Gun slings are more than just a creative way to give a historic weapon a more authentic and original feel. They are extremely versatile tools that can make your life a lot easier in the field. After all, we never would have come up with slings if they didn’t serve a pragmatic and utilitarian purpose.
Hunters and military personnel, among others, will find great usefulness from a sling, especially one that is paired well to the gun in question. A sling frees your hands to carry additional gear, takes some of the weight of a gun off of your arms and shoulders and lays it on your back, and can vastly reduce your fatigue over the course of a day.
Still, not all gun slings are created equal. If you’re looking for a new sling for this upcoming season, here are some features you might want to consider that separate the quality slings from the simpler ‘strips of leather and fabric’ that make it easier for you to carry your rifle.
●Quick connect or quick detach hardware
Some gun slings come with quick connect and quick detach hardware that makes it easy and efficient to remove the sling. Let’s face it, even though a sling can take a lot of discomfort from carrying a rifle or shotgun around all day, sometimes they get in the way and hang up on things. Getting a sling with a quick connect hardware (that still affords a secure or locking connection) can make carrying a gun via a sling a lot more practical. Features like QD swivels on a tactical sling can make quite a difference.
●Padded shoulders or anti-fatigue, compression resistant materials
Some slings are made from really heavy leather, which is great because it is tough, but it’s also not the most comfortable or forgiving material out there. Over time, some slings can dig into your shoulder, but there’s a way around this.
Some other slings are made with anti-fatigue, compression-resistant materials that make some so much more comfortable than nylon or leather slings. Again, there’s nothing wrong with nylon, leather or synthetic materials, but some of those more accommodating, softer materials will almost have you forgetting that you have a 7 or 8 pound rifle on your back.
A sling that does not lie properly on your shoulder and rest in a stable fashion is both uncomfortable and potentially unsafe. Lucky for you, that’s why most slings are adjustable.
Admittedly, there are some old school leather muzzleloader slings that don’t really adjust, but outside of that, get one that you can quickly, and easily, adjust, especially if you will use the same sling to carry multiple different weapons. No two guns balance the same way.
●Tough, heavy-duty materials
All the same, an adjustable, comfortable rifle sling isn’t worth too much if it’s not made from tough materials. There are some really great slings out there made from heavy leathers and woven synthetics that are basically bombproof.
●Extra storage on the sling itself
Some slings have loops for shells and other gear, which can free up space in your vest, pack or pocket. Not all slings have these, and personal preferences vary, but that extra space might just be a big deal when you have to carry a lot of gear far overland.
●A thumb loop by the bottom of the sling
Thumb loops on a sling not only give you a place to rest your hands, but they also give you a quick and easy way to maintain control over the gun on the sling. With a thumb loop you can easily adjust the firearm up or down on your shoulder as well.
●Wider might be better
Sometimes, wider is better, and not only because it will diminish fatigue, as mentioned above. Wider is better because some narrow slings have a habit of rolling and twisting, which is, among other things, annoying.
The wider the pad of a sling is, the less likely it is to roll or slide around on your shoulder, which is quite aggravating and even potentially unsafe. If that’s ever happened to you, then wider is better.
Beyond this, what you want in a gun sling is largely a matter of personal preference. Actually, it’s important to keep sight of that from the start, since you might prefer a simple, unornamented, historically attestable sling made of plain leather and with none of these other features.
In short, though these features are valuable, it has to work for you first, but we’re sure there’s something in our collection of gun slings to meet that requirement.
Take a look through our collection and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you want to learn more, you have questions, or you need help finding something. We’re glad to help, and if it’s compatible with your firearm, there’s a good chance we can find it for you even if you don’t see it listed. Give us a shout at 610-250-3960 if you need any help.