Best Rifle Slings
Here’s a look at some of the best slings for every type of rifle
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A rifle sling is one of those standard yet under-appreciated pieces of gear that hunters and shooters depend on. It’s easy to let a sling for your hunting rifle or AR be an afterthought, but choosing the best rifle sling for you can make a big difference when it comes to carrying and handling your rifle or shotgun. A bad sling will have you cussing it from the start.
Picking the best sling for your rifle and application isn’t hard, but it does pay to do it right the first time. There are lots of great rifle slings on the market, and just about anyone could find something on this list that works for them.
Many slings work fine on a variety of rifles or shotguns, but the gun itself (and how you’ll carry it) is the first thing you’ll want to consider. Different rifles and shotguns have different mounting options for rifle slings. What orientation do you want the sling set up in? Are you going to carry on your shoulder or across your chest?
How you want to use your sling will affect both the orientation of how you’ll set it up and the specific type of sling for you. A sling for service rifle competition will be set up differently than one on a PRC rifle, or a hunting rifle, or the sling on a waterfowl shotgun.
For any rifle sling, comfort and simplicity are key factors that make it work for you. Many slings have fancy features and adjustments, but simplicity and ease-of-use win the day. A sling needs to be comfortable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be excessively padded or stretchy. Often, a simple sling with minimal stretch and some texture that prevents slippage is the most comfortable to carry.
This leather sling, based on the M1907 Military sling, is one of the best slings ever designed. It’s durable, adjustable, and can be used for rigid support. It can be used on everything from service rifles to defensive shotguns.
The M1907 is one of the best rifle slings ever designed, and is still used today in service rifle and high-power competition. This sling is especially good for sling-supported shooting, and it’s a rugged, ultra-durable sling that is a good option for hunting rifles too. The sling consists of two leather straps with a pattern of double holes, each with steel hooks riveted to one end, and two leather rings or “keepers.” One strap is run through the forward sling swivel, the other through the rear. The sling can be used in different configurations and lengths, but it’s held together by the steel hooks that are fitted into the corresponding holes in the sling.
The Brownells Competitor Plus is made of oak-tanned U.S. Steer hide, which prevents corrosion on the metal hooks that chromic tanning chemicals can cause. The leather is tanned to have a rigid but durable texture that won’t crack, stretch, or get rubbery. The thick blued-steel hooks are riveted to the straps with three copper rivets. They’re designed for a tight fit and no accidental un-hooking.
These slings can be used on a variety of rifles, even with Q.D. sling swivels. It can take some practice to learn how to adjust them properly, but they are an excellent sling for many applications, not just for the M1 Garand you have in the closet.
The Viking Tactics Padded sling is ultra-simple, highly versatile, and rugged. It’s one of the most functional, popular, and mimicked sling designs on the market.
The Viking Tactics two-point padded sling was designed by Kyle Lamb, and it’s one of the most popular (and copied) sling designs out there. It’s an ultra-simple sling with two points of attachment and a single quick-adjustment point.
With one hand, the user can quickly adjust the length of the sling while wearing it. The user can carry a rifle securely in several positions, both in front and on the back, but the sling is intended to be worn with the rifle across the chest or back, rather than over one shoulder.
The VTAC sling is made with resin-treated nylon and the shoulder strap has closed-cell foam padding. This sling doesn’t include any mounting hardware but does have buckles on each end to attach to swivels. It’s made in the USA and carried by many SOF troops. Being simple and versatile is what makes this one of the best rifle slings you can use for an AR or similar style rifle.
This is one of the most popular hunting rifle slings on the market, and for good reason. It’s affordable, comfortable, and can hold four rounds of ammunition on the shoulder strap.
One of the best (and most recognizable) hunting rifle slings in the U.S. is the Butler Creek Comfort Stretch sling. Its most notable features are a thick and wide neoprene shoulder pad that has four elastic cartridge holders. Some slings hold cartridges perpendicular to the sling strap, but they can easily be dislodged and lost. The parallel orientation of the cartridge holders on the Butler Creek slings hang onto cartridges pretty well and they don’t get knocked loose easily.
