Anyone that does any serious rifle carrying and shooting knows how vital it can be to have the best sling for any given application. It’s not an easy choice because there are so many styles and there is no one right choice. Oftentimes different jobs will call for a different type and brand of sling. This determination must be made by the individual that will be using the gear because it is a unique and personal choice.
1) Single Point Slings – This is a sling that is mostly useful when carrying an AR styled rifle or a shotgun with the proper attachments. The one big plus of the single point design is it is very easy to switch from shoulder to shoulder for weak side barricade shooting. It is made to keep the rifle at hand and easy to reach. The one point sling is made for quick and easy employment when your rifle is needed. Negatives...when you drop the rifle to go for a pistol or to use your hands for other things then the rifle will sometimes hang loose, It tends to make the rifle dangle and hang off of you with very little stability. When you are shooting on the move after a transition it tends to interfere with your movement as the carbine wants to hang in front of your body. It also likes to hang up on kit as it is tight around your upper torso. When you take a knee it is guaranteed you will muzzle strike the ground unless you control it. Also if you are trying to climb anything it wants to hang in front of your body and prevent you from climbing efficiently. I would stress that these are probably not a good choice for a hunting rifle that is in the more traditional wooden stock shape as they are generally better supported with a traditional sling and are often too long to hang from your body the way a one point sling will be used.
2) Two Point Slings – Next up for discussion is the two point sling. This is the sling that I see son most hunting rifles and actually still on some combat long arms. It is mainly used as a way to hold the rifle when it’s not in use but can also be used to sturdy the weapon for a more stable shot. Non adjustable two point slings like a standard USGI M16 sling offer real advantages in the ability to transition easily and keep the sling from hanging up on kit but suffer from the fact they are rarely the ideal length for any given task. They are generally too long or too short depending on a shooters position. Enter the quick adjust two point sling; in my opinion the best all around choice for a carbine sling and the overwhelming favorite in the Spec Ops circles. It offers the best features, all things considered, with one negative vs. a single point design. Most of the time you will have to unsling one shoulder to do weak side barricade shooting. This of course depends on how you wear it and the kit you have on at the time.
3) Three Point Slings – The 3 point sling is made to be used both for retention and for assistance with aiming. It helps with aiming by being adjustable to ensure a tight fit and a good, steady shooting position. This sling is good for use if you are not wearing body armor. Very rarely seen these days in classes anymore. With an AR style carbine they are about the worst possible choice. They offer none of the advantages of an adjustable two point with almost every negative in the book. They tend to hang up on kit big time. For a right hander they can interfere with controls and for a left hander they interfere with ejection. If you are standing around with no body armor on they may be cool, but with any gear on shooters quickly figure out the handicaps of 3 point slings.
In summary, there is no right sling for every person. As a matter of fact each person might still need 2 or 3 slings to meet various needs. This all comes down to two factors and they are personal choice and mission requirement. We might not all think of ourselves as the military type but we all have a mission when carrying a rifle. This mission can be as simple as a good safe time on a shooting range or as complicated as protecting your life and others in a war zone. When the time comes we should all be able to count on our handpicked sling to live up to the requirements we’ve placed on it.
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