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Re-sizable Shoulder Strap


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#1 Falcon

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 02:37 AM

Alright you tactics junkies! Yeah, I'm talking to you. *peeks around front row kid's head* Yeah, you, in the back, with the flat black paintjob, excessive accessory rails and tac. lights wearing digi camo and black! This is for you!

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.
Exhibit A:
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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:
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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.
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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:
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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.
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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:
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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.
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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.
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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.

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#2 Bullshit Dragon

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 02:55 AM

Awesome mod. (Yes, this actually IS a mod) I've been using a Super Soaker shoulder stap from my CPS1k to hang my LS from and it works well, but I might do this instead to have a custom fitted on that's longer.
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#3 imaseoulman

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 07:16 AM

I'm not sure I understand the need for the buckles. Is it just so you can get it on and off more quicly? I have used an adjustable shoulder strap with my MagStrike so I could carry it as a back-up, but I never felt a need for buckles. Regardless, nicely done.
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#4 CrazyIvan VI

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 07:43 AM

I'm not sure I understand the need for the buckles. Is it just so you can get it on and off more quicly? I have used an adjustable shoulder strap with my MagStrike so I could carry it as a back-up, but I never felt a need for buckles. Regardless, nicely done.


From the way I see it, the buckles are there to keep it secured to your back while it isn't in use. It secures it so it's not jostling around making it harder for you to run, then when you need it, all you've got to do is unbuckle it and it swings around into firing position, with the shoulder strap still attached.
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#5 VACC

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 08:17 AM

I like it. I've used straps on Binky in the past, but going from hands-free-secure to firing ready was always a hastle. While it doesn't make sense for my crossbow now, which I've always fired one handed, the plusbow is impossible to use properly outside of the stock to shoulder position. And with the....alterations, this may be a neccessity. Nice addition, dude. Reminds me of the first time I saw the original stealthblade holsters.
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#6 Falcon

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 10:13 AM

I'm not sure I understand the need for the buckles. Is it just so you can get it on and off more quicly? I have used an adjustable shoulder strap with my MagStrike so I could carry it as a back-up, but I never felt a need for buckles.


The lower end of the strap acts essentially like an inverted pulley system. When it's buckled, it's snug against your back. When you unbuckle it, the strap literally doubles in length, giving you freedom of motion.

VACC...hearing that name brings back some memories. Stealthblade...sheesh. *Nostalgia*
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#7 Icespartan 1114

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 12:53 PM

Nice mod. It looks very comfy, And nice crossbow by the way.
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#8 bobafan

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 06:26 PM

I happened to have the materials to make my own.
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It works pretty well.
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#9 Z4

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 08:21 PM

Thanks a lot for posting this, I asked about it in the thread over at HQ. I'm sure I can dig up a strap from somewhere, and I'll be doing this promptly. (Xbow looks great by the way.)
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#10 Falcon

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 09:56 PM

I happened to have the materials to make my own.
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It works pretty well.


Great job! Looks solid! And on an awesome 3B to boot...

When it's closed, is it pretty snug against your back and all, like it should be? It looks long to me, but then again, I'm thinner than most, so getting it to fit right on my torso could've been done with a single office rubber band...

Hope it serves you well!

*Wow...I've never been replicated this fast before. In fact, I don't think I've ever been replicated, save turreting guns, but this is different. Well, so long as it works, I'm a happy camper.

Edited by Falcon, 04 September 2008 - 10:06 PM.

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#11 Watari

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 10:52 PM

Yeah, you, in the back, with the flat black paintjob, excessive accessory rails and tac. lights wearing digi camo and black! This is for you!

Whats that supposed to mean?! You know I'm going to wear camo, and have excessive accessory rails and tac. lights on my BBB! and I painted my titan with a "flat black" paintjob. Just kidding...(but all that stuff is true). On topic, where did you get those luggage straps? Out of your luggage suitcases? 'Cause mine seem to be permenantly attached...Also, thanks for posting a "strap mod" because i've seriously been looking for an acceptable strap that I could use...

Edited by Watari, 04 September 2008 - 10:53 PM.

