The rifle sling – one of the oldest and most useful rifle accessories which despite often being underrated, is a must-have for carrying a rifle in the field, more important than a lot of other things we accessorize our rifles with. A well-designed sling is not only a mean for carrying your rifle but will allow you to improve your weapon manipulations and increase the stability of the gun while shooting. While any sling is better than no sling, having one specifically designed for your particular weapon system should in theory be much more preferable. In this article, we’ll find out if it is so in practice in the case of AK rifles and the Blue Force Gear Standard AK Sling.
Rifle Sling Articles @ TFB:
Design and Specs
Blue Force Gear Standard AK Sling is a two-point sling with a quick length adjustment feature. It is essentially a Vickers Sling adapted to the design of AK rifles. The sling consists of two pieces of webbing attached to each other via a polymer ring. The back webbing has two polymer triglides for attaching it to the stock of the rifle and also adjusting the overall length of the sling. The front webbing has a front sling attachment hardware fixed to it via another polymer triglide. In this case, the front hardware is a Molded UWL (Universal Wire Loop) which features a Nylon 6-6 body, built-in QD sling swivel socket and stainless steel cable for attaching it to the front sling loop of the rifle. The front webbing is folded in half with the quick adjustment buckle and pull tab (the OD green webbing) installed on the folded portion. The way the quick adjustment buckle and pull tab change the length of the sling is by changing the ratio the front webbing is folded into itself when sliding back and forth.
The quality of the sling is pretty impressive. The stitches are executed well, the edges of the webbing are heat sealed, and the polymer parts look to be robust. The stiffness of the sling and the quick adjustment buckle design make the adjustment tightness just right – the webbing is stiff enough to stay at the selected position but flexible enough to allow adjusting the sling length without much effort. Overall, it’s a quality product and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Blue Force Gear Standard AK Sling Specs:
- Compatibility: AK-47, AK-74, or other AKM Style Rifles
- Color options: Black, Coyote Brown, OD Green
- Installation: Front – Molded UWL through eylets or holes on rails. Back – Secured with triglides through swivels, loops or combined with sling hardware.
- Size: 1.25” sling webbing
- Hardware Build: Nylon hardware: glass-reinforced DuPont Zytel® Nylon
- Sling Build: Invista solution dyed CORDURA® webbing
- Length: 45″ – 55″
- Weight: 120 g
- MSRP: $59.95
The specs list above is for the standard version of the sling. However, Blue Force Gear offers a wide variety of customization options on the Custom Sling Builder page of their website. For example, if the standard webbing color options are Black, Coyote Brown and OD Green, and the standard furniture is black, the custom sling builder offers a variety of colors for both the webbing and hardware – from different camouflage patterns to colors like safety orange and pink, and everything inbetween. The custom builder also has multiple attachment hardware options – a Side Release Swivel, Push Button QD swivel, HK Hook, MASH Hook, BFL (Belt Fed Loop), BFG RED Swivel, ULoop, UWL, and Molded UWL. A pretty impressive amount of options that should allow you to build a version of the sling perfect for you. Blue Force Gear also has a dedicated page on their website where they show what custom hardware is preferable for different styles of AK rifles such as fixed stock guns, side folders, AK pistols, etc.
The installation of the Blue Force Gear Standard AK Sling onto the rifle is pretty easy and straightforward and can be done in several different ways. Let’s take a look at the front and rear end sling installation procedures separately.
FRONT END Installation
In order to loop the Molded UWL through the handguard retainer sling loop, you need to first remove it from the sling then pass it through the rifle’s sling loop and then reinstall the webbing onto it. The front end installation is demonstrated in the following video.
Additionally, you can install the Molded UWL to the front sling loop and install a QD sling swivel to the webbing then attach it to the QD socket built into the Molded UWL.
According to Blue Force Gear, UWL can also be passed through underneath the gas tube for left hand installation. I couldn’t pass it over the gas tube and I assume it is possible with the longer loop version of UWL. An alternative front end attachment point I discovered is the front sight block. I know, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, but should you need, just know you can.
Rear end Installation
There are multiple ways to attach the rear part of the sling depending on the stock design of your rifle and the sling attachment hardware on it. Here is a video by Blue Force Gear showing some of the ways.
With most rear end attachment ways, you can also have the sling come over the top or bottom of the stock. Each has pros and cons. For example, if the sling comes over the top, it may interfere with your cheek weld in certain shooting stances. If it goes below, it can come in the way of your hand when reaching for the pistol grip. Also, depending on whether the sling comes from the top or bottom, it will affect the way the rifle hangs in front of your body when slung over the shoulder.
