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February 07, 2011

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Dennis Haworth Firearms Training & Equipment
with Dennis Haworth

Single-point sling swivel for your AR-15

If you're using single point slings on your AR-15 you are going to have to address the issue of a sling mount

Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to introduce Dennis Haworth as the newest addition to the PoliceOne roster of writers. Haworth is a police officer with a California state law enforcement agency and has been a law enforcement range master and armorer for more than a decade. Dennis will write on a wide range of issues, but his core focus will revolve around law enforcement firearms training and equipment. For his debut, we’ve set Dennis for a “three round burst” related to his experience in selecting patrol rifles for his agency. Check them out and let Dennis know what you think.

The first single-point sling mount for the AR-15 patrol rifle I examined was a Daniel Defense Burnsed Loop. This was about ten years ago when one of my deputies asked me to install it on his rifle. I never cared for “loop” style sling mounts as they tended to interfere with my hand when operating the charging handle. In 2005 and 2006 when my new agency adopted single point slings, I had an opportunity to revisit the issue. At that time we adopted the Yankee Hill Manufacturing single point. Since then, I have become aware of other products on the market and received several examples for testing. All are well made, but each design exhibited their own pros and cons.

The YHM product has served my agency very well, and priced at $17.00, it is the most affordable of all the mounts evaluated. The problem with this design is that it uses H&K style snap hooks that attach to either the left or right side of the mount. Although an officer can transition to either shoulder, the problem is that sometimes the sling enters the rear of the rear grip and gets in the way of the shooting grip. We issue each officer a rifle, but if this mount was used on rifles that are assigned to a car, left and right handed officers would have to set the rifle up for them at the beginning of each shift. Double units with officers of opposite dominate hands or eyes would have to compromise on how the sling is set up. This is less than optimal for an agency wide issued weapon system.

One way to address this concern is to use a sling mount that attaches the sling via a push button sling swivel. I evaluated three such mounts. One constant that made this type of sling mount very attractive to officers and agencies is that they allow the mounting of the sling swivel in the center of the plate facing the rear of the rifle. In this position the sling is ambidextrous allowing for both left and right handed officers to employ the rifle without changing anything. During transitions the sling simply swivels to the left or right keeping it in position and out of the way of the shooting grip. This offers tremendous versatility and simplicity.

Noveske Rifle Works has made their QD end plate for about two years. The mount is made from steel with a parkerized finish and allows for staking. It uses a standard push button swivel that is not included. Noveske recommends a gunsmith or armor conduct the installation of the mount on the rifle. I have used this mount for the last nine months and like it a lot. The mount is well made and installed easily with the right tools. This mount is very thin and works with standard M4, Vltor Imod, Magpul CTR and LMT SOPMOD stocks. Other than the YHM, this sling mount worked with the widest variety of stocks of all the mounts evaluated. Priced at $24.00 plus $15.00 for the push button swivel it is less expensive than competitive designs.

Daniel Defense has grown quite a bit since the original Burnsed Loop and these days make some truly outstanding products including the Rear Receiver QD Swivel Attachment Point sling mount. This mount is similar to the Noveske product and is installed in the same way by replacing the original receiver plate. It is made of aluminum which necessitates additional thickness to provide for strength and durability. Unfortunately, this additional rearward thickness causes some issues when using certain stocks. I found that many stocks were not capable of fully collapsing when the push button swivel was installed. This occurred with the standard M4, Magpul CTR, and Vltor Imod stocks. In each case, the stock pushed in on the release button of the swivel and could still not lock into the fully collapsed position. In one case the QD swivel detached because of this thereby causing the rifle to fall to the ground. Only the LMT SOPMOD stock worked without issues and could fully collapse with this mount. This mount is priced at $40.00 and comes with a push button sling swivel, making it quite affordable.

Tango Down and Daniel Defense produce what is becoming known as “Agency” sling mounts. These mounts attach to the receiver extension which means that no weapon disassembly or weapon modifications are required. This is great for officers who work for agencies that are prohibited from modifying the rifle. They install easily in minutes making short work for an armorer. Tango Down sent me their PR-4 which features both left, right and a rear-facing attachment points. If you have ever had to remove a staked on receiver plate you can appreciate this design. As an agency Armorer having to do this to a multitude of rifles you begin to understand my attraction to the PR-4. The PR-4 is made quite well and functioned as described. However, due to its size, it would not allow the stock to engage in the fully collapsed position. The PR-4 comes complete with instructions, installation wrench and push button sling swivel and is priced at $77.53.

A big issue for me is that the stock must be fully collapsed to fit in our vehicle racks. If this is not a concern for you then any of these sling mounts will work for you. From an agency prospective I highly recommend the push button sling mounts that feature a rear-facing attachment point so that your rifle slings are ambidextrous. For individuals, you will have to evaluate what will work for you and your budget.

About the author

Dennis Haworth is a police officer with a California state law enforcement agency. He has been a law enforcement range master and armorer for more than a decade. Haworth has served as a police academy instructor and has taught specialized courses on several subject matters. He has been involved in product testing for professional associations, manufacturers and law enforcement agencies. He has a BS in Criminology and an MPA with a specialization in human resources management. Much of his free time is spent as an advisor to the Shooting Sports Club at his local University of California campus.

Contact Dennis Haworth

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