Safari Ching Sling
By Eric S. H. Ching
The Safari Ching Sling is now available from Galco International!
It is the first sling to feature Galco’s innovative Keyhole Lock adjustment system.
Jeff Cooper coined the term “speed slings” to describe a class of sporting rifle slings that not only provide true shooting support, but also permit quick transition from shoulder carry to sling-supported shooting positions. His rediscovery of an old British three-point system, which he named the “CW” sling, established the modern speed sling family. The second member, the Ching Sling, designed by then-Gunsite instructor Eric Ching, overcame some significant disadvantages of the CW sling. Now, almost a decade later, he has created a third member of the family: the Safari Ching Sling.
What’s It For?
The Safari Ching Sling is similar to its predecessor in concept: a shooting support sling that transitions easily from carrying to shooting mode with minimal manipulation. It achieves these goals, however, in a completely different way that is more versatile.
First, probably the most significant deterrent to shooters trying previous speed slings is the need to install a third sling stud. The Safari Ching Sling design eliminates that requirement and uses only the normal forearm/barrel and buttstock attachment points. This should increase interest and adoption among rifle shooters who appreciate the advantages of a speed sling, but who don’t want to alter their rifles.
Requiring only normal sling connections also means that it can be used on a wider variety of rifles and shotguns, including those on which a middle sling stud cannot be installed (for example, on some lever action, slide action, and sporting and military-style semi-autos). As with any shooting support sling, which pulls strongly on the forward sling stud, the Safari Ching Sling is still best used on firearms with free-floated barrels, or on which tension on the forearm or barrel does not affect point of impact.
Second, the most frequent suggestion about improving the original Ching Sling has been to make it wider. A police marksman, for example, asked for a 1-1/4” sling for more comfort when wrapped up tight in shooting position, while an African professional hunter wanted a two-inch strap to make all-day carrying of heavy dangerous game rifles easier on the shoulder. The Safari Ching Sling is therefore two inches wide, and takes its name from the latter application.
It also could be just the thing for toting and shooting long, heavy precision rifles or 7.62 NATO battle rifles and their civilian semiautomatic counterparts. It is suitable, of course, for rifles of any weight, and could make a significant difference compared to a standard sling over the course of a long day’s hunting, even on a lightweight rifle or carbine.
How’s It Look?
The Safari Ching Sling’s main body is two inches wide, split down the middle into one-inch straps (Photo 1). The longitudinal cut ends in small circular keyholes to prevent the leather from ripping further under stress. The sling’s ends remain solid and quickly taper into one-inch-wide tabs for attaching to any standard one-inch sling loops. As with the original Ching Sling, because the sling connections are not changed in use, the loops do not have to be quick-detachable. Thus it can be used on older rifles like the pre-64 Model 70 in this article, which has fixed sling loops.
The attachment tabs and the middle halves of the main straps are perforated at one-inch intervals. A short, U-shaped cross-strap of slightly thinner leather is attached with two studs on each end to the outer faces of the main straps, with the bottom of the “U” pointing toward the buttstock.
Galco’s commercial model features their new Keyhole Lock adjustment system. It consists of a brass stud with two heads of different sizes, and a teardrop-shaped insertion hole connected to a circular locking hole. This system is fast, secure, and tool-free. See a picture of it at the bottom of Galco’s Safari Ching Sling page.)
How’s It Work?
In use, the shooter’s support elbow projects downward between the main straps, and the U-strap wraps around the back of the support arm high in the armpit (Photo 2). The sling thus forms a horizontal shooting loop connected to the front sling stud that is under tension when the rifle is mounted to the shoulder. It also provides a direct connection between the rifle and the bones of the support arm.
Note that the sling is not wrapped around the support arm, as is the norm with other shooting slings. Instead, as described below, the shooter must pull the sling into position with the shooting hand. The trade-off between wrapping the sling around the arm vs. pulling the sling into position should make no practical difference in speed of use.
Not having the sling wrapped around one’s arm, however, means that getting out of the sling is a bit faster than with earlier speed slings. Sliding the support hand forward on the rifle’s forearm, or dismounting the buttstock from the shoulder, releases tension on the shooting loop, and the sling drops off the support arm from its own weight. It also means that the Safari Ching Sling doesn’t cut off blood circulation to the support arm the way other shooting slings often do. Finally, for those who carry a rifle American style (shooting shoulder, muzzle up), the U-strap can be used as a handy thumb loop to keep the sling from sliding off the shoulder and to control the rifle.
How’s It Adjusted?
The overall length is adjusted via the long adjustment tab at the buttstock end of the sling.
To adjust the shooting loop, change the position of the U-strap on the main straps until proper tension is achieved when the rifle is mounted to the shoulder in a supported shooting position.
How’s it Used?
Whether the shooter starts from African or American carry, dismounting the rifle from the shoulder results in the shooter holding it by the forearm with the support hand, muzzle elevated, and with the sling hanging loosely below the rifle. From this starting position:
- Grab the U-strap from below with the shooting hand
- Pull the U-strap behind the upper support arm high into the armpit with the main straps on either side of the support arm
- Trap the U-strap between the upper support arm and the body
- Grasp the rifle’s pistol grip with the shooting hand, push the rifle forward to apply tension to the shooting loop, and mount the buttstock to the shoulder
- Adjust the final tension on the shooting loop by sliding the support hand backwards or forwards on the rifle’s forearm
As with the other speed slings, this can be performed while moving into a supported shooting position—braced standing, kneeling, sitting, or prone—rather than having to be done before or after acquiring the position, as with the military-style shooting sling.
What’s it All Mean?
Of the three modern speed slings, it’s hard to beat the CW Sling for pure minimalism. The Ching Sling is probably still the optimal balance between weight and functionality. The Safari Ching Sling is bulkier than its predecessors, but it achieves the same degree of shooting support without moving parts and with minimal manipulation.
Preliminary testing indicates that the Safari Ching Sling is comparable in speed to the original Ching Sling in going from shoulder carry to shooting position, and getting out of it is a bit faster. In addition, it has the advantages of being more comfortable on the shoulder, less constricting on the upper arm, and usable on a wider variety of rifles without modification.
The author thanks Brian DiGardi of DiGardi Leather Company (Campbell, CA) for making the prototype Safari Ching Sling used for this article. Galco’s commercial model can be purchased via their Safari Ching Sling page.