Gun slings are perfect for tactical shooting. Some improve accuracy by providing a much-needed boost of stability, while others make it easier to cycle between your rifle and your sidearm. In order to get the most out of your sling, you first need to decide what you want your sling to do – improve your aim or keep your rifle in an easy-to-reach location while you’re walking hands-free.
In this article, I plan to cover the benefits of different types of gun slings. If you’re looking to find the best M4 sling for you, read further.
The Purpose of a Gun Sling
An M4 carbine sling can drastically improve your shooting experience. It lets you carry your gun closely by your side, so that you can keep your hands-free but still grab your rifle at a moment’s notice. Also known as sentry slings because of their use in a peacekeeping capacity, these M4 tactical slings are perfect for armed personnel and hunters alike.
While there are a number of different kinds of slings available on the market, each with their own benefits and drawbacks, most fall into the following categories:
- 1 point sling
- 2 point / adjustable 2 point sling
- 3 point sling
- Shooting sling
While your average 1, 2, or 3 point sling is designed to improve carrying your gun, shooting slings specialize in improving accuracy. Since most shooting slings are designed for long-range rifles, I won’t be covering them when talking about the best M4 sling for deployment. However, we will touch on how 2 point slings can easily be converted into shooting slings further in the article.
Your Sling’s Material
Most gun slings are made from leather or a nylon blend, and both camps have their passionate supporters. While synthetic and leather slings may have some advantages, it's mostly a stylistic component that attracts people to one or the other.
Nylon and other synthetic straps are tough, durable, and never get stuck. The way you get the sling brand new is how it’ll last forever, until it breaks. For most people, this is a good thing as it means a consistent feel that doesn’t loosen over time. However, the drawback to nylon is that it can be slippery, depending on the type of clothes you wear, which could cause the sling to lose traction.
Leather slings are stylish. They look really cool and have more traction than their nylon counterparts, which is especially useful if you’re using a 2 point sling. The stiffness, or elasticity, of leather slings wears down over time. While some people prefer this for shooting slings, it can be annoying for people using gun slings designed to keep your M4 close to your body.
The Pros and Cons of Each Sling
Now that you have a basic understanding of gun slings, let’s look at the functionality of each type of sling.
1 point slings
Also known as the single-point sling, this type of gun sling has only one connection point that attaches to the gun. It offers no benefit for shooting, but is perfect for being seconds away from grabbing your M4.
- When you let go of your rifle, it hangs close to your body in an easy-to-grab location.
- Grabbing your M4 automatically puts you in a shooting position that makes you ready to fire straight ahead.
- Can be worn to sling your weapon over your back or by your side if needed.
- Great for SMGs, but it can get uncomfortable for rifles and carbines as sways when dangling.
- For shorter people, their gun can bang up against their knees or groin area when running.
2 point slings
The most common of the slings, most 2 point slings can double as shooting slings. You can also choose between three commonly used ways to tote your M4 with a 2 point sling:
- African carry, where the gun is over the back of your shoulder with the muzzle down.
- American carry, where it’s slung over the back of your shoulder with the muzzle up.
- European carry, where you carry the gun over the front of your shoulder with the muzzle up.
How you choose to tote your M4 depends on your preferences and how easily you can grab your weapon. Generally speaking, African carry is the easiest to grab and sight up, but you run the risk of filling the barrel with dirt and debris.
- Comfortable and easy to use.
- Can be converted into shooting slings, like the hasty sling and the USGI sling.
Have a look at the hasty sling in action:
And the USGI sling:
- Using the 2 point sling hands-free leaves you unprepared.
- Inexperienced users are more likely to fumble around in a stressful situation when grabbing their gun.
3 point slings
Your M4 3 point sling straps to your body like a harness, giving you an extra boost of security and a snugger feel than the 1 point sling.
- Your M4 is secure against your body so you don't have to deal with annoying wobbling.
- Guns don't bang against your body as you run.
- Your rifle is just as easy to grab and aim as the 1 point sling.
- They can restrict your range of movement.
- The positioning of the sling means that you run the risk of blocking your own ejection port or getting snagged on the bolt release.
Excellent Slings for Your M4
Once you’ve decided what type of sling you want to get, it’s time to shop around and find one that works for you. Here are best-selling gun slings for the M4.
When it comes to accessories you can trust, Magpul is among the best of them. This 1 point Magpul sling is no different. It’s easy to adjust, comfortable, keeps your rifle in arm’s reach. Since this sling is made by Magpul, you’re guaranteed to receive a heavy-duty product that can withstand years of wear-and-tear.
If you’re interested in a versatile sling that can accommodate your M4 and a number of other tactical weapons then the MAG528 delivers in so many ways. Its easy-to-adjust slider means that you get the tension you want every time, without struggling.
The CQC Transformer sling is probably the best 1 to 2 point sling that you’ll find under $50. It’s designed to be comfortable, quick to use, and, most importantly, versatile. Converting the strap to a 1 point sling is simple, and since it’s much lighter than its Magpul counterpart, your M4 sits snugly on your body without any discomfort.
Overall, the CQC Transformer sling gives you the best of both worlds. You get the added comfort of using a 2 point sling, while also being able to convert it to a 1 point sling that keeps your gun closely by your side and ready to use.
Vickers’ combat slings have the reputation of being excellent for a reason. They’re comfortable, provide you with a full range of motion, and make it easy to grab your rifle from a suspended position.
This combat sling is no different, and is even made from a heavy-duty nylon blend that’s strong enough to withstand abuse, while soft enough to ensure the wearer stays comfortable at all times. Another benefit of this sling is its quick adjust feature, which makes it easy to find the right tension that works for you.
The SOP 3 point sling by Specter Gear is perfect if you want a gun sling that keeps your M4 snug by your side where it’s easy to reach, but tightly secured. One real cool feature to this sling is the emergency release buckle, which immediately disengages the sling in the event of an emergency.
This gun sling gives you the most bang for your buck with a sticker price under $50. It’s sturdy enough to withstand years of abuse and keeps your rifle in an easy-to-reach location. Unlike other gun slings on the market, the SOP 3 point sling enables you to run without worrying if your M4 will crash into anything.
The Best M4 Sling Depends on You
Now that we’ve covered a little bit about gun slings, it’s time to pick the right one for your M4. Unfortunately, finding the right sling takes a bit more than choosing between a single, double, or 3 point sling. You want to find the sling that works best for you, and more often than not, that requires some hands-on experience.
Before you spend your money on a brand new sling for your rifle, hit the shooting range and test out some different slings. If you have friends who are into tactical gear, ask to try some of their slings with your M4. You’ll be surprised to find that choosing between the 1 point and 3 point sling is largely based on preference, not functionality.
While finding the right sling takes time, it’s a process that’s well worth it. Once you find that perfect sling for you, you’ll probably never want to shoot an M4 without a strap again.