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Gear Sector Sling Rail Mounts
5/15/10 - Gear Sector, which specializes in weapon slings and accessories, offers a line of picatinny rail mounts as front attach points for slings. Their rail mounts are designed with an ergonomic contour that mates with most rail panels on the market for uninterrupted rail space.
Description - The Gear Sector picatinny rail sling mounts come in three variations: a 1" loop for 1" webbing (not illustrated here), a loop for HK-style snap hooks or ITW MASH hooks, and a socket for QD swivels. They're all designed off the same ergonomic platform, which consists of a base which looks like the cross section of a rail panel that slides onto the rail and is held securely by a screw/clamp assembly. The mounts are CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and finished with a mil-spec type III, class II hard anodize. They are then Cerakoted in black, foliage green, OD green, patriot brown or FDE (flat dark earth). Each mount weighs about 0.6 oz.
What sets these mounts apart from most others is their curved design, which eliminates sharp corners, and follows the contour of most rail panels. They're designed to have the lowest profile possible, which is the reason for the offset screw. The GS mounts closely match the original TangoDown rail panels, and when trimmed to fit, will result in an almost seamless transition. I've since switched to the lower profile TangoDown SCAR panels on all my rifles, which can also be trimmed to eliminate a gap between the end of the panel and the GS mount.
Shown below are the QD socket and HK loop mounts. The rail mount QD socket is available by itself, or with a high-quality sling swivel. The socket prevents rotation of the swivel so your sling doesn't get twisted around. The HK loop is sized properly so that a HK snap hook gate will not accidentally open (which can happen when the loop is too large).
As you can see on the back side, the mounts have a screw and clamp assembly, which are removed for installation. Each mount comes with an allen wrench and small packet of Vibra-tite VC3 thread locker, which is applied to the screw threads and allowed to dry. The mount is then slid onto the rail (usually from the front), the screw/clamp assembly is inserted and tightened down. The screw prevents the mount from sliding along the rail. One of the reasons for the slide-on/half-clamp design vs. a 'rock on' design with a full-length clamp is that if the screw ever loosens and the clamp comes off, the mount is still attached to the rail and will not come off unless it slides off completely. This can prevent loss of the weapon.
Rails with built-in QD sockets are becoming more common now; LaRue and KAC URX rails, to name a couple. Later models of the LMT MRP have integrated QD sockets in the rail, but my early model MRP doesn't. I installed a Gear Sector QD socket mount on it, as shown below. While not a low profile as an integrated socket of course, it's still very unobtrusive and goes well with the weapon.
The FN SCAR has its own sling mount challenges (for me, at least) as I'm unable to attach the sling where I normally would. The SCAR has forward sling loops for HK snap hooks located at the front of the handguard on either side near the front sight block. These limit what you can mount on the side rails at 10 and 2 o'clock as they get in the way, and I prefer having my sling mounted behind my support hand rather than in front of it. I tried both the HK loop and QD socket GS mounts on the SCAR side rail, and found that the HK one presented the lower profile of the two as the QD socket is bulkier and sticks out ever so slightly further. Mounted at the end of the side rail, the sling does not interfere with the grip nor charging handle. An alternative is mounting the socket on the bottom rail, right behind the vertical grip.
IWC 2 to 1 Point Triglide
3/29/11 - Impact Weapons Components (IWC) specializes in 'Mount-n-slot' weapon light, sling, weapons control, bipod and other accessories, that mount via a slot or hole to non-Picatinny handguards. One of their newest products is a '2 to 1 Point Triglide' for 1" or 1.25" webbing slings that allows the user to rapidly convert their Two Point Sling into a One Point Sling on the run, using a push button QD sling swivel.
Description - The IWC 2 to 1 Triglide is an aluminum triglide that has a QD sling swivel socket built in at one end. The 2 to 1 Triglide slides onto any 1"-wide webbing and allows the user to attach a QD sling swivel at that location. It also works with HK-type hooks and ITW MASH hooks. It's also available in a 1.25" wide version.
The ability to convert from a 2-point to 1-point sling (or back) is becoming a more desired feature in slings nowadays. Back in '08, when I designed the EMDOM/MM Gunslinger, I incorporated this ability into the sling, anticipating the need for something like it. The Gunslinger uses a D-ring as the single-point attach point, which limits it to being used with HK-style hooks or ITW MASH hooks if the conversion feature is to be used. The issue arised when handguards/rails became more common with QD sockets already built into them - folks that used a QD socket for the front attach point were unable to convert the Gunslinger (or other similar sling) to a 1-point readily. The IWC Triglide will work on any 1" or 1.25" -wide sling, not just the Gunslinger, as long as you can attach it to the rear of the webbing. It's ultra lightweight at 0.2 oz, and is CNC machined from billet 6061-T6 aluminum and hard anodized Type III per MIL-A-8625F. All edges are rounded and it's very well made.
