I was recently browsing through the “Sling” section of an online airsoft retailer and came across a product called the Tactical Universal Clip. I was intrigued, as it looked nothing like the other slings listed on the website and, after reading up on the product, discovered that it was a new type of rifle holster. The system consists of two parts: A base plate made from high-strength Nylon 6-6, and a stock tube and pin assembly made from two different kinds of alloys (one of which is the same alloy used to cast the historic Pioneer Plaque).
Getting the Tactical Universal Clip ready to use is very simple. The install process of the base plate should be familiar enough to anyone who has threaded MOLLE weave before – easier, actually, as the base plate itself has no MOLLE webbing on it. You simply thread the two included velcro straps through your MOLLE/PALS rows and then sit the base plat over them. Cinch up the two velcro straps and the plate is ready for usage. Getting the stock tube clamp installed is also very easy.
The clamp screws down around the buffer tube of your favorite M4 style airsoft gun, or variant. The instructions do mention the usage of a thread adhesive to make sure none of the screws loosen with heavy usage, and I definitely recommend this as well. I used my airsoft rifle with the Tactical Universal Clip for the entirety of a day over at SC Viper and, every so often, I found myself having to hand-tighten the pin screw a bit. I got home, put some adhesive on the pin and let it set overnight. The next day, I went on back out to the airsoft field and the pin gave me no further trouble.
Using the Tactical Universal Clip for several hours, it definitely saved me a lot of the fatigue that sets in after holding one’s rifle at low ready for long periods of time. Because of this, my arms felt fresh when I had to draw it and take aim during matches. Also, I noted that drawing a rifle from the Tactical Universal Clip seemed much smoother when compared to bringing up a rifle attached to a one point sling. With a sling, I usually have to keep an eye out on it to make sure it doesn’t snag on any of my gear. The Tactical Universal Clip does not suffer from this issue. Also, changing hands mid-game was very easy – again, thanks to not having to worry about a sling getting tangled up in my gear.
Transitioning from my rifle to a sidearm while using the Tactical Universal Clip, having to re-seat the rifle into the clip, was definitely slower than just dropping my rifle to the side when it is attached with a sling. However, by the end of the first day, I felt a lot more comfortable with this movement and saw a lot of improvement to my reaction time in doing so. I believe that with additional practice, my time would get comparable to using a rifle with a sling.
We got the chance to ask Nelson Ascano, creator of the Tactical Universal Clip, some questions regarding its design, usage, and more:
Q) Tell us a bit about the creation of the Tactical Universal Clip – what was the design process like? How did you come up with the idea?
A) The design process took approximately six to seven months. The first step was to have an engineer draft the prototype of both the chest plate and the rifle clip. This was saved into an STL file. I contacted a company that does 3D printing and I had them made me a sample of both the chest plate and the rifle clip using an ABS plastic. I had the ABS sample made first because of the cost and also the time. The ABS model was done within two days. This was to make sure that it would fit the AR15 buffer tube and the chest plate was the right size before we produced them with the actual material. I tested the ABS model and found a few glitches. Some changes were made from that initial model and the engineer revised it. This process took about two to three months.
A manufacturer in Orange County made the first prototype. The prototype went through research and development. Different SWAT team members and patrol officers from local police departments, Federal Agents, and military from both active and retired members tested the first produced prototype. Some suggested changes to the design and we did. I went back to the engineer and he revised the model again. Seven months later, we had the final product. The manufacturer for the Tactical Universal Clip is actually based out of Santa Fe Springs, California.
The idea came about when my department had its AR15 training. During the rifle training, I had a hard time engaging the threat because the sling was in the way and it was getting caught on my gear. The sling kept my movement restricted and I wasn’t able to have the range of motion that I wanted. I hard a hard time transitioning from my right hand to the left. My neck and shoulder bothered me because the sling would constantly rub on my neck and put pressure on my shoulder. I was constantly fiddling with the sling. I thought to myself that there should be a better way of carrying a rifle.
Then I thought about the whole concept of the rifle. The rifle should be free from any sling or any type of tender when being used. Just like your sidearm. I should be able to point that rifle anywhere I wish quickly and without any interference from a sling or any type of tender. If you think about it, the sling can actually cost you your life if your rifle happened to get caught on your gear or person and you are not able to engage a threat in time.
If you are in a combat situation and live rounds are coming at you, the last thing you want is the rifle slung on your body restricting you and not being able to have the full range of motion.
