Tactical World - - Contents - STORY BY DAVE RHO­DEN, PHO­TOS BY LUKAS LAMB

Two words: Kyle Lamb. In this exclusive, the U.S. Army Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions vet pro­vides tips on how to im­prove your shoot­ing with a sling. By Dave Rho­den

It is the is­sued sling of a lot of the top spe­cial op­er­a­tions units out there. When Sad­dam was rolled up, those guys were wear­ing VTAC slings. When Osama Bin Laden was killed, the SEALS were wear­ing VTAC slings. So, let’s meet the guy be­hind the in­dus­try’s most iconic sling, and maybe learn a few tac­ti­cal tips along the way. —Dave Rho­den

The evo­lu­tion of the bat­tle ri­fle has given us im­proved trig­gers, bet­ter bar­rels and free-float tubes. The lat­ter is the ideal part­ner with a VTAC sling be­cause a free-float tube al­lows you to put more sling ten­sion on your weapon when you’re in your shoot­ing po­si­tion, with­out de­creas­ing your ac­cu­racy.

In the old days, if you re­ally tight­ened down your sling on a non-free-floated ri­fle, you could move your point of im­pact (POI) while shoot­ing. Pulling too hard on that sling could move POI as much as three or four inches at 100 yards. With a free-floated bar­rel, you don’t have that is­sue, and most qual­ity AR’S out there are free floated. In the fol­low­ing story, SGM (Ret.) Lamb pro­vides tips to en­hance your tac­ti­cal game.

Talk­ing Po­si­tions

When a novice shooter at­tends a car­bine class, the chances they have a free-floated bar­rel are over 90%. Hope­fully we have con­vinced them to put on a VTAC sling, and all we must teach them now is how to use that sling as a shoot­ing aid.

When they first get in the prone po­si­tion, they are ei­ther go­ing to have the sling too loose or they are go­ing to take it com­pletely off when they as­sume the prone po­si­tion. What they should do is have the sling over their


right shoul­der and un­der their left (for a right-handed shooter) and reach up to the pull tab, pulling it tight when they’re in that po­si­tion. If that’s not tight enough, then just grab an­other hand­ful of sling and con­tinue to pull it un­til it’s ad­justed as tightly as they need it.

I shoot with my sling re­ally tight be­cause it’s like hav­ing two more hands on the AR when I am shoot­ing. So right there they’ve seen, “Okay, wow this im­proves my po­si­tion.” Now we can move them on to the next po­si­tion.

The next po­si­tion I would teach is the sit­ting po­si­tion and the same thing ap­plies there. Use the sling to tighten that po­si­tion. In a stan­dard sit­ting po­si­tion, the sling doesn’t get as much use as it does in, say, a rock­ing chair po­si­tion, which is one of the po­si­tions we teach where you’re wrap­ping the sling around the front of your knee to sup­port the ri­fle. If you don’t have a tight sling there, all of the stress is go­ing to be on your belly ver­sus let­ting you re­lax. If you’re try­ing to hold your body in po­si­tion with mus­cle for these po­si­tions, then you just can’t be in that po­si­tion very long. If you’re us­ing the sling and bone struc­ture, man hang on your bones and let them do what they got to do. That’s a climb­ing phrase, by the way, “Climb off your bones.” Be­cause if you climb off your mus­cle, you’re not go­ing to be able to sus­tain a long route. And if you’re climb­ing with­out pro­tec­tion, you’re screwed be­cause once you run out (of mus­cle) you’re done. And that’s ba­si­cally the same thing for shoot­ing. We want to use our bone struc­ture to sup­port us in that po­si­tion ver­sus mus­cle.

I say that, and we do want to try to put mus­cle against bone. But when we’re do­ing that we want that bone to pro­vide most of the sup­port.

Sling or Hol­ster?

A two-point sling is a carry strap that al­lows you to have the weapon

hang in a nat­u­ral po­si­tion that you could quickly ac­cess if you go hands-free for a minute. But it’s a carry strap that pro­vides sta­bil­ity and en­hances your ac­cu­racy. You’ve seen old guys wrap their arm through their sling of their hunt­ing ri­fle. You’ve seen tac­ti­cal guys wrap their hand in their sling; wrap­ping your hand in your sling is not a good idea be­cause if you do have to quickly tran­si­tion to your sidearm or move, now you have to un­wrap your hand first. Whereas with the VTAC sling, you just stand up or tran­si­tion to your pis­tol or what­ever that next move hap­pens to be.

