Blueshark NATO Straps are one of the straps I’ve had in a while. It’s even a strap that I bought earlier than my Cincy Strap Works which I adored so much. Between the time I first bought it and now, they’ve released a thinner version of their AlphaShark called Slim and a new line called AlphaPremier.
Blushark’s pricing is easy, but if you want to save a bit more, it can be tricky at first. Talking about the MSRP, the pricing are as follows:
- Blushark Original – USD$18
- Blushark Alphashark – USD$32
- Blushark Alphashark Slim – USD$32
- Blushark AlphaPremier – USD$36
Blushark will occasionally have promos. If you’re not interested in this part, feel free to skip to packaging and shipping to continue.
One of their running promotion is the “Buy 3, get 2 free” strap which is awesome, but we can save a bit more. Signing up to their newsletter will get you 10% off, but again it’s not enough. They have a system called ‘Abandoned Carts’ which sends you an email after X amount of days with incrementing discounts. The only requirement is that you fill in the email address in the checkout, leave any items in your cart and close the page. Eventually the system will send you emails with a unique coupon code.
- 1-2 days later – 5-10% off
- 7 to 14 days later – 15% off.
- 21 days later – 20% off
- > 21 days – 25%+ off.
There’s no specific time and discount amount that gets sent out, but the pattern follows. I received ones that are 30% off after a month and a half.
After you get the coupon code, you can now buy your 5 straps, enter the coupon code and get a further discount on top of the running promotion. In the case of the “Buy 3, get 2 free”, you’ll get a further discount on the three straps.
This is a known trick in the community, but at the same time Blushark normally allows coupon stacking. However, this just requires time and effort compared to instantly using it when you want.
Packaging and Shipping
The packaging before (2018) and current are different. It was a nice branded box before (pre-2020?) and a normal five straps order would fit in nicely. Now, the box is huge and the strap would just be all around the place surrounded by stuffing paper. Shipping was pretty standard going to Australia at 2-3 weeks.
Compared to my other reviews, I approached this review with a different mindset. Is this strap worth it at MSRP and / or at a discounted amount? My final verdict will then be two results to answer that.
The Blushark Original is your average normal weave NATO. This is the type of weave you will expect from the cheapest NATO sold by your everyday NATO shop. It’s not even worth discussing as it’s not worth for the price in both MSRP and discounted. I only bought this one as in that time, I needed an 18mm and it was all out of stock for the AlphaShark if I remember correctly.
The AlphaShark was one of the first straps I bought. Initially I was very impressed by how smooth it was that I was recommending it to everybody. However, overtime I did learn the difference of a good NATO and a better NATO that I eventually swayed to other brands overtime. That said, this is still better than the original that I would consider this as the starting point.
AlphaShark is good for the discounted price, but comparing it to others at MSRP it falls short. The smooth seat belt weave is not smooth enough and the whole strap feels very thick (1.4mm). If I run my fingers through the strap, I can still feel a bit of texture on it. The slim version (1.2mm) solves the thickness problem, but the quality should the same as it’s only the slimmer version. Hardware wise though I got no complaints and feels very solid compared to other NATO Straps. Stitching looks very solid and thick with no obvious glue residue. The tips are not overly rough as well.
The AlphaPremier solved all the problems. For only a few dollars more, you’ll get the same quality as some of the top NATO. It doesn’t feel like an Omega NATO, but the price won’t empty your wallet. The AlphaPremier lives up to its description of “silky smooth construction with a slim 1.2mm profile”. After running my fingers over it, I can’t believe how smooth it is. It’s a tad smoother than my Cincy Strap Works and feels smoother on the skin. Like the AlphaShark, the build quality is similar so the major change is really on the material.
The keeper on the AlphaPremier closest to the buckle is left unstitched as well to improve wearability for the wearer. It’s loose compared to the other ranges where it’s stitched.
The buckle quality is the same as well on the AlphaPremier over the AlphaShark.
The difference between AlphaPremier and AlphaShark is very obvious and one wouldn’t go back to the latter once you tried the AlphaPremier on.
Is this really the NATO Strap to buy?
Eventually you’ll run into straps that are 90% identical with the other brands after buying quite a few brands. It’s possibly because they’re all coming out from the same factory with minor tweaks such as buckle and stitching. If you’re in the market for 5 NATO straps, this might be the best option. If we follow the “Buy 3 get 2 free” on top of the discount, we’ll get the following calculations for the AlphaPremier:
$36 * 3 = $108
$108 * 0.75 = $81
$81 / 5 = $16.2
I used 25% off as it’s the one I received. As the calculation above shows, you’re essentially paying USD$16.2 each. This is cheaper to a comparable Cincy Strap Works at 30% off which I consider as my favourite NATO.
MSRP – 7 / 10
I find it hard to give them any higher than 7. For the amount, there’s plenty of competitors who can offer similar (AlphaPremier equivalent) or better (AlphaShark equivalent) pricing. It’s still at a good price, but you’re reaching a top level
Promotional – 10/10
However, at a promotional amount, I don’t think you can find anybody better than Blushark’s AlphaPremier. I would only consider the AlphaShark is budget is an issue or the size and colour is not available in the AlphaPremier. You can buy their strap on their online store via this link.