It is time for another installment of the Factory to Table Series. In Part 5 we will be making a trip to another corner of New Hampshire to visit Edgar, of Edgar Sherman Design. He will walk me through making one of his ESD Slings. But before we get there, lets take a step back in case you missed anything.
I started this Factory to Table Series after thinking to myself about all of the different components and pieces required for me to go out shooting or hunting. So many pieces of gear had to come together in order to make it happen. From the gun, to the ammunition, to all of the periphery gear. I also got to thinking about what would make a great short range hunting gun for where I live in the Pacific North West.
With all of this in mind I set out on my Factory to Table adventure. Heading out to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and building a MiniFix pistol in 300 Blackout with Q LLC, along with a .30 Caliber silencer, their Trash Panda. I then headed up north to build some expanding subsonic 300 Blackout ammunition with David from Discreet Ballistics. My next stop took me to Cole-Tac where Dustin led me through making a custom suppressor cover. And now here I am with Edgar…
I originally met Edgar a year or so ago when a friend of mine had mentioned his initial impression with the ESD (Edgar Sherman Design) Sling. Since that time I’ve been running one of his slings on a number of guns. I’ve even reviewed one in the past. But when it comes to ordering something online, versus having a hand in building it, that is a cool experience. So I headed out to the Eastern corner of New Hampshire and met up with Edgar.
The basement of his house has been converted into a workspace. The table in the center overflowed with different pieces of tactical gear and rifles. All manner of things which serve to inspire design or test out new prototypes on. Back against the far wall is where the work happens. Everything Edgar makes is sewn by hand on a Yuki Sewing Machine.
Our first order of business was to find some colors for the sling. While he has a whole huge variety of webbing with all of the standard fare from Flat Dark Earth and Black, all the way to MultiCam Alpine, he suggested Olive Drab webbing with Black Hardware. Seeing the subtle grey tones of the MiniFix, I immediately agreed, they compliment it nicely.
With hardware and webbing in hand, I got to work. He gave me a quick and dirty rundown on how to operate the sewing machine and gave me some scrap webbing to try a few stitches on. With me crash course complete, it was time to get started for reals.
One of the first steps was to secure one of the tri-glides onto the end of the sling. This required a method of bartacing. Think about stitching a big Z or X pattern inside of a box. It is a way of effectively securing webbing, or any sewn materiel for that matter, so that the thread won’t come out. I will say, the automatic Bartac machine I used at Cole-Tac was definitely easier, dare I say foolproof. But under Edgar’s gaze and with some guidance I sewed it up.
While there are a lot of slings on the market and a lot of people making soft goods, one thing that continually strikes me about Edgar and his work, is the thought he gives it as an Industrial Designer. How will this piece of gear interact with the end user? That is the question he continually asks himself. To that end, I appreciated the details the explained along the way.
While sewing a number of pieces, he pointed out here and there how and why to sew in a certain place or pattern. Explaining how running the webbing a certain way and sewing from one side versus the other creates a smoother edge. This in turn translates into more comfort for the user as well as the ability of the sling to slide freely across clothing and gear while transitioning or shifting positions.
Another simple yet amazing feature I sewed together was a elastic band. I know, ground braking right? But the band, when sewn in place, does double duty. On the one hand it routes the webbing through the tri-glide, ensuring the webbing doesn’t become tangled while adjusting it, and secondly it allows for the storage of the sling. The sling when not in use can be doubled back on itself and secured inside the elastic band. Really handy for storage during transportation, in a vehicle or even a gun safe.
Getting to the end of the process, I opted for sewn loops. His slings are offered in a few varieties. With sewn in QD Swivels, loose ends where you can attach the webbing to your choice of hardware, or sewn ends. I opted for sewn ends. This allows me to attach the sling using lengths of paracord. This for me is the most practical. The MiniFix doesn’t boast traditional sling studs, so by using paracord loops, I can easily affix the sling to the forend and rear brace.
While I did the lion’s share of the sewing, I will say I had some professional help. After making it through the entire sling, the last thing I wanted to do was screw it up attaching the label. So after Edgar wrote a quick note on the back of his label, he sewed it up, effectively making this sling a collaboration.
After attaching the new sling to the MiniFix, it did exactly what was expected. A incredibly lightweight and easy to use sling. Allowing me to quickly transition from keeping the gun stowed for hiking and travel in the back country, to immediately adjusting the the length to create a solid shooting position. Excellent!
With that, the 5th step in my Factory to Table series is complete. While I now have a gun, the MiniFix by Q, as well as a silencer, some custom subsonic ammunition for it, a silencer cover and now a sling… It is about time to get an optic on this. So the next stop will be to visit Phil from Scalarworks in Pennsylvania in order to build a scope mount.
You can see the video I created of the experience below.