With all this in mind, I thought about a contraption that can carry your rifle without a sling. The Tactical Universal Clip was born.
Q) Can you tell us the number of or any specific agencies/organizations which have adopted or approved the TUC for use in the field?
A) A military unit is currently using the TUC right now. I am not able to disclose who they are due to their request and liability reason. All I can tell you is they are an elite unit. Federal Agents from various Federal agencies and police departments are currently equipped with the TUC system also. Again I am not able to disclose who they are due to their request.
Q) What are the benefits of using Velcro as a MOLLE/PALS strap as opposed to a fabric like Cordura, etc?
A) The Velcro that we used is more versatile and can be adjusted as desired. It is strong and durable. I am not familiar with Cordura.
Q) Is there any difference in reaction time going from rifle to pistol using the TUC as opposed to a 1-point sling?
A) There are different variables when you transition from rifle to pistol. You have to take into consideration of the type of your environment you are in. But what it all comes down to is practice. The more you practice the more you become proficient with your equipment. With the TUC system you can transition as fast as a one point sling as long as you practice. You can have a one point sling and if you don’t practice with it then you don’t become proficient.
One thing I can say is that the TUC system is faster when engaging a threat and that is one of the advantages of using this system. Easy access to your rifle without worrying about getting caught on your gear or person.
Q) What’s next for the Tactical Universal Clip? Are there any weapon platforms that you guys would like to or are currently planning to make clips for?
A) Yes we do have the Universal Attachment for rifles with flat buttstock. You can check out the website under TAC system and see it on a Remington 870 shotgun and Ruger 10/22 rifle.
Q) What are some of the hurdles you foresee in the TUC becoming more widely used?
A) I see complaints as far as the retail cost of the product. The chest plate is from a block of Nylon 6 6 and it is CNC’d, or basically carved, to shape. The chest plate is done individually and takes many hours to make. The Velcro is not your typical Velcro as it is made from a high quality material. The rifle clip is made from 6061 T6 2024 aircraft grade alloy. The rifle clip is also CNC’d to its shape. All the materials that are used to produce the TUC are made in USA. The manufacturer is also in the USA. It comes with a lifetime warranty. If anything breaks just bring it back and we will replace it no questions ask. I believe in the saying “you get what you paid for”. Personally, I don’t want an equipment that will fail on me because I don’t want to spend that extra dollars.
I put my life on the line at work and I depend on my equipment to perform. I carry a Glock 22 because, number one, I like this weapon and I’m very proficient with it. Number two, I know that this weapon fires every time I pull the trigger. What I’m trying to point out is that I am willing to pay more for something that’s a good piece of quality equipment rather than trying to save money.
Q) Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about the TUC?
A) The TUC system is a new, innovative rifle holster. I know that when a new idea comes out, people are skeptical about it. I understand from their standpoint. I sold a lot of them already and have gotten a lot of positive reviews and feedback from them. You have to definitely have to try it for yourself in order to appreciate the TUC system. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Of course, it is not going to be for everyone, but all I am saying is for people to give it a try and then make an honest opinion.
We would like to thank Nelson Ascano for taking the time out of his schedule to answer our questions.
While the Tactical Universal Clip definitely offers a lot of benefit to the real-world law enforcement officer, soldier, or operator – the device also adds a lot of benefit to the airsoft player. However, there are a couple of aspects that an airsoft player needs to consider that a soldier or law enforcement officer doesn’t necessarily. First is that the base plate unit takes up about a 3×3 section of MOLLE/PALS space which could instead be utilized by a small admin panel or other various pouch – so, there is a trade-off when it comes to MOLLE real estate. Thankfully, you could attach whatever pouch you lost with the base plate to a combat belt, etc. Secondly, the retail price of the Tactical Universal Clip system is about $80 dollars at online retailers like Evike and AirsoftExtreme – a price that might be a bit too expensive for the weekend airsoft player. With that in mind, this device definitely needs to be considered an investment that will last you throughout your career as an airsoft player. When you consider that a good single point sling can cost up to $50 or $60 dollars, an $80 dollar purchase that wont get caught up in your gear is a godsend.
After using this product for a couple hardcore days of playing airsoft, I have officially been converted from using my standard sling. It is with this in mind that we are awarding the Tactical Universal Clip 5 out of 5 stars and granting it our Seal of Excellence. It is a revolution in rifle sling/holster solutions and it is easy to see why real world military and police organisations are taking notice. You can find the Tactical Universal Clip over at airsoft stores like Evike as well as on its own official website.