Ah, slings. Long ones, short ones, thick ones, thin ones, single point, two point, three point… Decisions, decisions! I used to keep a simple $5 nylon sling on my AR for years because that’s what I was used to from my Army days. I mean, if it was good enough for combat use, it’d be good enough for the range, right? When I left the army, my unit had been making ‘hunter slings’ — a single point sling attached to the buttstock of our M4s and attached to our LCEs at the shoulder so we didn’t have to hold our rifle to keep them at hand.
It worked but had 2 issues: You had a rifle bouncing around hanging from your shoulder and every bounce would jerk down on your LCE, and also you couldn’t use it like a 2 point sling to help stabilize your shot, just like the Project Appleseed shoots teach you. The usage of the sling to keep you steady while shooting has fallen out of practice with the M4/AR but trying to keep a rifle at hand, hands free when needed, is crappy with a 2 point sling yet important. And that’s where the Hunter sling, now generally known as a Single Point sling comes into play.
When I got my AMD-65, I also got a cool single point sling loop for the wirestock but had no sling. I decided I’d grab a single point sling to use for it, since I wasn’t planning on using it for distance shooting anyway. I wanted something that would be good for both my AR and my AMD-65 which meant it:
- had to handle the weight of the AMD-65 comfortably
- needed to be easy to swap between rifles
- had to be comfortable
The Blackhawk XT seemed to fit the bill. When it arrived,I couldn’t help buy notice that it’s heavier and better made than I expected. The upper portion is heavy duty nylon with an adjustable belt clip and a heavy duty quick-release clip. The lower portion is covered by a bunched up nylon sleeve, and under the sleeve is a heavy duty bungee material. At the very bottom is another quick release clip that attaches to another piece of nylon, covered in another sleeve, with metal mash clips to connect to your firearm.
UPPER SLING: The nylon is strong and I have no doubts that it will last. It’s reasonably wide, but it would be very nice to have it either wider at the top where it goes over your shoulder, or to at least have some padding there.
LOWER PORTION: The bungee cord is strong. Very, very strong. When you tug on it, it only gives a little. When I first showed the sling to a few people, they thought that was terrible — the bungee is supposed to absorb shocks as you move, and natural instinct is to expect it to give a lot, like a normal bungee cord. The thing is though that you don’t want it to give a lot — having your rifle drag on the ground would be a terrible thing. Instead, the material gives just enough to act as a shock absorber but keeps your rifle perfectly in place.
QUICK CONNECTOR: Durable mash clips on one end securely connect to your rifle without fear of it coming off. The included nylon sleeve helps eliminate noise of the clips against your rifle/sling mount pretty well.
QUICK DISCONNECT CLIPS: Everyone fears that their QD plastic clips will separate at the worst possible time but let me tell you, these clips are durable and secure. I slipped mine over beam in my basement and hung from it and it held perfectly fine. And I am not a light guy. I’d trust my life to the clips, if I needed to.
PRACTICAL USAGE: When I was wandering around my house, pretending to clear it in order to get a feel for the sling (I was bored that day), it became apparent really quickly that it was perfect for the field. It is very adjustable, which meant my AMD-65 could ride higher on my side when the stock was folded in, or lower if I had the stock out, or if I attached the sling to my AR instead.
Since I was walking around my house though, it felt like the bungee portion was useless and not having any affect at all. I started thinking it was a useless feature to make me spend more money on the sling versus a normal full nylon version.
FIELD USE: I went out to the woods nearby to test out how it’d do in a typical field environment with obstacles and unsteady footing. When I started moving quickly through the brush, the first ting I noticed was that the bungee was working wonderfully. Once I let the rifle hang by my side as I climbed over and through the brush, the sling was noticeably less jarring on my shoulder. It wasn’t bouncing like a normal bungee cord would but instead it just kind of absorbed a lot of the jarring. Nice. Very nice.
I got the sling length adjusted to the perfect height for me and the sling kept it in an easy to grab position no matter what I was doing. I did keep wishing that the portion by my neck had some padding or was a little wider, but it was still far more comfortable than any of my other slings.
SWAPPINESS: I’m an AR guy, generally. When at the range, I prefer a 2 point sling because I can wrap it around my off arm and use it to steady my shots like I was taught. But when doing tactical shoots, quick shots or if I were lugging it through the woods for a hunt, I wouldn’t mind using a Single Point sling. But these slings are $40 a pop and that means it’d cost a lot to equip all my tactical rifles with them.
Since the slings use Mash Clips to mount to your rifle though, it’d be pretty easy to swap your sling with another rifle. Even better though, Blackhawk sells Quick Detach clips for it, just like the one it comes with, that you can keep on your other rifles for $15. I keep one on my AR, and thanks to the mash clip being thin I can also keep my normal 2 point sling attached if I want to. Flexibility is always nice.
Also, based on a tip I saw mentioned elsewhere, I ordered a neat tripod socket adapter for my DSLR camera so I can use this sling with it. Let me tell you, it’s MUCH better than even my nicest camera shoulder strap for carrying a loaded up camera.
OVERALL: I love this sling and will buy a second one down the road. It’s useless when plinking at the range since either my rifle is on the table or being held to my shoulder to fire — both situations where the sling won’t be doing a damn thing by hang there. In the field though? Don’t think I’ll use any other sling. It’s perfect for carrying your rifle in the Real World no matter what crap hits the fan.
Basic Range Use: (Not its purpose)