Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What slings he used that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words –
1907 leather, and USGI web –
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
While the 1907 and web slings examined in part I were not so old as to have accompanied Henry V into immortality, they are somewhat dated. Modern riflemen require retention for quick pistol transitions, and fleeting targets require instantly available support. This second installment examines the modern Rifles Only carbine and bungee slings for their stability and speed.
Rifles Only Carbine Sling
The Rifles Only carbine sling is a modern two-point sling that provides instant shooting support. It features 1.5” nylon webbing and a buckle quick release that bisects the sling. The rear section features a bungee that provides stabilizing tension. The front section has a tri-glide equipped with a stiff and always-open loop for rapid length and bungee tension adjustment. The ends of the sling terminate in double loop sliders. These are not sewn-in so that a user can adapt the sling between HK hooks, QD flush cups, and other hardware. Despite the 1.5” sling width, the QD flush cups factory option came with 1.25” loops. The author switched to using 1.5” loops in order to minimize binding and potential fraying.
When adjusted loose, the sling behaves like a standard two point sling for retention. If the rifleman requires stability, he can turn down his support arm elbow to stretch the bungee and create tension. Alternatively, a short sling can tension the bungee to provide tension with rifle presentation. This gives the stabilizing effect of a hasty sling without the extra actions of slinging-up while retaining the rifle. When so adjusted, the stabilizing tension is also present in the traditional kneeling and prone positions. However, the author found further tightening is necessary for use when braced on barricades.
The carbine sling can also make-do as an ergonomically challenged loop sling. The loop in the front portion functions as an arm loop with the tri-glide tightened against the biceps. The front double loop slider can adjust length and tension. The Rifles Only bungee sling, discussed in the next section, is better suited to traditional sling use.
Although slightly more expensive at $80 than similar offerings, the author appreciates its simplicity during action matches. He configured the carbine sling loosely for the short distance stages to avoid impeding rifle presentation, but shortened the sling for support in longer distance stages. The streamlined design avoided snagging while still providing critical adjustments. The Rifles Only carbine sling is a two point patrol sling that gives instant shooting support without adding bulk.
Rifles Only Bungee Sling
The Rifles Only bungee sling provides a plethora of support options while retaining the bungee of the carbine sling. A quick adjusting cam-buckle shortens the overall length by pulling through excess webbing. A thinner, differently coloured and textured, tab distinguishes the pull release from the main webbing. A rifleman can perform both adjustments when slung-up and when carrying the rifle. The webbing doubled up behind the cam-buckle also functions as the arm loop and is much easier to tighten than the carbine sling. Separating the front from the rear section with the quick release buckle further aids the process. Note that failure to apply the half turn makes it very difficult to cinch down the loop. In use, the loop was stable and the 1.5” webbing comfortably distributed the pressure. However, the buckle dug into the arm uncomfortably during extended shooting sessions.
The fore cam-buckle adjusts tension when slung-up. While the 1907 and web slings require one to gain slack before adjusting tension, the bungee sling allows adjustment in situ. Like the other cam-buckle, the webbing features stitched stops that prevent inadvertent removal from the buckle. Double loop sliders bookend the sling to allow user-configurable attachment hardware of choice.
The author found the bungee sling very useful on a precision rifle, although that utility comes with a hefty $130 price tag. The bungee cushions a heavy rifle when walking in addition to providing instant shooting support. The two cam-buckles allow tension adjustments in any position. While the excess webbing dangles freely, they should be relatively short in most configurations. However, the rear cam-buckle can jab the arm in loop usage. An inconveniently positioned front double loop slider can also distress the support hand. However, these are small fusses for a product that fuses patrol sling with 1907 functionalities as well as instant hasty support.
[Added] Video demonstration of bungee sling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMGMy4l2HfQ
All four slings surveyed provide excellent shooting support with varying degrees of ease, comfort, and cost. The 1907 sling is comfortable and aesthetically complements traditional rifles, but it can be bulky and expensive. The USGI web sling performs well and is cost effective. However, it cannot function as a patrol sling and is time consuming to configure for loop use. The Rifles Only carbine sling is a streamlined patrol sling that offers instant and convenient shooting support, but is difficult to utilize as a traditional loop sling. The Rifles Only bungee sling can perform as a patrol sling, provides instant support with the bungee, and supports the loop position for maximum support. However, it is expensive and not as comfortable as the 1907 leather sling.
The author pairs each sling with a rifle that complements their strengths. The 1907 adorns an M1 Garand high power rifle where its comfort is prized throughout a long match. The GI web sling equips many rifles that are shot infrequently. The Rifles Only carbine sling is utilized on a general purpose rifle where retention and streamlined design are valued and sling support is only useful if deployed rapidly. The Rifles Only bungee sling accompanies the precision rifle where a plethora of support options ensures that one can always balance the need for stability against time constraints.