One of my favorite rifles to use at work and for play.
Photo courtesy of DVIDS
To put it simply: the one-point sling is not versatile enough. It’s really good at a specific role, and that is accommodating a direct action based use of the weapon. It is extremely good in this capacity but because it is such a specialized piece of kit, it lacks the versatility of the two-point. I am fully aware that they make hybrid slings that can be configured for both set-ups — honestly, this is a good option. But in my mind, the two-point is the appropriate choice when options are limited.
The one-point lends itself incredibly well to CQB (close quarters battle) because the shooter can fluidly change shoulders with the rifle and manipulate it more freely. This shines through during reloads and malfunction corrections because the weapon is able to rotate on a single (flexible) axis point; physically speaking, this is less restrictive, hence the term “one-point sling.” It works well for restrictive spaces and close engagements and that’s why it is also applicable to close protection roles such as executive protection and mobile security details. The only real downside is that it drops between your legs and center line when it hangs freely. This can be restrictive to movement and limit access to equipment at your front.
The two-point sling is a classic set-up made modern by rapid adjustability. It is diverse and restrictive all at once. A loose setup grants a greater range of weapon manipulation but lacks the support that a tighter set-up will have. This is where adjustment systems come into play and give the two-point a slight edge in my mind. The two-point also can be easily slung on the back or pushed out of the user’s center line. Its crossbody design gives added comfort for long patrols or extended durations of carrying the weapon.
I choose the two-point sling because I am an individual and I will be avoiding CQB at all costs, should the need to pick up a rifle arise. If for some unfathomable reason I should be forced to do CQB, I will simply unsling my rifle or throw it around my neck for added maneuverability and (albeit limited) basic retention. Should a real-world scenario arise where I actually am forced to pick up a rifle, it will probably involve a lot of walking. As a foreign military volunteer and US Marine, all my operational duties required a lot of walking and limited amounts of CQB in between.
For me, the two-point sling makes the most sense — it’s my preferred set-up so that’s what I train with and employ. However, everyone is different and should evaluate their personal circumstances to determine what sling type is most appropriate for them. Regardless of the chosen method or tool, get out and train to be safe and proficient with it.
It’s really a difficult process for me to find an everyday carry pack that I feel fits the bill. An EDC bag first and foremost, in my mind, needs to not look the least bit tactical, it should be robust, discreet, and minimalist in design. Well after some thorough research, I came across Patagonia’s Atom 8L sling pack. A small, 8 liter, cross-body bag that looks great but is completely functional for a bag designed to hook you up when you need to carry a little more than your pockets are prepared to handle.
The bag itself features a main compartment of ample storage, paired with a small exterior pocket and a smaller pocket on the strap, all of it composed of abrasion resistant material. While not waterproof the Atom is extremely water-resistant and I would not worry about my electronics during a rainy day outing. The stitching on the seems is reinforced well and I don’t expect there will be much fraying or tearing during hard use, but I also don’t expect to put the bag through much of that either personally. The strap is wide and distributes the weight well, plus it and the back panel of the bag are lined with a mesh padding for comfort and breathability. The UTX Flex buckles used on all the straps are durable and, as their name implies, just as flexible, which is an undervalued aspect of packs and their buckles; the more flexible, the longer they last. Two external horizontal cinch straps on the pack’s exterior make compression easy and provide a convenient means of extra storage for jackets or whatever you can imagine. Lastly, the Zippers are a captured, double stitched nylon coil that not only are protected from external wear and tear but provide a sturdy but flexible seal on the pockets.
As I said previously I do not desire to own a “tactical” pack for day-to-day use, however, the Patagonia Atom is more than capable of catering to smaller tactical needs. The pocket on the main strap can easily accommodate several chemlights, flashlights or a spare magazine for quick access items. I like to imagine that it would make an excellent “Breacher” sack, it could definitely hold a couple different prefab charges plus all the extra stuff such as clackers, command wire, detonators, etc. The external top pocket will fit a large cell phone or paperback book at the most and has a small clip for keys and such. I don’t mind this actually because it makes up for the space with the main pocket and I don’t believe the front pocket should be designed for an abundance of/or for larger items, just things that may be needed quickly. The main compartment has a small internal pouch with a soft fabric lining that will fit a full-size handgun nicely plus a good amount of space outside of that pocket too. A small laptop or tablet could be carried inside or a bunch of smaller items such as a large water bottle and extra garments or if you’re like me, a power bank and some basic things I like to have for an extended outing.
