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Most people don’t use their rifle as a primary weapon but hope to get to it in time if the need arises. For those people who do use a rifle for primary defense, the ability to have it with you at all times is critical. I’m thinking of a farmer who may need to use their firearm against four-legged critters or gun owners preparing for the day when the s hits the f. Carrying a rifle all day is harder than it seems. The first time I was in a training class that required participants to carry the rifle the entire time – including breaks, reloading and lunch – proved how unwieldy it can be. The rifle swings around, hitting both objects and yourself. It’s physically uncomfortable, both in terms of weight and chafing. And paying constant attention to muzzle disciple can become tiring. By day three of my course, the inconvenience all but disappeared. If you want to be able to carry a rifle for long periods of time, there is simply no substitute for practice. For those of you who live in communities where guns are not entirely welcome, just make sure your curtains are drawn.

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  1. My dad has a lot of stories about carrying his M1 carbine around at all times while he was working at a (plant) nursery during and after high school. Mostly for woodchucks, but they apparently ran into poachers all the time.

    This has me thinking, though. I recently got hold of a decently priced 870 Express to use as a foundation for a home defense shotgun, and I’ve been debating sling loops for a few reasons. I’ll add the idea of extended carry, even around the house, as a big check in the “pro” category.

    • It’s been said that a sling is to a long gun what a holster is to a pistol. You aren’t going to have it in your hands all the time so you need some way to carry it between or until you need it.
      Nearly every long gun that’s viewed as a weapon should have a sling, IMHO, just like every hand gun should have a holster. And remember, there’s no Mexican Carry for a shotgun. That is, there might be depending on the pants you are wearing, but then you can’t really walk around any more.

      And I second what the guy said about paracord and a piece of nylon strap. That’s my favorite also.

      • Well, my hunting experience growing up was almost all small game and bird, so lots of walking and port-arms carry. As far as the sling itself, I like the idea of a paracord braid. I’m looking at everything from practicality first, but that’s not to say there aren’t other considerations. For instance, I like the idea of an AR stock adapter, but I’m favoring SAGE International for hometown pride reasons despite lower availability and higher cost.

  2. Whenever I go out to the family farm out in the country, they rib me for carrying my AR everywhere. I tell them “I don’t get to do this living in town.”

  3. Practice accessing and loading your weapons as well. Please use snap caps or dummy rounds for this to get the time down to a minimum.

  4. I often strap my AR on and go about my business at home, at least when the wife and kids are gone. It feels natural after an hour or so.

  5. You are just going to shoot the clearing barrel outside the chow hall, then get told you have to put on a clean uniform before you can eat, but your ‘terp can’t eat, ’cause ‘Merica!

    It’s happened before.

  6. Once again TTAG is a benefit to me. I am quite comfortable with a pistol around the house and for concealed carry and I feel I am very safe. I am inexperienced with a rifle, so I thank TTAG and Rabbi for the brilliantly simple idea of carrying my rifle around the house for an entire day.

  7. It doesn’t take long before you figure out that cool sling is a piece of garbage…

    If you have 10 minutes to spare, check out the drill team in the video. I think you could set your watch by their cadence.

    • Right? We spend good money on high-speed-low-drag, snag-free sights, melted edge treatments and high-lubricity metal finishes…only to hang Murphy’s Rope from one end to the other.

    • Some of the greatest slings I’ve ever used were constructed out of 550 cord loops and a 2 qt canteen strap. Some times HSLD isn’t $56.95.

      • You mean padded strap, not sling. A sling is for carrying and as a shooting aid, while a strap is just for carrying.

        The Paracord wrap ain’t bad if you are only carrying the gun, if you want to stabilize it too get a proper sling (1907 style for instance).

  8. If you do practice rifle carrying frequently, it really does stop being annoying. You just have to figure out the most comfortable way for yourself.

    • What would an anti-tank gunner know about it? Just kidding, just kidding! 0351’s carried a lot of gear as I recall. You should teach us all how to carry full 782 gear along with a Dragon, ammo, AND a rifle. I was actually an 0352. TOW….. and the beauty of that of course is that TOW was too heavy to hump. We drove around in the old M151 jeep. You 0351 guys are the experts on carrying a rifle and a lot more also! Makes sweat roll down my back just remembering it. Semper Fi Leatherneck.