“If you don’t have a tight sling there, all of the stress is go­ing to be on your belly ver­sus let­ting you re­lax.”

Kneel­ing Po­si­tion

The kneel­ing po­si­tion al­ways wears peo­ple out, so it’s one where any lit­tle trick that you can use to get in a bet­ter po­si­tion helps. One trick is to tighten the sling. There I show them some dif­fer­ent po­si­tions where they can use bone struc­ture to sup­port the ri­fle ver­sus us­ing so much mus­cle. We do some stretch kneel­ing po­si­tions, which are quicker po­si­tions to get into, where hav­ing the sling tight will help you take out a lit­tle bit of that wob­ble as well. If I could have an­other 10 at­tach­ing points from my body to the ground, ob­vi­ously that’s what I would do. That’s what guy wires do; they sta­bi­lize things and that’s how that sling is work­ing. Think of it as guy wires com­ing off your weapon sys­tem to you and they both hold each other. When I am in that kneel­ing po­si­tion, I have my front knee up, I turn my front foot 90 de­grees off the tar­get line and when I do, that al­lows me to take stress off my knee. I then put my mag­a­zine in front of my knee, my pis­tol grip be­hind my knee, and I truly have a sta­ble po­si­tion. Now if I add a piece of cover to that, I can drop my op­po­site knee, use my front hand on the cover (the cover’s not go­ing to move if it’s good cover like a car, a cor­ner of a build­ing, a tree, or what­ever it might be), I put my back knee up, and now have al­most the equiv­a­lent of a prone po­si­tion with re­gard to sta­bil­ity.

Shoot­ing Down­hill

To utilize the sling when shoot­ing down­hill, from a seated po­si­tion with my feet stacked and in front, I hook

my thumb on my ver­ti­cal grip and put my fin­gers around the bot­tom of my foot. If I don’t have a ver­ti­cal grip, then I hook my thumb into my sling and then put my fin­gers over my foot.

What I don’t want to do is just lay the gun on top of my foot. Why? Iif you don’t have a long free-float tube you’ll nor­mally im­pact your ac­cu­racy (if it is sit­ting on the bar­rel); there­fore you don’t have good con­trol to keep it there. That’ll work one-footed as well; you don’t have to have both feet stacked. If you’re go­ing down a steep hill, one foot works just fine.

Fast Rop­ing with a Sling

Whether you have the ri­fle in front of you or be­hind you when fast rop­ing de­pends on the per­son. I pre­fer to keep it in front of me. If I’m go­ing to slide to the edge of the he­li­copter, I’ve got my ri­fle in a po­si­tion to shoot … and the last thing I do is let go of my gun, grab that fast rope and slide down. The sling keeps every­thing tight.

Like a lot of guys, I've slung the ri­fle across my back, slid across to go out the door of the he­li­copter, and what catches? My ri­fle. Now my ri­fle goes up, cov­ers every­body, in­clud­ing the he­li­copter's mo­tor, and then it fi­nally comes down … and pen­du­lums against me. You don’t want that. That’s why I pre­fer to carry it in front.


You can tran­si­tion from strong to sup­port side with­out un­sling­ing, but I gen­er­ally drop my sup­port arm out of my sling to give me the abil­ity to move eas­ily to the sup­port side. When I re­turn, I just re-sling the weapon. It sounds like it would take some time, but it re­ally doesn’t, and it will elim­i­nate chok­ing your­self with your sling.

When I am mov­ing around, do­ing CQB type stuff, I don’t have my sling very tight at that point. And that al­lows me to quickly tran­si­tion from strong to sup­port side shoul­der and back and forth. I never keep it so loose that if

I tran­si­tion to my pis­tol, my car­bine is beat­ing me in the knees, but due to the way I have my sling ad­justed, with one pull, it’s at the po­si­tion where I like it. It does take prac­tice.

A lot of the guys that I worked with in the past would just sling the weapon around their neck when they were do­ing CQB. In this case you just tran­si­tion back and forth. You don’t even have to worry about the sling, be­cause it’s just around your neck. I don’t mind that ei­ther when I’m do­ing CQB. The only down­side of that is, if you get in a fight with some­body, now that weapon can be used to sling you around a lit­tle more than if you have your arm through the sling. An­other is­sue is, if you have to tran­si­tion to your pis­tol, you don’t want the ri­fle beat­ing you up or oth­er­wise be in the way.