I opted for the bag in black but was also considering getting it in grey with orange lettering for that casual appearance. If that’s not your style, then the Atom is also available in a wide variety of other bland to fluorescent colors. The pack is incredibly functional, stylish and above all, it is well made. At a retail price around $50-$60 dollars, it’s a great option for an EDC or similar purpose bag that isn’t going to force you to go for broke. On top of that, you get to rock your gear like a Division agent and that’s pretty cool too.
*Originally published on NEWSREP
I hardly fanboy about gear and guns. I know what I like, and I don’t care who exactly makes it. One of the few things I do fanboy about is the Vickers Combat Application Sling by Blue Force Gear. You know those people who never shut up how the Wire and Breaking Bad are the best TV shows ever. That’s me, but with the Vickers sling. Designed by legendary soldier Larry ‘Big Boss’ Vickers the VCAS or Vickers sling has always been good to me.
When I was a poor Lance Corporal I had this crappy three-point issued to me for the rare times I carried a rifle. Since my main weapon was the M240 I didn’t mind. Since my 240 was packed away long ago I’ve moved on to a variety of different rifles. A good sling is a simple must have on any rifle. The Vickers sling is a two point and if you want the full rundown on specs check out my first look here.
I like to mix my handling skills with my working out, and since open carry isn’t legal in my state I couldn’t think of a better way than to sling my 80% lower AR15 and hit my personal gym. The 2 point shows it’s strengths here. I could sling it to the side while my hands were occupied with flipping tires and spin it to my back when doing push ups. The sling keeps the weapon out-of-the-way and allows the user to use their hands without a rifle bouncing around.
This is greatly beneficial if you need to remove an injured buddy, climb a ladder, or low crawl around the ground. In these situations, the Vickers Sling’s ability to rapidly tighten is an absolute advantage. A nice tight sling holds it tighter to the body and makes it easier to move and groove. Once the movement is over I can loosen the sling and be ready for action once again.
One the range the sling is super easy to adjust for everyone’s personal needs. Between weapons, I found it necessary to adjust. Mainly between carbine and shotgun. A looser sling on the shotgun allowed me to more easily manipulate it for tactical and speed reloads. The Vickers Sling was a perfect option for both my AR and my Mossberg 930.
The sling’s 1.25 inch width displaces weight well and keeps everything comfortable. There is a padded option for heavy weapons like the SCAR 17, M1A, etc. However, for an AR or basic shotgun, the standard model is perfect. Just carrying the weapon for extended periods of time is comfortable and the weapon remains stable when you have your hands full.
Once the shoot’n starts the sling remains supportive, and is easy to take on and off for shooting in odd positions, or around barriers. I prefer this option to using a fixed one point on a plate carrier. It also stays out-of-the-way when dropping the rifle and transitioning to a sidearm. A single point tends to have the weapon swinging when trying to pull your handgun.
Over the last month this specific Blue Force Gear Vickers Sling has been the go-to for every range trip, and rests on the Mossberg 930 I keep for home defense. It has zero signs of wear or fraying. The only thing that’s changed is the Blue Force Gear tag is slowing disappearing. The Vickers sling is by far my favorite option for long guns.
It’s amazing how much gear individuals in the military adopt and use without official issue. Sometimes this gear serves its purpose in the way it was designed, for example, Merell boots were adopted by numerous soldiers on their own dime. Other times the gear is modified to fulfill a certain purpose. The Pak Rat is a little bit of both. They are used for their intended purpose and were occasionally called into more creative roles.
The Pak Rat is a small device made of both plastic, rubber, and velcro straps. It is designed to attach to the shoulder of a pack and then secure the sling of your weapon to the pack. This simple idea is brilliant in both its simplicity and design. How many times have you had your gun slung over your shoulder and had it slip off?
