Hunters spend more time carrying a rifle than shooting it, so the ideal rifle sling should make both easier. Growing up hunting in West Virginia, we didn’t watch bean fields or sit in cozy blinds. We walked far, climbed mountains, forded creeks and crawled over and under things. I realized early on the importance of carry sling, but struggled to find one that would keep my rifle on my shoulder.
In the military and as a dedicated police marksman, I learned how a sling could enhance shooter steadiness, but just wrapping it around your support arm only keeps it from swaying under the rifle. To really “sling up,” a purpose built sling is required. None of those on the market provide the comfortable carry I wanted.
I decided to make my own to serve both purposes. Using the backwoods ingenuity learned from Grandpa, I cobbled together a functional carrying and shooting sling.
During a trip to Gunsite Academy, I showed it to Mike Barham of Galco Gunleather. A few weeks later he called, asking if Galco could borrow my creation and tinker with it.
Soon, Galco sent a sample to me, which was much better assembled than the contraption I’d concocted, and asked what I wanted for the idea. I suggested rifle slings for life. They foolishly accepted, I assume because they had no idea how many rifles I own. Galco sort of named the new strap/sling after me, and the RifleMann sling was introduced in 2016.
There are essentially four ways to carry a hunting rifle. American carry (photo above) is where the rifle is supported muzzle up on the left or right shoulder. The RifleMann sling assists with this marvelously because of a thick padded section lined with suede to hold it in place. With European carry, the rifle is braced with the support hand in front of the body, sling on the support shoulder. Maybe best described as reverse American carry, again the RifleMann sling’s wide, padded section helps with comfort and security.
African carry, where the rifle is supported muzzle down on the non-shooting side, is also popular. The wide, suede section at the other end of the RifleMann sling keeps the rifle in place when carrying in this manner, too.
Cross body carry might be the most useful because it keeps both hands free. The RifleMann sling works exceptionally well in this application because its quick adjust feature let’s you cinch it tight.
There are two ways to use a sling for shooting support. You can use the loop on your support arm (photo above) or use the full strap on your shooting arm (below). With forward rifle support or support for your shooting arm, the latter method generally works best. If you can brace your support arm, the loop method is the way to go. The RifleMann sling has an extra strap, adjacent to the wide padded section, to allow for looping. And, its quick adjust feature allows you to use the full sling on the triceps of your strong arm. This technique also greatly enhances off-hand/unsupported shooting.
Galco has an untarnished reputation of building high-quality gear, which is why I showed them my prototype in the first place. Thanks to Galco Gunleather, rifle shooters can now have one sling that will help them carry and shoot their rifle better. And, it costs only $54.95.