Webbing Rifle Slip

A few weeks ago we looked at the canvas Arctic rifle slip used by British forces in World War II. This was far from the only cover used for protecting rifles though, and today we are looking at the much more heavy duty version made from cotton webbing:

This is a webbing bag, designed to easily accomodate the Lee Enfield rifles in use by British and Empire forces in World War II. The bag has an opening at the wider end to allow the rifle to be slipped inside:

The end flap is then folded over and secured with a small tab and brass Twigg buckle to hold the contents in firmly:

The underside of the flap has the maker’s mark (almost impossible to read on this example as the first half is missing, but I suspect M.E.Co), the date (here 1942) and a /|\ mark:

A storage pocket is sewn to the main body of the rifle slip:

Examples of the slip can be found both with and without this pocket. Another feature that is not consistent is the shoulder sling, again some examples are found which were not manufactured with this, although it does make the slip a far more practical piece of equipment. As rifles are quite heavy, the shoulder strap is secured with both stitching and metal rivets:

Finally, it was recognised that the tip of the slip, where the muzzle of the rifle is would be a vulnerable point. Not only does the muzzle shape encourage fraying of the webbing here, but when carried muzzle down in the most secure orientation, there is a temptation when taking off the slip to rest it on this end, again wearing the webbing. To help reinforce this area then, a double thickness of webbing is provided:

These gun slips are hugely popular pieces of militaria and fetch good money on the collectors’ market, although cheaper and inferior quality Indian replicas are also out there. My thanks go to Michael Fletcher who helped me add this example to the collection.

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