Owning and using a number of Leicas over the years, I have never been impressed with their body lugs, especially those on the M series. For a company that prides itself on its professionalism, quality of manufacture and material selection, in my opinion Leica’s lugs are under par, certainly when compared with my Nikon F2’s lugs, which have stainless steel inserts, and are virtually ‘bomb proof’ showing no wear even with sustained usage over the years with a heavy lens such as a Nikkor 200mm.
My experience is that Leica’s body strap lugs wear even when using Leica’s own excellent carrying strap with its gently curved clips (Leica part 14 312), and pretty rapidly if one uses triangular strap clips such as Nikon’s.
This issue came to a head when I purchased a ‘Millennium’ M6 TTL black paint body, whose lugs are made of brass, and the supplied carrying strap clips, made of steel – nice one Leica!
I would have liked to have been in on the development meeting for this… “Hey, fellas, we’re going to celebrate 2000 with a gorgeous limited edition black paint M6 TTL, it is going to be a showcase for what we do… but we’re going to make the lugs out of brass, which will get worn nicely by the supplied carrying strap with its steel clips. Good idea or what?”
So here’s my solution, which I haven’t seen anywhere else or anybody else suggest, so I thought I’d pass it on (obviously the following requires a reasonable modicum of care, so I can’t be responsible for accident or damage):
1 Unclip and remove your strap from the body lugs.
2 Take apart a Bic Crystal Grip biro (alternatively a Staedtler Stick 430F), removing its ink barrel from the outer body sleeve – just carefully pull apart the ball point end from the outer body sleeve.
3 Using the clean and empty end of the Bic biro plastic ink barrel, gently push it into the body lugs – on my M6 it is a firm fit – until the end is level or protrudes slightly out of the opposite side of the lug.
4 Cut off the inserted ink barrel flush with the edge of the lug.
5 Repeat for the second lug.
6 Refit your strap.
You will use so little of the ink barrel to line the body lugs, the biro can be reassembled and used as normal.
I believe the Bic ink barrel material is a kind of polypropylene… whatever it is, it is hard wearing, stays in place and certainly protects my M6’s brass body lugs from wear using my Leica carrying strap and a black paint 35mm Summicron Asph.