This weeks review goes about the “Tactical Universal Clip” a new and innovative product from the same named company. Our revierwer Richard aka FireBase Alpha takes it into the field test for us. Enjoy reading.
Since I started working with the Airsoft Community Europe team in 2013 providing support with gear & kit reviews I have become accustomed to what arrives in the post from them; however this piece of kit made me step back and go ‘ok, now we are going to have some fun’. What they had kindly sent me for review was the ‘Tactical Universal Clip’ named after the company of manufacture & design. I have been using this system with an M4 Style rifle for the past month on two very different set ups, the Blue Force Gear PLATEminus (read this review here) and the MARZ Tactical Plate carrier (review coming soon).
In simplistic terms the Tactical Universal Clip (TUC) is a sling-less solution and provides an alternative option for us that have only two choices of ‘Sling or No sling’. Now I have always been a sling person and I may have in the past… no that’s a lie, I have most certainly in the past got frustrated with a sling for one reason or another but not knowing anything else I have always gone back to it. This system allows me flexibility and choice in my use or requirement for that need and options can never be a bad thing!
The TUC system I am using is the M4 ‘Buffer Tube’ attachment version and can be used on any M4 system that has a buffer tube so it covers a wide range of platforms in that respect. There are other systems for different platforms but we will discuss those later in this review. As you can see it turned up in a neatly labelled package, compact in size and included an instruction manual! Now I would suggest that before you go looking at ‘YouTube’ videos or assuming you know how it all works, read the instructions. It is not that its complicated piece of kit but you will want to make sure you get it right or you may end up looking a slight Pratt when you carry out an action on your M4.
Now the TUC system comprises of just two primary parts that allow you to ditch that sling. You have the M4 Clip and the MOLLE Chest plate attachment. The M4 clip is attached to your M4 and the MOLLE system attaches to your rig in any place you feel is best suited.
I would suggest that once you have the system out of the box and read the instructions that you get a feel of how the two pieces marry up on a dry run before you start your attachment, this will give you that first glimpse of what the TUC is designed to do.
Once you have gone through these steps and these are only my suggestions not gospel go get it attached and start that muscle memory process of transition and learning. Yes, you will need to put practice in with it, why wouldn’t you as it’s a new system, it’s a new way of working, its different to all those years of relying on a sling. I can assure you that once you have had some dry run practice as well as field use you start to think in a different way.
ACCESSORIES TO THE M4 & ALATERNATIVES:
Now the ‘pin’ that I was using was the ‘short’ version measuring in at 1.5 inches, roughly the equivalent to x1 M4 magazine pouch depth. This allowed for a very low profile attachment to my rigs without extending the feature too much. You have a choice of two other pin sizes ‘Medium & Large’ and this is where you want to make sure you are in tune with your gear. Yes, if you carry lots of aftermarket parts and have your M4 tripped out then you may wish to look at the larger pins, but as your rifle hangs down off your body, while attached to a Plate carrier, that should really not be an issue! What you want to look at is how many magazines you carry. If you only use single depth pouches then the clearance is short, if you have double depth then its medium and should you use a triple depth pouch then you would need a large pin to clear those extended features protruding from your rig. Also it depends on where you decide to place the ‘ TUC chest plate’ attachment on your rig, I could easily see it being attached to a MOLLE cummerbund if an individual felt it appropriate to their needs and set up.
Now this whole review has been based around the M4 System but as this was designed by a police officer and ‘shotguns’ and other solid stock weapons are in use they came up with a ‘pin’ attachment solution for those platforms. The chest plate stays the same, only the pin set up changes and again, you can vary the length of the ‘pin’ to suit your needs.
MATERIALS & FEATURES
Now the materials used are very, very solid and have been chosen for both strength and weight. The chest plate is made of Nylon 6-6 and is used when high mechanical strength, great rigidity, and good stability under heat is required. The stuff is used for ball bearing cages, electro-insulating elements, pipes, profiles and various machine parts. The Pin is made of 6061-T6 alloy which is used in the construction of upper and lower receivers of many AR-15 variants and finally the clamp is made from 2024 alloy. So yep, this thing is solid and can easily take the weight of your M4 and more should it be required (product specifications taken from www.tacticaluniversalclip.com )
The above picture clearly shows one of the key features of the M4 TUC system and further shows the thought process behind the design. The ‘flat surface’ you see is specifically there to allow the charging handle the clearance it needs without creating a stoppage. It means that you can place this system as close to your current sling point or further back along the tube, you are not dictated a fixed position, this goes back to giving the user options on their own platform set up.
OBSERVATIONS & COMMENTS:
Now I have seen comments about “It will be taking up more space on my rig” etc. which I find hard to comprehend in the airsoft world. The amount of pouches I see adjourning players I find ridiculous so for me this is a no brainer. As you can see the TUC chest plate is smaller than the ‘admin’ pouch I am currently running.
One of the actions that I carried out with this piece of kit was with the use of rope, descending a very steep incline in very wet and muddy conditions while my M4 was secured in the chest plate. Now I did have reservations about this and I did go ‘Well that’s my barrel blocked’ if I was to fall down, but thankfully that didn’t happen. I did however see several other people with either sling (bouncing of their back) or no sling (sliding ass down) traverse the same obstacle. It got me thinking and I was grateful for being able to speak with the designer himself 2 weeks ago. I explained that I did have some movement in it and I figured that ‘rappelling’ was out of the question but has this requirement been addressed. Simple answer is YES, and the TUC has been used by police teams ‘fast roping’ with no problems. He also explained that they have produced a very simple little addition to address the ‘movement concerns’ (pictured above).
One of the comments I have seen posted while reviewing this kit is that it’s ‘Black’ and I use some ‘pattern’ that is not black. Yes, they are looking into alternate colours using ‘Cerakote’ but it’s a brand new product that has just been released to market give it time to bed in and develop.
Now this is the biggest area for discussion and I can only comment on my past experience of using a variety of slings, in various different arenas, Snagging. Yes, this is a new way of thinking, it’s a new system and has been developed by a Police Officer after years in his role, I am not saying it has no application to the Military but that is not who the initial concept was designed for. Yes, a pin protrudes and has the capability of snagging on kit, clothing and environment; however I have also had slings snag on those same elements but added to that, I have also had a sling obstruct pouches, something that the TUC reduces quite dramatically. My personal experience this past month has been great from moving on a position, to marrying the pin and plate, to pouch, pyro and then transitioning straight back onto my rifle very quickly. I have had practice and that is what you need. I do understand the comments about people just dropping their rifle to go straight to a side arm and the sling stops a rifle strike but the same can be achieved with the TUC. This statement has stuck with me for a very long time “Every day is a School day”, learn, practice, remember and practice some more.
There are further variations which are currently under R&D as well as T&E by active police units in the United States that will allow greater versatility both with alternative weapon platforms and units worldwide, but that is not for discussion at present. However we may be fortunate enough to do a review on those at a later date in the year so keep your eyes peeled!
Since the dawn of weapons I think the ‘sling’ has always been there, dominating and I for one am pleased that people out there are looking to challenge that dominance and at least try and provide an alternative. The Tactical Universal Clip certainly makes huge leaps in this area and I for one am pleased that I have been given the chance to see what is possible.
We want to say thank you to Tactical Universal Clip for for providing the product for the test.