Pros and Cons of the Three-Point Sling

By GunSpot
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Pros and Cons of the Three-Point Sling

August 23rd, 2021

7:05 runtime

We suspect most of you know about two-point slings, as it seems to us that those are the most popular choice with most shooters. The second most common type is a single-point sling. Although single- and two-point slings dominate the market for the most part, there is one more sling, a mythical sling that is rarely seen in the wild. Shooters, range enthusiasts, operators and gunslingers have rarely been able to tame it. Of course, I’m talking about the three-point sling. Some of that is a dramatization, obviously.

Three-point sling attached to a rifle
A three-point sling it has three points of contact with the rifle. The sling forms almost a figure 8 shape with the rifle.

In all seriousness, the three-point sling is not used very widely these days. If you have never seen a three-point sling, it has three points of contact with the rifle. The sling forms almost a figure 8 shape with the rifle. There is a loop that fits around your torso, and from there another loop connects to a front point and a rear point on the rifle.

The three-point sling is not that popular. After doing some searches online and flipping through gun social media posts, I didn’t find one person running a three-point sling. That being said, everything does have its pros and cons, and here are a few of those from our perspective.

The Upsides

Here are the main positive features of the 4-point sling as I see them:

  1. Weapon security
  2. Secondary weapon transitions

Let’s explore each of these ideas further.

Security Is Golden

The three-point sling is the absolute most secure sling you can use. What I’m mainly referring to is how securely it keeps the gun within your grasp. With all the connections of a three-point sling and how closely it can hold the rifle to you, it would make the possibility of a threat ripping your rifle off you seem like a one in a million chance. The rifle may not be able to suck in as tight to your chest as on a two-point, but the amount of webbing holding it close is more.

Man using a three-point sling with a SAINT rifle
When shopping for a three-point sling make check for rapid adjustability. This will combat some of the three-point sling’s biggest flaws.

When GunSpot’s Grant LaVelle was on SWAT, they ran a three-point sling for a limited time. No doubt this is a reason why they did. SWAT guys are clearing rooms and might just end up having to trade blows with a threat who gets the jump on them. Dropping the rifle to get hands on a threat will be easier with a three-point. Plus, it’s going to keep the gun secure.

Easy Weapon Transitions

Man performing transition from rifle to pistol with three-point sling
A pistol transition with a three-point sling can be really easy because of the way the rifle falls once it is let go.

One of the big pros of the three-point sling is that when you let go of the rifle it automatically pulls itself toward your support side as you drop it. This is great because it naturally wants to push the gun out of the way of your pistol drawing arm. This lets you have a clean draw presentation.

The Drawbacks

As with any rifle sling, there are some negative aspects of the three-point slings. The main one I see is the lack of flexibility – especially when transitioning from the strong side to the support side. Let’s dig in a little more on this.

Man demonstrating the difficulty of shoulder transitions with a three-point rifle sling
If you never swap shoulders and rifle security is paramount, a three-point sling would probably make you very happy.

Sling vs. Slung

The three-point sling’s biggest con in our opinion is a byproduct of its security. There is just a lot of sling to deal with. There is a portion of the sling strapped to you, a portion strapped to the rifle and just all sorts of stuff to manage. Getting on of the three-point sling is hard for those wearing a lot of gear.

Man using rifle with three-point sling
There is just a lot of sling to deal with. This can make quickly swapping shoulders to shoot from different points of cover nearly impossible.

Also, because of the amount of sling material present, swapping shoulders can be a real pain. If you don’t have a rapid adjustable three-point sling, it can actually be quite impossible to do. The other bad thing that you have to battle is when grabbing the grip with your support hand to fire, if you are able to change shoulders at all, will have the sling webbing in the way. When swapping hands the extra sling on the side of the rifle is right in the way, so you have to come down under the sling and come up to grab it.

Now, to swap shoulders you can swim out of a three-point like a two-point, but it’s very hard to do. You have to have enough slack in your body loop to get your arm out. But if you can, that will fix quite a few of the problems mentioned.

What to buy?

If you are set on getting a three-point sling, here are the things you need to look at when purchasing one. Get one with wide sling webbing as this makes it more comfortable. A little bungee section is always nice on slings as it can add to making it comfortable.

Three-point sling set up on a SAINT rifle
With a three-point sling, there is a loop that fits around your torso and from there another loop connects to a front point and a rear point on the rifle.

The most important thing is to make sure that your sling can rapidly adjust. Not all three-point slings have a feature like this. The one we used in the video had a quick sliding buckle that allowed the torso loop section of the sling to loosen or tighten. If you can loosen the sling quickly, swimming out and manipulating your rifle will be much easier.

At all costs avoid buying a generic one that is the kind you adjust to your length and just leave it be. I would provide you with the brand of the three-point sling we used in the video, but Grant purchased it around 20 years ago and it has no label on it. So, sadly, I can’t provide you with a direct recommendation.

Conclusion

Who is the three-point sling for? Well, I’d say if you never plan on swapping shoulders under any circumstances and you want a rifle sling that’s so secure it makes it nearly impossible for an assailant to rip it off, it is right for you. If that’s the case, then this sling would probably make you very happy.

We, however, will still prefer the two-point because of its versatility. How many points are too many for a sling? For us, that number is three.

Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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GunSpot was created to be the one spot for everything gun-related. With us, you can buy or sell guns. We have everything from small-caliber pistols to belt-fed machine guns. And on the GunSpot Academy, you can find high-quality original content. In our content, you will see two faces regularly. Dylan Casey is a gun enthusiast with a digital media degree who is GunSpot's Creative Director. Then there is Chief Instructor Grant LaVelle, who has decades of experience training Marines, police officers and citizens alike. Grant served with and taught marksmanship for the United States Marine Corps. After his time with the Marines, Grant served as a SWAT sniper.

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