How to Use a Rifle Sling Safely

January 29, 2016 / Comments (0)


There is nothing more important when it comes to firearms than safety. More than 100,000 Americans alone are injured or die every year due to accidental or intentional misuse of weaponry. It is an unacceptable amount of tragedy that could have been prevented with education and proper precautions.
There is no gun enthusiast more dedicated to safety than Dixie Gun Worx’s Chris Michel. Although, like many people in North America, his love of firearms runs very deep, he has made safety and education is main passions. In his shop, through his videos and even online he goes out of his way to ensure that his customers are not only educated in the right safety techniques but have a full understanding of the gun itself before using it.
A Necessity Not an Accessory
One of Michel’s pet peeves are gun lovers who are so excited to use the weapon that they neglect to invest in the additional pieces of equipment needed to ensure safety. Too often he has seen a thrilled hunter purchase a rifle and then decline additional security measures because he or she considers them to be accessories. This couldn’t be farther than the truth. Some items, even though they aren’t attached to the actual firearm, are necessities. Some items, as inconsequential as they seem, could save a life.
One such ‘necessary accessory’ for rifle users is a good quality sling. The majority of hunting accidents or any accident involving a rifle occurs because the shooter lost control of the firearm. Rifles are large. They are cumbersome and powerful (quite the combination) and take much more vigilance than many people think. You simply can’t throw one over your shoulder and head off into the brush and not expect to be a major hazard to yourself and anyone around you. You must be the rifle’s master in order to be safe.
A sling gives you such mastery.
Slings- Little Life Savers
A shocking 90% of all rifle users believe that the only reason to use a sling is to keep the rifle pointing upwards. Even though that can be a benefit, it is only the tip of iceberg. A good sling functions as a holster, keeping your weapon safely against you and ready to be used when you decide. A good sling can make the difference between life and death. Everyone who owns a rifle needs one – no excuse is good enough!
There are two basic mounts that most slings utilize. The first is known as the ‘clamshell’ or ‘claw’ mount. These plastic or metal toggles open like their namesake when squeezed and can be easily attached to mounts on the rifle. The second, and most popular mount is known as ‘The QD’ or ‘quick disconnect’. These connectors utilize small metal prongs that can be retracted or forced outward by a simple push of button. When positioned into a connector on the rifle, these prongs securely lock in and make the sling stable until you choose to disconnect. The ease of the QD equipped slings makes them an extremely popular choice for hunters and outdoorsmen who encounter more danger in their sport than hobby shooters. For example, if you were to find yourself tangled in a tree or brush thanks to your sling, all you need to do is reach down, gently press and button and you’ll be swiftly released. A handy feature should you be face to face with a mountain lion or two!
Most rifles manufactured today come complete with connector ports in various positions on the body. However, you have the ability to customize their positions should you desire. Chris Michel recommends that a port always be positioned toward the back of the lower receiver. This is particularly important if you are intending to wear your sling in a single point position. When attached in this area, the weight of the rifle causes the gun to hang flat against the body where it can be easily accessed. Obviously, the more you get accustomed to your sling and the more you use it in action, the more your personal preference will develop.
Wearing Your Sling
When you are deciding how to wear your sling, you need to take a few important factors into account. Where will you be when you are using your rifle and what will you be doing? If you are not embarking on any major adventures and are looking forward to a day of casual shooting, the single point sling may be your best bet. Called the single point because the sling is attached to the body at one point prior to being attached to the firearm, this is a position that allows you access to your weapon at all times. Unfortunately, many find the downward facing barrel that occurs in this position to be somewhat of a worry. Not only is there is the potential to cause harm to the lower half of your body, but having a large rifle hanging between your legs can be somewhat of a hindrance if you have any extensive walking to do.
The best option if you are going to be engaging in any strenuous activity while wearing your rifle is the two-point sling. In this configuration, the sling is not attached to the body at all. The two QD points instead lock onto the rifle in two of the chosen connector portals while the sling is wrapped around the arm or across the body in a traditional fashion. Ages old but very effective, this position allows your instant access to your weapon with the option to slide it to your back, freeing up the front of the torso. When securely tightened, you can run, hike and dance if you like with no fear of injury or accidents. An added bonus to this position? With your hands free you can quickly access any additional firearms should the need arise. Again, back to those mountain lions….
Certain things are non negotiable when it comes to enjoying firearms. Safety is absolutely one of them. There is always the potential for disaster and always the threat of injury as soon as you pick up a weapon of any kind. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy them! In order to get the most from your love of firearms, you need to learn everything you can. Read, watch videos or even utilize the massive storehouse of knowledge field experts like Chris Michel have at their disposal. The only thing stopping you from enjoying your ‘toys’ is respecting them as the weapons they are.

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