To properly understand what makes the RifleCraft slings unique, and why there is a demand for them, one should first understand exactly what a rifle sling is and what it does. To the uninitiated, the rifle sling is a simple strap used to carry a rifle, analogous to a holster for a handgun. This is part of what a sling is designed to accomplish, but perhaps the less significant role. The word ‘sling’ denotes something that is also designed to aid the shooter in the process of actually firing a shot. The vast majority of the straps that are used to carry rifles do not have the capability to function as a proper shooting sling.
At least as far back as the late 19th century, rifle shooters have been using rifle slings to steady their positions in competition and in military training. The sling attaches to the rifle’s forend (the handguard or the front of the stock) in the front, and to the shooter’s arm at the rear.
The rifle sling, when attached to the rifle and the shooter’s arm, effectively acts as a substitute for all the muscles within its span, which include the arm, forearm, and hand muscles. Because the sling is doing the work instead of the muscles, the shooter can relax. This makes the shooting position much steadier, more repeatable, and therefore more accurate and predictable. It is generally accepted by skilled shooters that a shooting sling can improve a shooter’s accuracy by approximately 50%.
The skill of using a shooting sling, once limited mostly to competitors and military trained shooters, is becoming more prevalent among general shooters. Organizations such as the Civilian Marksmanship Program and the Appleseed Project have offered very low cost and widely available instruction in the use of the shooting sling. This has increased market demand for easy to use shooting slings.
Traditionally, rifle slings have required some manipulation to alter their configuration from “carry mode” to “shooting mode”. To carry the rifle using the sling, the sling must be attached to both the front and rear of the rifle. Military slings, which are generally considered to be the standard, require that the sling be detached from the rear of the rifle in order to use it as a shooting aid. This is a slow process, which has relegated the use of the sling as a marksmanship aid to competition use. The reason for this is that in a field setting, such as hunting, opportunities for shots are generally fleeting. Since time is limited in these situations, shooters have not had the luxury of utilizing their slings to steady their shots.
Attempts have been made throughout the years to design a sling that was quick enough to use in a field shooting situation, but for the most part these designs have not succeeded because some alteration of the rifle was necessary for installation. The majority of shooters aren’t willing to drill holes into their rifles. A further deterrent is that shooters don’t want to alter the appearance of their rifles.
The RifleCraft slings are designed in such a way that their appearance is that of a traditional carrying strap as used by the vast majority of shooters. The benefit that they offer is that they also function as a shooting sling without any preparation to transition from “carry mode” to “shooting mode”. It’s possible to be carrying the rifle in one moment, and to assume a shooting position with the sling steadying the shooter without adding any time to the process. In other words, donning the sling as a shooting aid takes no longer than it would take the shooter to get into a shooting position, and can be done concurrently.
RifleCraft Sling Models:
There are three models of RifleCraft slings, the RS-1, RS-2, and RS-3. RS stands for RifleCraft Sling and the model numbers represent their order of introduction to the market.
The RS-1 and RS-2 are designed to be used with traditional rifles, and the RS-3 is designed for modern carbines, such as the AR-15 (currently the most popular production rifle in the United States). All three share the attribute of having the capability to be used as a shooting sling (marksmanship aid) and a carry sling without any reconfiguration of the sling, as would be required by a traditional sling.
The RS-1 is distinguished by being the fastest traditionally mounted shooting sling to don as a shooting aid. This is due to a reinforced section at the base of the shooting loop (near the center of the sling) that keeps the shooting loop open, allowing the arm to be rapidly inserted into it. The base price of the RS-1 is $47.00.
The RS-2 shares the same basic design as the RS-1, but lacks the reinforcement at the base of the shooting loop. The RS-2 fulfills the needs of most shooters without any unnecessary frills, which is why it is dubbed the “Rifleman’s Essential Sling”. This is the sling I typically recommend for most shooters. The base price of the RS-2 is $35.00.
The RS-3 is fundamentally different from the RS-1 and RS-2 in that it allows the user to ‘wear’ the rifle around the body, which enables it to be available for instantaneous shooting from a carry position. The advent of this mode of carry is relatively new, having become popular in the late 1990’s. This style of carry is typically seen with modern rifles such as the AR-15, although it can be utilized with other types of rifles.
The RS-3 has a shooting loop that is identical to the RS-2, while the rear of the sling has two sections, one of which allows for overall length adjustment. The rear portion of the RS-3 has an innovative buckle that enables the shooter to make quick adjustments to the sling length. Tightening the sling brings the rifle securely against the body, allowing the shooter to use his hands for other tasks.
The base price of the RS-3 is $60.00.
Slide Down Loop Keeper
The Slide Down Loop Keeper is a simple piece of sling webbing of the same type that the slings are constructed with, that is used to pull down over the shooter’s arm when the shooter is utilizing the sling as a shooting aid.
The Slide Down Loop keeper is available as an option for all RifleCraft slings for shooters who want it. The selling price of the Slide Down Loop Keeper is $5.00.
Swivel Silencers are sewn pieces of elastic webbing that cover the metal swivels that attach the sling to the rifle. Without the Swivel Silencers, the sling looks like this:
The Swivel Silencers are an optional accessory that not only improve the appearance of the rifle and sling, but make it more comfortable while protecting the metal swivel from accidental damage during field use. The sale price of the Swivel Silencers is $5.00 per pair.