We’re nearing the finish line on the Blackhawk! AR-15 customization project.
So far, we’ve taken a basic DPMS A3 Lite and…
- Replaced the hard plastic pistol grip with a Blackhawk! AR-15 Ergonomic Grip
- Replaced that plastic hand guard with the nifty Blackhawk! AR-15 Carbine Quad Rail Forend
- Replaced the stock safety lever with the Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Safety Selector
- Added a Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Rest to the quad rail
- Added a Blackhawk! Rail Mount Vertical Grip to the quad rail
- Installed a 570 lumen Blackhawk! Legacy Tactical Light using a Blackhawk! Light Mount
- Replaced the standard stock with the Blackhawk! Adjustable Carbine Rifle Buttstock
Now it’s time to add some finishing touches!
With all this gear, it’s time to add a sling. We’ve used a number of two point slings with good success, but one of the things that gets ever so slightly annoying is how the front of the sling and its attachment point tend to get tangled up with your support hand. Of course, the big benefit to a multi-point sling (with an attachment point up front) is that you can use the sling as a shooting aid to help brace the rifle. While even a single-point sling can provide some extra stability, you just can’t created those locked tight, but mildly painful, shooting platforms as with a traditional sling.
The Blackhawk! Storm Sling RS is a single-point sling that is essentially a loop for your body, with a gliding attachment for the rifle. The main loop consists of a longer section of 1 ¼” nylon webbing that features a length adjustment buckle. This allows you to snug up the rifle as tight to your body as you like. Tighten it up and your rifle will ride high off the ground when you let go. The rest of the sling loop is comprised of a thick, elliptical bungee section that has a bit of flex and stretch. The rifle attachment loop rides on the bungee section so that you can immediately pull the rifle out for easy shoulder transitions and other movements. The back-pressure of the bungee also gives you some extra stability when shooting.
The sling itself features two different attachment buckles. One is part of the loop and facilitates instant removal of the entire sling without need for clearing your shoulders and head. The other buckle is part of the short strap that connects the sling loop to the rifle itself. Use this if you just need to quickly detach your rifle. The rifle itself attaches to the sling strap with a heavy-duty snap hook.
Our DPMS rifle did not have a sling attachment point on the back of the receiver where the buffer tube meets, so we installed a Blackhawk! Universal Single-Point Sling Adapter! While not an exceedingly complex job, adding this type of sling adapter requires a couple of specialized tools and a bit of patience as you have to completely remove the buffer tube. With many AR-15 rifles, the buffer tube is fastened to the receiver with a good bit of enthusiasm. Some companies use Loctite on the buffer tube threads and others stake the receiver nut so you have to break that free in order to remove the tube. All this means that you might have to apply some force – in a gentle and loving way of course – to remove the tube.
Fortunately I had an AR-15 Lower Receiver Vise Block from Brownells and an AR-15 Buttstock Wrench. The receiver block helps holds the AR-15 lower rock solid so you can get some torque on the receiver extension nut. The wrench is a specialized tool that will absolutely prevent you from butchering up your buffer tube. It’s not steel, so you can tear it up pretty easily unless you use the right tool for the job.
After only a mild amount of cursing, we managed to break the receiver nut free, allowing us to install the universal single-point sling adapter. One thing to note if you undertake this task. Beware of springs. You’ve got a couple that will want to reach for the stratosphere when you start taking things apart. Just be mindful of that and you’ll be OK.
The sling itself is a joy to use. The single point attachment, combined with the bungee loop, keeps it completely out of the way. The bungee is strong enough to support the weight of the rifle without excessive stretching, yet allows you to stretch when needed. The most likely scenario is to transition the rifle to your opposite shoulder without need to loosen any sling buckles. Depending on whether you want the rifle to hang on your strong side of weak side, you can loop it either way across your chest. We found that neither orientation got in the way of the stock in your shoulder.
We’ve found that a good sling is kind of like a politician. Once they experience the joys of office, they never want to go back to common life. Once you add a sling to your rifle, you’ll never want to be without one.