This post reviews the rifle slings the best precision rifle shooters are using. This data is based on a survey of the top 50 shooters in the 2014 Precision Rifle Series (PRS). The PRS tracks how top competitors place in major rifle matches across the country. These are the major leagues of sniper-style competitions, with targets typically in the 300-1000 yard range. For more info on the Precision Rifle Series and who these guys are, or to view the data for other pieces of gear scroll to the bottom of this article.
The chart below illustrates the rifle slings that were used by the top precision rifle shooters in the country in 2014:
Here are the results if you exclusively focused on the top 20 shooters:
TAB Gear Sling
The TAB Gear Sling was the most popular among the best precision rifle competitors. The TAB Gear Sling is a simple, but versatile sling. It features an adjustable loop for shooting support, industrial grade webbing, and is available with a few different options. First, you have a choice of connection hardware: flush cup, HK/AI hook, or traditional swivel stud. Second, you have a choice of buckle types. The Fastex buckles are the standard choice, but the AustriAlpin Cobra buckles are rated up to 4,000 pounds! The sling with Fastex buckles is $70-75, and Cobra buckles is $140-145 (depending on the connectors you pick).
Here is TAB Gear’s description of their 3 section design:
The front, is simply used to shoot slung up. This can be done connected to the rest of the sling or not. It has a slider that can move very easily to lock down the loop on the shooters arm.
The center is where the shooter adjusts the sling for the carry length. It can be removed and connected to itself for easy storage allowing the remaining two sections of the sling to attach like a carry strap with shooting loop still in place. The reasons for the two buckles are two fold, first it allows the shooter to get out of the sling quickly because regardless of how you sling your rifle there is an accessible buckle you can unclip in order to get the rifle into action quickly. Second, it is designed to allow the removal of a rifle from an injured soldier in case he is incapacitated.
The rear section of the sling is a 5″ section of webbing that is three layers triple stitched and is stiff enough to use as a hasty rear support.
SAP Rifle Sling
The Short Action Precision (SAP) Postional Rifle Sling was the 2nd most popular sling. This sling is a minimalist design, but incorporates some foundational features that help you get a more stable shot from improvised shooting positions. This rifle sling retails for $90.
Here is SAP’s description of this rifle sling design:
The Short Action Precision Positional Rifle Sling is an evolution of years of shooting experience, with competition and unsupported positional shooting in mind. The sling has a proprietary noose cuff that tightens securely around your arm for a solid foundation. The quick adjust front strap lets you adjust for the perfect tension or elevation. When you are done taking a nice, stable kneeling or seated shot, you can instantly exit the arm cuff with a quick escape buckle. Rugged and reliable for carrying and shooting.
Rifles Only FTW Sling
The next most popular sling was the Rifles Only FTW Sling. FTW Gear is a Rifles Only brand. For several years, Rifles Only sold and promoted the TAB Gear sling, but apparently, there was a following out in there somewhere. Now they’ve started designing a few products themselves under the FTW label, and one of those is this new sling. This sling retails for $130.
Here is Rifle Only’s description of their FTW sling, along with a video demo by Jacob Bynum:
The critical adjustment features of the FTW sling include: two quick adjusting cam-buckles (one in the front, and one in the rear) as well as a revolutionary bungee strap. The forward cam-buckle allows micro adjustments to the overall sling tension. The rear cam-buckle serves to adjust the overall length of the sling and to tighten the sling around the bicep. The bungee section of the sling provides consistent tension pulling the weapon system snugly into the shooter’s shoulder pocket, and reducing the perceived weight when the weapon is slung over the shoulder or around the neck. All of the features combine to make a sling that can be deployed much faster, while providing a more stable shooting position. It is incredible what the bungee portion of this sling adds to so many areas. High quality cam-buckles and materials as well as exceptional craftsmanship provide years of reliable service.
Armageddon Gear Sling
The Armageddon Gear Precision Rifle Sling was the 4th most popular, with about 12% of the top 50 running it. It looks like a similar design to the others, but it has an innovative way to “sling in” to a supported sling position. The manufacturer says it takes less than 5 seconds to “sling in” or unsling, which they say makes this the fastest sling-support available. This sling retails for $70.
Here is Armageddon Gear’s description of their Precision Rifle Sling:
The Armageddon Gear Precision Rifle Sling is a highly versatile tool that can be used as a patrol/assault sling, yet also provides support when firing from alternate positions. No other sling allows shooters to “Sling in” to a sling-supported position and unsling from that position as quickly and easily as the Armageddon Gear Precision Rifle Sling.
The Precision Rifle Sling comes with your choice of attachment methods; QD swivels, AI Hooks, or universal webbing tails to route through the loops on your stock or through your preferred swivel type.
