A gun sling is often associated with the aesthetics and comfort of carrying a gun. A good gun sling can also act as a life-saving tool in extreme situations. Opinions about using slings are quite diverse among shooters, but having a sling helps for sure.
Here we’ll be talking about some good reasons you might want to get a sling for your rifle. We’ll also talk about and review some of the best AR-15 slings available on the market to help you make a buying decision.
Quick Comparison Chart of the Best AR-15 Slings
Armstac MX2 2 Point Battle Gun Shoulder Strap
Paracord Survival Two Point Gun/Rifle Sling
Brownells Tactical Plus Rifle Sling
Magpul Two Point MS1 Sling
STI Two Point Rifle Sling
Carrying Your Gun Comfortably
A sling is always useful for carrying your weapon over long hunting trips and treks. No doubt a sling helps with that, but it also complements the aesthetics and accuracy (more on that accuracy part later) of your rifle.
Since their inception, AR-15 rifles have featured a robust carrying handle on the top. Carrying handles might seem good but they are actually not that comfortable. It’s like holding a jerry can filled with 8 pounds of metal. It might be good for local shifting but not for treks, combat situations or hunting trips. Moreover, you’ll end up having bruised and fatigued fingers, which is not so good for shooting.
Using a sling transfers all this weight to your back, which is more suited to bearing weights for prolonged durations (that’s why we have backpacks and not palm packs). A sling lets you hang your rifle from your shoulder and keep your hands free while you move. Obviously this lets you do more things at a time like holding flashlights, a compass, maps, or anything else. This capability is important for soldiers in a combat situation, where one has to use and move a lot of things simultaneously without losing their weapon.
A sling also helps in preventing your palms and fingers from fatigue so you always have the energy and reflexes to take a shot. A sling also lets a person to quickly transitions from the primary rifle to a secondary weapon without just throwing away the rifle.
A sling is also helpful in letting you improve your accuracy. You can use the sling to create tension. It works almost like having a bench rest while you take long distance shots or change your stance. There are several types of slings fit for this purpose, and we’ll be talking about them later.
Another very creative, or let’s say innovative, aspect of a sling is its use as a life-saving tool in extreme situations. AR-15 slings can be used to create a tourniquet to hold wounds. It can be used as a rope for tying knots in a shelter, tying up chunks of wood or creating a snare (if your target is small and you don’t want to create noise) in survival situations. Several paracord-type slings are also available on the market which can be used to create extensive ropes.
What To Look For In A Sling
There are quite a few factors you might want to consider before buying a good sling for your AR-15. Your individual discretion is always a priority, but you still have to keep some basic important things in mind before buying a sling.
Padding refers to the fluffiness of the sling. Some slings are simple leather or nylon straps whereas some slings have been ergonomically padded with lumps of cotton or polymer to offer better comfort. Carrying an 8-pound rifle through the forest is a tedious task, especially in summers. If you are worried about getting a bruised shoulder you might want to actually buy a padded sling.
Slings are generally available in nylon and leather variants. Some people prefer the feel of one over the other, but it's entirely a matter of personal choice.
Most slings these days offer adjustable straps. However, you should always check and find a length you are comfortable with. Taller people tend to like longer slings so make sure your sling can extend up to your desired length.
Moreover, length is always helpful in transitioning so the sling doesn’t hook up with your neck or underarm causing problems. Always go for a longer sling if you can’t decide because it will have a larger adjustable length.
One very important factor to notice is the durability of a rifle sling. Of course it should hold up to the weight of the rifle and the jostling it will experience as you move. But a sling will also take part of the recoil when you shoot, so always check the quality of the sling attachment clips, attachment straps and buckles. Try to aim for metal components instead of simple plastic ones.
There are quite a few different types of slings available on the market. Each of them offers a different level of comfort but eventually it's your own preference. From 3-gun competitions to hunting and sniping, different types of slings serve different purposes.
Types of Slings
There are several different types of slings available on the market. Each of them offers a different level of comfort and serves a different purpose. Choosing the right sling will help you with comfort, ease of switching weapons, holding your stance and even improving your accuracy.
A 1-point sling, as the name suggests, offers a single point of connection to the rifle. This type of sling can be attached to the stock through a swivel stud or bolt and acts like a lanyard around your neck. A single point sling makes dropping and picking up your weapon very simple. The rifle will always remain in front of you and you don’t have to worry about it moving sideways if you don’t want to. So it allows you to switch between your weapons easily and quickly.
1-point slings have their own drawbacks and they are not really useful for novice shooters. With a 1-point sling, your weapon will sway a lot and it can event hurt you in the knee or groin area if handled carelessly. In addition, you’ll always have to place one hand on your weapon to prevent it from swaying.
