Perhaps the most egregious gun guy mistake I ever made was referring to something as a sling when in the opinion of my fellow gunnies, it was nothing more than a carrying strap. That was definitely a mistake I hope to never repeat. So when Magpul sent me one of their MS1 Padded Slings, I knew I’d have to be diligent . . .
The MS1 is a two-point sling designed for and marketed to the tactical market. As such, it comes in black, coyote, grey, and green. It can be converted to a single-point sling by purchasing additional hardware from Magpul, but I tested it in its two-point configuration. It is designed to keep the gun on your body as well as provide support in various shooting positions.
A carbine sling is nothing more than a strap running from the buttstock to somewhere on the hand guard. There’s a great deal more complexity beyond that, not to mention whole schools of thought on how to use that strap to your best advantage. That discussion is a bit much for this space. Suffice to say, Magpul recognizes that there’s a bunch of different opinions and did a very good job building a sling that most users will like.
What differentiates this sling from a simple strap is its slider buckle. It allows you to very quickly and effectively change the overall length of the sling. This can be very useful for unorthodox shooting positions which might necessitate a slightly looser fit. Or perhaps you want to strap the gun tightly to your body so you can get to your sidearm without your gun banging around. Furthermore, it allows fine-tuning for a “supported” carbine fighting position like shown above.
For those old school shooters (and I’m one of them) who like to slip their bicep into a cuff, the MS1 should make you very happy as well. The slider mechanism can slide down to form a cuff that creates a very stable shooting platform. Is it better than a dedicated positional sling? No. But it’s far better than nothing at all, and out of standing, sitting, or kneeling positions, it does a pretty good job of adding some stability. That’s not an advertised usage for the MS1 sling on Magpul’s website, but I found it to be quite useful. I’m going to try to get some time in doing some matches this year, and a sling like this will make those LONG stages a bit easier.
I found that the best way to set up the sling was to find the position on the handguard where you like to attach your sling, and then create a cuff and tighten it around the bicep. Adjust the overall length using the keeper at the first attachment point. Once that length is set, run the slider all the way out, extended the buttstock, and adjust the keeper at the buttstock end until you have a length that’s just a touch longer than you’d use in a standard carbine stance.
There’s yet a third adjustment point that I assume exists for those who accidentally shorten things a bit too far. I ran it all the way in, and used the other two attachment points to fine tune everything. Magpul leaves tons of extra webbing with the intent of the user cutting off any they don’t need and sealing the ends with heat. In the pictures above you can see extra bits of fabric dangling all around as I was still working on getting it tuned for me. Once you have the ends cut and burned or taped out of the way, there is nothing on the sling that sticks out and snags while moving and shooting.
As you’d expect from the kings of polymer accessories, all the hardware on the MS1 is made of plastic, but it seems very durable and stood up well to my abuse. The webbing is a very stout nylon that is confidence inspiring. The keepers themselves do a great job of keeping everything locked down tight, while the slider locks up tight when it’s supposed to, and moves freely when you need it to.
Specifications: Magpul MS1 Padded Sling
- Weight: 6.4 oz.
- Length, Overall Recommended: 48-60 ± 5 in.
- Slider Adjustment Range: 10 in.
- Width, Webbing: 1.25 in.
- Width, Pad: 1.85″
- MSRP: $59.95
Ratings (out of five stars):
Overall * * * * *
I literally can’t find a single fault with this sling. Perhaps the hardware could be metal, but don’t see a problem with the polymer Magpul uses. Short of trying to lift several hundred pounds with this sling, you won’t have a stress-related failure. It’s innovative and customizable. The slider buckle works as advertised and does a great job tuning the fit for almost any shooter. And it’s a pretty competent positional sling for those times when a kneeling, prone, sitting, or standing shot could benefit from a sling. A great sling for the first-time buyer as well as the operator operating operationally in a dynamic environment.