Through my years of shooting, I have found out that a sling is an important piece of equipment that is wildly neglected by shooters and airsofters across the nation. Having a quality sling can be beneficial to you both when you are shooting, and when you are playing airsoft. Many shooters and airsofters spend most of their budget on their guns, secondary weapons, plate carriers, and other accessories, but then spend less on a sling, or neglect it entirely in order to save money. What they do not realize, though, is that having a poor quality sling can actually end up doing more damage to your gun and, in turn, your wallet in the long run.
Take me as an example. When I first started playing airsoft, I spent most of my budget on my gun, plate carrier, upgrade parts, a sidearm, holster, and my battle dress uniform (BDU), and at the end, I only wanted to spend maybe $10 on a sling. I did not think that a sling was that important of a piece of equipment, and I ended up purchasing a cheap 2 point sling. I ultimately paid the price when the sling failed on me, snapping in the middle of an airsoft operation. My AEG instantly slammed on the ground, HARD. I had just purchased a new metal body for my gun and it was now obviously damaged. To this day, I still blame myself for not purchasing a quality sling.
A few years later, I purchased my first AR-15. The first piece of equipment I bought after finishing my build was a quality sling. I purchased the new Magpul MS2 sling (not the PTS version) because of its quality and unorthodox design. Back then, when the MS2 first entered the market, everyone wanted them because they could be used as either a single or a 2 point sling. The MS2 sling is built with high quality nylon, and the attachment points are extremely solid. I can use the 1 point mode when shooting, and easily switch to 2 point mode whenever I need to use both of my hands. I personally believe that this design by Magpul will end up being the standard for all future slings.
Not only does a quality sling help save you from damaging your guns, but it also helps to make transitioning to your secondary significantly easier. Without a sling, I would have to hold my primary weapon in my left hand (I am right handed), and draw and fire my secondary weapon with only my right hand. This would make me less effective, because firing a pistol with one hand is less accurate and effective in comparison to a 2-handed firing stance. By having a sling, I could now just let my primary weapon go, and simultaneously draw my secondary out and fire it with both of my hands.
Slings in Airsoft
To prevent future unwanted damage to my airsoft gun, and to maintain a sense of consistency between my real guns and airsoft guns, I decided to use the same slings on both of my platforms. On my AR-15, I use the new Magpul MS3 sling, and I use it on my airsoft gun as well. There are things I like and things that I do not like on the MS3, which I will be discussing later on in this article. I generally like the single point sling when I am in direct action, because of it's maneuverability. I like a 2 point sling, as well though, for when I am just carrying the rifle. The MS3 allows me to switch between single and 2 point sling quickly and easily, having the best of both worlds.
Sling Buyer's Guide
Before you start looking into slings, you must first decide what gun the sling is for. It is true that many of the slings on the market are universal, but some slings, or rather some styles of slings are made for specific rifles and will not work correctly for other guns. For example, most single point and 2 points slings are universal, as long as the rifle has the appropriate sling mounting points. Most 3 point slings, however, are designed for specific guns, so a 3 point sling for an MP5 will not fit correctly on an M4 or an M16. Once you've decided what gun you will be using, you have to decide what style of sling do you want, and as I mentioned before, generally speaking, there are 1 point, 2 point, and 3 point slings on the market.
3 Point Slings
3 Point slings are well known for their great weapon retention. When secured by a 3 point sling, the user's gun will always stick securely to their body. 3 point slings are also known for how easy they are to adjust when slung. However, many people feel that 3 point slings are obsolete because they use too much webbing and materials. However, in my opinion, the people who feel this way have not put in the time and energy needed to learn and examine how to use a 3 point sling properly.
Specter SOP Sling
The SOP Sling by Specter Gear, in my opinion, set the standard for tactical slings from the beginning. Specter Gear is a company that is famous for their tactical Nylon used by Armed forces all around the world, and their Slings are no exception. The SOP slings are their 3 point sling system, and they have models for the M4/M16, MP5 and the AK47/74 rifles. Their high quality does come at a price though. The AK SOP Sling is $36, and the M4/M16 is $41.25, but their incredible quality makes them well worth the money.
To note, the build quality on all Specter Slings, just like the rest of their tactical gear, is top notch quality. Since they are designed for our armed forces overseas, the material they use is superb, and the stitching is second to none. Specter uses an extremely durable nylon on their slings, which is coated with a special coating for added durability. This coating makes the sling a little bit slippery, which is advantageous to the operator. However, their specific slings can only fit specific models. For example, the MP5 3 Point Sling will only fit MP5s, M4/M16 Slings will only fit M4s and M16s, and AK slings will only fit AK series battle rifles. Specter 3 point slings are the best in my opinion, but make sure to purchase the right sling for your rifle.
