A good sling can be your best ally, especially in high-stress situations where control and stability are critical. It provides the necessary support for maintaining your weapon’s balance, ensuring fast transitions, and allowing for hands-free operations. However, the efficiency of a sling is heavily influenced by its material, which can impact factors such as durability, comfort, maintenance, and even aesthetic appeal.
Factors to Consider
Choosing the best material for an AR-15 sling is a crucial decision that will affect your rifle’s overall performance and longevity. Below, we discuss several key factors that can guide your choice and the pros and cons of different AR-15 sling materials.
The durability of your sling is critical, especially if you use your AR-15 regularly or in harsh environments. A sling’s material directly impacts its toughness and resistance to wear and tear. For instance, while a leather sling may offer an appealing classic aesthetic, it might not be the best choice for wet climates as it can crack and deteriorate if not properly cared for.
When carrying your AR-15 for extended periods, comfort is paramount. Different materials will feel different against your body, which can significantly affect your overall experience. Nylon, for example, is lightweight and flexible, making it comfortable to carry for long periods, while a leather sling might feel more robust but could be a less comfortable sling material for AR-15 during extended use.
Different sling materials require different levels of maintenance. Some materials, like nylon, are relatively low maintenance and easy to clean. However, other materials, like leather or canvas, may require special care routines, including specific cleaning solutions and regular conditioning to maintain their quality and longevity.
Depending on your typical shooting environment, some sling materials may be more suitable than others. For example, if you frequently use your AR-15 in wet or humid conditions, you might want to consider a synthetic material like nylon or polyester that resists water and mildew. On the other hand, for dry environments, a robust leather sling may be a good option.
Consider your preferred attachment style when choosing the material for your AR-15 sling. The attachment style refers to how the sling connects to your rifle and can significantly impact your shooting experience. Let’s discuss the three main attachment styles – single-point, two-point, and three-point – and how the choice of sling material might interact with each.
Single-point slings attach to the AR-15 at one point, usually at the rear of the receiver. This style is favored for its ease of movement and quick transitions, but it can allow the rifle to swing freely when not in active use. Durable, flexible materials like nylon or paracord are often chosen for single-point slings due to their strength and lightweight nature.
Two-point slings attach at both the front and rear of the rifle, offering greater stability and control over the weapon. This is the most traditional style and is often chosen for long-distance or precision shooting. Any of the discussed materials – nylon, leather, canvas, and paracord – can be suitable for two-point slings, as comfort, durability, and ease of adjustment become significant considerations.
Three-point slings, featuring a strap that goes around the body with attachment points at the front and rear of the rifle, provide the highest level of stability but can be more complicated to use. Because of the added complexity, the material choice should combine durability with flexibility. Nylon and paracord are commonly used for their strength, flexibility, and ease of weaving or adjusting the sling.
Common Types of Sling Material
A wide variety of materials are available for AR-15 slings, each offering unique benefits and drawbacks. When considering what is the best material for an AR-15 sling, understanding the characteristics of these materials can help you determine which is most suitable for your needs. Here, we will be comparing materials for AR-15 slings and their key features and settle the debate between nylon vs. leather slings.
Nylon slings are among the most common choices due to their strength, light weight, and resistance to moisture and mildew. They are also relatively low-maintenance, easy to adjust, and come in various colors and styles.
However, nylon can fray over time and may not be as durable as other materials in extreme environments. Additionally, some shooters find nylon to be less comfortable against the skin during prolonged use.
Leather slings are a classic, durable AR-15 sling material with an appealing aesthetic. They are robust, and when properly cared for, they can last for many years. They also conform to the user’s body over time, which can increase comfort.
However, leather requires more maintenance than synthetic materials to prevent it from drying out and cracking, particularly in wet conditions. It’s also generally heavier than other materials, which could be a disadvantage during long periods of use.
