What’s the Best Sling? (and how to Pick it)
We all know that we need to select a good sling for our long gun, but what’s the best sling for you? Ok, to start with I am not talking to snipers or long gun hunters. You guys have your own special needs…I am talking to the audience of AR/M4 weapon shooters who are either door kickers, tactical shooters or weekend warriors. Maybe you just bought your first M4 style rifle and you can’t put the thing down because you forgot to order a sling. There are so many brands, types, and styles that for the novice it can be confusing and overwhelming! Don’t get “slung-up” in selecting the right sling. I’m going to break down the basic types of slings out there and help eliminate some confusion.
Types of Slings
Simple/Traditional Sling (Two-Point)
This is the oldest and most familiar type. This sling design has two connection points that attach to the front and rear of the weapon, and it allows the shooter to carry the weapon over his back, with the sling draped across the torso, around the neck, or over one shoulder. It is not just a carrying strap but can act as an aid to greater hit probability by helping the shooter aim steady. A variation on this sling is the Two-Point (Quick-Adjust) Sling. This sling is the same as the basic two-point but can be quickly adjusted with a pull-tab.
This is the best sling if you’re looking for comfort or if you want to use your sling to help stabilize the gun for better accuracy. This was my preferred sling type as a Navy SEAL when we were on patrol, i.e. long walks through the woods. If it’s a hunting gun – get this one.
The advantages of the three-point sling are that it functions more like a harness and is therefore strapped to the shooter. This allows the shooter to release the weapon to use his hands for other tasks (such as transitioning to a pistol). The design of the three-point sling consists of a loop of material (usually Cordura or similar) that loops around the torso and two straps that go to the front and rear of the weapon. The shooter’s body and the front and rear of the weapon are the three points that give this design its name. This is the most secure sling system meaning that the weapon is the most secure and stable when left free hanging in front of the shooter while you’re doing something else with your hands.
This is the best sling for you if you’re going to want the gun hanging in front of you for speed, while you’re using your hands for other tasks. I’ve never liked this type personally except when using theMP5N submachine gun, but some people swear by them. If you’re a traffic cop in Chicago and need to make a lot of hand signals, but also defend yourself quickly from home-grown terrorists who don’t think Blue-Lives Matter – get this one.
This is a specialized sling design that allows the shooter to maneuver the gun through tight spaces and quickly transition to shooting from the opposite shoulder. Like the three-point sling, the single-point sling permits the shooter to drop the weapon and let it hang downward while still attached to their body. This sling design is either a loop around your neck and torso or a short single strap that is attached to your vest or body armor and is best suited for short-term tactical use. The weapon is not as stable while in the hanging position and cannot provide the same degree of long-term anti-fatigue weight support as other slings. The one advantage of the single point design is that there is only one strap, so it’s less likely your sling will get in the way.
This is the best sling type for you if you want your gun permanently attached to your body, don’t need a comfortable sling because you only pretend to operate or that’s what your agency bought because the supply guy knows nothing about tactical shooting. If that’s the case, get this one. (Do I need to share how I feel about this type?)
The Best Sling (for You)?
That’s it, guys, those are the main choices as far as sling types go. Yes, there are a bunch of other specific types that are out there each with their own little twist, but I won’t cover those until the Chris Sajnog Signature-Series Slings go into production…(that’s a joke). With that said, my personal choice is a 2-in-1 sling like the MS2 Multi Mission Sling System made by Magpul. I have to tell you that this is a very versatile sling system. Basically, this sling can be worn as a single point sling and you can easily convert this to a two-point system in a matter of seconds. This sling is very well made and functions extremely well. Two slings in one, I love it! They can be pricey and hard to find, but there are some well-made knock-offs, like this one. Make sure you pick your sling type by how you intend to use it 80% of the time (Pareto principle). Whichever type you decide to go with, get one from a company with a solid reputation so it doesn’t fall apart when it’s go time. And remember, you can always have more than one sling! Let me know what your favorite sling setup is by posting yours in the comment section below.