We’ve been “tacticalizing” a single-shot shotgun lately; it belongs to Ben who works in the shop with me. The barrel was chopped down, he added an XS sight on the front and recently parkerized everything. The final modification was setting it up with sling mounts. The sling for a long gun is like a holster for a pistol. And, as always, here are a few tips that make everything work better.
A lot of modern, synthetic stocks come with multiple sling mount points, usually for a quick-disconnect type sling loop. Some older model guns didn’t come with any setup for attaching a sling -- or the factory attachments aren’t in the ideal location. Correcting this is an easy D.I.Y. project.
I prefer the rear sling mount to be on the side of the stock – left side for a right-handed shooter - as opposed to the bottom. The side mount lets the gun hang flatter against the body when slung over the shoulder, or around/over the neck for hands-free mode. When the sling is attached to the bottom of the stock the gun wants to flop about from side to side. With a side mount check before attaching to ensure the sling is located in a place where it doesn’t interfere with obtaining the proper cheek weld on the stock.
For the front mount I recommend mounting on the bottom of the handguard/forend. This way if you grab the front of the sling against the guard as done in a “Hawkins” firing position when bracing against an object the tension doesn’t try to twist or rotate the stock as it would if the sling was attached to the side of the guard.
Attaching sling mounts to wood furniture requires drilling a pilot hole for the wood-screw threads of the stud. Measure and test a few times to get the proper placement for the mount before drilling. Use a test piece of wood to determine exactly what size hole to drill. If the hole is too small the wood will chip or crack when screwing the stud in place. A hole that’s too big means the stud can easily strip out of the wood, which usually results in a dropped gun. For final mounting always make sure to use small plastic spacers/washers between the stud and stock. This helps prevent chipping or cracking when the mount is tightened into the stock.
The final task is to get the sling properly adjusted. The length should allow you to sling the gun in “African” carry mode – support side, muzzle down – as a “hasty” sling, simply looping it around the neck in order to free up both hands and in a “tactical” carry - looping the sling over the neck and around underneath the support side arm, which works well for extended carry. Adjusting the sling to the correct length should allow you to use it in all three modes above, and still be loose enough to let you shoulder and fire without choking yourself out.
Slings for long guns are mandatory. Having the right sling, mounted in the proper location, and adjusted to fit you makes everything a lot easier.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, AR-15 Skills and Drills, has a regular column in American Handgunner and makes some cool knives and custom revolvers. www.shootrite.org or visit Shootrite’s Facebook page for other details.