Canvas slings provide a good balance of durability and comfort. They are tough and tend to hold up well in various environments. Like leather, canvas can conform to the user’s body over time, enhancing comfort. However, this AR-15 sling fabric is not as resistant to moisture as synthetic materials, so it may not be the best choice for humid environments unless treated with a water-resistant coating.
Paracord rifle slings are a versatile option that also doubles as a survival tool. They are typically woven from durable, lightweight nylon cords that can be unraveled and used in emergency situations. Paracord slings are resistant to moisture and mildew but may not be as comfortable as other options due to their thin, corded construction.
Care and Maintenance
Apart from knowing how to choose the right material for your AR-15 sling, proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. Here are some care tips for each of the sling materials we’ve discussed:
Nylon is relatively low-maintenance. You can clean it with mild soap and warm water. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, which can weaken the nylon fibers. After washing, let it air dry completely to prevent any potential mildew growth.
Leather requires more attention to keep it in good shape. Regularly clean it with a damp cloth to remove dirt and grime. Use a leather conditioner every few months to keep it supple and prevent it from drying out and cracking. Avoid soaking leather in water, as it can cause the material to warp or discolor. If it gets wet, allow it to air dry slowly and naturally.
Similar to nylon, canvas can be cleaned using mild soap and warm water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residues. Let it air dry completely after washing. For added protection, you can apply a fabric protector spray to make your canvas sling water-resistant.
Paracord is also quite easy to maintain. Clean it using warm water and mild soap. Ensure you rinse it well to remove all soap, as any residue could potentially attract dirt. Allow it to air dry thoroughly before using it again. Regularly check the weave of your paracord sling for any signs of fraying or damage.
Product Spotlight: Flatline Fiber Co’s Slings
Flatline Fiber Co is renowned for its high-quality, handcrafted AR-15 slings. Whether you prefer a minimalist design or a bit of added comfort, they’ve got you covered. Here, we shine the spotlight on two of our standout offerings: the Standard Rifle Sling and the Padded Rifle Sling.
Standard Rifle Sling
The Standard Rifle Sling boasts a slim profile and a minimalist design, ideal for shooters who prefer a non-padded sling. This sling is handcrafted in the U.S.A. with durable 1″ nylon webbing and comes in a variety of colors, including Multicam Black, Multicam Tropic, Multicam Standard, Woodland, Black, Ranger Green, Wolf Grey, Coyote, and more.
Key features include an ITW Ladder loc with a pull tab for fast adjustments, open ends for adding your attaching hardware, and plenty of webbing. Once the sling is adjusted to your needs, you can store the surplus webbing in the provided tri-glides for a sleek, streamlined look.
Even better? The Standard Rifle Sling comes with a lifetime warranty and free shipping on all orders within the U.S. Please note that the current lead time is 7-10 business days.
Padded Rifle Sling
If you’re looking for added comfort without sacrificing a slim profile, consider the Padded Rifle Sling. Like the Standard Rifle Sling, this model is also constructed with durable 1″ nylon webbing and comes in a range of colors, with the addition of Arid Multicam.
This sling stands out for its 500D Cordura wrapped pad that is 1.5″ wide. The padding offers a closed-cell memory foam-type comfort, providing a supportive cushion during extended use without adding unnecessary bulk.
Just like the Standard Rifle Sling, the Padded Rifle Sling features an ITW Ladder loc with a pull tab for quick adjustments, open ends for adding the desired attaching hardware, and an excess amount of webbing that can be stowed in the provided tri-glides once the sling is fit to your needs.
Flatline Fiber Co’s Padded Rifle Sling also includes a lifetime warranty and free shipping for all orders within the U.S. The current lead time is 7-10 business days.
The Right Rifle Sling Material for You
Choosing the right material for your AR-15 sling can significantly impact your shooting experience, as it affects durability, comfort, and the maintenance required. Consider factors such as the environment in which you’ll use the rifle and the level of maintenance you’re willing to put into the sling. With the various options available, from nylon and leather to canvas and paracord, you’re sure to find the best material for your AR-15 sling that suits your individual needs and preferences.