Rifle slings have been around since the first rifles were issued, and there’s a good reason for that– in fact, there are quite a few.

Firstly, using a rifle sling makes it far easier to carry your firearm. You can choose to have it over your shoulder or, for better support, across your torso.

This also allows you to use your hands – for example, to navigate an obstacle or administer first aid without setting your rifle down.

Perhaps most importantly, a rifle sling ensures weapon retention, making it nearly impossible for your firearm to be taken away or accidentally lost.

How to Find the Right Rifle Sling for You

Some people will say to focus on comfort. Others will insist practicality should be your first concern.

The truth is, you need to find the right rifle sling for you. This means it needs to be best suited for the way you use your rifle.

Comfort

Even if practicality is your primary concern, comfort is still going to be a major factor in choosing the right rifle sling for you. After all, if you’re being distracted by the pain in your shoulder, you’re not paying attention to your surroundings.

As a general rule-of-thumb, the bigger (and heavier) the weapon, the wider your sling needs to be to distribute weight evenly. And a padded section will be your best friend if you’re carrying something like an AR15 or AR10.

Design and Practicality

Are you going to need a rifle sling with a high adjustment range?

If you’re built like a tank, then some slings are going to be too tight, with or without body armor. Most will give their adjustment range in inches, which will help you make the right choice.

But length isn’t the only question here – how easy is it to make those adjustments? Ideally, you want a simple design that allows you to adjust your sling quickly and easily.

Finally, consider the purpose of your firearm. If it’s purely for home defense, then comfort is the least of your worries – practicality and weapon retention are your priorities. You can afford to skimp on comfort if you need to save a few bucks.

Hunting and duty-grade weapons, on the other hand, need to marry the ideals of comfort, durability, and adjustability.

Material

You have a couple different options when it comes to the material your rifle sling is made of. The problem is it isn’t all too easy to make a stylistic choice rather than a practical one:

Leather – Strong, durable, and comfortable, but not malleable enough for tactical use. Best-suited for hunting rifles and shotguns.

Paracord – Strong, durable, and you can even make your own, but not malleable enough for tactical use. Best-suited for home-defense or hunting.

Ballistic Nylon – Strong, durable, and malleable, these make the best rifle slings for long-term and tactical use.

Sling Type

There are 3 sling types available – each with their own strong and weak points. Ultimately, this will come down to personal preference, but here’s a quick cheat list:

Single Point Slings – High-maneuverability. However, they tend to let your rifle flop about, which can lead to some uncomfortable blows and possible damage to your weapon by bouncing off of obstacles.

Recommendation: Magpul MS3 (technically a 2-point, but can be used as a single point too).

Magpul MS1 QDM Two Point Rifle Sling, Black
  • Factory-installed Mogul QDMs constructed of Melonie finished steel for strength and extreme resistance to wear and corrosion
  • Dedicated two-point sling that can be configured for multiple functions with optional adapters
  • Secure and rapid length adjustment with MS1 Slider; No tails, loops, or other potential snag hazards
  • Lightweight, yet durable slider and buckle hardware made of reinforced engineering polymer
  • Proprietary weave, 1-1/4" wide nylon webbing is strong and abrasion resistant while tubular construction provides anti-chafing user comfort Colored webbing has Near Infrared (NIR) treatment to reduce IR signature

2-Point Slings – Excellent support and adjustability, but limits maneuverability somewhat. However, they remain the go-to option for tactical and hunting purposes.

Recommendation: Viking Tactics Padded Sling (especially for heavy weaponry).

Viking Tactics VTAC Wide Padded Sling Black Upgraded Version VTAC-MK2-BK-UG
  • The Viking Tactics Wide Padded Quick Adjust Upgrade sling comes with two new great features
  • We have added a textured rubber pull tab which allows the user to quickly adjust the sling
  • We have also replaced the plastic buckles with metal hardware and elastic stow bands to allow easy mounting and adjustment while increasing strength and durability
  • 2 point sling design
  • Made in the USA

3-Point Slings – A tactical precursor to 2-point slings. Although they remain a good option for heavier weapons due to the high support levels afforded, they aren’t very practical in terms of maneuverability and adjustability. In a home defense or tactical situation, this can be dangerous, but for leisurely hunting, it can still be an interesting experiment.

Recommendation: Specter Close Quarters Battle Sling.

Specter Gear 2 Point Sling, Fits Mini-14 with Standard Fixed Stock, Black
  • These slings feature wide, comfortable 1.5" webbing across the shoulder area
  • Lightweight, but highly durable 1" Mil-W-43668 adjuster strap
  • A spring loaded self locking steel rapid adjust cam buckle
  • Emergency release buckle
  • Supplied with wrap around front and rear adapters

Final Word

Consider practicing with a rifle sling before committing to one, if possible. Remember it will take time to get used to the sling, so be patient and focus on your shooting.

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