What’s all this fuss about two-point slings?
Like everything else in RS and airsoft, slings go in and out of favour. When I first started out, it was all about the three-point sling. With this overly complicated device, you were lucky if you didn’t end the day in a strait jacket made entirely of sling. If you felt really special, you could get a three-point sling which had a massive battery attached to it, which patted your back annoyingly as you ran (I know this, because I was special).
Next, it was the turn of the single-point sling. This was perfectly designed to be generally unhelpful, while also being specifically purposed to pendulum the full weight of the gun into your crotch. In fairness, my current sling is a single- point PIG Dropslider and my balls are relatively intact. It’s a great sling for switching shoulders, as are all single-pointers, but there is a better option out there for important tactical hands-free stuff like waiting for a medic or walking back to respawn.
If you look back at In The Wild pics over the last ten years or so, you can see sling trends unfolding there, too. Unsurprising, given airsoft’s relationship to The Wild.
The type of sling which has been a constant throughout, is the two-point sling. And right now it is at its most popular because you rarely see In The Wild pics of SOF without them. Not only that, but there is a particular evolution of the two-point sling in widespread use at the tip of the spear; one which VTAC made popular. I’ll be referring to it simply as the VTAC sling. Sure, other manufacturers make slings of the same design, to their own specs, and whilst these are also seen In The Wild, VTAC’s own was the first of its kind that I was aware of.
You know you’re in good company when you see pics like this:
Here’s a video which takes you through the sling’s functionality:
VTAC makes a few slings with this feature set, but the one I’m featuring here is the Upgraded version of the Wide Sling. I’ve cobbled together a few bits from VTAC’s website, to provide a description:
…the VTAC sling’s revolutionary design has made it a favorite of the Special Forces community. Created for a collapsible stock (AR-15 type rifles), the VTAC sling is quick, versatile, dynamic, and most importantly, simple.
We at Viking Tactics, Inc. understand the importance of flexibility and this product truly delivers in this aspect. The VTAC sling is instantly adjustable, allowing you to adjust shooting positions with ease. You can easily move from strong side shoulder to weak side shoulder or secure your carbine during handgun transition.
Unlike other slings on the market, the VTAC sling isn’t just a carrying strap. Its full range of adjustability will enhance retention for when you need your hands free. It is also one of the only tactical slings that can be used as an adjustable shooting sling. To address the needs of a wide variety of customers, VTAC provides several different attachment options to help you to choose the best attachment for your situation.
Designed with the shooter and soldier in mind, the padded version of the sling is made with a shoulder strap with closed cell foam.
The Upgraded Viking Tactics Wide (Padded) Quick Adjust sling comes with two new great features. We have added a textured rubber pull tab, which allows the user to quickly adjust the sling.
We have also replaced the plastic buckles with metal hardware and elastic stow bands to allow easy mounting and adjustment, with increased strength and durability.
So, from all that, you can potentially work out what the fuss is about. Couple this with instances of the sling seen In The Wild and you have airsoft loadout gold. However, this is not the first time I’ve tried a two-point sling. It’s not the second. It’s not even the third time…
This time, I decided to be a bit more tenacious with my evaluation. I figured there had been something wrong with the way I’d set up the slings in the past, because praise for them is so great.
So, I ordered the VTAC Wide Padded Sling from Rock Mountain Tactical on ebay. I’ve dealt with this retailer on a number of occasions. They are always courteous and fast to ship. Shipping was a bit steep, but in fairness it was fully tracked, swift and a lot cheaper than LBT’s shipping (LBT also makes a sling of this type).
Just to note, the sling comes without mounting hardware, unlike the LBT equivalent which ships with HK snap hooks. Aside from keeping costs down, it seems to be VTAC’s recommendation that the sling’s webbing is attached directly to sling points on the RIS and stock, without HK snap hooks as an intermediary. We will come back to this later.
Here’s what the sling looked like when it arrived:
To me, there are a number of variables which figure in attempting to fit a two-point sling:
1. Where to anchor the sling, front and rear (e.g. front of RIS, rear of RIS; receiver end plate, stock etc)
2. What to use to anchor the sling (e.g. webbing, HK hooks, QD sling swivels, other mounts)
3. What length to adjust the sling itself (this is possible at three points with this particular sling – adding to the complexity and agony of choice)
I’ll cut a very long story short (the length of an entire afternoon and early evening) and say that the eureka moment was provided by this famous pic:
Once I’d fastened the rear of the sling direct to my CTR, as per the example above, everything else fell into place, pretty much. And I mean that quite literally, because suddenly the gun was hanging off me, muzzle down, in the way that it should and which felt natural. I’ve always been a receiver end plate kind of guy, but this was an epiphany (and in fairness to VTAC, it’s what they recommend).
Up front I tried a QD swivel behind my support hand. I then tried a Magpul RSA behind my support hand. The swivel was best, but I think the Magpul RSA edged it when I later tried that up front. More experimentation required.
While I was choosing combinations of sling points and sling point positions, I was also adjusting the length of the sling. I found it best to minimize the amount of webbing between the shoulder pad and stock, and between the shoulder pad and adjuster mech.
I’ll continue tweaking to make sure the sling is fully optimised, but fitting it properly has made a world of difference and I would go so far as to say I can now see what all the fuss is about. And it’s quite cathartic.
More feedback, when in use.
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