Monday, May 14, 2012

Slings for the working gun

Rifle and shotgun slings are accessory items that should be seriously considered on working long arms, that is long arms that are going to go into the field with you, hunting or checking on the buildings and livestock when you know there have been coyotes in that back pasture or ground hogs in between the buildings and we all know what it feels like when we come across a job for a rifle that is back at the house...... "the things you see when you haven't got your gun...". The same argument could be made to a greater extent to carry a sidearm. Its completely hands free until you need it and when you need it YOU REALLY NEED IT. And as the man said..."a sidearm is there so you can fight your way to a rifle (or shotgun)".

Slings come in many flavors from top grade leather with sheep skin pads to synthetic jobs with more adjustments and sliders you can shake a stick at. My argument pretty much here is you're much more likely to carry the gun with you slung over your shoulder than if you had to constantly occupy the use of one hand to carry it. Tactical conditions not withstanding slinging a rifle over your shoulder is perfectly fine. The only thing I would keep in mind is muzzle up or muzzle down. It does vary how you deploy the firearm when it is needed. I prefer muzzle down myself as it is easier to deploy, I grab the forearm of the rifle and bring it up instead of un-slinging and grabbing with the weak hand and climbing up the firearm as it were. Being taller, rifles like a Mosin Nagant with the barrel up would put the barrel at about the perfect height to run into the top of door frames and brush if I'm walking through either or.

Home defense guns 99% of the time should not have a sling on them at all, especially in smaller homes. The sling is made for 3 reasons, to carry the gun, to support a shooting position and to retain the gun when freeing up both hands is a must but slinging the gun on your back is not a option. If you are clearing your dwelling with a sidearm yes then use a sling but make sure you train with it, aware of how it snags and decide if its worth the risk of tangling up your long arm.  The basic M1 Garand and M14 cotton and nylon sling are great starters for teaching positions and use of a basic sling, really wanna get the basics down before we try to teach anything else more complex.

Pictured are two popular rifles with two different sling set ups. The top M4 type rifle
has a side mounted sling the rear point is supplied by a side stock magazine pouch.
You need to really understand with guns why we are using what we are using and putting on the gun as an accessory , it may not work the same for you the way we are making it work for ourselves.  You need to start with a standard firearm and use it train with it, and then add to it as necessary. It is ok to get a AR with a rail and try combinations of accessories while you find what you like, what you don't like and what works/does not work. But do not go buying something with lots of stuff hanging off of it you think you need especially if you don't know why its there or how best to utilize it.

One thing you should take into serious consideration in a defense firearm is quick detach (QD) sling attachments. There are a lot of good ones out there for your use (if you have a use). I don't understand needing two QD points unless you need to remove the sling completely or put it on quickly...which may be a good option for long arms that may go on post apocalyptic patrol with you after you sweep your apartment and bug out?  But in all seriousness a sling with 2 QD points will allow your shotgun or rifle you use in the 2 gun matches to be quickly modified for use as needed. I stay away from single point slings as I view them more as a modified lanyard of sorts more so than a sling. If you are hands free of your long arm and crouched the muzzle may go into the dirt with a single point sling. Try one out and see how you like it, I will stay with a modified 2 point.

Not all mounts are steel or least hard plastic. The M4 you can see has
a paracord point which is silent and movable. It will not melt where it is mounted and does not get in the way
The M44 has leather fasteners which should occasionally be oiled to keep from cracking if its a truck gun.

Sling position on the gun will have a lot to do with how it functions as a useful accessory. Positioning the sling correctly to maximize use and comfort when the option is in your best interest. Try not to mix the side mounted front sling stud and a bottom rear sling stud.....esp if you are using the sling to transfer to a secondary will nail yourself in the groin with the pistol grip of your AR or other such flavored rifle or shotgun...and I'll you...for a while.  For firearms that are going to be used for 2 gun matches or otherwise are "worn" and "retained" when transitioning from long arm to pistol or revolver I highly recommend side mounting the sling. Again train with it, learn it and modify it as needed....shoot matches and put it in use! You need to know how your gear is going to perform when you go to use it...either for farm use...or for matches.

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