Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Getting the Essentials Covered Part 1

Strap it down....
If you've seen some of my videos in "The Essential Carbine" Series on Youtube you know by now that I like to keep my rifle simple and effective. Each piece has a function and it gets utilized. Well aside from the rifle itself, there are a couple accessories I feel are "essential" as well. Number one being a really good sling.

Your AR-15's sling might very well be your best friend. A comfortable, adjustable sling will allow you to carry your rifle, keep it slung when you are at ease, and provide stability for shooting. There are LOTS and LOTS of sling attachment options for the AR-15 rifle, including the standard FSP loop, rail mount loops, quick-detach points, receiver extension rear attachment points, and QD sockets on stocks. Keeping in mind what attachment points your rifle has currently, and what options may be available for you, you have three varieties of sling to choose from:

Magpul MS3 Multi-Mission Convertible Sling
1. Single-Point sling: A circular (usually nylon) sling loop with a single attachment point, via a Quick-Detach button or a metal snap hook. Almost all of these will be attached under the castle nut on a receiver extension attachment point. If you are looking for one of these, you can't really do any better than the highly anticipated Magpul MS3 Single Point Multi-Mission Sling. Word is these things have been backordered for months. The great and innovative feature of this Magpul sling is that it can be easily converted to a 2-point sling. It comes with a single QD button, and if the metal clip is connected to the Paraclip, it functions as a 1-point sling. Disconnect the rear clip from the paraclip and use it as a rear stock attachment and then you can use the QD button as a forward attachment, and now your sling is a 2 point sling. This is ingenious and really great in my opinion.

2. Two-point sling: My personal favorite and what I currently employ. The rear end of the sling attaches to either the stock or a receiver extension attachment point and the forward end of the sling attaches to the rail or FSP. My current setup is a QD attachment to a receiver extension plate under the castle nut and my Daniel Defense Omega X Rail has built in QD sockets on the sides of the rails. This is a secure and functional setup, allowing for shooting support when prone and quick adjustibility of the sling if you are switching from strong-side to weak-side shooting. The Magpul MS3 utilized as a 2 point sling is an excellent example of this variation.

Three Point Sling
3. Three-point sling: Uses the same two basic attachment points as the 2-point (front and rear of rifle) but also has an attachment point very near the rear backup sight on the AR-15. The theory behind a three point is weapon retention, as it prevents your rifle from flopping around when you release it to transition to secondary. This sling is useful also for carrying the rifle on the shooter's back when walking long distances.  My big hang-up with the 3-point is the presence of the strap along the left side of the upper receiver which obscures the bolt catch release and safety and makes them almost impossible to manipulate. You also feel a little confined by the straps and switching shoulders is not as easy as a 2-point.

Understand the benefits and drawbacks of all three sling types before choosing one for your utility. I learned the hard way by using an uncomfortable and barely adjustable sling for many months before I did some background research and found the 2 point sling I use now. For practical use, a sling is a necessity for AR-15 shooters on the move and one of the few pieces I consider "Essential".

Be safe and see you next time.

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