View Full Version : To Sling Or Not To Sling...That Is My Question

February 13, 2001, 01:29 AM
What the current thinking of using a sling on your shotgun used for home defense?

What about for law enforcement use?

Also, what the pros and cons of so-called "tactical" slings vs. "carrying" slings.

Thanks for your opinions.

February 13, 2001, 01:52 AM
May I simply second your question?

For years I've been living in a state of ignorance, buying "military looking" accoutrements for my shotguns and leaving it at that...I have a sling for my 870, a black nylon carry sling that got hung up on the closet coat hangers every time I took it out of the cabinet - the sling is off, if I need it for carrying the piece those quick-release swivels sure come in handy

I'd like to hear informed and experienced opinions on this one...

Dave McC
February 13, 2001, 06:48 AM
My Deer 870 wears a sling whenever it leaves the house. My HD 870 is used in the house and doesn't.There,a sling is just another thing to hang up, snag, encumber and complicate things at a time when I might desperately need simplicity and speed.

February 13, 2001, 12:36 PM
What about weapon retention. I always see people writing that a sling is a bad idea for HD, but what if the bogie grabs your weapon? You have a lot better chance of hanging on with a sling.

Dave McC
February 13, 2001, 04:22 PM
Al, I regard someone grabbing my weapon as unlikely.

February 13, 2001, 06:53 PM
The idea of someone grabbing the weapon is a real possibility if you're taken by suprise. A sling may provide an extra margin of retention in that situation. However, I do keep my sling taught between the swivels so it is not dangling with the potential of hanging up on things.

Dave McC
February 13, 2001, 08:31 PM
First, I was doing search drills back in the early 80s, and have some experience in the field.

OK, perp has grabbed my shotgun. I drop down with my weight over the shotgun until it levers enough to cover some part of his/her anatomy,and shoot. Next perp, please.Unless that perp is strong enough to hold up 250 lbs or so at the other end of a shotgun bbl, it's over right then...

February 13, 2001, 11:27 PM
What the other Erick said...

Slings are optional, but a good idea imo, for a HD shotgun.

They should be mandatory for cruiser shotguns.

Joe 543
February 14, 2001, 10:37 AM
I agree with both E's. Shotgun = Sling

This is off topic. However, the shotgun is NOT the ideal HD weapon. I don't care if you weigh 400lbs. A simple defensive manuver "grab barrel with weak hand engage target with weapon in weapon hand" and your done. And, it takes two hands to operate. No phone calls, opening doors, windows, helping children, etc....

Red Label
February 14, 2001, 10:56 AM
I will second Joe 543's opinion. I bought my Winchester 1300 Defender more for bear defense than home defense. It is slung. It's not even loaded at home right now. I keep all of my guns in a locked cabinet, so at first I was going to keep them all loaded. But I don't want to wear out all the springs with full loads sitting in them. So for right now, I just have my .45 ACP loaded, and I alternate clips --leaving one empty at a time...

February 14, 2001, 10:57 AM
It is NOT an ideal houseclearing weapon unless you are really well-versed in using a long arm in close quarters. It is a barricade weapon, and one hell of a barricade weapon at that.

At my current level of expertise (not very) I would always used a pistol for houseclearing. We get lots of range time with the SG at my work but VERY little training (uhm, none, actually) in CQB and building searches using it.


PS: uhm...a .45 doesn't use clips. It uses a magazine. ;)

Dave McC
February 14, 2001, 11:30 AM
Joe and Red, you do it your way, I'll do it mine. If either of you live in or near Md, contact me, we can set up a drill and try this out. Wear a cup and helmet....

February 14, 2001, 04:43 PM
If weapon retention is a concern, unless trained in longarm retention skills -- probably better to let the goblin have your longarm, draw your sidearm and let him have a few rounds. Unless you've got a tac team (or enthusiastic spouse or kid) backing you up, the goblin may have buddies who might take a few shots at you as you and the goblin are wrestling for your shotgun. Better to minimize the time spent grappling with said goblin and get your gun back after you've left him with a few handgun rounds in his COM. By the way, this is Mr. Suarez's advice (echoed by the defensive rifle class I took back in April) in "The Tactical Shotgun", an excellent read on the fighting scattergun.

This also leads us to the common knock on "tactical" slings, as if a goblin gets hold of your gun, he's got YOU too -- after all, you're attached to your gun by the sling. With a conventional sling, if the goblin gets your gun the sling does not materially aid or detract from the situation.

Some tactical sling makers have addressed this problem by developing quick detach mechanisms for their slings. It's a good idea but I'm not sure how well it would work in real life. I dunno if I can reach those little fastex buckles while a bad guy is dragging me around by my sling. While I used to endorse the tactical slings, I now am a proponent of the conventional sling on longarms when they leave the house.


February 14, 2001, 05:08 PM
Louie Awerbuck's recommendation is standard sling, long.

(Sling is long for an *el rapido* transition to handgun. Well, not as fast as simply ditching it, but handy if you might need the shotgun again soon.)

Wrap the excess with a heavy-duty rubber band forward around the gun (yeah, bottom-side) while inside the house.