This sling has several iterations, but the neoprene pad, cartridge holders, and nylon strap are the same on most. This rifle sling is adjustable for length and includes sling swivels that are ready to be mounted to studs on the rifle.
There are some more durable and versatile slings out there, but for the average hunter, this is a solid bet. This sling is most-often set up for muzzle-up carry, and the thinner bottom strap isn’t very comfortable if you switch to muzzle-down. If you prefer muzzle-down carry, just attach the padded end of the sling to your stock’s swivel stud.
Turner Saddlery makes excellent M1907 slings, and their all-weather synthetic sling is impervious to the elements, versatile, and rugged.
After several years of service rifle shooting, I ended up shooting a Turner Saddlery all weather sling, and I still carry it on some of my hunting rifles today. In a nutshell, it’s a synthetic version of the M1907 sling that was issued with 1903 Springfield and M1 Garand rifles. It uses the same hook-and-hole adjustment system and comes in two pieces; it’s just made of durable biothane material rather than leather.
This is an excellent service rifle and high-power competition sling, and it eliminates the break-in period that leather slings have. It also grips the shooter’s jacket better and resists slipping when shooting from sling-supported positions.
The Turner AWS is also functional as a hunting rifle sling. It’s not as light as some nylon slings, and isn’t quick to adjust, but it’s very durable and comfortable to carry muzzle-up or muzzle-down. I’ve used the same sling on my service rifle, Winchester SXP 12 gauge, Henry .45/70, and .375 Ruger rifles. Although I do like a real leather M1907 sling, this is an excellent choice too.
Blue Force Gear
The Vickers sling is simple, durable, and lightweight. It’s easily adjustable and is a great two-point AR sling.
Another great sling for AR-style rifles is the Vickers sling from Blue Force Gear. This is a simple and effective two-point AR sling that doesn’t have any fluff. It’s fast and easy to adjust with one hand.
This sling has a 1.25-inch web that’s entirely cordura fabric. It has buckles on each end to attach to mounting hardware and set the overall sling length, but it also has a quick adjuster with a fabric tab that’s easy to manipulate with one hand.
The cordura strapping can be a little uncomfortable with heavier rifles, but it’s an excellent, durable sling. Slings like this one aren’t just for AR’s though—they also work great for more traditional hunting rifles. Being durable, light, simple, and versatile makes this a great sling.
Why It Made the Cut
The Magpul RLS is a light, simple, durable hunting rifle sling that is designed with a loop to help the shooter build a stable supported position.
In many ways, simpler is better in a rifle sling, and the Magpul RLS Rifleman is a simple, clean, and useful sling. It features 1.25-inch-wide nylon webbing and polymer hardware. That hardware consists of two buckles and an injection-molded keeper to capture the tag end or tail of the sling. One buckle is used for adjusting the upper loop that the shooter can use for a supported position, and the other is to adjust overall length.
This sling doesn’t come with sling swivels, but it’s easily installed on standard 1-inch swivels. This is a simple sling that’s great for a bolt-action or lever gun, and ideal for the shooter who likes to use their sling for support. It’s affordable, durable, and impervious to weather.
This comfortable sling is designed for in-line muzzleloader hunters and includes two speed-loaders for quick reloading.
This muzzleloader-specific sling from Thompson Center looks a bit like the classic Butler Creek sling, only instead of cartridges, it holds two speed-loaders (that are included with the sling) at the ready. It’s nice to have reloads handy, and these tubes are held in place by an elastic loop, and the caps are secured to the sling with ties. When you need to reload, just pull the tube out, and the cap his held on the sling. When you’re in a hurry, it beats digging for reloads in your pocket.
