I was contacted by 1SGT (ret) Thomas Lindsey of Cold Steel Custom Slings via the Midwest Tactical Officers Association.   Based in Michigan, and made by hand in the U.S. of A, Cold Steel is just the kind of company MTOA strives to promote and support.

Having been part of MTOA for several years, I will just say that they are an outstanding organization, committed as much to their mission and training, as to service of the veteran and public safety communities. They are definitely worth your time to check out.

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I prefer to call Mr. Lindsey – Top,  because to me the recognition of service and sacrifice, especially at that level, doesn’t go away when the uniform comes off, or when one retires.  Top sent me a sling while I was in pre-deployment training, as the upcoming assignment would be a good test for the product.  The communication with him was primarily by email, and given the limitation in comms on my end, I have to say that Top was very prompt and responsive to all my questions.

This is critical to many customers, as the service aspect is just as important as the product.  This also became important because I needed clarification on how to measure for the sling, since it is customized to the user.  Top was very accommodating, and I received the sling and all of the hardware, with some delivered after we arrived in country.

Before sending the sling (one for myself and one for another troop in my company), Top was focused on making sure I obtained the proper measurement. This is done by taking a diagonal length measurement of your torso, similar to how the sling would be positioned on your body.  Following the instructions is easy, and one can see that from he beginning the sling will be truly custom.

The first impression of the product is that it is heavy-duty.  Top sent several pieces of hardware for attaching the sling, securing it, allowing it to be lengthened and so on.  The key component in this, is the custom aspect of the sling.  It can be used as a one or two point.  While some commercial sling manufacturers offer this flexibility, the Cold Steel sling is made for you, with the intent of how you will primarily use it.

My goal was to try it in several configurations, and with several pieces of hardware.  I would say that no other manufacturer truly offers this kind of personalized sling, with as much muscle.  The hardware is primarily Magpul, which adds to the quality nature of the sling.  The sling is made with paracord and nylon webbing.  Majority of the sling, specifically in the main portion which wears over the user, is paracord.

The wrap is solid, with no loose ends, fraying or anything of the sort.  You can request any combination of, or solid color you wish, to match your tacticool needs or simply accessorize.  I will not guess how much paracord is involved, but it’s obviously available if one needs to access it off the sling when the need arises.  Top can answer all your questions.  Suffice it to say that there is more than one layer, and it is a thick, comfortable sling.  During the first wear of the sling, which spanned approximately 14 hours, I immediately noticed one thing.

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It doesn’t cut into your shoulder blades, your neck or your kit, and reduces the amount of felt weight of the weapon.  This is huge when your weapon is worn and utilized for an extended period, but more importantly it alleviates a significant annoyance when you can move more comfortably.

I am very particular about my work tools, and my kit.  As many people know, your life is on the line, and you need to make sure that it is squared away, focusing on the mission versus equipment.

The Cold Steel sling lets you do that.  Another very key component is not readily visible, but adds tremendously to the functionality of the sling.  A stretch bungee is wrapped inside the 550 cord.  This helps greatly in the comfort department, but is key when presenting the weapon on target and shooting on the move.  The transition from slung, to low ready, to fire is smooth.

Nothing in the sling snags or drags on your kit, and the hidden bungee allows just enough stretch to accommodate your weapons, without being too long, or impeding movement.  This is where the initial measurement before ordering the sling becomes very important also.

The weapon I used was an M4, but could have been a heavy or medium heavy machine gun with similar results.  My rifle had a typical compliment of lights and lasers, switches and optics one may find in any infantry unit, and most specialized law enforcement teams.  Nothing became an issue with the new sling, including multiple attachment points I have tried.

Options include traditional one point mount, push button mount, and rail mount, as well as several webbing attachments secured by double screws.  While some webbing points started to slightly fray with continuous use, it is nothing that my previous commercial sling didn’t do.

Some wear and tear is expected, but with the guarantee and service I have experienced from Top, I have no doubts that should something actually need attention, it will be addressed without hesitation.  Not the least of positives in trying out this sling were the countless “wow” and compliments I have received.  This was usually followed by “did you make that?” which of course resulted in an obvious answer.  I barely have enough patience to make a bracelet, much less a full sling.

The price of a Cold Steel “The Survivor Sling” sling is compatible to that of commercial products with similar attributes, mainly made in the USA and with a good warranty.  The sling comes with a 30 day warranty.  Because of numerous configurations and utilization, more of a warranty would be hard to support by a one man company.  Should any issues arise beyond that, I am confident Top is only a call or an email away.

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He offers significant discounts to professionals in the field, often unseen from other manufacturers.  If you want to support a small business, veteran-owned, and offering a top-notch product, my money will be on Top and his products any day.  I hope that he will consider the invitation of MTOA and come to the vendor exhibit.  I will be honored to shake his hand.

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About The Author

Ron has been in public service for some 17 years, holding several specialized assignments, and becoming a law enforcement and emergency medical services instructor. He has 10 years in the military and currently serving as a reservist, fire team leader and medic. He enjoys learning, writing, doing grunt work, and helping other vets in need. To further that goal, they started Grunt’s BBQ and Easy Company. A future mobile chow hall, coming to an AO near you.

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