Tactical Intervention Specialists Sling
Tactical Intervention Specialists (TIS) Precision Rifle Slings were also represented among the top 50 shooters, with 4 shooters opting for it … and 3 of those ending up in the top 20. It looks like TIS makes a few different models of slings for use with precision rifles, and I’m not sure exactly which models these shooters were using. TIS offers a quick cuff model (they have a contract with the US Army for one version of this), and a slip cuff model (inspired by ideas from a veteran defense contractor). Here are the best photos I could find for each. I’m really digging the police costume and mask. Classic!
You can check out the Tactical Intervention Specialists website to find out more about these products. There is a lot of information, but it’s fragmented and hard to follow. While they may not be great at marketing … the product looks solid!
Meet The Pros
You know NASCAR? Yes, I’m talking about the racing-cars-in-a-circle NASCAR. Before NASCAR, there were just a bunch of unaffiliated, regional car races. NASCAR brought structure by unifying those races, and created the idea of a season … and an overall champion. NASCAR identified the top races across the country (that were similar in nature), then combined results and ranked competitors. The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) is like NASCAR, but for rifle matches.
The PRS is a championship style point series race based on the best precision rifle matches nationwide. PRS matches are recognized as the major league of sniper-style rifle matches. At the end of each year, the scores from around 15 different national matches are evaluated and the top shooters are invited to compete head to head in the PRS Season Championship Match. We surveyed the shooters who qualified for the finale, asking all kinds of questions about the equipment they ran that season. This is a great set of data, because 50+ shooters is a significant sample size, and this particular group are also considered experts among experts. It includes guys like George Gardner (President/Senior Rifle Builder of GA Precision), Francis Kuehl, Wade Stuteville, the GAP Team, the Surgeon Rifles Team, shooters from the US Army Marksmenship Unit, and many other world-class shooters. Thanks to Rich Emmons for allowing me to share this info. To find out more about the PRS, check out What Is The Precision Rifle Series?
Other “What The Pros Use” Articles
This post was one of a series of posts that look at the equipment the top PRS shooters use. Check out these other posts:
- Calibers & Cartridges
- Tactical Scopes
- Scope Mount
- Rifle Actions
- Rifle Barrels
- Custom Rifle Stocks
- Reloading Components (Bullets, Powders & Brass)
- Muzzle Brake & Suppressor
- Shooting Bags
- Rifle Sling
Any chance you can share what bore cleaner and bolt lube they use?
I can’t tell if you’re joking or not … but no, I didn’t ask about that.
Forgive me if I missed it, but wondering what the all up build weight came up to?
I weighed my 20″ AT .308. Folder, vortex Gen 2, Seekins, Harris, Thunderbeast CB7 suppressor and it came out to 18.5lbs! Yikes no wonder my back hurts.
Only 3lbs less than my AWSM 338 similarly equipped, though with Atlas, S&B 5×25, and Surefire can.
Love the blog, info. My “go to” and referral for accurate (groan) info
Sent from IPhone. Please excuse brevity and spelling.
Thanks for the reminder! I haven’t done any calculations yet, but I’ll post them up here when I do.
First, thank you for all the work you do. I have really enjoyed the posts. Second, I know in your custom build post you commented on your Jewell vs Timney trigger selection, but if you could do a full review of what the pros use it would be much appreciated. There are many brand options out there not to mention single stage vs two stage, weight, and straight trigger vs a conventional shoe.
The trigger seems like an important piece, that so far has been left out of this series.
Yes sir. I hear you. There are a lot of options out there. I may look around at triggers at SHOT this next week, and see if manufacturers would be interested in helping me with a comprehensive, side-by-side comparison. I can’t commit to it at this point, but it’s a good idea if I can get them on-board and find the time. Thanks for the comments!
The info on the blog is really valuable. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
It would be interesting to have a post on triggers. Thanks.
Thanks! Glad you found it useful. A couple guys have suggested that I ask about triggers. I have a note to consider adding it to next year’s survey. I’d expect Jewell to be the most popular, followed by Timney, and then a few others behind those. But if you’re like me, I’d rather have hard data than some guy saying “I bet they use …”. I’d just be shocked if that wasn’t the breakdown, but I’ve been surprised before. Maybe that will give you something to go on.
