You have found a rifle that suits your needs. You have most of the accessories you need attached to your AR 15 rifle. But something seems to be missing. What could it be? You need a rifle sling! Rifle slings are simple yet effective tools that every rifle owner needs. When you are hiking, stalking game, or simply waiting your turn on the range, a rifle can become quite heavy.
The rifle itself is about 6 pounds, then add in a full magazine or two, a hefty scope, or any variation of lights, handguards, stocks, or grips. Once you add all of those together, you have a particularly heavier weapon than what you started out with, making you need a rifle sling to help you out.
Rifle slings are very personal, needing you to choose one that fits your style and needs, much like a piece of clothing. For something so simple, it can be overly complicated! Where do you start?
Types of Slings
For starters, you need to know what types of sling systems there are. There are three types: single-point, two-point, and three-point. Some of the most important things to remember when looking at each type are what kind of rifle you have and what feels comfortable for you.
The sling must hold the rifle securely and safely, so make sure your rifle does not point towards you or anyone else when in the slung position. Keep this in mind while looking into each type of sling.
Single Point Sling
A single-point sling is typically attached to the rear of the rifle, then attached to you, the shooter. This is the “single-point” that the strap attaches to the rifle. The advantage of these slings is that you can easily switch the rifle from one shoulder to the other for quick firing at the range or in combat.
The downside of this type of sling is that you will have to always keep one hand on it. This is because the rifle has room to bounce around your person, hitting you in different areas of your body. It also has the potential to fall into a position where it is pointing at you or someone else, creating a dangerous situation for all involved.
A single-point sling is helpful in taking the weight off you when carrying a rifle or shotgun, but it does not free both of your hands, and there is no additional support built-in. This type of sling is invaluable in combat situations, as you can easily move, change positions, and aim without having to do extra with your sling or rifle. It is also always within reach or in your hand.
Two Point Slings
A two-point sling has two points of contact with the rifle. One point is typically mounted to the stock or to a rear quick detach end plate. The second point of contact can be mounted anywhere on the handguard.
With a two-point sling, you can hold the rifle in a few different positions and have your hands free. You can carry the rifle hunter-style (muzzle up, one shoulder), muzzle down on one shoulder, or tactical-style (diagonal, across the body).
This alone makes the two-point sling more versatile and more desired than the single-point. The downside to this sling is that while you do not have to always have a hand on the rifle to keep muzzle awareness, it does take more time to pull the rifle down into your hands to be ready to fire. Many of these slings have what are called “quick adjust tabs” to help you adjust the sling to best suit you and your needs.
The quick adjust tabs may seem difficult to use at first, but you will soon find that they are an invaluable addition to your sling. A two point sling also gives your support arm something to pull back against for a more stable shooting position when shooting off hand.
Three Point Slings
Three-point slings are often considered to be a hybrid of the one- and two-point slings. The three-point slings have a primary sling that is on the rifle, but then it also has a secondary sling that is attached by the butt plate of the weapon with a slider that slides up and down the primary sling. This sling allows you to properly carry your firearm in every position.
The main issue is that most often the rifle ends up low on your body by your waist or knees. It also can be complicated to use, since there are a lot of distinct parts to the sling that you must learn to use. You can tighten the sling to fix this, but tightening it often leads to a limited range of motion and ease of use of the weapon.
However, this sling does make it easier to aim quickly, if necessary, unlike its predecessors. Another well-known con to the three-point slings is that they have been known to get hung up on the bolt release or to block the eject port of your rifle. In high-stress situations, this can not only add precious time to your movements, but it can also cause you to become tangled in your own sling, immobilizing you and your rifle. No one needs that worry during combat or competition!
Each sling has its pros and cons. They each are helpful in different situations, depending on what you most need help with. All three slings will take the weight off your shoulders and will make traveling with a rifle much easier. The trick is to figure out which sling will help you perform your best and be safe while moving and at rest.
If you can, go into a firearms store and ask them to show you how each sling works. This is the best way to decide which one will work for you before buying it. You will not want to skimp out on this wonderful tool, though, so do not be discouraged by the many options!