The Best Sling for Your AR-15
Having a good sling on your AR-15, whether it’s a 1, 2 or 3 point sling, can be extremely useful. An AR-15 sling helps you carry your weapon, steady it while shooting and keep your AR where you need it at all times.
Types of AR-15 Rifle Slings
I remember vividly when I was issued my rifle that I would eventually carry in Afghanistan. My company commander made the comment that “light modification” to our rifles was “ok with him.” The first chance we got, we all ran down to the local tacti cool store and started decking them out with all sorts of things we thought would be useful (most of it ended up in a duffle bag never to return). I say this to point out that the sources of the biggest arguments were about what kind of slings we should buy.
A sling is one of the most important accessories that you can put on a rifle. As I stated in another article, my advice to new police officers wanting to customize their patrol rifles was always to buy a good light, some ammo to practice with, and a good sling.
There are many assorted styles of sling, some rather obscure, but I’m going to simplify them into three categories.
Single Point Sling
As the name suggests, these slings attach to your AR at a single point. The best place for this is to use a custom backplate swivel on the lower receiver, but it can also attach to the stock in a pinch. These are the most maneuverable slings, you can use them ambidextrously, and they’re simple, clip it on and let it hang. You can even fire your AR from either shoulder without taking it off.
The important thing to consider when talking about these slings though, is their best pro is also a con. All that maneuverability also means the rifle is free to move as it sees fit. This means positive control of the weapon becomes a full-time job.
Running, jumping, climbing, crouching, you’re going to find that your rifle swings like a pendulum.
One of the things that I do not prefer about single point slings is the “hanging position” always seems to be directly between my legs. As in, dead center. This is great for safety, and you may not even notice while you play airsoft with your friends. This is the reason I switched my main rifle away from a single point sling. Under the timer, it never seemed to fail. I would fire my string with the rifle, drop it down and… well you know the rest.
Honestly, this is personal preference and I’m sure if I spent more time on the range with that setup, I would eventually end that problem.
So where would I use a single point sling? If you decide to use a single point you will be fine, and you may enjoy it. People have used single points for years successfully.
One of my favorite places to use a sling is in a PDW Style, AR pistol or SBR. Shorter rifles are much easier to control because of length and weight. You will also notice a single point will “hang up” less than others, especially in close quarters scenarios.
Your grandpa or great-grandpa probably carried a two-point sling in the war. A two-point sling (also self-explanatory) is a sling that attaches to two points of contact on your rifle. These points have seemed to change over the years. Early methods of sling attachment were typically a swivel under the front sight post and a swivel at the toe of the buttstock. This is because it was normally slung over the shoulder, not carried across the chest. The newer configurations allow you to shoulder the weapon more easily while it’s slung across your chest.
The two-point sling has been an uncontested choice for decades. It is stable, reliable, and easy to use. I remember when the tactical world started trying to move away from a two-point sling. That was short lived though, it wasn’t long before they were right back with improved two-point slings.
Modern, tactical, two-point slings are much longer than the old styles. They come with neat features like double buckles for security, adjustment loops, and Quick Detach (QD) Points.
There are a few disadvantages to two-point slings. The main disadvantage is the opposite problem with the single point. The stability of the sling makes it cumbersome at times. You may find difficulty transitioning to shoot from another side (especially if it doesn’t have an adjustment loop). I found that when running a two-point overseas in full kit, it always seemed to get caught on something. Truck parts and parts of my kit that were sticking out were always seemingly in the way. I would recommend keeping your rifle sling folded under a rubber band on the stock for this reason.
If it hasn’t been abundantly clear my choice for my AR rifles is a solid 2-point sling. I have tried about everything there is to try on the market. For my military, police, and defense rifles, a two-point has always gotten the job done.
Three-point and Other Niche Slings
I’ll speak briefly on the “other” category of slings. The most popular of these is a three-point sling. They were a great idea in theory, but they tried to waste a lot of time for no reason and ended up with a complicated mess. The only uses for these slings that I have found that really make a difference is for heavy rifles. If you’re carrying a heavy SAW, SASS, or 240 series rifle there are three-point slings out there to help you relieve some of that weight.
