So far I’ve gone over how the loop sling works, and have tried my best to give y’all an idea of how well it assists with precision in a few positions. The nice thing to me about the loop sling is that because of how simply it functions, it’s easy to get an idea of how it might be employed most advantageously.
The loop sling is not the only way that people attempt to use slings to aid their marksmanship. The hasty sling is relatively popular to use in standing, and the ‘tactical’ sling is gaining popularity in all sorts of positions. The mechanisms that these methods use to enhance hitting ability has been less clear to me, and the claimed benefits have, in some instances (not all), seemed to me to be dubious. I think that some folks thing that if you just wrap sumpin’ round the arm a time ‘r two, it’s bound te dubble accercy ‘tleast.
First Things First
I haven’t quite finished up with the loop sling. “Why is that,” you might ask, “and why re-introduce it here and now?” Well speaking of dubious claims… the issue is that I don’t think the loop sling is of benefit in the standing position. I don’t use it and I don’t recommend it.
The fact that slings aren’t allowed in several forms of competition in which the standing position is used would lead me on its face to believe that the sling should be beneficial. If it’s cheating, after all, shouldn’t it be more effective? That alone keeps me barely open to the possibility that to some people it may be helpful.
What I have noticed, however, and several times, mind you, is that people who shoot well in standing are generally current or former competitive shooters. In non-competitive settings where the only rules are safety rules, these shooters still don’t use slings in standing. Hmmm. This is what I have heard from them several times when they are instructing people in the standing position: “You should use a sling in standing because it will help steady your hold. I don’t use one, but that’s just a bad habit I have from competing because of the way the rules are set up.” Really???
Breaking the Surface
I don’t want to make this article too long, but I don’t want to leave you completely hanging. Since I’ve done a bunch of no sling versus loop sling comparisons let’s start there. I can sum up my disdain of the loop sling in standing by saying that because the support elbow is not supported the shoulder must still support the rifle’s weight, and the benefit of the loop sling is largely negated.
The following groups were shot with my Noveske uppered Mega lowered AR that I’ve been using to experiment various things. Since it’s still experimental, I call it the X-15. It currently wears the SWFA SS 3-9×42 with the old school mildot reticle, my prototype RS-3 sling, and I’m using ball ammo equivalent for the following groups.
Standing without sling:
Standing with loop sling:
In case you were interested I also shot using the more target oriented position without the sling as well:
Using the sling places constraints on the form of the position. Normally I have my elbow ‘out’ and my support hand well forward of the sling stud. With a loop sling that really doesn’t work, so I had to approximate how I would have my arm in the prone position. I also needed more stock in my shoulder pocket in order to handle the rearward tension, which placed the rifle lower. Because the rifle was lower I needed to lower my head to it.
My arc of movement was large and uncontrollable. The easiest way to convey what the position with the sling felt like was that it reminded me exactly what it felt like to shoot in standing when I was a brand new shooter. I was contorted into an awkward, uncomfortable position with my neck craned and my head hanging down to find the sight. Since I couldn’t control anything or keep the rifle on the target, I was pretty much just trying to jerk a shot as the sight swung by. Horrible.
Also, the loop sling position lacked pretty much any of the attributes that make standing useful for what it is in the field. It was slow. My ability to see my surroundings was severely compromised. It was unnatural. It was inflexible. If I really needed to make the position more stable and had more time, the “target standing” position without the sling will do a bit better as far as precision, and will allow me to maintain a comfortable, balanced position. The only thing I can say in defense of using the loop sling in standing is that I’m not at all used to using it. Maybe someone who is used to it could do much better.
‘Target’ Standing: 5.459 MOA
‘Practical Standing: 6.768 MOA
Loop Sling Standing: 10.043 MOA
‘Target’ Standing: 1.922 MOA
‘Practical Standing: 2.103 MOA
Loop Sling Standing: 3.410 MOA
In the next installment we’ll introduce the loop sling’s stepbrother Hasty and later their high speed low drag cousin Tac.