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#12 bobafan

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 02:49 AM

If you're much thinner than I, I think you have a problem. I'm ~6'1" and ~134lbs.
I made the strap a bit looser than yours probably is because of the ergonomics of the bbb(and so the triple torch doesn't dig into my back). If the straps were the same on ours, my trigger handle would have the mobility of your stock. You get the idea. I kept the adjustable function of the male part of the clip if it needs to be changed It was raining today so I haven't tested it out much.
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Edited by bobafan, 05 September 2008 - 02:51 AM.

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#13 Groove

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 09:52 AM

Nice writeup, Falcon. I've been wanting to do something like this for a while since I'm tired of "gently tossing" my Crossbow on the ground if I need to chase someone down. This just seems as if it'd feel more natural without getting in the way of things. I like functionality but I don't wanna sacrifice mobility. I think I'll be adopting this system to test drive soon.


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#14 Falcon

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 12:49 PM

Looks fantastic, Boba. I think the size of the 3B and/or the thickness of your webbing threw me off. For that matter, I think you might be one of the only people on the forums who I could swap straps with and we'd be okay, though I weigh about ten lbs. over that.

I've been wanting to do something like this for a while since I'm tired of "gently tossing" my Crossbow on the ground if I need to chase someone down.

Hearing you loud and clear on that one. The last time I attempted to "gently toss" my crossbow, I landed on it, and it was put up on blocks in the garage for two years of reconstruction.

Edited by Falcon, 05 September 2008 - 12:52 PM.

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#15 VACC

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 02:21 PM

The only drawback to thes design is that it leaves your barrel pointed downward. This often leads to loaded darts jogging their way free of your barrlles (especially with a multibarrel rig like you sport). I also generally feel more secure about my blaster then the barrel is pointed up over my shoulder as opposed to down towards my legs. I wonder if it there isn't a way to quickly swivel your primary into the ready fire position after being mounted the other way around. I'll have to experiment with it.
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#16 Falcon

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 03:57 PM

The only drawback to thes design is that it leaves your barrel pointed downward. This often leads to loaded darts jogging their way free of your barrlles (especially with a multibarrel rig like you sport). I also generally feel more secure about my blaster then the barrel is pointed up over my shoulder as opposed to down towards my legs. I wonder if it there isn't a way to quickly swivel your primary into the ready fire position after being mounted the other way around. I'll have to experiment with it.


Definitely see this potentially becoming a problem for most people.

I'm not worried about a problem on MY end, but that's because my barrel setup isn't exactly standard.

I never liked twisting/pushing darts into the backs of nested brass barrels, because the back ends of the darts would get mangled and softened over time. I find it much easier to twist darts in while holding onto the tip, pushing the tail end in first. So the nested 1/2" brass at the backs of my barrels is actually a removable shell that I load the dart into, and then slide into the back of my 17/32" main barrel.

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The shells are flared to keep them from sliding forward (as well as giving me something to grab to remove them) but when making them, some we more loose than others and would fall out as per your worry about darts and gravity. So I started to flatten them slightly with my hand on my workbench, and then bend then back to what looked to be true. They would never be completely perfectly round again, so they now form a tighter fit inside the barrel. Now, even after the dart has left the barrel, it takes more than gravity to remove the shell. Granted, under normal circumstances, the extra step would slow down my reload, but I carry four shells on me, so in a pinch, I have two spare loaded ones at the ready. If I need more than four long-ranged shots in a pinch, something's wrong.

As for hanging it with your barrel facing up, I may have a solution, but might slow down your draw time. It wouldn't be practical for MY application, because it would put my splitfire out of comfortable reach, but I doubt if you're velcro-ing guns to your +bow, so no worries.

If you were to (from the perspective of a right-handed person) hang the gun overr the opposite shoulder (right shoulder) with the barrel up, and the buckles down by your left hip, you could swing the gun down, under your left arm, stock first, and bring the stock up across to the right shoulder, and you'd have the same gun-to-body orientation. I don't have time right now to give it a shot, so I don't know whether that would really wind up awkward or not. For that matter, having the buckle up on the shoulder might still be the wiser way around. I'll have to try it out.

