Look in the gun safe of any
hunter or shooter and many of the rifles and shotguns inside
will probably have slings on them.
From ornate leather slings on hunting shotguns to
micro-adjustable nylon units on target rifles, slings give the
shooter a means to carry, drag, or stabilize a long gun.
Most are simple versions of a strap between swivels at
either end of the gun, with single point and more obscure types
with their own followings.
Where standard slings start to
fall short is in the defensive or tactical arena.
A rifle slung vertically over your shoulder may be out of
the way and fine for a long walk, but it's also painfully slow
to get to and cumbersome in transition.
In this end, shooters began to search for slings that
would hold a long gun horizontally or diagonally across the
front of the body, taking weight off the hands but keeping the
weapon quickly accessible.
These slings evolved from home made patrol slings into
today's tactical sling, with the evolution really taking off
with improvements in close quarters battle weapons and tactics.
What does this mean for the
sent off by the Mrs to investigate a bump in the night, many
choose to take their home defense weapon with them, and this is
frequently a shotgun (or rifle).
Odds are a private citizen won't have to jump through a
window or scale a ladder while checking his house, but he will
still have to open doors, flip on light switches, and lift up a
sheet or two, and this where a tactical sling shines.
In that end, I purchased a Giles
Tactical Sling from Arizona Gun Runners, www.arizonagunrunners.com,
and installed it on my Mossberg 590A1.
There are less expensive slings available, but between
the good reviews I had seen and the "might as well get high
quality" mood I have towards my own safety, I figured that
the $54.95 was well spent.
Installation is surprisingly
simple. On the butt
end, the sling is held onto the shotgun by a web stirrup,
tightened by Velcro and additionally secured by screwing the
rear sling swivel stud through a small hole in the bottom.
On the muzzle end, simply unscrew the magazine cap, place
the metal sling mount between the barrel and magazine tube, and
replace the cap. More
fastidious types may wish for more positive retention on the
tube, but I donít think it will be a problem as long as the
cap threads are in good shape and you check it periodically for
Connecting the two ends is the
sling itself. The
sling is fixed at the muzzle, then runs towards the rear,
passing through a loop at the butt cuff before doubling back
into another buckle attached to the part running the length of
the shotgun. Length
of the sling is adjusted by sliding a buckled loop at the butt
end, and a -shaped buckle at the middle of the longer stretch
acts as a stop to control where the shotgun hangs.
You really wear this sling
more than any sling I have used before.
A right-handed shooter places the loop part over his head
and left arm, making the webbing run diagonally up to the right
across his back. Like
any bit of gear, it takes a while to get the sling perfectly
adjusted, but once set the high quality webbing and buckles kept
it from sliding astray, or the equipment version of the
wandering zero, if you will. Firing the shotgun simply entailed normal movement, and
despite my worries nothing caught on normal clothing.
To use your hands for something else or transition to a
pistol, simply let go. It's
that simple, and the shotgun is left hanging there out of the
way, but instantly available.
One unexpected benefit that I
found was how much weight the sling took off the hands when the
weapon is in a shooting position.
Trying to keep a seven or eight pound shotgun in the
shoulder and on target with one hand while reloading is taxing
for anyone, but even with the sling adjusted very loose it was
Is a tactical sling absolutely
necessary for a home defense shotgun?
I doubt it, but you can not deny its usefulness.
Check out the Giles Tactical
Sling online at www.arizonagunrunners.com.
Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or
disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.
All content © 2003 GunBlast.com.
All rights reserved.