Do you know how to set-up a sling for your AR

Setting up a 2 point sling for an AR pattern rifle can be a confusing task, if no one has showed you how and with modern rifles and rails there are many ways to…. um, install them sub-optimally.

Personally, I think there are 2 causes that lead us astray…

VietnamSoldier

Photo from the movie costume house FX House Associates in CA

1) The AR15 is a great rifle with many attributes in its own rights, but it is famous because of the M16, which became known in Vietnam.  If like me you were born after 1955, most of your knowledge of the war came from pictures, books and news articles that were illustrated with photos like the one to the left.

At this point in our history our rifle techniques were still largely driven by hunting and this sling set-up does approximate what you will still find on most hunting rifles; however, it is basically a holster for your rifle, as Michael Bane has been fond of saying recently.

When slung like this, it holds the rifle upside down, which is not optimal for obvious reasons, but just as importantly if the soldier were to use the sling with tension as a shooting aid, it would put pressure on his barrel and shift his point of aim.

I hope he was under as much stress when he sighted his rifle in as he was when he was fighting!

2) The proper way to do just doesn’t seem to make sense! Who would ever think that the sling should be mounted on different sides of the gun?

Mounting A Sling

We might be getting ahead of ourselves a bit by discussing how to mount sling before we have ever discussed selecting a sling… but I’m going to do it anyway.  If you want to know about single point vs double point slings, or why you might consider the Vickers sling vs the Viking Tactics sling let me know in the comments and if there is enough interest we’ll do it. For today’s purposes were talking double point, adjustable slings.
sling_rear

Starting at the Rear

There are 2 preferred ways to attach the sling to the stock of your gun.  On the top and on the outside, when shooting on you dominate side. (With a rifle dominance is determined by your eyes, not your hands… right!)

For stocks like those from Troy Industries with a mount on the top of the stock, you can simply attach the sling to the stock and chase it back through the buckles and your done.

If however, you are using a stock like the CTR from Magpul, you will want to purchase a QD (Quick Disconnect) swivel, attach the sling to it, by chasing the ends back through the buckles, and attaching it to the OUTSIDE of the rifle.

The reason for attaching your sling to the top might be intuitive, ambidextrous, but the outside of the rifle may not.. This position actually serves 2 purposes.

  1. It holds the butt of the rifle closer to you when slung. Good.
  2. It gives you an extra inch and a half of room when you are shooting from you non-dominate side.  Better, no one wants to be choked out by their sling.

sling_rear2

sling_frontMounting the Front

I like my front attachment near the receiver because it keeps the sling out-of-the-way of my support hand and it makes the rifle naturally carry muzzle down.  I think both of these are good things, but they aren’t the only considerations.

The front of the sling should be far enough forward that when it is at its shortest adjustment it is as short as you will ever need it, this maximizes its range of adjustment and will make transitions much easier.

For example… I can never see reason I would need to fast rope or do push-ups with my rifle slung, so it’s shortest point is a little too long for those activities.  It is set however that at its shortest point it is perfect for off-hand, dominate side shooting in a light shirt. 

The other consideration is that you can reach the adjustment tabs at all lengths.

For me at 5′ 9″, 190 lbs that puts the front attachment at about 4″ in front of the receiver with my Padded Vickers Combat Applications Sling.

A couple of quick notes… (at more than 700 words into what I thought would be a short post)

Abraham has a 13′ VTAC Alpha Rail and I use the Daniel Defense QD Rail Mount Swivel mounted to short piece of picatinny. I love Daniel Defense, the piece works great and limits the swivel to about 45 degrees, I have no complaints with it… but it I were to redo it I would use the Viking Tactics Low Profile Sling Mount.  I have a sling mounted to a rail mount, mounted to a rail, mounted to my hand guard and it is just too complicated and sticks out too far.  If you don’t have a quad rail got with the Low Profile Sling Mount!

Is there anything you want me to cover in more detail? Do you suggest another method? Do you just want to share your set-up?  Leave a comment below, I love to read it.

Comments

  1. says

    Forgive me, I am a visual person. I can follow your descriptions of where to attach the sling, but your photos are too close cropped. Could you show a couple of examples in a wider shot, perhaps as a right hand shooter mounted outside?

    • ronlarimer says

      Absolutely! I didn’t have time to get to the range and I didn’t feel like being in pictures today so I got too artsy. Thanks for calling me on it!

      I just added 2 new views (1 image) that show what I am referring to both slung and shouldered from the dominant side.

  2. Bruce says

    I’m old school, I like to use the sling as a steady aid so that is how I set my sling up. My AR is a heavy barrel however and I’ve never been able to get a POI shift. If I was running a lightweight gun, that might be different.

  3. Speedstick says

    I’ve been trying to figure out what I need for a point sling, thanks for the suggestions. Could you recommend a sling?
    Thanks

    • ronlarimer says

      I can recommend 2 (and we happen to carry both, because I can recommend them ;) )… The Viking Tactics is great if you want to adjust the sling with the gun weighted and have average shoulder movement.. You lift a tab and press the gun to lengthen it. The Vickers Sling (the one on my gun) is great if you want to adjust the sling with an unweighted gun or if you have more limited shoulder mobility. Both work really well… but switching between them isn’t recommended.

  4. Jam says

    I’ve found that the type of sling and attachment method really depends on what you are using the rifle for. I prefer the magpul Ms3 for most range work, and would fit into a role of guys working out of vehicles, entry teams etc. It also allows for a 2pt config with the rsa. I have used a configuration like yours with a two point and it works good for the reasons you stated, you can get even a little bit more freedom of movement if you attach the sling at the base of the receiver extension at the cost of stability of course. The current way I like a 2pt is the ares armor 2pt with the rear attached where you have yours at the butt stock and the front far to the front of the rail. The ares armor sling has a loop that your thumb fits easily into and allows you to have constant control of the slider on the sling. This is great for stability, or if you had to hump around all day with a 10lbs rifle. all of that stability comes at the cost of speed of transitions and getting the gun into action in different positions. With a sling is just figuring out what you need out of it stability or maneuverability and whatever balance between the two.

  5. grapedefender says

    if you really want to minimize weight , complexity, and protrusion of your sling gear check out Impact Weapon Components. their products are unique in the industry, innovative, efficient and well designed. i’ve used them for several years. their light mounts are also excellent. also buy American made GrovTec swivels and cups to retro fit your conventional stocked rifles. i’ve found them much more durable and stronger than uncles imported ones and no more expensive.

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