Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Differences between Single, Two, and Three Point Slings

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.

I’ll start this article with one 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 point sling is made for quick and easy employment when your rifle is needed. It is made to keep the rifle at hand and easy to reach. There is a tradeoff to this, and it is that 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 and can be in the way. There is often an easy solution because you can ensure minimal movement with a proper sling adjustment and it is also possible to fasten the barrel to something if you know you won’t need your rifle at a moment’s notice. I personally preferred a one point sling in Iraq because it was the easiest to fit over my body armor and was adjustable enough to get it set up just right for me. Troy Industries makes a good single point sling and most reviews I’ve seen on it are fairly positive. Another great option is the Blue Force Gear UDC slings. The adapter can be changed to allow for the same sling to be used on different weapons/sling mounts such as HK hooks, strap type mounts, or QD push button mounts. 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.

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. This sling is a very simple design and as the name states it makes 2 points of contact with the weapon. The first point is almost always the butt of the rifle or a sling swivel attached to the butt or rear of the receiver. The attachment point of the second piece varies and can be places right in front of the trigger or magazine well, or it can be placed near the front of the handguard towards the barrel. Two well-known manufacturers of good 2 point slings are Viking Tactics and Blue force gear Vicker's sling. They both offer quality craftsmanship and are both well designed for the needs of the average and even advanced rifleman. Either can be quickly loosened to allow for cross shoulder transitions or tightened keeping the weapon closer to the shooter during administrative duties, etc.

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 or load bearing equipment but my personal experience has shown that it will hang up and catch on any armor or equipment that you happen to have on. This sounds like a minor personal gripe but it is one shared by many that have needed the rifle to be available but also had to have body armor on. This is a big problem because it can keep the rifle from coming to aim when you need it most. If this is not the case with you, and you’re not going to be wearing armor, then a three point sling might prove to be the best of both worlds for you because it has the strengths of both one and two point slings but lacks the weaknesses. This means that it is instantly ready to employ like a one point sling but it can also be securely stored like the two point sling. As I’ve mentioned earlier in this article I preferred a one point sling in Iraq but had I not had to wear body armor I would have definitely preferred to use a 2 or 3 point sling.

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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