Use of the Sling in the Offhand Position


Mikee Loxxer
October 8, 2012, 05:21 PM
My understanding is that the use of a sling to stabilize ones position in the offhand position is not allowed in either NRA High Power or CMP Shooting. In contrast the Appleseed program instructs students to use the sling while standing.
Iíve read that the use of the sling while standing is of little benefit. If true why isnít it allowed in CMP or High Power shooting? Is this simply for the sake of uniformity or does it indeed provide some advantage?
Iím curious as I have recently started shooting in some local Vintage Military Rifle Matches where the use of the sling in the standing position is common, which I find unusual.
What is the consensus (assuming there is one) on the use of the sling while standing.

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October 8, 2012, 05:45 PM
As a guy shooting in the same vintage rifle matches as you I feel qualified to answer:D

I find that using a "hasty" sling like they teach in Appleseed does help somewhat in offhand shooting. It doesn't really provide any extra support, but it helps dampen the natural wobble I have when shooting on my hind legs.

October 8, 2012, 10:44 PM
Iíve read that the use of the sling while standing is of little benefit.

Have you tried using a sling in standing? I know I shoot much better groups with a sling.

Speaking as an Appleseed Instructor and someone who has shot in a few CMP matches, the hasty sling provides a significant increase in stability. This is without my support side elbow even touching my body. Remember, the hasty sling not only braces your arm, but also gains additional stability where the rear of the sling crosses your chest. Just using the loop sling does not provide near the stability while standing.

Why do competitions ban slings while standing? Probably just to increase the challenge. The rules comittee doesn't ban things unless they help make better scores. There are people who can clean the standing target in Service Rifle anyways.

Mikee Loxxer
October 8, 2012, 10:49 PM
It has been a couple of years since I tried it during an Appleseed. I'll have to give it another try at the next match. It certainly couldn't hurt my offhand groups/patterns:o.

Howard Roark
October 8, 2012, 10:52 PM
The object for a steady offhand position is to have as much bone support as possible. This is accomplished by leaning back into your coat and placing your supporting arm elbow on top of the hip or on your side. The supporting hand should be as far back on the gun as possible. This provides a "shelf" to shoot off of. Your supporting arm is to make this support and should have no muscle tension pulling or pushing on the rifle.

A sling is more useful when adopting a hunting position where the arm is more outstreached, not on the hip and forward on the foregrip. Typically the rifle is pulled tightly into the shoulder with both hands.

When the arm is supported on bone there is little advantage if any with a sling. At that point the only movement should be lateral, not verticle and a sling won't help that. Lateral movement comes from the waist down.

October 8, 2012, 11:47 PM
I've read the same things, but a sling definitely helps me steady my hold in offhand shooting.

October 9, 2012, 12:07 AM
Use of a sling in the offhand (standing) position can never match the results of proper bone support.

If you "shoot better" with a sling while standing, there is a flaw in your shooting stance.

October 9, 2012, 07:35 AM
If you "shoot better" with a sling while standing, there is a flaw in your shooting stance.
That sounds a little too definitive. Probably better to say it this way:

A position rifle shooter engaging in CMP or Highpower matches, and who's well trained in the forms would not be helped by using the sling in offhand. A sling would just get in the way of a proper offhand stance.

A shooter who's used to more "practical" or field-ready shooting probably will be. If you have to take an off-hand shot at a deer at 125 yds (say over tall grass) with your Rem700, while wearing regular hunting clothes, you're probably not going to snap into your CMP offhand stance with much success. The sling might help a bit there.

1911 guy
October 9, 2012, 11:44 PM
I second the thoughts of Sam1911. When shooting on a "square range" and I have all the time in the world, stance takes care of everything. But when in the field, it's just too easy to quickly loop up in a hasty sling to not take the advantage. With a little practice, it can be done in one continuos motion while bringing the rifle to your cheek and shoulder.

October 10, 2012, 12:12 AM
If you "shoot better" with a sling while standing, there is a flaw in your shooting stance.Yeah, probably true. But it's a flaw I can't fix because, although I can get my elbow onto my hipbone while aiming the rifle roughly level, it's not a position I can maintain for more than just a couple of seconds. It's not only extremely awkward and badly off-balance, it actually causes me significant pain in at least 3 places.

If I want to do it without straining multiple places better left unstrained, the rifle is pointed at the ground about 10 feet in front of me.

I could manage an "unflawed" offhand rifle stance when I was in my early teens, but that was before my upper body developed.

October 10, 2012, 11:29 PM
For non-competition shooting,using a sling, even a "hasty hasty", while standing seems to give a steadier shot. From what I remember of the rules of High Power competition, though, the OP is correct that using the sling is not allowed during the Standing Position strings.

October 11, 2012, 10:16 PM
Right, the sling is not allowed in NRA or CMP matches offhand. If given the choice I'd take it off completely, but you're required to have a sling attached in the parade position for shooting Service Rifle, so it stays on. And a stiff, ironing board coat is not necessary for good offhand shooting at an NRA match either.

Honestly, I've never tried to use the hasty sling offhand. But I do use it regularly shooting kneeling and sitting with any of my non-competition rifles. I've just never thought to try the sling when I don't have fairly solid contact with the ground or another surface with something more than the soles of my boots.

October 12, 2012, 12:27 AM
Practice a lot with no sling. Offhand, sitting & prone. I shot a lot of air rifle (pump). I found that constantly practicing with no sling helped me with the positions. With constantly having to at least partially break position it forced me to get good at rebuilding a position. It also forced me to be very relaxed in my positions. This in turn pays off when adding a sling back into the shooting.

I guess the no use of sling in offhand might be to help reduce ties. It seems if you would have time to sling up you have time to sit or go prone in a conflict.

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