Aside from the speed-loaders, this is still a nice, useful sling for muzzleloader hunters. It has neoprene padding on the shoulder and a simple buckle to adjust the overall length of the sling. It’s intended for muzzle-up carry, and while carrying reloads in it, it’s probably a good idea to use it like that. This rifle sling includes sling swivels and has a keeper to slide over the tag end of the sling.
The Claw Slimline is an affordable, simple hunting rifle sling with a thin rubberized shoulder pad to prevent slippage.
If you have a light rifle or don’t spend a ton of time with the sling on your shoulder, a slim, minimalistic sling can be an attractive option. The Claw Slimline is a great hunting rifle sling for just that purpose. It has 1-inch-wide webbing, and a section with thin molded-rubber padding to help hold the sling in place on your shoulder.
The nylon sling webbing doesn’t stretch, and it’s not quick-adjustable, but it’s durable and includes sling swivels to quickly install on any rifle with studs. This is a good sling without a lot of bulk.
The Cobra-Style sling is a classic leather hunting rifle sling that is simple and gets the job done.
This classic cobra-styled leather hunting rifle sling is a great option for hunters who don’t want to defile their rifle with nylon and plastic. The widened “cobra-style” shoulder strap is comfortable, and this model features a basket-weave pattern and durable synthetic stitching.
The steer hide sling is built to mount on 1-inch swivels, and features “bronze-looking” studs—likely some kind of alloy. Over time, some studs (brass in particular) can corrode from moisture in the leather. Attachments and sling adjustments are simple, but you won’t be able to adjust length on the fly. It’s a simple, rugged sling that’s great for anyone who wants leather.
This single point sling is durable, with just the right amount of stretch, and offers mobility that a two-point sling can’t.
Single-point slings aren’t for everybody or every application, but they offer great mobility when used with a rifle or PCC. The sling is only attached at one point (typically at the back of the receiver), so things like switching from left-handed to right-handed shooting are faster with a single-point sling. The tradeoff is that the rifle isn’t held as securely to the body when slung—rather it dangles.
This simple single-point sling from Blackhawk has a durable 1.25-inch nylon webbing strap, and elliptical elastic that’s covered in a tubular nylon webbing sleeve. This helps prevent bounce and also protects the elastic. The elastic has about 4-inches of stretch, so it allows room for movement without being too sloppy. The sling has almost 20-inches in length adjustment and a single buckle for quick removal. The Storm sling is attached to an adapter ring on the rifle with a Mash hook, which resembles a keychain ring. Because the basic Storm sling doesn’t have an additional buckle above the Mash clip, it’s not as easy to detach the rifle from the main portion of the sling, but it’s a more secure connection.
Every hunter has different needs and preferences, but most hunters will find that a sling that is simple and durable and won’t slip off the shoulder is most ideal. It’s a bonus if the sling can be used for supported shooting.
The best rifle sling is the one that allows you to perform your tasks without noticing it. Think Simple, easy, comfortable.
The most common way to wear a hunting rifle sling is over one shoulder with the rifle pointing up or down. The best slings will adjust to allow you to wear the rifle on one shoulder or across your back.
Rifle slings are usually an afterthought for many hunters and shooters, but a good rifle sling can make your gun more comfortable to carry and keep at the ready. Slings don’t have to be expensive to be good, and typically the gawdy, accessory-loaded slings are more of a pain-in-the-ass than they are helpful tools.
There are lots of excellent slings on the market, and most of them are affordable. Pick one that’s comfortable to carry and easy for you to use. You might like to learn and use a sling like the M1907 style, but there’s nothing wrong with simple and quickly adjustable slings either. The best rifle sling for you is the one that helps you hunt and shoot as effectively as possible.
Tyler Freel is a Staff Writer for Outdoor Life. He lives in Fairbanks, Alaska and has been covering a variety of topics for OL for more than a decade. From backpack sheep hunting adventure stories to DIY tips to gear and gun reviews, he covers it all with a perspective that’s based in experience.
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