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Rifle Slings 101

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A sling is the equivalent of a gun holster for a longer firearm like a rifle or a shotgun. Without a sling these longarms can be burdensome, awkward and induce unwanted fatigue. For those toting a gun through rough terrain for longer time periods a good sling is the perfect solution to lighten your load and store your weapon to allow your hands to be free. Another benefit of a sling for your weapon is it can help improve your aim and aid you in hitting your target more accurately.

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Slings are typically secured to a weapon with swivels and swivel studs. There are many different varieties and combinations of slings and firearms and the best one depends on your circumstances. The most important factor to keep in mind is whether you are going to use your weapon and sling for hunting, or as a tactical weapon. Slings are named according to how many points they have connecting them to the weapon. The other variations of a sling include the hardware, adjustment methods, textile it is made of, and its dimensions.

There are three main types of firearm slings. The first is the single-point sling. These are popular in military and law enforcement operations because it enables the wearer to have fast interchange between shoulders during action and transitions from rifle to pistol. This is donned over the head and under the arm and is connected to the firearm on the lower side of the stock. Correctly modeled, the sling holds the weapon directly on the front of the

wearer so that they can retrieve any other weapons they are toting. Sometimes this can be seen as a negative aspect of the one-point sling because have the weapon dangling at your front can be awkward or catch on things. Bending over can put the muzzle in the dirt creating the potential for blockage of the bore and potential injury to the shooter if the weapon is fired. These slings are not very helpful when it comes to redistributing weight so they are not the best option to use when hunting or walking for long periods.

The second kind of gun sling is the two-point and is the most traditional of the types. It is the oldest of the styles. They attach to the buttstock and forearm of a weapon and can be draped either over the shoulder, across the midsection with the firearm resting on the user's back, or around the user's neck. Used correctly, these slings provide great firing position support for hitting longer range targets. Enhanced long range shooting and a hands free carrying aid makes a two-point, or “simple sling,” a great choice for hunting excursions.

Next is the three-point sling which creates a lot of attachment between the weapon and its owner. It is not actually

3point.jpgconnected by three points, it is connected by two and the third connecting point from the weapon to the rifleman via a loop of fabric that encircles the torso and secures the gun to the user. The main benefit of this kind of sling is the weapon is constantly secured to the shooter for easy access. Though a bit more complicated with various connectors and sliders, this type of sling is versatile as it can be configured as a single point or two point sling as the need dictates. It’s sufficient for both hunting and tactical situations.

Another unique item in the gun sling family is the pistol lanyard. These attach a handgun to the user and although seldom used they have a place when there is a potential for loss of the pistol either through accident or theft from the holster. These come in shoulder and belt variations and are best for travel situations with the lanyard being removed before use as they can get twisted up with other gear.

The width of gun slings are typically 1 and 1.25 inches and are made of leather or nylon fabric. Leather looks more classic and sometimes has personalized tooled decoration. Nylon offers more weather resistance, lighter weight, and typically are offered in more configurations. When choosing a sling ensure the length is appropriate for your rifle and that the extended length is suitable for your body size.

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With so many hardware options available be sure the connecting points match the connecting points on your rifle be they swivels, lugs or holes for snap hooks. Also pay attention to the more advanced slings sometimes between the hardware, adjustment points and configuration they can be complex and hard to manipulate.

Like many accessories there are so many options, manufacturer’s and configurations available that it can be confusing and expensive as you move from one to the other to find the right one.Just remember to do your research and if nothing else the simple two-point sling has been the mainstay for centuries and doesn't require a user manual..