One topic that is rarely covered is sling assisted shooting. Sling assisted shooting is simply using the tension from the sling to help stabilize the reticle and provide more precision. Your sling is not just a holster for your rifle. Often people only think this precision is necessary for long-range shots. However, even in closer quarters and mid-range engagements, precision can be very important. Not every shot is a full size silhouette squared up to you fully on a sunny day with 70 degrees and no wind! Often your target can be partially occluded by concealment or numerous other factors that require greater skill and a finer aiming reference. Steve Fisher with Sentinel Concepts
offers great courses on weapon manipulation. He recently discussed these sling assisted shooting techniques that can help you maximize the benefit from your sling.
First, we must start with fitting the sling to the shooter. There are multiple videos and good sources of information on doing so online if you are new to sling setup. It is important we have a proper fit as this will enable us to have the correct amount of tension at the correct times. Next, we need to understand the impact of where the front sling point is attached. The chosen attachment point will impact how we choose to get into a sling assisted shooting position. The front attachment point is often near the end of the rail or near the magwell. Sling assisted shooting is about getting to the correct level of tension on the sling. Again, remember to fit your sling before attempting these techniques.
End of Rail
With designated marksman rifles and rifles set up for a distance application, the sling is commonly attached towards the end of the rail.
Here we see a standard setup for a mount at the end of the rail with a QD sling attachment on an SR15 rail.
This makes it easy to apply tension. However, accessories like lights and lasers can interfere with mounting the sling towards the end of the rail.
With lights and or lasers it is difficult to mount a sling at the end of the rail without interfering with the use of accessories.
Often those focused on closer applications mount their sling near the magwell.
In this setup, we see the front sling attachment is near the magwell.
There are methods that enable sling assisted shooting with the closer mounting option. When getting on target, use the support hand thumb to push forward on the sling. This runs the sling along the rail of the rifle. Tightening the sling to the desired level is then done quickly and efficiently.
Push forward and run the sling down the rail with the support hand. We see that the sling can still have applied tension while not interfering with the use of accessories or the shooter’s grip on the rifle.
Others run their slings around their neck for greater mobility of the rifle. This works well in close quarters but provides more sling that must be taken up in order to benefit from a sling assisted shooting position.
This sling position allows for more mobility and is often used for shooting at closer ranges.
Running the thumb along the rail with the sling will not tighten enough to help. Instead, double wrap the sling around your arm as shown below. By double wrapping the sling around the support arm, more tension is added. The sling provides enough rigidity to reduce sway and reticle movement.
Notice how the sling is double wrapped around the support side arm to take up extra slack in the sling.
Finally, some use more of a hybrid attachment point. Here we see that the sling is mounted between the magwell and the end of the rail.
Here you can see the hybrid sling setup. This allows for the sling mounted farther forward while still staying back far enough to stay out of the way when manipulating lights and lasers.
Depending on how tight the sling is adjusted and how close the sling is to the end of the rail, either of these techniques may work. I prefer having the sling a little tighter and sliding my hand down the rail. This bias is due to the shorter amount of time to get into position.
For those using a two-point sling, give these a try. Many with slings mounted farther back on the rail are using their rifle for closer applications
. We all want to improve our precision at any distance and sling assisted techniques are a valuable tool. Finally, try these techniques and see what you think. For more info on improving proficiency with your rifle, check out another article on how to make ready with your rifle by clicking HERE.