EDIT:
Okay, so I couldn't help myself. I gave it a shot, and it DOES work, but the connection to the stock end needs to be along the TOP of the stock, and the connection by the front needs to be farther forward (like just behind the barrel) along the BOTTOM of the shell, in order for it to sit flat against your back and not wiggle around. This way, because of where the strap runs, when you have the setup open and gun stock to shoulder, the strap will run OVER your shoulder, direct to stock, and the other end UNDER your left arm, out to the front. In addition, having the buckle up on your SHOULDER makes closing it up easier than having it by your hip with that configuration. When it's at your hip, you have to reach around at funny angles to close things up again, and nobody likes a reach-around these days... When it's on the shoulder, you just have to push the gun barrel first under your left shoulder with your left hand. As the stock comes into view in front of you on the way across, grab the floating end of the buckle with your right hand, and continue pushing your gun around the left, up, and back, pulling up on the free end of the buckle as you do so. The female end of the buckle should meet the male end at the top of your right shoulder.

Edited by Falcon, 05 September 2008 - 04:18 PM.

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#17 Z4

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 05:10 PM

Few pics of my new Falcon Super Strap:
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The buckle and rear contact point
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A sideways picture of it on me

I used some small cable ties to hold the strap on. It works flawlessly, and took me around 30 mins. In addition to having a good strap, I can also now use a sewing machine. The strap is from an old lunchbox.

Edited by .Z4., 06 September 2008 - 05:11 PM.

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Z4 of the NIC
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#18 Falcon

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 02:13 PM

Good work, Z4!

How's it feel with the strap under your right arm when the stock's to your shoulder? My connection is a bit further down on the stock end to give more room. Does that cramp your arm at all, or chafe your underarm? It'd be nice to know for future applications...if that placement isn't a problem, this may work on something else I'm working on...

Edited by Falcon, 08 September 2008 - 07:08 PM.

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#19 Z4

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 04:53 PM

Thanks. The strap doesn't even touch my arm; it barely touches my sleeve. It's perfectly comfortable as it is actually. It doesn't seem to be a problem (for me) at all.
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#20 VACC

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 11:19 AM

Thought I'd just add this resource.
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#21 Langley

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 01:30 PM

Did anyone else see the url for StrapWorks and figure there was a 50/50 chance of ending up at either a site selling webbing material or a site selling dongs for girls?

I'm really having trouble wrapping my head around how this thing keeps the gun tight to your back when buckled and hanging comfortably from your shoulder when not. I'm sure I'll be sorry I asked, but can someone throw a video up on Youtube of this thing? (But please, be over 16 and keep your damn shirt on)
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#22 Falcon

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 03:54 PM

Got you covered. Hopefully, this'll put those regrets of yours to rest.

Wore a light shirt to (hopefully) help the gun and strap stand out a bit for clarity. This was my digicam on video mode (don't have a camcorder...that's Bags' department) so forgive the grainy-ness.

It's uploading on youtube still, but I'll edit the post with the link. I figured if anything, I'd just save someone the trouble while I'm waiting for the upload.

EDIT:
Video.

But for the record...I'll never feel entirely comfortable clicking on one of VACC's links again, without my left hand hovering over Alt-F4.

Edited by Falcon, 15 September 2008 - 04:01 PM.

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#23 VACC

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 11:13 AM

Please, you two dream of watching the same porn as I do. It's the aspiration of pretty much nerfer who's ever lived. And who am I to question your life's goals? 'Tis a noble cause.
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#24 Falcon

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 01:32 AM

You know, I really didn't think this thread needed any further discussion, but I just can't help openly admitting that I haven't the slightest clue what to say to that.

Which of course, could be interpreted a number of ways, both savory and otherwise. But I can't help but laugh. You really do have a way about you, VACC. I doubt if anyone really understands your humor (at least, in the sense of..."WHY?"), but Lord knows we all appreciate it.
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#25 Guest_Killakit_*

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 05:25 PM

Awesome. I was on my way to DCNO and I was trying to find a way to get it in two places on my Big Blast. And I finally did but it was so uncomfortable. So I just was like fuck it. So this strap would be more comfortable and would be easier to use. Nice.
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