarge" showed me a method for testing the sling. Sarge isn't quite a year and a half old, and he loves to chew-up cardboard boxes that FedEx and UPS bring me almost daily - he honestly believes UPS and FedEx come to bring him new toys to destroy - and destroy them he does. While examining the sling, Sarge decided it looked like a new chew toy and grabbed an end, and the tug-o-war was on - he loves playing this game with "Arro" one of my other German Shepherds. (We have four in our house right now, but we've had more than that in the past.)
Sarge and Arro - and even Fanja, our little female, got into a three-way tug-o-war with the Echo Sling - my older main male doesn't much get into this game - he's Schutzhund 1 trained and certified, and he likes to bite - not play tug-o-war. So, over the course of a month, I let Sarge and Arro play with the Echo Sling - and these boys can really pull - they've destroyed a number of pull tug ropes in the past year. Over the course of this "test" the polymer buckles were chewed on pretty well - but still functioned, though they had teeth marks on them. The Echo Sling was looking worse for wear, but the dogs never did break it - and these boys can really pull and pull hard against each other. There was some fraying, on the ends of the sling, where the boys usually grabbed it in their mouths, but the sling didn't fail. Now, if a high-quality Nylon sling can take this kind of abuse, over a month, and still function - I'm impressed. I never let the boys chew on the sling - I know it wouldn't last but a day if they did - but I let them play tug-o-war several times a day with the Echo Sling.
I have lesser-quality Nylon slings and I know, if I had given them to my German Shepherds, they would have made quick work of them - they'd be destroyed inside of a day or two.
I'm going to repeat that: three German Shepherds played tug-o-war with an Echo Sling for a month and they couldn't destroy it. I can't think of any endurance test tougher than this that isn't a deliberate destruction of the product. Matt calls it the "Hundred Year Sling," and while I don't know that it will last that long, it's certainly tough enough to handle whatever abuse you can throw at it while out hunting.
Other reviewers (including McThag) have commented about the quality of the stitching, or how easy it is to adjust, or how it could really stand to be padded at the shoulder or a little wider than 1" across. I agree with pretty much all of these thoughts. However, there are two qualities to this sling that so far no one has commented about, and I want to address.
First off, you'd think that a sling as tough as this would be made of rough material, right? Nope. The nylon feels light, smooth, and soft to the touch. It's not silky by any stretch of the imagination, but neither is it so excessively manly that it rubs you raw. This is an important consideration in any sling that you plan to wrap around your forearm in a hasty sling shooting technique. It may start to rub after carrying it across your shoulder for several hours, but it won't rash up your skin after an afternoon at the range.
Additionally, given that women are becoming shooters in ever-increasing numbers, and the fact that Matt offers slings in lots of colors -- two shades of pink in stock, and custom colors are also available (McThag got his in purple for no additional charge) -- this is an ideal sling to give to the gun-toting lady in your life. You're welcome, gentlemen.
Second, this is the only sling that I've seen which could also be turned into a belt (instructions for belt-ification are included with the sling, and can also be found here). While some folks might regard this as an odd feature of questionable merit -- how many times has someone had a belt malfunction while hunting? -- they are missing a key point in all this: You can also use a belt as a first-aid device.
- As a tourniquet
- As an arm sling
- As a way to immobilize or splint a limb
- As a tow strap for an emergency litter
Less ridiculous now, right? Put this sucker on your hunting rifle/shotgun and you have a multi-purpose first aid device. Let's see that piece of padded neoprene you bought at Wal-Mart do that!
In short, Buy this sling. It's made by a gunnie, for gunnies, and Matt is a generous and decent human being besides.
My Rating: A
If Matt were to offer his sling in a 1.25" size, then it would be a perfect A+.
Obligatory FTC comment: I was not paid for this review. Go away.