If you need to sling the gun while running for the door, yank on the sling (NOT the rubber-band) to free it. Otherwise, the sling is held out of the way.

If you've got an extended mag tube, you can usually also simply pull the sling between it and the barrel (IN A MANNER THAT DOES NOT IMPEDE FUNCTIONING, DOPEY!).

Definitely makes jamming all your toys into your gun safe easier.

February 14, 2001, 05:29 PM
Laissez, could you run that part on the rubber band again, it wasn't terribly clear to me...


February 14, 2001, 05:39 PM
Sorry. Just got off a really BAD batch of responses from rec.guns -- mention that you "kept the muzzle pointed downrange," and you'll get two or three e-mails from folks asking what the muzzle is. Surprised they don't poke their eyes out operating a mouse.

So I try to anticipate "obvious" questions. Last guy I mentioned this to later came out to the range with what looked like a tiny orthodontic rubber band around the flippin' sling -- just the sling -- which broke when he picked up the gun. But he tried.

Joe 543
February 15, 2001, 10:32 AM
Dave my man.

I've been through plenty of drills here in TX. Simunitions, you know, those little red buggers that sting like crazy.

"My HD 870 is used in the house and doesn't.There,
a sling is just another thing to hang up, snag,
encumber and complicate things at a time when I might desperately need simplicity and speed."

Well, a shotgun barrel, even an 18inch barrel, is somewhat cumbersome. Simplicity and speed, yes the 870 is simple, but speed? Not nearly as fast as a semi-, even using tac loads.

All the HPD SWAT guys use short barreled carbines w/slings.

The 870 is the bean bag launcher. Ouch! Now that must hurt!

Dave McC
February 15, 2001, 11:37 AM
Red, back in the days when I'd go through a few cases of 00 a year doing demos, I could load 4 in an 870, traverse fire on 5 targets, loading the 5th round through the ejection port,(part of the qualifier) and get good hits all down the line in under 5 seconds. Got timed a mess of times. Probably still could now.

In a crisis, I doubt that there would be any real/practical advantage in speed having a semi, and maybe a disadvantage.

And there ain't no big red S on my chest either. You could do the same, I'm sure, with practice. Expertise beats the hell outa hardware anytime.

Back to slings. These days I'm a private citizen, and we're talking HD here. Unless I'm headed for a clay or trap course, an 870 wears a sling when I leave with it. But, it the philosophy of keeping things simple, the HD 870 wears none in the house. SWAT teams have different parameters and needs.

Do me a favor. Walk through your residence with your longarm of choice. Every corner, hallway or room,see just what that sling can catch on. Next, try it w/o the sling.

Real, empirical evidence beats the H*ll outa theory. I'd be interested to hear your results and compare them with mine...

February 15, 2001, 01:15 PM
Sorry, Laissez, I'll try to sift trhough sentence fragments and loose interposition of nouns and verbs from now on...

February 15, 2001, 04:50 PM
>Sorry, Laissez, I'll try to sift trhough sentence >fragments and loose interposition of nouns and verbs
>from now on...

Oh. Read my last post again. I assumed you were joking -- chiding me for being a prick.

But you were serious.

Well, don't worry about sorting through my prose. Won't see none here no more.


February 15, 2001, 06:02 PM
The proverbial failure to communicate...I really meant no offense. I see no reason to get touchy, all I asked was for a clarification on the "rubber band thing."

February 15, 2001, 10:54 PM
As far as LE goes I put a sling on my 590 after I took a suicidal subject down at shotgun point and had no way to secure the weapon to go hands on to help another officer cuff him. I really appreicated the sling several months later when I had to cross sling my shotgun to give first aid to the same guy after I shot him with said shotgun. Mine is from Turner Saddlery 1903 Model, well worth the money. For homedefense I use pistols. Oh yeah, he didn't make it.

Shawn Dodson
February 16, 2001, 01:18 AM
Sling on an HD shotgun? Phooey! An unnecessary encumbrance, in my opinion.

I have an Eagle Industries Tactical Assault Sling for my 870, but only because training classes require a sling. Fun to play with and high speed and all, but it's never installed on my shotgun when it's in "home defense ready" condition.

I'd like to see somebody invent a retractable carry strap that stores in the buttstock, and when needed it can be extended to attach to a forward sling mount. Need a carry strap? Got one. Don't need a carry strap? Stow it in the buttstock where it's completely out of the way. But you still got it, ready for quick use, if you should need it.

February 16, 2001, 01:39 AM
At home, mine goes w/o sling. When transporting or going afield, it has one.

February 16, 2001, 04:21 PM
I may take as you train so shall you fight to the extreme, but I train with a sling, especially using it for transitions.

The sling I use is cinched up pretty tight. It's a simple matter to scoop the sling under the forend hand, and there's really nothing to catch it on in my house, it certainly isn't hanging low enough to catch on doorknobs.

BTW, I WILL NOT ATTEMPT to clear my house. Right now, it's me and my wife. Our room is the safe room, so it's basically a one sided barricade situation, with the sling being a non-factor.