Long guns such as carbines require both hands in order to shoot and manipulate them effectively. Because they tend to be long and can be heavy, especially after a couple of hours of shooting, having the means to attach them to your body while giving your own guns a rest is a welcome relief. Rifle slings help you do just that in addition to freeing your hands for other tasks, like fist bumps and high fives. Some slings can even help you stabilize your aim for more accurate shots.
Types of Rifle Slings
Gun slings feature many variations. For tactical carbine shooters, single- and two-point slings are the most commonly employed, with a few shooters opting for three-point slings. Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses with select examples of each type.
Single-Point Rifle Slings
Single-point rifle slings create a loop that goes over the head with the strap placed on your strong-side shoulder that runs diagonally across the body. It usually attaches to the carbine with a quick-detach device at the rear of the lower receiver. Your carbine will require a proper mount to attach this sling.
These types of gun slings keep the carbine oriented toward the front, centerline of the body, making it easy for the shooter to grip the rifle from its resting position. Aside from it being easy to put on and remove, the real strength of this design is that it makes switching the carbine from either shoulder easier. This feature makes it popular with certain law enforcement and military users.
Its weakness is that the gun dangles freely when it is not held in place. When single-points are on the move and not supported, they’ve been known to interfere with movement and even tweak the frank and beans in some painful instances. For those who need to carry their rifles for long stretches of time, you’ll want to know that single-points offer very little in terms of weight distribution, making them uncomfortable to use for long periods of time.
- Positives: Great for shoulder transitions; easy to use; quickly disconnects from the carbine.
- Negatives: Dangles the carbine when not held; poor weight distribution.
Two-Point Rifle Slings
The modern two-point is probably the most popular style sling to use with carbines today. Modern two-point gun slings differ from traditional types in that they feature adjustment loops or hardware to quickly allow for length adjustment. They connect at two points: One at the front and one on the stock of the carbine, either directly to the carbine or with quick-detach hardware. Depending on your method of attachment, specialized sling mounts may be required. There are several ways you can wear a two-point gun sling, including over one shoulder, across the front of the body with the carbine resting diagonally on your back or across your body with the carbine on your front side.
Two-point gun slings really shine when used as shooting aids. Because they are designed for quick adjustment, they can be rapidly and effortlessly snugged tight to help brace the rifle to the shooter for a more stable shooting position, which can result in a more accurate shot. This style of sling doesn’t have many weaknesses except they do require the user to unsling when transitioning from the strong to weak side shoulder and vice versa.
- Positives: Multiple methods of use, doubles as a shooting aid, comfortable extended carry.
- Negatives: Need to unsling for transitional shoulder shooting.
Three-Point Rifle Slings
The name three-point is a misnomer since three-point rifle slings only attach to the carbine at two points. The third point is actually the shooter him or herself, with a strap that wraps around the body. By and large, the majority of shooters no longer use three-point gun slings. A three-point sling’s design secures the rifle to the user, which it does well. However, this type of sling can make movement between sling, carbine and you unduly restrictive.
The advantage of three-point gun slings is that the carbine remains securely attached to the shooter when it’s not held. The problem with these slings is that they can be complicated to install and use. They may get hung up on gear and interfere with the operation of the gun, especially AR-15-type rifles. Transitional shooting can be difficult with this type of gun sling.
- Positives: Secure, the sling keeps your rifle out of the way while you’re moving
- Negatives: Complicated, interferes with gun operation, forget about transitioning shoulders
For more information on some of the products mentioned above, please visit the following websites:
- Blackhawk! Storm Sling XT: blackhawk.com
- Magpul MS3 Sling GEN 2: magpul.com
- Spec.-Ops. Brand Mamba, M4: specopsbrand.com