Is an Expensive Sling Worth the Money?
So you’re on the quest for a sling. Maybe you’re here because you’ve been burned by cheap stuff in the past. Maybe your gear is doing OK so far, but you’re wondering what it’s like to have a nice piece to add to your rig. Is the juice worth the squeeze?
Your sling has an immediate effect on your comfort and capability with your rifle. Expensive slings are worth the money because of the benefits you receive from using them. High-quality slings will be more expensive, but they offer far more utility, comfort, and value.
The reality is, the “saying you get what you pay for” applies more heavily to slings than it does to a lot of your kit. And no, that’s not an exaggeration or hyperbole. Let’s take a close look at a sling and see where the pain points are.
The Right Gear
You know your needs better than anyone, and you’ve tailored your rifle perfectly from the barrel length, stock, grip, rail, optics, trigger, and more. The sad fact is that a lot of times a sling is an afterthought if it’s included at all. How many times do you see a super slick high-dollar rig on Instagram with no sling?
Sure, some folks store guns without a sling, but a lot of times these guns are dragged out of the safe, fondled, and put back. Or they are shot at the range only a handful of times.
Without getting into a tangent about proficiency with your rifle, it is sufficient to say that you need to really shake your gear down and see if it still cuts the mustard after a carbine class or two. We’d wager to say that a cheap Amazon sling does NOT live up to its $10 price tag.
Slings most often fail at their hardware, or because they’re made of inferior materials. A cheap triglide might bust open, sending your precious boomstick plummeting to the dirt. Or some slippery nylon decides it has cooperated long enough and makes its way through the triglide with the same result.
Taking a carbine class is the best way to see if your stuff is really up to snuff and all that you think it is. You carry your gun for hours on end, move, shoot, change positions, and engage targets at varying distances.
Cheap guns, optics, and gear quickly fall by the wayside as they’re put under the strain of life outside the safe, also known as real-life scenarios. If your rifle jams, you clear it and move on with your day. If your sling quits, your day just got a whole lot suckier. And the worst part? It was totally preventable if you hadn’t cheaped out on your sling.
Let’s look at what makes a nice sling and make sure your day doesn’t stink due to a subpar sling. Besides, a nice sling doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars.
To Pad or Not to Pad
A quality sling is always going to be leaps and bounds better than a cheap, one-size-fits-all number you get from eBay or Amazon. A nice sling offers better fit, retention, adjustment, higher quality hardware, and greater comfort than a cheapy. But, if you want the Cadillac of slings, you want a padded sling.
Padded slings used to be the domain of machine gunners and guys carrying AR-10s and other heavy rifles. But padded slings of days past were bulky and cumbersome. Today’s offerings are lightweight, slender, and offer a greater degree of comfort if you’re going to be walking or carrying your gun for a decent amount of time.
Our Padded Sling is made with the same durable nylon as our original sling, but with closed-cell memory foam sewn inside. The padded area extends out to 1.5” in width to disperse the pressure over a greater area, compounding the comfort afforded by the foam insert.
Closed-cell memory foam is ideal for padding in a sling because it won’t absorb water like a regular cheap filling will. Plus, it bounces back to its original form when you’re not using it. In other words, it won’t flatten out over time.
Many guys are opting for a padded sling because they’re just a few dollars more but the added comfort is worth way more than the price.
Synthetic vs Leather
Leather is often seen as more traditional material for rifle slings, and it does provide some distinct advantages compared to synthetic fabric slings. Like high quality synthetic, leather is very durable and resistant to wear and tear, meaning that with proper care your leather sling should last you a good long while. However, leather requires regular maintenance, cleaning and conditioning in order to keep it from drying out or cracking over time. It is also more difficult to adjust than synthetic slings.
Synthetic fabrics, particularly premium nylon, offer distinct advantages over leather slings: they tend not be affected by moisture like leather is, making them ideal for use in wet environments. They are easily adjustable and, if you get one with padding, far more comfortable than leather.
Just like leather, not all synthetic material is created equal. Using cheap, slippery nylon or leather, for example, will lead to headaches down the road. Your rifle might slip out of position when you’re lining up a shot, or as you carry it. Sometimes you want your gun to stay put when it’s slung, and cheap materials will slip and slide all over as you walk and move. Our slings use premium nylon and sealed ends that prevent fraying.
Hardware is a critical part of your sling because it’s what attaches to your rifle, and by extension, you to your rig. Hardware is made up of items like triglides, QD (quick detach) attachments, clips, and basically everything that’s not nylon.
You can get away with basic plastic triglides to adjust your slings length, but you absolutely do not want to cut corners on QD sockets and attachments. QD points need to be made to exacting specifications to ensure that the system will engage and disengage, but only when you want it to.
Ill-fitting and improperly machined QD points mean that your gear has a higher possibility of failing. If the socket (female part) is too large, your sling can pop out. If it’s too small, your sling might not even fit in, or if it does, it could be too tight and not release easily.
Quality QD attachments feature smooth, reliable springs and ball bearings along with rock-solid construction. Ours have a smooth, glare-free black oxide finish and are made in the USA. We leave the cheap mystery imports to other companies.
Most prefer a two-point sling for its stability, comfort, and the ease with which you can get your rifle into action, but others like a single-point sling. Single-points are ideal when you know you’re about to engage a target or run a course.
A full-time single-point sucks for marching. Your magazine or grip will invariably stab your back or other painful areas. But the best of both worlds can be had with a 2-to-1 triglide. This lets you carry your rig in two-point fashion, but when it’s time to take action, you can remove your front QD socket and stick it into this attachment point to create a single-point sling. It’s truly a great idea that increases your effectiveness and comfort.
Custom Sling Features
Usability is key with a sling. You’ll use it while standing, walking, running, and shooting/engaging targets. However, in all but standing, you’re going to need to adjust your sling on the fly. Being able to make quick, accurate adjustments to either solidify a shooting position or loosen your rifle up with your weak side is necessary for becoming competent with your gun.
Most cheap slings are very simple, which isn’t always a bad thing – you typically adjust it once it’s on and leave it that way. This doesn’t work for guns outside of hunting rifles that you sling over your shoulder on your way to the stand and then take off when you get there.
You need to be able to take in or let out slack for several reasons. To name just a few:
- To improve comfort and prevent chafing while wearing the sling.
- To better secure the rifle so that it doesn’t slip off your shoulder or move around too much while walking or running.
- To adjust for changes in body size, posture, or attire (e.g., taking clothing layers on and off while in the field).
Our slings use a proven, rock-solid, reliable, instant adjust tab that let you draw your sling in tight to climb a wall or fence, then release tension to give support and make a shot. The tab is sewn into the lower triglide (the one closest to your gun) and is the perfect size to grip and rip in an instant. This gives you on-the-spot adjustment to fit every need in all situations.
Getting into a nicer sling affords you more options to effectively match your gear. A lot of guys are using Multicam and Multicam Black for the plate carriers, and we’ve got loads of patterns that will match any setup. From classic Woodland Camo, aka God’s Plaid, to solid colors and a wild 80’s splatter pattern, we’ve got what you need to either blend in or stand out.
With a high-quality sling, you’ll see a better fit, a greater degree of simple adjustability, and more comfort (especially if you get a padded sling). Ultimately you get peace of mind knowing that this critical part of your kit isn’t going to fail.
Plus, you get more options for patterns and colors with a nice sling and will have even greater flexibility and capability than you would with a budget option. Cut corners somewhere else – make sure you’ve got the best connection possible to your rifle with a good sling.