It’s been said that a sling is like a holster for a rifle. Aside from being a way of hands-free carry for a long gun, a sling is also a device that can add stability and improve accuracy. Today we’ll take a peek at the Allen 1.25″ Sling Swivel Set, which is rated with a test strength of 500 pounds. They will accept slings up to 1.25 inches wide.
These particular sling swivels are fun to work with because they’re so easy to install. Simply unscrew the swivel locking screw and then push it in. That allows the gate to be swung out of the way. At that point, push the swivel pin through the swivel stud, which is already mounted to the weapon’s stock. Close the gate, then screw down the locking screw. You’re done.
Just in case that sounded complicated, the swivel set comes with directions (pictures included!) that make it easy enough that even your mechanically-challenged author can pull off the task. Trust me — if I can do it, you can do it!
Once in place, they won’t come off unless you unscrew the locking screw; they’re pleasingly secure. With your sling swivels in place, you now thread the sling through the sling swivels.
Is That It? Well, I guess it could be. But what fun would it be if I were to end the article here???
No, you’re not getting off that easily. I’m going to illustrate a few techniques that you might find useful.
The Long Gun
For this particular project, I chose the Remington 870 HHD (Hardwood Home Defense) 12 gauge, pump action shotgun. Why? Because I didn’t have sling swivels or a sling on it yet, that’s why.
The 870 HHD is a sort of retro-looking 870 with hardwood furniture, a classic glimpse into the past. I chose it because it reminds me of the shotguns that I was issued early in my career (back when the sun was still 60 watts).
I’m not normally a shotgun guy, much preferring rifles. But even I have to admit that the shotgun does have its uses. Having trained on it through my agency for a couple of decades, I’m thoroughly familiar with the 870.
Despite the hardwood furniture, this 870 performs just like all the rest — efficiently and reliably. I did have an inch taken off the length of the stock (the standard is 14 inches) to help it fit my physique better. Since I did that, it’s far more comfortable for me.
The capacity on this 870 is 6+1, as it comes with a magazine extension directly from the factory (another selling point for me). It’s also rated for 3-inch shells, although I never fire those due to the recoil.
Though I wish they’d include a ghost ring sight system, this one came with a standard bead sight, which I guess I can live with. For now.
Earlier examples of this model only came with a front sling stud, but now Remington is very wisely equipping them with both front and rear sling studs, which I applaud.
All in all, this shotgun will get the job done. There are times when launching nine .32 caliber pellets with one pull of the trigger is attractive. And with seven rounds inside the gun, that’s…hang on now…ehhh…63 projectiles! Check my math on that, I’m not good with numbers.
Shotgun Sling — Ways To Use It
Remember when I mentioned that a sling can be an aid to more accurate shooting? I mainly meant for a rifle. For pump action shotguns, we’re not going to be rigging up a hasty sling to steady a tricky shot as we might with a rifle — that’s for another article.
No, for the shotgun, the sling acts mainly as a holster would for a pistol. We might need to do something with both of our hands free, such as climb a wall, pick up items, or help friendlies to safety. The ability to sling that shotgun will be a huge advantage.
Transition To Pistol
Another possibility is the need to transition to a handgun while wielding the shotgun. Perhaps we’ve run out of ammo, considering that the shotgun has a limited supply. Or maybe it has suffered a stoppage. Whatever the reason, there are two simple ways to transition to the handgun that I can show you.
Drop (Or Drape) The Shotgun
From the firing position, you basically drop the shotgun over your support side arm on the outside. That will cause the sling to drape over your left arm and will leave the shotgun hanging there. Your right hand is now freed up to access your handgun and engage targets. Your support side hand is semi-free in the event that you want to use it to get a two-handed grip on your handgun.
The advantage is that this technique is very fast; it takes less than a second.
The drawback is that the weight of the shotgun is hanging off your support side arm, so mobility is seriously restricted. It’s difficult to move your arm because of the shotgun’s weight. In addition, it’s tough to move dynamically because you have a shotgun flopping around as it hangs off your arm.
Incidentally, this technique can be used for rifles as well.
There is a fast, efficient way to sling your shotgun across your back.
From the firing position, you raise the shotgun slightly, which will give your arm space to reach through the opening of the sling. Reach straight through with your support arm as if reaching for something in front of you. Raise your support arm toward the sky while using your primary arm to guide the butt of the shotgun up above your strong side shoulder. With your primary arm, shove the entire shotgun up over your shoulder and let it go, it will drop in place with the help of gravity.
The shotgun will end up slung muzzle down on your back. Even before the sling stops it from falling, you should be working on drawing your handgun.
Here’s a photo demonstration:
After a few practice tries, this maneuver becomes very easy and fluid, which will increase the speed at which you can perform it.
Those are the two basic sling techniques I use for transitioning to the pistol when I’m using a simple sling. And the sling that I’m using for my 870 is a simple M14/M16 sling. It’s made of canvas and is a military issue. I bought it for a few dollars at an Army/Navy store when I spotted it, figuring that it would come in handy sometime. Which it did.
Yes, a sling such as the Vickers Blue Force Gear 2-Point Combat Sling would be faster because, when we’re strapped into the sling, all we have to do is drop the weapon and the sling will catch it as we perform our transition. However, I don’t have a spare one for my shotgun at the moment, so I went with what I have. At some point, I may go with the Vickers sling anyway, as it’s a great unit and I do have one on my AR-15.
All in all, the Allen Sling Swivel Set is a superb performer. They’re extremely strong, simple to operate, and do exactly what they are intended to do. Constructed of forged steel and with an anti-corrosion finish, they will last more than a lifetime. They’re easy to install and remove. The fact that the swivels fit up to a 1.25-inch sling means they’re versatile enough that they’ll function with most slings.
At the time of writing, the swivels sell for just $12.99, which is a bargain in my book.