The side folding 100-series style AK stock has its nuances too because it positions the sling differently when it’s deployed and folded. Possibly, another Molded UWL on the rear of the sling passed through the slot in the toe of the stock would be a better solution for this side folder.
With such a wide variety of different AK furniture and sling attachment solutions, as well as different weapon manipulation techniques, there is no right way to attach this sling to your rifle. It all depends on your particular AK variation and the ways you operate it. Thankfully, Blue Force Gear made this sling modular and with the number of hardware and attachment options they offer, you will be able to find the combination perfect for you. Just take your time, play with the sling, experiment, and find what works best for you.
In order to extend the sling length, you need to grab the pull tab and pull it back, and to shorten the sling length, you need to push the tab forward. It’s really intuitive. When at the range, I asked several friends to try it, and they all became familiar with the adjustment feature in no time. Manipulating the tab is a fast and effortless process allowing you to tighten or loosen the sling in a matter of seconds. The pull tab is long enough to easily find and grab it even without looking at it, and at the same time, it is short enough not to come in the way of other gear. As mentioned above, the quick adjustment mechanism of the Blue Force Gear Standard AK Sling has just the right tightness, the sling won’t unintentionally loosen no matter how tightened it is. Overall, it has a pretty simple and efficient design.
When installing the sling, I’d suggest finding out what length extremes you want the quick adjustment mechanism to work between and then coarse-adjust the overall sling length with the rear webbing. This length will differ from shooter to shooter depending on your body stature, the gear you plan to use the rifle with, etc. Finding this range could be a little bit tedious process, but once you find that perfect adjustment range for you and set it at the rear attachment, that’s where the quick adjustment feature will perform to its full potential. Otherwise, if the sling is too long, you may not be able to tighten it enough for stabilizing the weapon, and if it’s too short, it would be difficult to deploy the gun and do other manipulations. So find the sweet
spot range for you.
Another great feature of the Blue Force Gear Standard AK Sling is that it does not have any exposed metal hardware that will make noise. The metal carabiner of the regular AK sling rattles adding another sound to the noise symphony created by various loose parts of the gun. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed with Duct tape and DIY fixes existed since the beginning of time, however, it’s great that the issue is addressed in the design of this sling because the rattling sling is not only annoying but also increases your audible signature which is always a bad thing if it’s unintentional because in most of the situations you will need to use your rifle, you probably won’t want to be heard by other creatures, whether of your own species or not.
After playing long enough with this sling, I found that it can be configured into a sort of storage mode. Just loosen the quick adjustable part, wrap the sling over the stock and front sight block and pull the adjustment tab to tighten the sling against the rifle. This way it is more convenient to store the rifle in a safe or rack and take it out of it, without having a loose sling become a snag hazard.
Many a writer has compared the sling for a rifle to a holster for a handgun. In my opinion, the sling is much more essential for carrying a rifle than a holster for carrying a handgun. If handguns can be carried in a multitude of alternative ways (off-body, pocket, etc) without compromising carrying comfort and accessibility too much, alternatives of a sling when it comes to carrying a rifle are very limited and often are done at a cost of deployment speed (carrying in a bag) or at the cost of comfort and ability to do other things (carrying in your hands) … well, unless you have your own gunbearer.
Can you live without the Blue Force Gear Standard AK Sling? Of course, you can. The regular AK sling does the job decently – it’s not just as good, but good enough. However, the Blue Force Gear Standard AK Sling does improve your experience and performance with the rifle significantly and without a doubt, it is much better than the regular sling in every way. Is it worth paying about $60 (or even more for a custom version) for it though? It all depends on what role the AK has in your arsenal. If your AK is just a range toy for plinking, then any sling will do the job, in fact, you may not even need a sling. However, if your AK is the firearm that you trust your life to, I’d recommend you to get this sling, because every improvement in equipment will make a difference in the grand scheme of things. So if your AK is your go-to gun, it is definitely worth equipping it with a Blue Force Gear Standard AK Sling.
Wrapping up this article, I suggest you watch the TFBTV video from GunFest 2020 where you can learn some sling manipulation drills.
I hope you enjoyed this review of the Blue Force Gear Standard AK Sling. If I missed describing something or if you need an additional picture of a certain part of the sling, please don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments section or shoot me an email. Thanks for reading!
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