Without a sling, you’d have to carry your AR-15 or precision sporting rifle in your hands. Traditionally used for carrying the gun in 1 of 3 ways, the sling also serves another purpose — stabilizing the rifle by binding it to the upper body.
In a tactical set-up, being able to drop your rifle and transition to a sidearm can be a lifesaver, especially if your ammunition supply is exhausted or you’ve experienced a malfunction.
Best Rifle Slings for Your AR-15 & Precision Rifle
The following rifle slings are the best available on the market to help you on your next long hunting excursion.
1. Galco Riflemann Sling
Many rifle slings are designed to help you carry the weapon on the range and in the field, keeping it secure, retained, and balanced. However, the Riflemann Sling, named after hunter Richard Mann, is designed to steady your rifle for more precise shooting in the field. Unlike either the USGI loop sling (M1907 pattern) or dedicated Ching Sling, the Riflemann is designed to permit three different braced shooting positions.
In addition to two variants of the hasty sling, standard and simple, and the Safari Ching Sling, the Riflemann also allows you to assume a military-type sniper position. The sling is wrapped tightly around the triceps muscle of the dominant arm. When applied correctly, the tension in the sling is enough to allow accurate shooting with one hand.
Aside from its uses for braced shooting, the Riflemann is also a carry sling, and it can accommodate the 3 most common methods by which hunters and outdoorsmen carry rifles:
- American: The traditional method of carry in the United States involves slinging the rifle over the strong-side shoulder with the muzzle facing up. This method provides a secure and comfortable carry method for long-distance transportation.
- European: In European carry, the rifle is slung over the support-side shoulder with the muzzle facing up. This allows the shooter to keep the gun in view at all times.
- African: Favored by dangerous-game hunters on the African continent, in this carry method, the rifle is slung over the support-side shoulder with the muzzle facing down and away from you. This keeps the barrel from snagging on tree branches and other foliage that may overhang.
2. The Ching Sling
Working alongside Jeff Cooper’s famous shooting school, Gunsite, Eric Ching developed the Ching Sling. Col. Cooper was so enamored by the Ching Sling design and what it represented that he included it with the Steyr Scout Rifle that he helped develop.
This 3-point rifle sling is a shooting sling. Many slings are designed to help you carry and retain the rifle, both in the midst of action and after it calms down. However, the rifle sling serves another important but increasingly overlooked purpose — stabilization to assist marksmanship. This is achieved by wrapping or cuffing the sling around the support arm in some way, binding the rifle to the upper body.
There are several types of shooting sling, either dedicated or as a modification. One is the so-called hasty sling, which is simply wrapping the sling around your support arm. This is simple to arrange, but there are better options available.
In the role of a shooting sling, the Ching Sling consists of a strap that attaches to the forend/handguard in the front and the butt at the rear, and a second sling that hooks to the midpoint of the rifle stock. The middle strap has a sliding buckle for adjustment and is wrapped around the support arm.
A compromise between the USGI loop sling, which is slow to apply, and the ad-hoc hasty sling, the Ching Sling is more suitable for high-stress scenarios where time is a factor, such as combat or dangerous-game hunting.
3. Viking Tactics Wide Padded Sling
The primary purpose of a rifle sling is to carry your weapon. Carrying a rifle in one or both hands can get tiring, especially over long treks. It can also get in the way of utilizing other tools and clearing foliage. For extended excursions, a carrying strap is a more comfortable solution to carrying heavy-caliber rifles.
The Viking Tactics Wide Padded Sling offers a simple option with closed-cell foam padding. The strap is made from a synthetic material, which can have some advantages over leather goods. In this case, the nylon is resin-treated to provide water resistance for long treks, no matter the weather conditions.
Adding to the durability, the webbing in the center is achieved by weaving the material into a tubular shape and flattening it to create a double layer. This is also known as tubular nylon. In the case of the Viking Tactics sling, this weaving is 2” in thickness.
To ensure proper installation and stability, the Viking Tactics sling has 1” nylon on attaching ends. The manufacturer-provided tri-glides are made out of plastic; however, you can also purchase an upgrade containing metal buckles instead or go for the upgraded version. The added benefit of choosing the upgraded version of this sling includes a rubber, textured, pull tab that you can use for quick adjustments.
Both versions have a metal slider and can be purchased in various color options, such as olive drab, coyote tan, and highlander camo.
4. Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Applications Unpadded Sling
A 2-point tactical rifle sling, the Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Applications Unpadded Sling was designed in cooperation with retired Delta Force operator Larry Vickers and drew on his real-world combat experience as a member of special operations forces (SOF). This is one of the motives behind the Vickers Sling design and the inclusion of the patent-pending Quick Adapter, which allows you to rapidly switch between carrying the rifle and firing it.
While intended for use with the AR-15 rifle pattern, the Vickers Sling can also be attached to sling swivels on the underside of traditional bolt-action sporting rifles for muzzle-up carry.
The main advantage of a 2-point sling is even weight distribution. This is achieved by attaching the sling to the rifle at two locations — on the handguard or near the barrel and another near the butt — allowing you to carry weapons more comfortably. What is crucial here is that, no matter if your firearm is lightweight or on the heavier side, the sling takes up enough slack, making it more viable to transport the gun on extended hikes. If you’re carrying a heavier weapon, Blue Force Gear also offers a padded variant that uses closed-cell foam.
The Vickers Sling’s hardware is made out of DuPont Zytel as standard. This is not your typical plastic; Zytel is an impact-resistant, glass-reinforced nylon used in rifle stocks and handgun frames. The choice of material, in this case, reduces weight without compromising durability. However, while Zytel is strong and lays flat compared to the metal alternative, machined aluminum hardware is also available if you desire additional strength.