The IWC 2 to 1 Point Triglide solves that issue by providing a loop that can be used with all three attachment types to 1" or 1.25" webbing. My Gunslinger uses 1" webbing on it's rear weapon connector, and it was an easy task to thread the IWC Triglide on it (see photos below). I installed it with the loop at the bottom, which is where the sling naturally falls in the single-point mode. My preference would have been to design the triglide with the socket on the flat portion of the webbing, vs. the edge pulls on the webbing more naturally from the center instead of the edge. But, I realized that designing it that way would preclude the use of HK or MASH hooks, and IWC beta testers preferred the current configuration, so that's why it ended up the way it did.
I installed it on the rear weapon connector on one of my rifles, and it basically works the same as before, only now I can use a QD swivel in addition to the HK or MASH hooks. The attach point is closer to the weapon than my D-ring, but on other slings, this might be different depending on how they're designed. It works well, and I don't find that the bottom attach point instead of in the middle makes a big difference in the end. One more thing that I'd like is to have the swivel rotation limited, so that the sling doesn't twist. I asked IWC about that, they said that that's not a problem to do if people prefer that. Look to IWC to come out with more innovative stuff.
Echo Nine Three AK Sling Loops
7/1/11 - There haven't been many options for attaching a sling to the rear of the receiver of an AK until now. Three different AK Sling Loops from Echo Nine Three provide the AK owner with some options for doing so; all with simple drop-in installation.
Description - The AK with a fixed stock usually has two sling attach points - a sling loop on the left side at the front of the lower handguard, and a regular sling loop at the bottom rear of the fixed stock. With the plethora of today's 'tactical' slings and shooting styles, this doesn't provide the user with many sling mounting options. Being a lefty, I have even less options if using an AK, especially if I want to attach the sling to the rear of the receiver instead of the stock. I have an ACE folding stock installed on my AK, and made my own rear sling mount using a Mesa Tactical sling loop for a shotgun. But, this involved drilling through the receiver and stock block, which I wouldn't recommend that anyone do, as it's a permanent modification to the weapon. Thankfully, the AK sling loops from Echo Nine Three offer a drop-in solution that are bone-head simple to install, and should cover most user's needs for a rear sling mount on the AK receiver.
All of the Echo Nine Three sling mounts are made of stamped steel, and are then tumble-deburred, bead blasted and parkerized. They are installed by removing the pistol grip, and installing them between the top of the pistol grip and the bottom of the receiver. They're not thick enough to affect the feel of the pistol grip with respect to the receiver - at least I don't notice them when they're installed. They're designed as 'drop-in' use with AKM-type stamped receivers. The sling mounts can be used with HK-style snap hooks or ITW MASH hooks.
Note that in all the photos below, I've left my home-brewed sling mount attached to the receiver. The screw was loctited and difficult to remove, so I left it on, rather than risk stripping it. Just pretend it's not there...
Ambidextrous Loop V1 - The V1 is a sling attachment that offers true ambidextrous operation without binding of the sling. It has a single loop that extends rearward behind the pistol grip, and allows the sling to move from the left to the right when you change shoulder. When I first saw this setup, I thought that the sling would interfere with the shooting hand, but this isn't the case. The V1 is designed to work with both fixed and folding stocks. Note that in my particular case, it prevents my stock from being folded, as it extends beyond the receiver, and doesn't allow the stock to be unlocked from the block by pushing it down. This shouldn't be an issue with other foldings stocks like the Bulgarian or Romanian ones. This is the only one compatible with underfolding stocks.
Reversible Loop V2 - The V2 sling attachment offers the user a side mounted option. The V2 is reversible for left or right handed users by flipping it over. It's compatible with most side folders (make sure you know which side of the receiver your stock folds along), but not with underfolders. The V2 provides a small loop that protrudes to the side at the rear of the receiver. If I didn't already have my rear sling mount, I'd most likely use the V2.