Be mind­ful, when I say tran­si­tion to your pis­tol, I’m talk­ing about your ri­fle be­ing out of or­der and you dy­nam­i­cally have to get to your pis­tol in a hurry. If you’re com­ing up to a stair­well and you de­cide that you’re go­ing to be the guy that goes up the stairs first, or up into an at­tic and you want to use your pis­tol, that’s not a tran­si­tion. That is sling­ing your ri­fle, get­ting your pis­tol out, and go­ing up to clear with your pis­tol. That is not a dy­namic move­ment. I’m talk­ing about dy­namic: I’ve got to get my pis­tol out quickly and into the fight be­cause my ri­fle quit work­ing.

Proper Reload­ing

I leave the sling on and just go to my happy mag (pouch) on my side (an AR mag lo­cated in a Ky­dex pouch on a belt, sup­port side). I don’t put the butt­stock un­der my arm when I’m do­ing a speed reload be­cause I’m in a hurry. If I couldn’t sup­port the weight of that weapon, then I might do that. I try to keep the muz­zle up a lit­tle bit. I don’t flip the gun, and I don’t go up to the right and then down to the left be­cause I’m not look­ing to see if I have a mal­func­tion. I know what it feels like when I shoot dry, so I im­me­di­ately drop the mag and have the other mag com­ing up.

Ve­hi­cle Ops

If you have your weapon off and have it in a ve­hi­cle, one of the prob­lems we ran into while ex­it­ing ve­hi­cles is that the loop of the sling used to catch on every­thing. So, an­other nice fea­ture of a quick-ad­just two-point VTAC sling is the abil­ity to tighten it down to the side of your weapon sys­tem for ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tions. Or you can s-roll it and tape it to your weapon with mask­ing tape or some­thing else that you can rip loose; I nor­mally use rub­ber bands. When you exit the ve­hi­cle, you just grab that, pull it out, and you’re ready to go.

Some­thing else guys have told us is that they like the abil­ity to use our sling in an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment for sniper or for AR work. They have con­nected them to light fix­tures and then ad­justed it to the front of their weapon sys­tem by how tight they pull it, or at­tached them to their belt and to their tri­pod to add weight when they’re shoot­ing in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions. Some shoot­ers have said that they could use it as a tourni­quet if they had to. I would say that there’s prob­a­bly a bet­ter tool for the job, which is a SOF-T tourni­quet. But, if you were in a bad way, you could use that quick-ad­just por­tion of the sling and then cinch it down tight.

Over­all Takeaways

The VTAC slings are made in Amer­ica from the high­est qual­ity ma­te­ri­als. They quickly ad­just, you don’t have to un­weight the weapon to tighten or loosen it, you can do it one-handed and you can tighten the sling down to the side of your weapon while per­form­ing ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tions. It’s been copied a bunch, so we must be do­ing some­thing right. TW

Be­low: While in the Army, Lamb said he and a few oth­ers worked to­gether to come up with a bet­ter mouse­trap. Even­tu­ally, this path led to VTAC.

Shoot­ing in a prone po­si­tion, Lamb demon­strates the proper tech­nique while shoot­ing with a sling.

Top: While sit­ting, Lamb uses the sling to tighten that po­si­tion. No­tice how he uses his bone struc­ture, not mus­cle, for sup­port.

Bot­tom: When done prop­erly, not only is the kneel­ing po­si­tion a sta­ble plat­form, but no­tice how com­pact it is, mak­ing you a smaller tar­get.

Lamb in­structs Dave Rho­den, owner of Fla­grant Beard, on the finer sub­tleties of shoot­ing from a stretch- kneel­ing po­si­tion. When do­ing things like scal­ing walls, the Vik­ing Tac­tics 2- point sling al­lows you to tran­si­tion the ri­fle be­hind you, pro­tect­ing your ri­fle and free­ing up your workspace.

Here, Lamb shows how the sling works around a ve­hi­cle. Us­ing his tech­nique, he says you don’t have to un­weight the weapon to tighten or loosen the sling. You can do it one- handed.

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