Okay, so it's not just for SWAT junkies, but I can certainly see some of them being excited about this. Here's the deal:
Shoulder straps are common on military grade rifles. They're mostly used for travel, etc., but they're typically static lengths, which can be adjusted with some effort for overall size, but little more. When the weapon's user wants to let go of their gun to use their hands for something else (admittedly, this is probably somewhat rare in military situations) the gun dangles loosely, and flops all around.
Today, at request from some fellow nerfers in the Tactics forum over on the HQ, we're going to solve that problem.
Didn't know where else to put this. It's a homemade strap, but it's not necessarily for homemade guns. But it's not really a modification either. What the heck, if a mod thinks this belongs under GND or something, have at it.
Moving on to materials:
You're gonna need a luggage strap, with a snap clip on each end, and a length adjustment slider.
Not the one I used, but it's the same concept.
Note: If it has a shoulder pad, make sure it's one that slides around. You're gonna want to cut it off anyway, so make sure it's not built in. Note also, on the right side of the photo, the plastic length adjustment slide. You need it to have one of those. Make sure when you get it that when it is at its longest possible length, it can connect to your gun at two points, wrap over your shoulder and under your opposite arm, and still give you freedom of movement.
Next, you're gonna need a fairly hefty plastic buckle, such as this:
Lastly, you're going to want access to a sewing machine. Yeah, I know. If you're not adept with the finer points of tailoring, etc., you're gonna have to ask your mom or someone of the like to get involved in your silly little hobby. I promise, it's worth it.
Now, it's go time.
Now cut free the end of your strap that is attached to the length adjustment slider, and remove the slider from the strap completely. Throw it away. Now, take the male half of your plastic buckle, loop this now free end of your strap through it, and sew it secure. That's right. Sew. Nothing will hold it as secure, and heck, if you wanna get fancy, you can choose a cute matching thread color, set the stitch width to "ridiculous" and make your strap look UBER sexy. Make sure as you do this, that the end is still going through the slot that holds it to the snap clip that used to be at the end of the strap, as seen in the photo. It should be free to move through the slot at will. Again, see photo.
Next up, let's take a look at the other end. For one, you want this end to REMAIN permanently attached statically to the snap clip at the other end of the strap. Like so:
Now you might have noticed in that last pic what we're doing next. You're going to need to find some way to attach the female half of your plastic buckle directly against the side of your strap, right up against the end. It needs to lay flat on the strap. I personally ran some spare strap material through the buckle, ran the webbing through the snap clip's slot and sewed it to the opposite side. I then simply velcro'ed the buckle down against the strap. I'm sure supergluing the buckle to the strap would be just as effective.
As you're doing this, keep in mind how the strap will be functioning. The non-static snap clip will remain a free-floating piece along the strap. When you pull the strap ends together to clip the buckle, you want the male end to be facing the female end without having to twist the strap. Again, see photo:
It should start to make sense how this is going to work.
Now I'm gonna leave making attachment points on your gun purely up to you. I used some black nylon shoestring I had lying around, because I could fuse the ends with a lighter, so they'd never fray, and they wouldn't be as loud or hard on the paint as metal rings, etc. But find two points, one at the back (along the BOTTOM of your gun), and then one at the midpoint or farther forward, along the TOP of the gun. That orientation is critical, or the gun won't hang at a convenient angle for easy access. In addition, if the static end of the strap isn't attached to the BOTTOM of the rear of the gun, in a case like the crossbow, you'll have a strap coming out from underneath your armpit, and running up to the TOP of your stock, instead of hanging comfortably off the bottom and out of the way. If you're right handed, place your anchor points on the left side of the gun, and visa versa if you're a southpaw.
Now to make it all work, clip the buckle together, and attach the end with the buckle on it to the anchor point at the lower back end of your gun. The other end, which has the floating snap clip on it, obviously connects to the anchor point at the upper forward end of the gun.
If you're right handed, hold the gun on your right side, and put your right arm and head through the strap, with the gun at your back. The currently closed buckle should be right around your left shoulder, and the floating clasp under your right armpit. Visa versa for lefties. If the gun isn't fairly snug against your back (try jumping around, running, etc. It should move, but not very much. No major bouncing around, etc.) adjust where the male half of the buckle is attached accordingly until you get an accurate, comfortable fit.
Now to bring the gun up for use (again, reverse this for lefties), reach up and across to the buckle on your left shoulder with your RIGHT hand. At the same time, bring your LEFT arm behind your back, and begin pushing the gun around towards your right. Disengage the buckle with your right hand and let the buckle fall free, while continuing to push your gun towards the right with your left hand. Your right hand can now easily reach the gun (at this point, the actual grip and trigger of the gun should be within easy reach of your right hand) and pull it around. The free end of the strap with the male half of the buckle will pull through the floating clasp, and the buckle will stop the strap at its longest point, which leaves your gun in a fully mobile and usable position.
In some of the photos, I'm using the wrong hand from what I described because I was attempting to manage my camera at the same time, so forgive any continuity errors.
To cinch it back up against your back, let go with your right hand, giving the gun a little shove behind you. Grab the free end with the male buckle on it, and pull it up with your right hand, while your left hand pulls down on the strap that's running over your left shoulder. The gun should smoothly slide back into position, and your right hand should meet the static end to re-buckle it all together fairly naturally.
Practice the motion, and it'll get REALLY easy to go from hands free to primary in seconds. Especially handy if you like to carry two sidearms, or need a pair of hands to climb a tree, etc. Now you can dual wield, climb trees, AND carry your favorite rifle, all at once. I haven't had a chance to take this beast to a war yet, but that'll happen two weeks from this Saturday at CAFF, which will be a PERFECT event to test it out at. However, I CAN say with complete confidence that I've taken my morning jog, have jumped over some rails, and ran through my local middle school's obstacle course a few times, all with my crossbow cinched snug up against my back with the strap. It has never failed, and it holds the gun at the perfect angle to keep the protruding barrel from sticking out beyond the limits of my frame, so no snagging on anything as of yet, and no excessive banging around. Granted, it probably won't be on my back for long periods of time, but when it is, I'm pleased to say this sucker's gonna be just fine.
Enjoy. Any questions, feel free.
Edited by Falcon, 04 September 2008 - 02:47 AM.