How to Use the Sling, Part 3: The Half Twist

When you tried wrapping your support hand, if you noticed that the sling got kind of bunched up around the back of your hand, let me introduce you to the half twist.

Sling around the hand with no half twist:

No Half Twist
Less comfortable than it looks.

Sling around the hand with a half twist:

Half Twist
Conforms perfectly to the support hand and continues on to the arm.

What is this half twist and why does it solve all the world’s problems?  Because we’re wrapping the sling around the hand and the hand around the sling, the sling has to be allowed to be twist once for every wrap that is made if it is to be kept flat.  If you do the wrapping motion of the hand, you’ll notice (hopefully) that there was half a revolution of the hand around the sling.  If we keep this one to one ratio, then we would be putting a half twist into the sling, which coincidentally, is just the amount that is called for.

In the old days, when you had to remove the rear of the sling from the rear swivel to loop up, they would put a half twist into the sling after unhooking the rear of the sling.  If you, like I, have figured out that unhooking the rear of the sling is impractical for any type of practical shooting (we’d hate to be impractical while being practical) you’ll need a different solution.  One way is to put the sling on the rifle so that it is straight from the front swivel to the rear and input the twist by grabbing the loop just prior to inserting the arm and putting the half twist in then.  There’s one problem with this: it’s still a little slow and means you need to juggle your hand position around prior to looping up.

What I have been doing for over a year now, and what I recommend, is to put the twist into the sling when it is mounted to the rifle.  The tricky part is figuring out how you want the sling hardware and adjustments oriented before placing the sling.  The other part that is not tricky, but takes a moment of practice is keeping the sling from the loop on back oriented one way, and keeping the half twist confined to the area of the sling forward of the loop.  Luckily, every sling material I have used has been “trainable” to some degree and seems to retain the memory of the half twist.  It’s one of those things that you check on when you pull the rifle out of the case and pick it up.  After that it tends to stay in place.

I’ve used the half twist on the 1907, Andy’s Ching sling, and all manner of nylon slings.  When I designed my own sling, which is soon to be released by the way, I had the half twist in mind from the beginning, and from the beginning it has been easy to work in that manner.  No aspect of my sling usage has suffered a bit from putting a half twist in.

The best part of the half twist is that when you go to the range, someone will tell you that your sling is twisted.  This is a great opportunity for you to look over their shoulder off into the distance.  After several seconds let a strand of drool out of the corner of your mouth.  Be subtle.  We all know that a little drool goes a long way.  After another 2-3 seconds start laughing, quietly at first, then growing in intensity.  Then say, “I like shooting guns.”  You will make new friends and impress others every single time (this statement has not been approved by the FDA).

Now that everyone is twisted I can move onto how to determine the proper tension for your sling… in a couple days.

3 thoughts on “How to Use the Sling, Part 3: The Half Twist

  1. Then say, “I like shooting guns.”

    Well, the twist works (both of them) but I simply say that “it really helps” then hit the long range gong a few times.
    I already have plenty of people wondering and worried about me without the drool.

  2. Drool can eat off the stock finish on wood. Wipe off before you case the rifle.

    “I already have plenty of people wondering and worried about me without the drool.”
    Good for you. You must be doing something right. Drool just adds a little more “Character”.

    • I found that out the hard way. “Caustic Drool” was the name of my punk band in high school.

      You may have noticed I have since switched to a synthetic stock for my primary rifle.

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