Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guns: Carbine Musings, Part 2 - Sling Theory

In olden times, when firearms were so long and heavy that they doubled as polearms, it didn't make much sense to connect a long gun to a shooter's body with a sling. A typical version of the famed "Brown Bess" musket, for instance, weighed ten pounds and was more than forty inches long - not something you wanted hanging around your shoulder and neck for an extended period of time.

In contrast, modern slings attach long guns to the shooter's body for the purposes of retention. The one-point sling (like the excellent Wilderness Single-Point) makes it easy to move the firearm around the body (for switching to the support shoulder, firing in awkward positions, or malfunction clearing). The two-point sling (such as the Viking Tactics VTAC) offers more control of a weapon's muzzle during movement, as well as more comfort, since the full weight of the gun isn't only being supported from one point. (There are also three-point slings which introduce another strap to the two-point sling, but they have a number of disadvantages. I find them to be a little too complex and finicky for a lightweight carbine.)

The new kids on the block are the convertible slings like the Magpul MS2 Sling and the Mission Spec Irene Adaptive Sling. These try to give you the best of both worlds - a sling that can quickly switch from the comfort and stability of a two-point to the freedom of a one-point. But what if you already have a decent two-point sling? Here's the best solution I've found:

IWC Triglide 2 to 1 conversion review

The IWC Triglide (available direct from the manufacturer - they ship really fast, too) is a keeper that incorporates a QD sling swivel attachment point on the side. When you plug in the front QD swivel of your two-point sling into the Triglide, you immediately get a very functional one-point sling.

It's a simple, effective piece of kit, and it fit fine on my Vickers Combat Applications two-point. I didn't find the Triglide to be a nuisance when the QD slot was not in use, and it's obviously built to last (billet aluminum with Type III hard anodizing). It's slightly pricey ($20), but it's made in the U.S.A. and works exactly as advertised.


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