I have rifles with Jewell triggers and Timney 510 triggers, and have fired both for 1000’s of rounds. I can’t say I have a preference. They’re both excellent. I run my triggers at 1 lb 10 oz (26 ounces), and they can both do that with absolute perfection. Zero creep, and extremely crisp. On a scale of 1 to 10, both are a 10. The only differences I’m aware of is the shoe on the Timney is wider, which I prefer over the more narrow blade on the Jewell. But the Jewell can be adjusted down to 1.5 ounces, but the Timney can only go down to 24 ounces (1.5 lbs). That isn’t a problem for me, since I run at 26 ounces. You can also adjust the Jewell without having to remove the stock, which can be convenient. I don’t find myself needing to adjust my trigger weight on the fly much, so that doesn’t add a lot of benefit. Because of the adjustability, the Jewell has more exposed openings on the bottom of the trigger housing, and some guys claim that sand and grit can get in there and cause the trigger to freeze up. I’ve never had that problem, and I’ve known guys that have ran Jewells hard for years without experiencing that. But it’s worth mentioning. Those are the only differences I’m aware of, and what I feel like it is a pretty objective comparison. I own both, and shoot both. They’re both A+++ triggers compared to others I’ve tried.
I gratified to help a guy on Scout.com/Snipershide on the DTA thread who was looking for a sling when I pointed him to your blog. He thanked my and said because of it he was going to buy a Tab sling. I responded to him with this:
Posted: Today 6:12 PM
Re: New Desert Tech (DTA) Covert, SRS, and HTI Official Thread
Happy it was worthwhile for you.
Hopefully you’ll do some serious looking at the precisionrifleblog.com (& no I have no connection – just found Googling my interest in long range shooting).
Cal (the author) has some AMAZING research on just about everything related to long range & precision long range shooting: (the # is how many posts)
Ammo & Handloading (34)
Load Development (16)
How Much Does It Matter? (7)
Optics (42) – [I have NEVER found more exhaustive research on scopes!]
Rifle Scopes (30)
Scope Rings & Mounts (2)
Reference & Downloads (11)
Reviews & Field Tests (43)
Field Tests & Studies (30)
First Looks (4)
Product Reviews (9)
Bipods, Rests & Shooting Bags (5)
Bottom Metal & Magazines (1)
Complete Rifles & Custom Builds (5)
Scope Mounts (2)
Stocks & Chassis (17)
Suppressors & Muzzle Brakes (11)
Tips & How To’s (7)
What The Pros Use (26)
His theme is “a data driven approach” so the information he produces both makes the conclusions for the most part unquestionable & for the more nuanced stuff room for the reader to make really educated choices based on the raw data he cranks out. I am guessing it’s been a hobby for him so far but I can see he is getting a small amount of monetization for his efforts but seems to be staying away from the suppliers & manufacturers of the stuff he evaluates in order to maintain the objectivity that makes his information so compelling.
Because of Cal’s reporting I have made some choices to purchase from the some of the suppliers mentioned in his evaluations and every one of them is a home run – sure there are the big boys that everyone knows about like Europtic.com but there is some really great stuff being made by these folks who are very small and cater almost exclusively to the long range/precision shooting marketplace:
All the best!
Thanks, Ranger! I appreciate you passing on the website to help other shooters. It is still just a hobby for me, and I don’t see it growing beyond that. I LOVE my real job … even more than this. I think that is part of what is powerful here. I’m in no way dependent on this for my income, so I can risk telling people the whole truth … regardless of whether it pisses some people off or not. Ultimately, precision rifles is a very small community … so I don’t love pissing people off, but I feel more of a heavier sense of responsibility to fellow shooters than companies.
And I love that you’ve found some lesser-known companies that are turning out great products. That is one of the reasons I do this. I want to believe that a small company with a great idea will make it in the marketplace. In reality, the best product doesn’t always succeed. It’s not all based on merit … in the real world, perception of the brand and marketing budget often play in more than they should. That’s why I’m excited to find products like the Mausingfield action or TBAC suppressors. Those products are outstanding, but those companies have small booths in the basement at SHOT Show. They don’t have much of a marketing budget. They can’t afford to be in front of customers like some of the other big, established brands … but they are turning out great products that might have just as much merit as those who buy booths on the main floor. I’m just an idealist, who wants to believe in a level playing field. That’s not the way the world works, but I try to make it work that way on this website. The little guys get as much press as the big ones. Products I endorse are based 100% on merit, not marketing budget.
I really appreciate the encouragement, and vote of confidence. Glad to know the website is working, and helping you make more informed decisions that you’re happy with long-term. That is the heart that drives this.
I do like the TAB Gear sling. All their stuff is excellent quality in both design and manufacture and that sling is just one example.
I was going to use one of my Magpul slings when (if ever) I get my Ruger Precision Rifle but now I see the advantage of a bicep cuff with a QR buckle to exit it quickly for the next stage. A bicep cuff is almost mandatory for a rock solid, non-bipod, non-forend rest position. And if you had the time even those latter two positions could use a cuffed sling.