Reversible Loop V3 - The V3 offers the user another side mounted sling option. The main difference between the V3 and the V2 is that the V3 loop is angled upwards. Installed with the loop on the left side for right-handed use, the sling loop is located near the rear of the receiver, but not as far back as on the V2. This mount works well with AKs that have slant-cut rear receivers or right-handed AMD-65 users. For left-handed use, the mount is rotated (not flipped) so that the loop is on the right side. This puts the loop in a slightly more forward position. For me as a lefty, with my front sling attachment at the rear of the bottom handguard, it puts the mounting points a bit close together for my liking, but for right handers, it's fine. Note that the V3 is not compatible with underfolders.
Fortis Manufacturing RAP
Description - The Fortis Mfg RAP is a compact and robust design, and accepts any standard or heavy duty quick detachable sling swivel. At only 1.5" x .5" x .5", the RAP allows you to attach your sling with a minimal footprint on your rail system and is rotation limited. It's made of 6061 aluminum and hard coat anodized to a deep black finish.
The RAP has a rail clamp opposite the QD sling swivel socket, with a single screw, so the RAP can be installed anywhere on the rail without having to slide it from the front. It only takes up one rail slot. All edges are beveled/rounded. It's available by itself or with a heavy duty sling swivel.
Since the sling swivel socket is at the end, and not on the side, the RAP can be installed two ways onto any rail. This means that there are eight possible orientations on a quad rail. You can install the RAP on a side rail, or the top or bottom rails for left or right-hand use, depending on your preference. I prefer to have the RAP installed on the side rail, facing down, or on the bottom rail for an even lower profile.
If you're looking for a minimalist QD mount, it's going to be difficult to find a QD sling swivel mount as compact as the RAP.
Blue Force Gear Sling Hardware
10/19/12 - Blue Force Gear, maker of the VCAS sling, offers quite a few different sling mounting solutions. Shown here are a couple of new products.
Universal Wire Loop with Push Button Socket - The new UWL (Universal Wire Loop) with Push Button Socket is a new take on the original UWL, by adding a QD sling swivel socket to the sling loop. The UWL is a sling loop that has a length of stainless steel aircraft cable forming an attachment loop. The cable loop is passed through or around a part of the weapon, and the sling loop threaded through it. It's an alternative to using snap hooks on sling eyelets, as well as a way of attaching a sling to a weapon that has no provisions for one.
The sling loop is made of 6061-T6 aluminum, which is tumbled and bead blasted for a non-reflective surface. It is then hard-coat anodized before the nylon coated cable is installed with MIL-SPEC ball-shank ends. The sling loop will accept 1.25" or 1.5"-wide slings. The swivel socket is not rotation limited, which is probably my only complaint. I've illustrated it below, mounted on an AK's sling eyelet, a HK93, and a SCAR-L.
While the UWL eliminates snap hook rattling/clinking noise, the aluminum sling loop does 'clink' if it hits a metal part of the weapon when the sling is slack. The main draw to this, in my opinion is the versatility and adaptability it offers for weapons without good sling attach points built in.
Rapid Emergency Detachment (RED) Swivel - I think I saw the prototype of the RED swivel a couple of SHOT shows ago, and now it's out. The RED Swivel was developed as an emergency release option to the standard push button QD sling swivel. Instead of the usual center button in the middle of the swivel, the RED has a textured sphero-conical shaped pull knob, which is pulled to release the swivel. The knob is connected to the swivel by a length of nylon coated, double crimped 7 strand stainless steel cable. The idea behind the RED Swivel is that the standard QD swivel can be difficult to release in case of an emergency (assuming you do not have an emergency release buckle already on your sling, or cannot reach it), so the RED allows the user to release it more easily, with a 7lb pull straight out from the socket.
The first thing that came to mind when I saw it was 'wouldn't that snag on something and release accidentally?'. The pull knob is rounded to minimize that from happening, and it's actually not easy to get it snagged. You have to wedge it between two things, and then pull harder than the knob is snagged. I wedged it between two magazines on my chest rig, and when I pulled on the rifle, the knob just forced the magazines apart and didn't release. Also, the RED requires that the pull be within 10-15° on axis, or it will not release. If you pull the knob at too much of an angle, it won't release. The RED Swivel is made of machined steel, phosphated for corrosion resistance.
Combined with a Burnsed Socket, the RED can be used to convert a sling from 2-pt to single point very quickly. The Burnsed socket works with any 1" or 1.25" webbing and can be installed from any unsewn end. I've illustrated it here on my EMDOM Gunslinger. Instead of having the RED on the outside of the sling sticking out, I oriented it such that it's on the inside of the sling. It's shown below in both 1 and 2-pt configurations. Even if you have an emergency release buckle on your sling, it may be beneficial to add the RED, if a situation demands that you release from your weapon due to sling entrapment, especially around water.
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