Walk into most any outdoor provision company store today and you’re likely to find a display showing some unusual bracelets. They may look a little bulky to many but when customers find out that these bracelets are not only stylish but also created to serve a definite purpose in case of an emergency, they often buy one.
I learned the value of this type of cordage while I was serving in the U.S. Air Force and was able to find access to some lengths of parachute cord. Used for its tremendous strength to weight ratio (550 pounds breaking strength) the cord was used to support a parachute carrying a man or equipment to the ground. It was made of seven strands of nylon string encased in woven nylon cord. It does not rot; it’s impervious to water and it is a true multi-purpose type of cord that has proven to be of great use to outdoors people that like to keep a length of it on hand for emergencies.
Paracord has come into recent popularity after a group of U.S. Marines were serving our country on overseas duty and figured out that a small plaited length of it could be made into a bracelet and answered the military’s directive that every Marine carry about 15 feet of cord with them at all times they were in a combat situation. These inventive Marines had plaited the 20 feet of required cord into a bracelet, attached one of these high strength quick release buckles on each end of the bracelet and had their superiors OK the compact bracelet as the required length of cord.
The original survival “paracord” bracelets were, of course, colored olive drab for camouflage purposes but as civilians discovered these utility bracelets could be had in a myriad of colors, the bracelets became quite stylish.
While shopping for some fishing lures in a Radford, Va., military surplus store, I found some of these stylish survival bracelets braided in the Virginia Tech school colors. The owner of the store noted my interest in the bracelets and we discussed the possibility of her making other bracelets in the East Carolina or N.C. State University’s colors and she said that she could make them in about any color or combination that a customer might want. (Sally Elliott at Elliott’s Military Surplus and Fishing Tackle store, 540-639-1038). Her custom made bracelets sell for $12 to $15 each.
That same afternoon, I received an email from Michael Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org who is making rifle and shotgun slings from braided paracord and is custom building, individual slings in about any color for hunters and shooters. I’d never considered that a rifle sling made from this paracord might be just about the ideal sling before but when you think about it, it seems ideal.
A rifle sling made from paracord is impervious to water, soft to the touch, tends to stick to the shoulder without slipping off and is yet extremely strong so that it would ride well on a hunter’s shoulder.
In case of an emergency, could be unraveled into about 50-feet of extremely useful cordage. If you pulled the seven individual strings of inner cord from the paracord and joined them together, survivalists would have about 350 feet of strong string and still have the stronger outer layer of the paracord for heavier use.
Michael Smith said, “There are a couple of different of options we can go with. Here is one of the styles on a shotgun. It is the tension slip-on on one end and a quick disconnect clip on the other end.
“If you are getting it for guns that have the swivels, we can do the quick disconnect on each end of the sling. Then I can give you a short piece of paracord and a clip for each end and show you how to tie it on. Or you can bring the swivels with you, and I tie them on (This part is super simple). I can also put the sling right on the swivels as well. At this time, I can do solid ODB green, solid black or solid tan. I can also order any color preference you might have as well.”
Michael Smith’s custom-built rifle and shotgun slings sell for about $30 each.
If one uses their imagination there must be literally thousands of unique uses for the old standby GI paracord. For campers, fishermen, hunters, survivalists and preppers the paracord is a must have and can be an ideal Christmas gift for an outdoors person. For bulk paracord, Google the item on the Internet. There are several dealers in this popular outdoor item across the country.