Well, here we are all having to deal with AR Pistol braces and their legality. Don’t despair or ditch your AR Pistol when you can employ a Sling Tension Method to “almost” the same effect.
An Origin Story
Maybe not the exact same effect, but most would be really surprised to learn how effective this method is when done correctly. Where did the sling tension method or sling method as I was taught come from in the first place. Those of us who cut our teeth on assaults with a sub-machine gun at some point had to learn this method to work with gas masks or chem/bio suits. Believe me it was not as sexy as it sounds, but it was a mission requirement we had to perfect. The best way to explain how it works is when the sling is properly positioned, adjusted and the platform is setup correctly you push against the sling to create tension or a simulated stock. This tension helps stabilize the firearm.
Learning About Slings
Let’s talk about properly positioning the sling. You can run a two point or one point sling configuration. I tend prefer the two point, but both work well. If you run a sling that can transition between the two its the best of both worlds. I used the Blue Force Gear 221 sling; which gives me this option to much success. In class, I would transition from running a two point, to a one point simply by moving the QD swivel. To further explain a properly positioned sling we talk about the mounting location. If you run a one point, you can either attach it to the inboard or the outboard side. Some AR Pistol configurations have an end plate with a QD attachment that further simplifies your setup. However, if you are running the folding or collapsible type braces this is not an option.
Making sure the sling is properly adjusted is the secret. You want there to be just enough tension. You are looking for almost full extension, about 80-90% full extension to be exact. This will allow you to apply force into the sling. It is this force that helps stabilize and reduce recoil while shooting. This works best with pistol caliber AR pistols, but I’ve had much success with rifle calibers. In classes I’ve run the Sig Rattler chambered in 300 Blackout and love the versatility of this little blaster. To make this method work even better, use the inside of your sling to create an improvised cheek weld. This creates a semi-third point of contact. The bad news is it can reduce your options when you try to achieve a shoulder mount. There were plenty of times I would run and gun with the sling tension method, but slow down for a long shot or a high percentage shot using the stock. So for me, I would run with my stock extended. If you get the sling just right for sling tension, it might mean the setup or position of the sling can interfere or get in the way of obtaining a good and reliable shoulder mount.
A Little Preparation
There is not a lot you have to do to your firearm platform. Meaning, if you running a folding brace, it is ideal to keep the brace folded so it is not in your way. The extended brace can sometimes get in the way of seeing your sights quickly. Modern red dot sights have somewhat negated this issue, but still something to consider. Running with no brace makes it pretty clean and easier to run the sling tension method in my opinion. Something else to consider is depending on the barrel length a concern might be your weak hand position. Hand stops that prevent your hand from moving too far forward will keep your hand away from the hot gases near the muzzle. It also allows you to place a little bit more forward isometric tension into the sling.
How Does It Perform
When you have everything setup for optimal performance using this method you will find speed and accuracy to be pretty impressive. If you have to make a snap shot inside 15 yards it is wicked fast. Back in the day it was all iron sights, but using a red dot sight gives you the ability to step back with more accuracy. Stepping back to 25, 35 and 50 yards produces more than acceptable accuracy. You are not going to be shooting a sub-MOA group, but you can easily shoot an 8 inch group at 50 yards; which is 4MOA and plenty accurate for most defensive gun uses.
The bottom line is all is not lost if you cannot use the brace. Experiment with this sling tension method and you will find it very capable.