Giles Tactical Sling


by Erik Johnson

March 6th, 2003




Look in the gun safe of any hunter or shooter and many of the rifles and shotguns inside will probably have slings on them.  From ornate leather slings on hunting shotguns to micro-adjustable nylon units on target rifles, slings give the shooter a means to carry, drag, or stabilize a long gun.  Most are simple versions of a strap between swivels at either end of the gun, with single point and more obscure types with their own followings.

Where standard slings start to fall short is in the defensive or tactical arena.  A rifle slung vertically over your shoulder may be out of the way and fine for a long walk, but it's also painfully slow to get to and cumbersome in transition.  In this end, shooters began to search for slings that would hold a long gun horizontally or diagonally across the front of the body, taking weight off the hands but keeping the weapon quickly accessible.  These slings evolved from home made patrol slings into today's tactical sling, with the evolution really taking off with improvements in close quarters battle weapons and tactics.

What does this mean for the homeowner?  When sent off by the Mrs to investigate a bump in the night, many choose to take their home defense weapon with them, and this is frequently a shotgun (or rifle).  Odds are a private citizen won't have to jump through a window or scale a ladder while checking his house, but he will still have to open doors, flip on light switches, and lift up a sheet or two, and this where a tactical sling shines.

In that end, I purchased a Giles Tactical Sling from Arizona Gun Runners,, and installed it on my Mossberg 590A1.  There are less expensive slings available, but between the good reviews I had seen and the "might as well get high quality" mood I have towards my own safety, I figured that the $54.95 was well spent. 

Installation is surprisingly simple.  On the butt end, the sling is held onto the shotgun by a web stirrup, tightened by Velcro and additionally secured by screwing the rear sling swivel stud through a small hole in the bottom.  On the muzzle end, simply unscrew the magazine cap, place the metal sling mount between the barrel and magazine tube, and replace the cap.  More fastidious types may wish for more positive retention on the tube, but I donít think it will be a problem as long as the cap threads are in good shape and you check it periodically for tightness.

Connecting the two ends is the sling itself.  The sling is fixed at the muzzle, then runs towards the rear, passing through a loop at the butt cuff before doubling back into another buckle attached to the part running the length of the shotgun.  Length of the sling is adjusted by sliding a buckled loop at the butt end, and a -shaped buckle at the middle of the longer stretch acts as a stop to control where the shotgun hangs.

You really wear this sling more than any sling I have used before.  A right-handed shooter places the loop part over his head and left arm, making the webbing run diagonally up to the right across his back.  Like any bit of gear, it takes a while to get the sling perfectly adjusted, but once set the high quality webbing and buckles kept it from sliding astray, or the equipment version of the wandering zero, if you will.  Firing the shotgun simply entailed normal movement, and despite my worries nothing caught on normal clothing.  To use your hands for something else or transition to a pistol, simply let go.  It's that simple, and the shotgun is left hanging there out of the way, but instantly available.

One unexpected benefit that I found was how much weight the sling took off the hands when the weapon is in a shooting position.  Trying to keep a seven or eight pound shotgun in the shoulder and on target with one hand while reloading is taxing for anyone, but even with the sling adjusted very loose it was noticeably easier.

Is a tactical sling absolutely necessary for a home defense shotgun?  I doubt it, but you can not deny its usefulness.

Check out the Giles Tactical Sling online at

Erik Johnson

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The Giles Tactical Sling has a very simple but effective method of attachment at muzzle and buttstock.



The slung weapon rides very effectively out of the way and can be easily handled by one hand.