  9. Purchase airsoft AR, some are the same weight of the real thing and have the same manual of arms. Practice going room to room in the dark. I had plenty of practice after storm sandy since I was without power for two weeks.

    I don’t want to even talk about how man things I broke and walls I needed to repaint do to smash the walls with the gun. It was humbling if I had to do something for real. Needless to say practice made me better.

  10. Among others, I touched on this same thing a while back in comments about OCing long guns. If one wishes to be “well regulated”, one must actually carry the thing when going about one’s day. It’s a real pita. What works best for someone can only sort itself out with plenty of practice.

    P.s. Try not to alarm the sheep.

  11. The post makes a good point. There is a sort of no-man’s-land between liking your rifle and actually getting very comfortable with it to the point where you no longer bump things with it…too often.

    The post made me laugh. I ended up having to sleep in an Army cold-weather mummy bag with my M16 for three months, carrying it around everywhere, all day, whether to meals or in the chopper (gunner’s well). It really did make the thing seem normal, like wearing a wristwatch. We even had to take them out and chamber twice in the middle of the night, because of something happening in the wire.

    There should be a summer camp in which you just do normal stuff, but carry your rifle everywhere for two weeks, and sleep with it snuggled like a teddy bear. The wife, though, just wouldn’t understand.

    “paying constant attention to muzzle disciple can become tiring”

    -There’s nothing more tiring than a demanding disciple. Agreed.

    • “There should be a summer camp in which you just do normal stuff, but carry your rifle everywhere for two weeks, and sleep with it snuggled like a teddy bear.”

      I believe they call that the National Guard…

  12. Would any of you have a recommendation for a sling for an AR-15 with a 20″ barrel and an A2 stock?

  13. Got one word for ya. Single point sling. Muzzle discipline is much easier when it is pointing at the ground 95% of the time. There are so many options for mounting SP today that it is a snap. Practice bringing your weapon to bear is not a big problem, and unless you routinely run into walls and doors to begin with you are not going to be marking up the house and furnishings.

  14. Well, having actually been a farmer and having had a long arm at close reach or on my person nearly all the time when I was on my fields, here’s my thoughts on the subject.

    1. You don’t pack around a semi-auto for your EDC rifle unless it’s a .22LR like a 10/22. And those are too inaccurate to be of much use, really. The box magazine hanging off the bottom of something like an AR is going to get beat up, collect dust, etc. I had a window in a piece of equipment get broken because the magazine of an AR bounced off the window while I was driving on the field. That was the last time I used an AR for anything approaching an “every day” rifle. I have no patience for looking HSLD and then forking over $400 for a window in a piece of farm equipment.

    2. You don’t pack around a 24″ barrel rifle with a bi-pod or any of this other foolishness as your EDC rifle.
    When this rifle isn’t on your back or shoulder, it has to fit into the cabs of tractors, swathers, combines, pickups, etc.

    3. If you’re using a bolt gun, an action that has a safety that can lock the bolt closed isn’t just a good idea, it’s essential. I used and prefer bolt guns.

    4. Good iron sights beat a scope that gets beat up, dusty, broken, knocked off the mounts, etc.

    In this matter, what I like is a peep/blade/wing setup such as the the M1A or M1 Garand has, just fitted onto a bolt gun.

    5. 99% of your shots will be on varmints, and unless you live on a very remote piece of property, you need to think about over-penetration and ricochets, so using ball ammo is right out. I liked loading Hornady V-Max’s for my pills. Once they hit the ground, they blow up. Once they hit what you were aiming at, they blow up.

    6. Most of your shots will be snap-shots, offhand, standing. Therefore, a good sling (not a strap, but a sling) is necessary.

    I like nice, compact bolt guns with a 5 round magazine, a safety that holds the bolt closed (and on safe) like a Win M70 does, with about an 18″ stainless barrel with a recessed crown, maybe a #3 contour, a 1907-style sling and good peep and front sights. Of course, because this configuration is actually useful, gun companies don’t make it. You have to have it built up for you by a gunsmith.

    • From time to time I work on the farms of a few different friends, when running equipment in the fields I carry my RPK with a 5 rd mag(yes, I stripped that crappy bipod off upon purchasing it) and killed no few coyotes, groundhogs, porcupines and wild dogs. The proper tool for the job at hand is subjective.

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