A long time ago, in what was another country, I heard it said that a sling is to a rifle or shotgun what a holster is to a handgun. The sling fulfills several purposes. It is a way to secure (or store) your long gun when you want it handy but do not immediately need it. Slings are also shooting aids – giving you added stability when used correctly, though that is no longer as commonly done as it was even in the early years of the GWOT.
In the event your long gun becomes inoperable, you can retain it with a sling while transitioning to a handgun.
I will caveat everything that follows with this – your role (your mission) must drive your equipment selection. Just because a Greek letter entity or a well-known police tactical element uses it does not mean it is the best thing for you as an individual.
Carry Strap – these attach at two points, the stock and the forearm. While they can be adjusted for length, it is not a quick process. It is also the most straightforward design to use as a shooting aid. Run your support arm between the sling and the firearm, so the sling rides across the top of your tricep. Then bring your support hand back around and through the sling again to grip the forearm. Finally, if you have adjusted the sling correctly, dropping the support elbow will tighten the sling, giving you the stability you seek.
An H&K 3-point tactical sling on a Remington 11-87. The previous owner was Louis Awerbuck.
Three Point – these evolved from H&K’s tactical sling. While they were the norm in the 90s, designs have evolved, and this one is not commonly seen.
Adjustable Two Point – Most common amongst the “tactical” shooting community. These are easily adjustable by the user. The adjustments can be made while in position or while moving. These slings can be shooting aids once you tighten them up. This works regardless of the type of adjustable design you use – captured or loose tails.
How to Sling? How to Use Them?
In retirement, I prefer a carry strap for my defensive shotguns. There are two different carries that work with this kind of sling.
American Carry – muzzle up on your strong side
First, and less commonly used in the field, is the American carry (strong side, muzzle up). While it looks good on a military parade ground, it can easily hang up on one’s sidearm – if you wear that on your strong side hip.
To mount the long gun while holding onto the sling with your strong hand, raise that elbow, so it is parallel to the ground. Then, reach underneath it with your support hand and grip the forearm. From there, pull it forward and off of the strong side shoulder. Move your shooting hand to the grip and raise the stock into the shoulder pocket.
Safari carry – muzzle down on your support side
The second is Safari carry, previously called African carry. It is done on the support side, with the muzzle pointing downward. To get the long gun into play from here, I rotate my support arm forward and upward until the shotgun or rifle is parallel to the ground. Meanwhile, my strong hand reaches under the stock, grips it, and rolls it towards my strong side. Then it pulls the stock back into the pocket of my shoulder. Once I decide to shoot, and my sights come onto the threat or target, I take the safety off.
The Wilderness sling has just enough stretch to give very positive pressure when used in this role.
This tactical sling run over the strong shoulder, across the shooter’s back, and under their support arm.
A tactical sling, either two or three point, is commonly worn over the strong side shoulder, across the back, and underneath the support arm. This positions the recoil pad, aka – the toe of the stock, near the shoulder pocket.
Carrying on an adjustable 2 or 3-point sling.
With the strong hand on the grip and the support hand on the forearm, bring the muzzle in towards your center line and then up onto the threat or target.
If there is a knock on this design, it makes a low-profile deployment difficult.
You may need to manage the length of your slings. 100mph tape works, so do ITW’s Grimlocks like I have on this Sierra Tac sling.
Regardless of your preferred design, buy a quality product and train with it.
Look for videos of these methods on American Cop’s social media pages and FMG’s YouTube channel.