How to select the best sling for your AR-15
If you ask us, there are probably too many hunting slings on the market. Sure, we all need a comfortable way to haul our rifle into the woods, or quickly switch between a rifle and sidearm – but which slings are ideal? What makes them easy to adjust?
How the heck do you decide which one?
We’ll break down the different kinds of slings, their use, nuances in material, and hopefully help you grab the best one for your specific purpose.
In this review, we’re going to walk through the following types of slings: Single Point Rifle Slings, 2 Point Slings, & 3 Point Slings.
We won’t be covering specialty items like Cuff Slings, Ching Slings, or Sling Hardware in this guide but look for them in another guide.
In this guide we’re going to be reviewing the following kinds of slings:
- Allen Rifle Sling
- Ten Point Gear Gun Sling
- Magpul Two Point Sling
- Viking Tactics Wide Padded Sling
- Blue Force Gear Vickers 2-Point Combat Sling
- SPECTER GEAR – UNIVERSAL QD SWIVEL TACTICAL SLINGS
- SPECTER GEAR – REMINGTON 870 TACTICAL SLINGS
- TAC-SHIELD – COMBAT SLING UNIVERSAL 3-POINT
The Best Material for Your Gun Sling
When it comes to gun slings you generally have two options: nylon or leather. Every shooter has their own take on the best sling material – which is rooted in shooting style, personal preference, and often what someone has used over the course of their shooting life. I know I used a leather strap early on because my father had one. It’s what I knew, and there’s no right answer at the end of the day.
Advantages of Nylon Material
- Much lighter than leather
- No stretch
- Waterproof – nylon won’t soak up water or change feel due to humidity
- Inorganic – will not house bacteria
Advantageous of Leather Material
- Slight elastic, softer feel than nylon
- Personalizable – many people create heirloom straps
- Ages beautifully
- Classic look & feel – especially with hunting rifles
2-Point Slings In Action
Outside of sharpshooting-specific applications, there are 3 major types of gun slings: single-point, two-point, and three-point slings. The vast majority of shooters use a 2-point sling, so we’ll dive deep into those before detailing single and 3-point slings. We’ll list out our recommendations for each type of sling in the sections below and include an explanation of the sling type as well as the pros and cons of each.
Front-to-back Transition with a 2-point sling
- American style – muzzle facing up, over the back shoulder
- European style – muzzle facing up, over the front shoulder (against the chest)
- African style – muzzle down, over the back shoulder
An African carry is popular because it makes easier to move from carry to aim – but if you squat down often you can clog your muzzle with dirt by knocking it against the ground. Your mileage may vary.
African carry with a 2-point sling
These slings can also be used to create tension & stabilize your weapon when firing with what’s called a Hasty Sling method.
Hasty sling method with 2-point sling
In an emergency, a 2-point sling can slow the retrieval of your weapon (especially when it’s on your back) and side-to-side transitions can be difficult if the sling is too taught.
But all-in-all for most users a 2-point sling will do the trick 99% of the time.
Our 2-point sling recommendations
Two-point slings connect to your weapon at 2 points – generally the buttstock and along the barrel.
Probably the most common, and most versatile, gun sling – they have both strong and weak side uses, allow the firearm to be accessed quickly, and carried hands-free on the front or the back of the wearer.
They work well carrying a rifle or other long gun over the shoulder during walks out to hunting spots or climbing hillsides.
A top quality sling, the cleated tread grips the shoulder well and makes carrying your rifle virtually silent.
All hardware is metal (both the swivels and length adjustment) this piece is inexpensive enough to outfit a few rifles with it.
The 1” nylon webbing makes for a comfortable fit and it’s easy enough to use – wears well on longer treks. The Allen Rifle Sling is also long enough to fit a variety of body-types & sizes, even over with winter layers.
- Leather face with accent stitching
- Cleated tread slip gripper back eliminates sling related noise
- Metal swivels tested to 300 pounds
- One hand, quick adjusting
- Heavy-duty 1-inch web sling material
This 2-point paracord sling comes in a variety of color options, which are all adjustable from 33″ to 44″. The paracord has hundreds of survival uses – making this sling multi-functional – and it works for rifles, shotguns, or crossbows.
This sling contains 4 strands of paracord – 2 of each color – with roughly 42′ of cord in total. They perform very well for this price point, and the length works well for a variety of heights and body sizes. The swivels are universal and will work on almost any mounting stud.
- Adjustable from 33″ to 44″
- Universal swivels fit any standard mount
- Great for rifles, shotguns, and crossbows
- Multiple color options available
The MS1 is considered one of the most versatile Magpul slings.
This two-point AR-15 sling uses the MS1 slider which is engineered to make quick adjustments a breeze – and lock them in with no slipping once in place.
The MS1 also has no unnecessary length so as to avoid snag hazards. Quick shoulder transitions and rapid adjustability are simple – all which allows for hands-free rifle carry or shooting support from your choice of position.
The MS1 system has been tested to survive tens of thousands of cycles in all kinds of conditions – wet, dry, humid, salt or sand. Static load tests showed no slippage after 72 hours and the sling survived weighted six-foot drop tests.
This thing is made to last – as it has been swam, jumped, hunted, hiked, and shot with it in a variety of rugged field tests. The MS1 is USA-made and Berry Amendment compliant – so if it’s good enough for the DOD it should be good enough for you and me.
