Hello Mr Foghorn, I am Sam Wright on TTAG. I have a nephew who was asking what kind of sling to get for his 2nd hand Mossberg short barreled pump shotgun. I am no expert on slings, so I thought I would as someone who would give me the straight scoop. 2 point, 3 point? Leather, canvas, nylon? Any suggestions or points to be wary of would be appreciated.
Different sling styles are intended for different uses, and work best with different kinds of guns. I’ll get to your specific question in a bit, but I thought this would be the perfect jumping off point to talk about the differences in sling setups. The most common (which we will discuss) are single point slings, two point slings and three point slings (“point” referring to how many places they are attached to the gun).
Single Point Sling
The single point sling attaches to the rifle at only one point, usually somewhere around where the shooter’s trigger hand is gripping the gun. Our man Tyler Kee is shown here rocking a single point sling in a “left hand” configuration on an AR-15 rifle.
The single point sling style isn’t about carrying the gun or distributing the weight of it, instead its entire reason for being is retention. A single point sling is designed with “operators” in mind who either need to keep the enemy from taking their gun or switch quickly to their handgun if their rifle runs dry. You can see a great example of this in the Magpul Dynamic Carbine II videos.
The single point sling can also be used to hold your gun while both of your hands are doing something else, but it has a tendency to let the gun dangle and drag in the ground.
In short, the single point sling is for when you’re going to be doing a lot of moving and shooting and need something to keep your gun physically attached to you for short periods of time.
Two Point Sling
The two point sling is the traditional method of carrying a rifle or shotgun, and the majority of the “sporting” firearms you can pick up will be already setup for this kind of sling either using cutouts in the stock or sling swivels (small metal loops). The sling will typically attach at two points, specifically the two points as far forward as possible and as far back as possible along the underside of the firearm. This provides for excellent stability while carrying the gun and will keep it in place through even strenuous activity. Like a 3-gun match.
Not only does the two point sling provide for stable transport of the firearm, but it can also be used ton steady the gun for accurate shooting. The m1907 sling (shown in the picture above on my National Match M-15) was issued universally to the U.S. military from 1907 through the end of WWII because of its ability to be used both to carry the gun and to create a sling to steady the gun for accurate shots. The m1907 was eventually replaced by a nylon web sling when the armed forces realized that jungle fighting didn’t require long distance shooting.
In short, the two point sling is superb for transporting firearms over long distances (say, hiking through the woods while hunting) as well as making precision shots. I’ll have another article shortly on exactly how to use the m1907, so stay tuned.
Three Point Sling
A three point sling is an attempt to combine the comfortable carrying of a firearm you get with a two point sling with the ease of use of a single point sling. The sling consists of a loop of belt that goes around the shooter’s body (draped over one shoulder and under the other) and attaches at two points on the rifle (image from here). Therefore, the front and rear of the rifle plus the shooter’s body compose the three points of contact.
I’m loathe to use a Cheaper Than Dirt video, but the first few seconds pretty well illustrate how the thing works.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of the three point sling due to its somewhat complex design. But it works for a lot of people, and does bridge the gap between the single point and two point slings fairly well making an easy to manipulate and comfortable sling.
So, in summary:
- Single Point: Rapid movement, transitions to handgun, “combat” scenarios.
- Two Point: comfortable carry over distances, accurate shots from a stationary position.
- Three Point: Unholy union of a single and two point, combining some of the features of both.
So which is best for a shotgun?
I’m going to say a two point sling. It makes for an easy to carry solution for your shotgun, and it can be very quickly put on in the middle of the night if you’re responding to a home intruder. It won’t give you the same level of retention as a single point sling, but it’s fairly close. Just keep the sling loop loose for storage, as that will make it easy to put on in a hurry.