Well, I ran into Jay Duncan from from Daniel Defense and we got to talking. He decided, "Hey, you know what? Why don't I have you down in Savannah for a class, for a carbine class?" Went down there, and unbeknownst to me, they brought along one of their friends to the class and I actually had dinner with him the first night, along with Jay. It was Ashley Burnsed of the then young Blue Force Gear business.
He had only been in business for less than a couple years. He was running it out of the bonus room above his garage. I saw the quality of his sling products at the class and was blown away. The quality, the stitching, the attention to detail, the materials were absolutely first class and essentially were in a league of their own. He knew I was a two-point quick-adjust sling guy and, as a matter of fact, I was using one in the class.
He said, "You know, I don't have a good two-point sling in my lineup. Maybe we could get our heads together." I was actually looking for somebody to put a sling together with and maybe market one. It was a marriage made in Heaven. I didn't want any moving parts, didn't want any excessive tail, and I really wanted a simplified attachment mechanism so you could put it to the carbine and not have a lot of places where the carbine sling can fail on you.
That, to me, had been a failure point or a weak point of previous designs. It's one of the things we tackled right from the start, both my input and Ashley's input, to not only have quick-adjust but minimize the failure points so it's a simple design.
We went back and forth on a few prototypes and then about the third prototype showed up and I knew right then that was the one. As a matter of fact, Ashley has that very sling now, which we've sold many thousand after that, mounted and we gave it to him as a thank you present with a picture of me in his office. The thing in my mind that separates the Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Application Sling from all the others on the market is attention to detail and quality.
Materials, stitching, design, everything is absolute top of the line. It's essentially a Mercedes-Benz level product. That comes to mind in an area in a specific example I got for you. Back in the day when I was in the military, we were doing rehearsals for the Panama Invasion. One of our missions was to go to Noriega's mountain home in case he fled there during the invasion, which didn't end up happening.
But my job on that particular mission that we trained for was I had a machine gun, a MAG 58, prior to it becoming the M240. I had a sling at the time, and during the rehearsals, the nylon sling laid across the barrel and melted in half. Fortunately, it wasn't a showstopper. I was able to get on the helicopter. But if I'd had to do anything like climb a ladder or do anything dynamic with the gun, I had no sling to attach it to my body.
Well, I relayed that story to Ashley and lo and behold, we come out with a SAW sling, an M249 sling, and also, later, an M240 sling that the front adjustment piece on it is Nomex, which is not cheap. It's the only sling I know of on the market that has those features. On top of that, all the hardware on it are metal so there's no way you're gonna have anything melt on that sling and let you down in the field.
We've sold a lot of those slings to the US military and it's a home run. It's a perfect example of the attention to detail and going the extra mile for the warfighter that Ashley and Blue Force Gear and I am all about.
To demonstrate the heat resistance characteristics of the Vickers SAW sling with the Nomex portion up front, I'm gonna do some full auto bursts out of my M249 SAW. Then I'm gonna drape the front part, the Nomex part, of the sling over the barrel. Just to show you this isn't movie magic, then I'm gonna light these matches off the barrel. You'll notice the Nomex handles the heat of the barrel with no problem. Going hot.
Now, if you're in a combat situation, all you gotta worry about is keeping your body parts away from the barrel. You don't have to worry about your sling.
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