Maybe you pull out a compass or try to climb a tree stand and it slips. You catch it without a doubt, but it gets annoying fast. The Pak Rat is here to stop that. It allows you to toss it over your shoulder and have your hands free for so many other important things. From tossing a buck over your shoulder to taking a sip of water.
All you do is attach the Pak Rat over your backpack strap with the velcro, open up the rubberized snap and then insert the sling. That’s all there is to it. Your sling stay put and you can adventure as ready. This was a favorite piece of gear for me because in the Marine Corps infinite wisdom as a machine gunner I not only carried my blessed M240 but also my M16A4 on hikes and humps, and in the field. I could sling the M16 securely with the Pak Rat either up and down or across my back and know that it would stay in place.
On humps it staid on my pack where it kept my M16A4 out of the way while hump klick after klick. In more tactical training the Pak Rat fit easily on the shoulder pad of my flak. Here it secured the M16A4 and its two point sling. Luckily I never went into combat with both an M16 and M240.
It was invaluable in training. The design is also ergonomic and easy to use. The rubber portion that holds the sling down has a fat and wide lip that is easy to grip and remove for quick access to your gun. Best of all it’s silent so you won’t spook a deer or Timmy Taliban.
A lot of the guns in my platoon used to run their one point sling through their shoulder pad and through their webbing, securing it in the back with zip ties or paracord. The Pak Rat is a much more elegant solution that zip ties or paracord and it does the same job more efficiently.
Originally published on the Crate Club Knowledgebase
Everyone loves the big flashy accessories in the shooting world. Each new scope, rangefinder or stock will generate quite a bit of buzz. Just as important are the small pieces that complete the setup. If you’ve ever had a sling break during a hunt or ruck march, you know their value.
There seems to be a sling for every purpose and shooting style these days. One point, two point, kleckner cuff and others. Some shooting styles are designed around having the right sling. They aren’t the sexiest of accessories, but are important in their own right.
First out of the box is the Duty Sling. Made from polyethylene webbing, this is your standard two-point affair. As comfortable on your AR as it is on a hunting rifle, a two-point sling has long been the standard. The Red Rock Duty sling has a slide buckler for adjusting sling tension on one end and a semi-permanent two screw clamping system on the other. The double screw affixment system ensures the end of the sling won’t come loose.
The S1 single-point sling is a more tactical affair. The big loop goes around your torso and the stainless HK hook snaps onto a mounting point near the rear of the rifle. Balanced thus, the rifle hangs more or less vertically in front of the shooter, allowing them to keep the rifle in tight to the body. This allows for easy retention of the rifle in a scuffle and for a quick presentation of the rifle when needed. The S1 has a polyethylene strap divider which is a comfortable addition. There are quick release buckles both on the body loop and on the weapon extension. This allows the shooter to take the body loop off easily when wearing full kit, or to pop the weapon off the sling without removing the body loop.
I put the Duty Sling on a full-length carbine and the S1 on a PDW with a 7″ barrel. Both are of superior construction quality and are very comfortable. Two-point slings are pretty straightforward and I can’t find any reason for complaint on the Duty Sling. Whether carrying or shooting with a sling-grip, the Duty Sling feels like the best version of a simple two-point I’ve ever used. The first time I put on the S1, I declared to all in the room “I might have found my new favorite sling!”. I’ve toned that down just a little since then as I’ve found one small aspect I’d like to see another option for. Even after tightening the body loop snug against my torso, the weapon extension is still a bit too long for my taste. If the quick-release buckle were an inch or so closer to the polyethylene strap divider, the rifle wouldn’t hang so low. It’s just the one part of the sling I can’t adjust to shooters preference and I do like a bit of sling tension when shooting a single-point. It’s important to note that this is personal preference on the matter and not some failing of the product. I think I’m in the bottom height range for shooters so this won’t be an issue for most.
When all is said and done, I think shooters will find Red Rock Outdoors group’s slings to be worthy purchases. Both slings are comfortable, well-designed and tough. At $42.99 for the S1 sling and $14.99 for the Duty Sling, these represent great value-to-quality purchases.