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A quality snap shackle (Winchard, Ronstan, Harken) is $40-$50. A strong soft shackle that can do the same job can be made for about $1.50.

Soft shackles don't replace all snap shackles, but they replace many of them. I'd still recommend a snap shackle at the bottom of either the mainsheet or vang depending on your boat to provide an easy to use lifting point if there is an man overboard. Soft shackles are awesome, but too fussy to use if the object that you are shackling is bouncing around.
+1 ... strong, light, and inexpensive (DIY). I'm using them more and more for fixed mount gear. They do require two hands to operate, so I'm still using snap shackles for temporary mount stuff (like snatch blocks, etc.).
 

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"A strong soft shackle that can do the same job" How can your soft shackle do either end of this vang (see pic), and why would you want one here?
You can't and you don't. If that setup works for you ... fine.

That said, I just replaced similar 30 year old 4:1 vang with a 12:1 cascade using dyneema strop around the boom, 4:1 dyneema/low friction rings cascade finished off with 3:1 blocks. The mast end of the vang is attached with softshackle. All up about $100 in parts.
 
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