- 6.0 oz weight
- 48-60 in. length
- 10 in. Slider Adjustment Range
- Webbing width: 1.25″
- Pad width: 1.85″
The Viking Tactics Wide (Padded) Quick Adjust Upgrade sling has an easy-to-use textured rubber pull tab which makes it easy to adjust the sling (even when we tested with gloves on.)
The shoulder pad gives a great feel and makes even long treks much easier on the neck and shoulder.
All metal hardware and elastic stow bands make for easy mounting and adjustment, and the metal hardware will take a licking for years to come. Also made in the USA.
The Vickers Sling was engineered from combat experience, so it’s designed to be effective and durable – and adjustable with just a single tab.
The length is manageable, like the Magpul, but you might look elsewhere if you’re much over 6 feet tall, use longer shotguns, or tend to wear a lot of gear on your hunts. Does have nice padding though.
Our 3-point sling recommendations
Interestingly 3-point slings a more akin to single point slings than 2-pointers, and if you’re moving hands-free they can offer more control than a single point sling.
They tend to keep your rifle closer to your body, which prevents unintended contact with it (e.g. knocking into your knees on the run.)
Solid 3-pointer with a dual universal quick disconnect set-up for existing front and rear QD sling swivel sockets. Comes with front and rear heavy-duty quick-disconnect swivels.
Lots of room with this sling to wear your long gun in all the critical carry positions and rapid transition to a pistol from your long gun.
- Nice and wide 1.25″ webbing
- Emergency Release Buckle (ERB)
- Front and rear heavy duty QD swivels
This is designated as a Close Quarters Battle (CQB) 3-Point Tactical Sling and was designed to be run with the Remington 870 12ga shotguns with Magpul SGA stocks. In addition to the quick transition to pistol this sling is also fully ambidextrous – so you lefty’s will feel right at home.
- 1.25″ wide webbing
- Emergency Release Buckle (ERB)
- Supplied with a matte finish steel side front sling mount plate and a rear slider that interfaces with the sling loop on the Magpul SGA stock
Tac-Shield’s combat sling is designed for M16 and AR15 applications – complete with 1.5″ Mil-Spec webbing.
This 3-Point Universal system also comes with an emergency release buckle (ERB) system so you can drop it like it’s hot in a hurry.
They also have engineered what they call a Fast Adjust Cam Lock which makes cross-shoulder transitions quick and easy – flip the cam lock open, free the sling to extend, and slide your rifle to the opposite shoulder. Really solid product.
- 1.5″ Mil-Spec Webbing
- Universal Attachment System
- Fast Adjust Cam Lock (Cross Shoulder Mounting)
- ERB release buckle (Weapon Release)
Our Single-Point Sling Recommendations
Certainly a popular sling type at my local range . These wraps attach to your weapon at a single point and encircle the user’s body. They’re incredibly useful in urban environments and when moving to and from vehicles.
Another battle sling – the CQB offers all the necessities you’d want for versatile weapon carrying and quick transitions.
We really liked the wide 1.5″ webbing, which is more comfortable on the shoulder and seems to offer some additional durability.
The QCB has a nice feature called a hook silencer sleeve that keeps weapon movement silent as you’re moving. Nice for hunting or recon.
- Mil-Spec Webbing
- HK Snap Hook
- Hook Silencer Sleeve
- Single Quick Release Buckle
The Blue Force sling is a combat-tested product engineered for mobility – specifically vehicle combat or urban fighting (where a 1-point sling can shine).
This sling uses Blue Force’s new polymer Burnsed Socket and RED (Rapid Emergency Detachment) Swivel, which offers the awesome feature of being able to switch from 2-point to 1-point mode by pulling on the RED quick detach swivel knob and reinserting it into the Burnsed Socket at the rear of the receiver.
Out tests showed this was super easy. The design of the RED swivel makes it nearly impossible to get stuck or catch on things – but it only takes about 7lbs of force to disengage the ball bearings – so it’s quick and easy but designed to prevent unintended detachments.
We really liked how this bungee sling does as intended to reduce “dead weight” via double shock cordage, reduces shoulder jarring from the rifle.
It was also easy on neck and traps in carry and fire testing. The sling has dual, 1-1/4″ bungee cords which absorb the impacts or fast movement.
The Tactical Bungee Sling wraps the bungees in nylon webbing which provides tension to minimize bounce and silences the sling while on the move.
Who should consider these recommendations?
Hunters or anyone who carries their weapon over distance. Rifles slings are a must have if you’re hunting or trekking into the woods over distance with a long gun.
Your rifle will get heavy unless you do the right thing and offload its weight to your back and shoulders.
You want to conserve your energy for when you’re engaging your target rather than expending it getting to the hunting spot.
A rifle sling will improve any hunt. energy for when you’re engaging your target, not getting to the hunting spot. A rifle sling will improve the quality of any hunt.
Shooters who want to improve their accuracy. Slings are great for enabling shooters to improve their accuracy by providing a point of tension against which they can secure and stabilize their weapon.
They also free up your hands to transition to a pistol when needed. Target and recreational shooters will find that with consistent use they will get on-target faster, shoot longer, and have more mobility with the use of a sling.
Generally with these articles I try to think of reason why someone *wouldn’t* want or shouldn’t get the products we recommend.
We want to be balanced in our approach, but with slings, there are really very few reasons someone wouldn’t benefit from buying a sling. With a little practice (especially if you’re new to wearing a sling) you’ll find right at home raising your gun, getting into firing position, and hitting your targets better and faster.
Eventually you’ll wonder how you ever shot without one.