5. BDS Tactical Enhanced Ambidex Three Point Rifle Sling
For maximum support and weapon retention, there’s the 3-point rifle sling option. As with the 2-point type, the sling attaches to 2 points on the rifle — the fore and aft. The sling then connects to a single point on a carrying strap, which you wear across your torso.
The BDS Tactical Enhanced Ambidex Three Point Rifle Sling body is made from tough 1.5” sling webbing. The 18” carrying strap is padded for your comfort, and the 2-point sling component attaches to the rifle using front and rear cages. These cages, which are made from nylon, encircle the butt of the rifle and the handguard, and are fastened using metal loops and Velcro closures.
Usable by either right- or left-handed shooters, the Ambidex Rifle Sling cages have columns on both sides. The carrying part of this sling arrangement features a cam buckle that you can manipulate with your support hand for quick length and retention adjustment.
Some consider 3-point slings to be more complicated to operate, and you do have to pay more attention to the sling position relative to your body and equipment. The longer length of the sling can be tricky to manage and could tangle if you’re not careful. However, if you keep that in mind, the 3-point setup can be one of the most secure options for carrying your rifle while on the move. It also provides you with one of the easiest ways to transition to a variety of carry methods.
6. Condor Cobra One Point Bungee Sling
A 1-point sling attaches to a single point on the rifle, usually on or near the butt stock. The advantage of this system is that the rifle remains accessible at all times and can be swept aside if a transition to a sidearm is necessary. A single-point sling, however, doesn’t provide the same degree of support as a 2- or 3-point setup, so you’ll have to bear that in mind.
This being a tactical-sling arrangement, it may not be suitable for backpacking or hunting. Instead, this is what you would use for competitive shooting sports, such as 3-Gun, and tactical applications, such as law enforcement and military service. All of this means that you’ll be moving a lot, so to protect the finish of your rifle from being scratched, the snap hook adapter on this sling is covered by an elastic tube.
As a single-point sling, the Condor Cobra One Point Bungee Sling provides rapid access to the weapon and features a quick-release buckle on the side that allows you to detach the system with 1 hand. Incorporating dual bungee construction, the sling keeps the rifle close and reduces perceived weight thanks to the elastic design. This also increases the strength of the connection between the sling and the rifle.
For added strength, the 1.25” webbing material is paired with buckles made from Duraflex, which combines rubber’s elasticity with the hard-wearing surface of polyurethane.
Style isn’t an area that you need to neglect, and to that effect, you can purchase the One Point Bungee Sling in black, coyote brown, and olive drab. If you want to blend into your surroundings more effectively, you can also buy it in Crye Precision Multicam.
7. Caldwell AR Modular Dual Point Sling Kit
If you’re unsure whether you’d prefer to use a 1- or 2-point sling, Caldwell offers a hybrid option that can be used in either configuration. This combines the access, ability to switch from one weapon to another, and maneuverability of a single point with the retention, comfort, and additional carry styles provided by the 2-point set up.
The AR Modular Dual Point Sling Kit allows you to carry your AR-15 conveniently by your side as a 1-point sling. If you detach the spring-loaded carabiner clip, you can then use it in the 2-point style, carrying it slung over your shoulder or across your back. Featuring a quick-detach buckle, you can also unsling your rifle without removing the entire sling from your chest rig or body.
Caldwell’s sling is ambidextrous for left-handed shooters, coming with a receiver end plate or attaching to an existing one. This adds to the accessibility options in this particular design, making this one of the best options for beginners who do not know yet how they want to operate their firearm when it’s slung over their shoulder or attached to their chest.
As a hybrid sling, it offers a versatility that the others may not. For example, if you were using this sling for journeying through the woods to pursue an animal, the option for 2-point gives you additional comfort and security in carrying your firearm. However, if you keep your AR-15 close to your bed at night, the 1-point option provides you with immediate access to the weapon controls. In the case of this particular sling, the Quick Detach buckle allows you to swiftly ditch the sling in high-stress situations.
8. Quake Claw Standard Black Gun Sling
When comfort is your priority, the Quake Claw Standard Black Gun Sling includes one of the most comfortable shoulder pads on the market. Using rubber web padding, this sling is wide but also lightweight.
Designed not to slip, roll, or tumble, the Black Gun Sling keeps your rifle from moving unnecessarily. However, the sling can still stretch half-an-inch to accommodate your build. This can be useful if you never find a comfortable way of carrying your AR-15 or aren’t satisfied with other slings you may have tried. It also means that if you are wearing particularly heavy clothing or body armor, the Quake Claw Sling can adapt to your wearable equipment rather than dig into it, possibly interfering with your access to the rifle.
As an all-weather rifle sling, this product won’t absorb water. You can carry your firearm in the rain, snow, sleet, or other harsh weather conditions, confident that the sling won’t deteriorate. Furthermore, the sling can handle significant temperature fluctuations, remaining flexible and functional in sweltering or freezing climates (manufacturer states down to -40°F).
If noise is a concern, such as when you are stalking game, Quake’s sling uses Hush Stalker II sling swivels made from low-friction Delrin, which don’t squeak, whine, or rattle. As opposed to steel, Delrin doesn’t rust or corrode, contributing to its universal usefulness.
Regardless of whether you’re carrying your rifle with a single-, 2-, or even 3-point sling, the options on the market can provide you with more than enough variability to satisfy any type of shooter. From carrying to stabilizing the rifle, the sling is an essential accessory to anyone who values comfort and strives to become a superior marksman.