I’ve been running a prototype tactical sling that also allows for an easy loop sling, a la the RS-2. I think that the design is slightly too complex, and I’ve been considering eliminating the loop sling portion of it. Before I did that, I needed to see if a tactical sling could be used as a shooting aid to the same effect as a loop sling. I was hoping it would work as well or better so I would feel fine with eliminating the loop from and start with a new simplified prototype.
What I mean by using the tactical sling as support is that the sling goes from the buttstock, over the firing side shoulder, diagonally down across the back, under the support side arm, and attaches on the rifle’s hand guard. To use the 2 point sling as support in this manner the sling, which as a quick overall length adjustment is pulled taut. The effect is that the weight of the rifle is supported to some degree, although the geometry is not as simple and sound as the loop sling setup. This does seem to provide quite a bit more stability than nothing at all.
I set up two identical targets on my board. I decided to use a sitting position. The field was completely muddy, so I used open leg sitting because I had a wooden block to sit on. The block was 98 yards from the target. My ammo was Federal XM193. I fired one shot per breath on for each group. I fired the loop sling first and took a slight break in between before shooting the tactical sling group.
Subjectively the positions felt about equally stable. In the scope I could see about twice as much movement in the scope with the tactical sling used for support. Finding one’s natural point of aim with a loop sling is a cut and dried process. In the tactical sling configuration I was not able to bring that to as finite a point. With the loop sling most of the shots appeared to break with the reticle well centered. With the tactical sling about half of them appeared to do so, as there was a significantly larger “wobble area”.
Loop sling group on top. Tactical sling group on bottom. The point of aim was the target immediately below the ‘157’. My zero was obviously not on. The extreme spread is illustrated by the black rectangle and the group’s center and deviation from the point of aim is indicated by the small crosshairs and black and white hashed line, respectively.
On paper, the loop sling group was clearly smaller, at 2.8 MOA. The tactical sling group came in at 3.6 MOA. One group each is not enough to tell me the whole story, but it was indicative of what I saw and felt behind the rifle. One position is not enough to be conclusive, but it was enough information for me to form a hypothesis.
The positive attributes of using the tactical sling for support are that it’s easier and quicker to use, and allows for normal weapon manipulation with the AR (support hand manipulation of the charging handle and magazines during reloads). In a lot of situations that is enough to outweigh the precision of the loop sling.
The loop sling is a pain to get into when it’s worn around the body and does not allow for support hand manipulation of the charging handle. The tautness of the sling, which is necessary for support, also significantly changes the ability to get the correct eye relief, which is not the case with the tactical sling support.
I need to do some additional research to see if I can make the sling work in roughly this configuration, or if it would still be better to change it. The tactical style sling is very nice to use with an AR. The ability to instantly adjust overall length in a tactical style sling is a must. The ability to loop up with this rifle is more of a luxury, in my opinion, but it is apparently more precise a means of support than the tactical sling. I’ll provide an update when one is justified.