I would avoid the things that look cool on your favorite auction site. Gun hooks, survival slings that appear to have a swiss army knife of features are unnecessary and are not taken seriously in the tactical world.
When your life depends on it, get something that is sturdy, works, and train with it.
Here are our top picks for the best AR-15 slings below:
When it comes to a good rifle sling, sometimes simpler is better. Don’t worry about getting a fancy sling if its primary purpose is going to be to carry your rifle while hunting varmints. This one is here for the AR15 hunters, or plinkers that just need to free up their hands while moving equipment from the truck to the range and back.
The stretchy, integrated padding material not only makes this sling comfortable for a day of walking or hiking, but it also helps to keep your rifle right where you left it.
At a maximum length of 44 inches, it’s more than capable for supporting your offhand shooting. Even larger shooters will find it perfect for carrying your AR-15 securely on your back. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
Comfortable, secure, quality parts, includes swivels, but it’s a simple sling with very little cosmetic appeal.
Here’s an AR15 sling that is absolutely perfect for all your survival guys and gals that are in love with paracord everything, you know who you are. Adjustable from 33 to 44 inches, it carries a large mass of paracord for those last-ditch times when you need some extra cord.
The parachute chord has an added bonus of making this sling pretty darn comfortable to wear, and it’s length makes it great for a stability assist when shooting offhand. It comes with swivels that will clip directly to your AR15, making set-up quick and easy.
If you aren’t a fan of paracord items, you’re probably rolling your eyes by now, but for those who are looking for a way to carry some extra cord with them, this is perfect. Makes a great gift for that survivalist-type in the family as well, and at a decent price point.
Whether you’re shooting at a range, in the field or in your backyard, heavy duty shooters who plan on hiking or being with their rifle for hours a day should give serious consideration to the newest offering from Blue Force Gear. The Vickers Combat Applications Sling is another two-point sling that is designed for professional shooters who operate in the harshest environments. With Larry Vickers, a retired Delta Force operator, personally designing this sling, you know it’s designed to stand up to the toughest situations imaginable.
What’s so great about it? First, it’s a totally military-grade AR-15 sling. Made from a combination of polymer, composite materials, and steel, this primarily nylon sling lets you use multiple configurations for the sling. It won’t hang up in your gear and mounts to any rifle that sports a 1.25-inch swivel. If you want a simple, battle proven sling, this is the one to consider.
In the market for a tactical two-point sling? If you are, you know that there is a lot to like about one-point retention. They’re simple and that means there is less to fumble with in a high stress environment. Looping the strap around your shoulder and fixing it to your AR-15 means that you’ve got positive retention through the best of times and the worst of times. There’s a reason why people who rely on their firearms turn to two-point slings and there’s an even better reason why they tend to keep turning to the Lanhe Tactical two-point adjustable sling.
With a trauma and shock absorbing bungee section, your rifle will be able to fall freely at your side without putting undue stress or strain on your neck or shoulders. With an ultra-heavy duty 1.25-inch nylon strap construction, this strap will likely outlast you or your rifle. What makes this sling worth the higher price point? It comes complete with a fully adjustable and breathable neck pad, an adjustable D-Ring, and a removable strap that allows for a full range of adjustable carry options.
If you’re looking for a large sling that is comfortable for a large shooter, this is your best buy. Made of durable 550 paracord, this sling can even be taken apart in a tight situation to provide potentially lifesaving paracord. It’s a highly functional 2-point sling that comes with a tremendously comfortable neck pad. The paracord component of the sling is removable without impairing the functionality of the sling. If you’re looking to choke down of the rifle and keep a higher level of control over your AR-15, remove the paracord. If you want to maximize comfort, simply snap it back on and you’ll be able to move around freely without running an undue risk of tearing fabric.
When properly configured this mount supports shooters by giving an adjustable length of up to 5.2 feet. This sling is one of the few ones that allow you to keep positive retention without risking undue snaring or tangling. If you want something that supports your rifle and will never hold you back, this is the 2-point AR-15 sling to buy.