The newest version of this article is about updated slings on my CTAR-21 Tavor SBR.
This video is exclusively about slings on the TAR-21 and other bull-pups. Because the Tavor is non-restricted, I like to take it places beyond the case-car-range travel plan that handguns and ARs are largely stuck with. I examine three different options for retaining a Tavor on your body . . .
The first option out of the box for a new user is the IWI factory sling. This all black nylon sling has para-cord at either end, rather than any kind of loop or quick detach system. These para-cord loops, while simple and flexible, are the eventual downfall of this sling, as they will never have the same kind of quick change ability that more modern sling designs do.
You can see the IWI factory sling in several of my early videos, and I get a lot of questions on forums regarding sling options for bull-pups. I’m continually modifying my layouts, but what you see here is a quick break down for first time Tavor shooters on why a single point sling isn’t really worthwhile on these rifles.
Single point slings are often seen as part of the “high-speed low-drag” movement in firearms training, but the Tavor is definitely not designed for a single point sling. The balance of a bullpup does not encourage them to lie vertically with only one mounting point, and the only available spots to attach and single point sling are sub-optimal at best. Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.
That and single point slings can cause real mobility issues for anyone looking to run or manipulate objects without keeping a hand on the rifle. A single point sling retains the weapon, but does not put the weapon “in-storage.” A friend returning from Afghanistan made the point that “single points work well for getting in and out of vehicles. But that’s about it.”
I bought my Urban E.R.T. at Shot Show 2012, and it came with a full compliment of attachment accessories. From all my experience with the Urban E.R.T. line I can say this with confidence: they have the most configurable options of any sling manufacturer that I have ever used.
The Tavor has two effective mounting positions, either of which can be switched to the left or right side. You have the spinning loop on the front hand-guard, and the hollow tube in the rear just above the bolt release. The forward mount can be unthreaded and flipped easily, and the rear hole relies on some sort of para-cord tie. (It’s worth noting though that some skilled people like PBR streetgang use a mesa tactical 870 QD sling mount inside that hole. Apparently it works great!)
When first setting up the Urban E.R.T. on the Tavor, my instinct was to build a three-point-ish system that would cradle the rifle against me, and have quick detach points across it. I wound up with something like the image below. If that looks a little elaborate to you, then you’re right. I found that this system was a lot to keep track of, would frequently catch on other gear I was wearing, and become an obstacle for reloading the rifle.
After several months with this setup and struggling to overcome its limitations, I decided to wipe the slate clean and try to choose a sling based on how I wanted it to affect the rifle, rather than trying to use all the parts in my toolbox of mounts.
I essentially returned to two point sling system on the TAR-21, with two key differences from IWI’s included sling: First I used the Urban E.R.T. for the quick detach options and novel elasticized section. (Many slings have a length of bungee in them, but the Urban E.R.T. has a bungee-solid combination to prevent the sling from hyper-extending and bouncing the weapon back into your face!)
Secondly, I ran my paracord loop through the right side of the rifle, rather than the traditional two mounts both on the left side. This allows the loop to slide around, which makes shouldering the rifle easier. Most importantly, putting the rear mount on the opposite side also means that I can successfully transition and fire from my left shoulder without modifying the sling.
That ability overcomes one of the key “tactical complaints” about the Tavor. Many American and military shooters raised on the AR/M4 series rifles will tell you that bullpups have limited roles in combat because they “cannot be fired left-handed.” While this may be true for some bullpup rifles (SA-80) the Tavor can be configured individually for a left handed user, and also fired left handed by a right handed user. I would argue that the transition process of switching your grip is even simpler than the AR-15, although a little bit of care must be taken around the ejection port.
As of this time I am considering experimenting with the Larry Vickers Blue Force Gear slings on the Tavor as well, but I feel the Urban E.R.T. fits everything I want from this rifle.
Update: Sure enought, my thoughts on the BFG sling on a CTAR-21 Tavor SBR are here