The 2-point sling is the old-fashioned sling we’ve been seeing for decades. It is attached with two connection points of your rifle - one below the barrel and other on the stock. 2-point slings can be used using the American Carry(slung over back of the shoulder with muzzle up), European Carry (slung over the front of the shoulder with muzzle up), or African Carry (slung over the back of the shoulder with muzzle down).
Each of these carry styles has their own benefits when taking stance. 2-point slings can be used to improve accuracy by using your non-dominant arm to create tension in the sling to hold your rifle firmly. This is also known as the ‘hasty-sling’ method. On the contrary, two-point slings are a bit difficult when it comes to transitioning sides.
The 3-point slings are an extension of 2-point slings featuring a quick-release adjustable buckle over the strap. The sling is attached to the fore and rear end of the rifle as usual, but the buckle in the middle of the strap makes the transition from a rifle to a sidearm easier. Moreover, with 3-point slings, your AR-15 will not dwindle and hit you every now and then in your groin or knee. Frankly speaking, the 3-point sling combines the capability of 1-point and 2-point slings. However, on the contrary, some shooters complain the slings to get caught on bolt release mechanism.
The Ching Sling is a shooting sling to assist you with achieving a firm stance for long-range shots. The sling is similar to a 2-point sling, with a third bolt attached to the gun’s center stud. This forms a loop in the front part of the sling. You can pass your supporting arm through this loop to steady your aim and take a shot. Ching slings are quite useful when shooting your rifle in the sitting or kneeling stance.
A cuff sling, as the name suggests, features an arm-cuff loop in a 2-point sling design. This arm cuff is especially helpful for sharpshooters to take accurate long-distance shots. These slings eliminate the need to use a bipod and so proves quite helpful during tedious hunting sessions where people usually avoid carrying a lot of gear.
Reviews of the Best AR-15 Slings
Let’s have a look at the some of the top slings available to carry your AR-15. You’ll find most of our recommendations are for 2-point slings because these generally offer the most comfort and utility.
The Armstac MX2 2-point sling is probably the most feature-packed sling in this list. The heavy-duty nylon strap can handle up to 250 lbs of weight. The sling is adjustable with different mount options and easy release clasps.
The nylon stock adapter can be wrapped around a rifle’s butt stock in case no sling points are available. The sling can be easily converted from two-point to one-point and is extremely useful for shorter shooting sessions where a lot of transition is involved. The sling is heavy-duty and the price is quite impressive.
This two-point sling features a 550-lb authentic commercial paracord which can be extended to a 25-ft long cord. The sling features rot-resistant synthetic cotton material which is resistant to water and high temperatures.
Each sling has a plastic tri-glide to attach it to 1-inch or 1.25-inch wide swivel studs. The center of the strap features an extra-wide tri-glide for quick and convenient adjustment. The sling also has a woven paracord shoulder which is about 15 ½ inches long and ½ inch thick.
The paracord has been woven over two layers of canvas and one layer of foam providing a thick padding for your shoulders. The paracord makes it quite helpful in survival situations. Taking a look at its price and features, this paracord sling is among the fairest deals available on the market.
The Tactical Plus Rifle Sling is a urethane-coated nylon 2-point sling which features the standard 1907 military sling design. The urethane coating makes the sling flexible like leather while also imparting strength and making it resistant to water and high temperatures.
The adjustable 1 ¼ inch wide strap offers a nice paddy feel. The hooks and steel rings are hardened and parkerized for extra strength and corrosion resistance. The sling is perfect for hunting as it offers amazing strength and comfort to the shooter.
The Magpul MS1 is a two-point sling with a width of 1.25 inches and 48-60 inches length. The sling has been manufactured from nylon and features polymer buckles for adjustment. The material is super-soft and comfortable, allowing you to use it for longer stretches of time.
The sling is long enough to be used in an arm-loop configuration. The quick adjustment slide is very easy and quick to use. Moreover, the sling doesn’t have any loose ends to tangle with any other gear. The sling is available in multiple colors and offers a fair return for your money.
The STI two-point rifle sling features a premium nylon tube woven webbing with heavy stitching which makes the sling durable and sturdy to resist recoil and weight impacts. The high impact polymer sling buckle helps you in adjusting the length and keeping it in place.
The adjustable size ranges between 30 to 55 inches which is a good length. The sling has a good price point and is good enough to be used for hunting, competitions and even practice. The wide strap design resists tangling and the sling works with all 1.25-inch hardware.
A sling is not only an aesthetic piece to the rifle. It lets a shooter make quick transitions, walk long distances comfortably with their rifle and even serves as a survival gear in extreme situations. A sling, whatever type it is should be durable, long enough to make adjustments and must suit your individual preferences.