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.
“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.”
Oh, for crying out loud… What high speed no drag operator said that?
Ok, I found the comment by Have Blue. In truth, I think the distinction may be technically correct (maybe) but still every bit as useful and every bit as tiresome as the old bullet v. cartridge and clip v. magazine. Keyboard special forces, nomenclature division.
Also, i like the sling from the older review better. Or carry strap, I guess.
I’m OK with folks making the clip/magazine and the bullet/cartridge distinctions, because those really are different things. The sling/strap difference is just a specific type of the same thing. For me, that hypertechnicality marks the threshold between knowledgeable…….and nerdy.
When I was in the Marine Corp., The one we called a sling was used to “sling” the rifle over your shoulder, and it was noting fancy. Just two points.
Whup te do with my slingypoo. we are gittin purty high flung with our speech now aint we.
I’m not an operator, was never an operator, never dreamed of being an operator, and have never pretended to be an operator who operated operationally.
I don’t even own any 5.11 underwear.
But there is a very, very real difference between a sling and a carrying strap.
And if you learned how to use a sling in three position shooting, you’d see the difference very quickly… namely, that a carrying strap isn’t able to do much for your shooting in any position other than standing off-hand, where you’re using the strap in some manner of hasty slinging.
When you use a 1907 sling in the proper manner, especially prone, and you achieve proper alignment with the target in your natural point of aim (NPA) while using a 1907 sling properly, you can literally doze off with the rifle in your hands, mounted to your shoulder, awaken and you will still be on target. It locks you in that rigidly. Shooting well from a prone position when you know how to use a sling and achieve a proper NPA is actually pretty easy. I find it easier to throw down a group from prone in a shooting coat with a sling than laying down a group off a bench.
Any strap that supports the weight of a weapon meets the definition of a sling. There is a very big and real difference between a 1907 sling, and someone making a quick sling from 550, one inch, and some duct tape, but they both are still slings.
DG, where I’m from we call that a “shooting sling.” A 1/2/3 point sling is still a sling whether it serves the purpose of a shooting sling or not.
So you are telling me that the “thing” I carried my rifle around with in Viet Nam was just a “strap” You are telling me that all those “things” that held millions of rifles since rifles were invented are just straps.
To say all those are just straps, this is a sling! Man, that takes a lot of nerve.
In the Marine Corps I learned to use my “sling” in many unconventional ways.
in 1968 VN I tied my sling to the top of my rifle and carried it like Marines do today.
You might have a really spiffy sling but it is just a sling like all the others.
If it is a peace of rope and carries a rifle it is indeed a sling.
Indeed. The 1907 sling hasn’t been relevant since about 1917, as neither the British, the French, nor the Germans adopted anything even resembling it.
In modern warfighting, it’s useless, and has been since Vietnam.
You can discuss it with experts as disparate as Garand Thumb (Travis Haley’s son), who has covered it on his YT channel, or Patrick Sweeney, editor in chief of Gun Digest.
Dynamic environment? I operate operations operationally in an operationally operational operative environment, and I use an MS1 padded sling with an MS4 single point conversation. I like my sling/strap, and I particularly like the quick adjust.
I make my own slings for about $15 from strapworks and use the HossUSMC sling video as a guide. I buy 2x HK clips, 1x Alice pack shoulder strap sliding adjuster (found online or at mil surp stores), 6x buckles and enough strap to make it into a sling. It works as a two point or single point. They aren’t padded but they work well.
I just go to the local army/navy place. They frequently have old cotton slings (or straps) for a buck or two. They work for me.
I have one of those slings. The ones I built are adjustable and can act as a 1 or 2 point sling due to the HK clips.
I used one of these when I took my AR15 Javelina hunting for a week. Worked great, stayed adjusted the way I wanted when carrying. I wish the store had the padded version, might have been easier on my shoulder.
Honestly, I think there are other two point slings out there that do the job better or are constructed better. Rifle-craft offers a two point cross body sling that has the adjustment up at the firing shoulder, and it’s intentionally designed to be used like a traditional loop sling. Ares Armor offers their Husky Amentum sling which has metal hardware with a big nylon loop, padding, the ability to overtighten to keep the rifle tight to your body, and much more rapid adjustment. I’m not huge into gun fashion either, but both companies offer a wide variety of patterns and solid colors. This sling being neither the best constructed nor the most versatile, do those other slings get 5.5 stars? The price point doesn’t compare too favorably for the MS1 either.
In the end, what I’m saying is I think there should be a sling-off.
The GIFs showing the adjustment are a good touch by the way, everybody ought to start doing that.
Is anyone else here ridiculously short and have problems with slings?
I’m 5’5″ and I can’t find a good carry position for my AR (16″) with an MS3~esque 3 point sling. I essentially attempt to use it as a two point sling, but it hangs too low (barrel hitting the ground, or close enough to it that a small set of stairs would be bad).
I’ve tried mounting to different spots on the rifle, but to no avail. Anyone else this short have another brand/model of sling that might work better, or a better spot on the rifle to mount it?
I tested out this little guy awhile back
It might allow you to mount the rear mount further up the pic rail which would bring the whole gun up a bit higher.
I plan on picking up a military surplus sling this weekend at the gun show for about $5. That’s probably all that will be worth buying after this week’s media shooting event.
I’ve used many different slings — the very basic GI web, M1907, Ching sling and the two-piece sling with a cuff. They all work differently, but they all work. The cuff is especially effective.
I always seem to come back to the old fashioned web, shooting hasty style, because that’s what I grew up with and that’s what my dad taught me to use when I was a young boy. Those straps are fast, cheap and reasonably effective. And I’ve used them for more than 50 years. I wouldn’t put anything else on my M1A.
I’ll give the Magpul MS1 a try because I think it’s time that I dressed my AR-15s with something more, uh, modern. As befitting a 55 year old firearm platform.
MSRP: $59.95 . . . i’ll stick with the strap
This is a much more informative review. GJ
I have used the original Magpul sling MS3 with the loop (not slider) and it was very hard to move and never really broke in. Great material.
I then used the VTAC, easy to move, but you get a ton of extra material that dangles and tangles. Then I used the VCAS, no dangle, nice dedicated pull tab, hard to move.
I recently tried this MS1 sling and a gun show and bought one right there. It is the best one I have tried so far. Great material, no dangle, easy slider that does not move when you don’t want it too. I use it as a two point, but there are a bunch of optional pieces so you can make it into a one piece and attach it to about anything.
I have not shot competitively since high school, and aside from teaching BSA marksmanship, that’s the last time I ever used a sling as a sling. I have several field rifles and walking carbines fitted with “carrying straps”, but I have never used a sling to steady my aim while hunting. As for tactical rifles, in the field I quickly confirmed the Ranger theory that a strap or sling tended to add weight, make noise, and never be employed as a shooting support. Worse still, it kept snagging on objects at the most inopportune moments. So rather than wrap it around the stock and barrel, I went “commando” (actually SAS) and removed it. That was 30 years ago and I’ve never regretted it. As you might expect, it means always having the rifle carried at the ready position in your hand, which can be inconvenient, except when making first contact with an adversary, be it an enemy solider, a dangerous felon, or a wild beast. I am not advocating that folks abandon slings/straps, as they do have demonstrated utility. I do suggest you consider the application you have in mind for each rifle or shotgun, and determine what type of carrying device or shooting aid it requires, if any, for its intended purpose, and work forward from there.