It’s a little shameful, and I’ll fully understand if, after I have disclosed this thing, you ask me to take my stupid blog and go home. But I feel that in the name of honesty among friends, a full confession is called for.
Before this past weekend, I had never used a single-point sling. No. Not once in my life.
There. I said it, and whatever the consequences I feel much better for it.
Despite sporadically finding myself in the company of militia types over the years, some of whom really liked to play dress-up, I never really understood – or paid much attention to – the difference between a “tactical sling” and a “sling.” My sense of fashion never went past a set of non-faded BDUs and some VN-era load-bearing gear. And in fact if I looked in the plastic tub in which I stashed all that stuff years ago, I’d probably find even that covered with musty old rats nests because I don’t much play dress-up any more. Even when I did, well, like I said. I’ve never owned a piece of MOLLE anything. Guess that’s another confession.
Anyway, the reason all this came up. Saturday, my friend Ian kindly gave me a gift. He has come to that point where people actually give him free stuff in hopes it’ll show up on his site. And we were loading camera and gun gear into the Jeep when he asked me, “Have you ever used a single-point sling?”
At first I feared this was going to be one of those unfortunate questions that ruins an outing, like “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior,” and we’d spend the next few weeks trying to get comfortable with each other again. But actually he just had one to give away, and wanted to know if I wanted it.
I’m an old guy, but I’m still a guy. And guys like gear. So yeah, I wanted it. And I even took it home and put it on my AK, replacing the old SKS sling that’s been there for basically forever. And then I adjusted it for size, slung it around my neck, went for a walky.
And found it almost worse than useless. You know what happens when you let go of an AK on a two-point sling? It hangs by its sling. Let go of an AK on a single-point sling and it falls a significant distance and then slams into your knees with the full weight of a fully-loaded AK. Which is not only quite unpleasant, it makes further walking problematic. There’s this AK hanging from your shoulder like a pendulum, banging into your knees with each step. Who thought this was a good idea? Try to push it out of the way, and the sling commences what is apparently its secondary function of slowly garrotting you.
I figured I must be doing it wrong, though it seems a simple enough piece of gear. Hey, I’m not ashamed to admit ignorance. So I went to the font of all human knowledge, and asked the mall ninjas on Youtube to show me how it’s done. And as far as I can tell from watching the experts at work and play, the rifle is supposed to bang into your knees. Maybe that’s what the kneepads are for.
So I guess I’m not a combat-ready operator. Sometimes a guy just wants to sling his rifle and take the boys for a walky, y’know? If I think there’s a chance I’m actually going to have to shoot the rifle, I always unsling it anyway. But I thought the whole point of a sling was to free up your hands when you’re not imminently shooting the rifle. And this new sling doesn’t seem to do that very well. The only way to comfortably walk, while your rifle is on a single-point sling, is to hold the rifle in your hands. Which negates the whole point of the sling.
(Somebody is going to mention “transitions” if I don’t do it first. “Transitions” came up a lot on those Youtube videos, and they are clearly very important. So before commenting, please note that this blog entry does include the word “transitions.” I even saw it done well once. It was in the movie Blackhawk Down. That guy died. But I do concede that if my desert Lair is ever challenged by thousands of outraged Somalis, my last thought is likely to be a bitter regret that I didn’t practice more “transitions”. So now this blog entry contains four repetitions of the word “transitions.” Excuse me – five repetitions.)
So anyway: With apologies to all my readers for this airing of my shameful inadequacies and to my good friend Ian for putting aside his kind gift, I have gone back to the old-fashioned way. Thank you for letting me share.