ICS 3 Point Sling
Another cheaper alternative is the ICS 3 Point Sling. These slings are available in black and olive drab (OD). The ICS 3 point slings are noticeably less expensive, but still have a pretty solid build quality compared to many other 3 point slings on the market. Compared to Specter Slings, which cost about $40 dollars, the ICS 3 point slings will only set you back for $14.
2 Point Slings
A 2 point sling is a great option for everyday operation, and they are actually the standard issue for our military. They are known for being very comfortable to use. However, traditional 2 point slings are not easily adjustable, which makes using the sling during a fire fight extremely difficult. Since this sling is not as maneuverable as single point sling, it is hard to switch shoulders with a 2 point sling. However, if you are just looking for something to sling your rifle, I highly recommend the sling below.
Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Application Sling
Unlike most traditional 2 point slings, the Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Application Sling can be quickly adjusted. After mounting it on a standard M4, I immediately noticed just how comfortable this sling really was. Not only is this sling great for day-to-day operation, but it is also very comfortable when in a combat situation. The sling can be adjusted very easily, but it will still retain its tension when needed. I also noticed that I had no problem switching shoulders with this sling. Blue Force Gear is another company that produces accessories for real firearm shooters, which means their products are a bit more expensive. Coming in at $42.70 this is sling is a “must have” if you are looking for a 2 point sling for your real AR or if you just want the best 2 point sling for your airsoft guns.
OE Tech Speedy 2 Point Sling.
The OE Tech Speedy 2 Point Sling is built extremely similarly to the Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Application Sling in terms of its comfort and adjustability. In addition, OE TECH stepped up even more and put additional buckles on each end. This helps the operator to quickly detach himself from his rifle in case of an emergency. OE Tech also uses a lighter material in the effort to save weight and increase comfort. Coming in at $20 cheaper than the Vickers Sling, this OE TECH Speedy 2 point sling is good enough for airsoft, but remembers, you get what you pay for.
1 Point Slings
I am a huge fan of 1 point slings because of the fact that they have a great freedom of movement. With a 1 point sling, the user's rifle is very maneuverable, and weapon manipulation is extremely comfortable. However, there is also a disadvantage to using a single point sling. Although they are very comfortable, they also tend to allow the rifle to dangle and bang on your knees when you are not using it. Some companies have assessed this issue, going above and beyond when creating their single point slings, designing them to be able to be turned into a 2 point sling in matter of seconds, just like the MS3 I have.
MagPul MS 2 Sling
The Magpul MS2 Sling is the predecessor of my personal MS3 Sling. This sling, in my opinion, sets the standard for all future 1 point slings. Although the MS2 is technically classified as a 1 point sling, it can quickly be changed into a 2 point sling. This specially designed sling features a quick adjustable strap which can adjust the length quickly and easily. The Snap Shackle located at the end hooks on the rifle’s sling attachment point easily, and it can be disconnected from the weapon quickly if needed as well. The other end features a clamp that can be clamped onto the ring on the sling, which forms the single point sling, or can be clamped on to the other end of the rifle for a 2 point configuration. The clamp has a lock on it also, so it will not fail under any circumstances. The MagPul PTS MS2 Sling, again, is a little bit pricy at $44.00, but it is quality that sets this sling apart from the rest.
Mission Spec Irene Adaptive Sling
The Mission Spec Irene Adaptive Sling is another great option, and a cheaper alternative to the famous MagPul MS2 sling. A lot of shooters in the shooting community, and airsofters as well, like this sling even more because of it's superior design. The Irene Sling is extremely similar to the MS2 other than the fact that if you would like to switch to a 2 point configuration, you do not have to unhook anything. This sling will always attach the rifle to your body. Just simply pull the second hook from the back and hook to your second sling point, and voila, 2 point mode engaged. Also, with pricing at $34.95, this sling is a great alternative to the MagPul MS2 Sling.
Well, there you have it. These are some of the different style slings that I recommend for you. It does not matter so much what style of sling you are using, but what is important is how confident and comfortable you are with the current sling system you have. To help you become more confident with your sling, I have 3 words for you, practice, practice, practice. If you don’t yet have a sling, be sure to check out all of the slings mentioned above at www.airsoftgi.com. In closing, remember that the only way you can improve your efficiency on the airsoft field is to practice, which brings me to my final statement, GET OUT AND PLAY. I am Andrew, stay safe, and stay sharp.