The number of sling designs on the market today are mind boggling. Only a few stand out from the sea of nylon webbing. The Magpul MS4 is one.
I first became acquainted with Magpul slings when they released the MS2. Several of our SWAT Team members purchased them. I tried them out, but since my rifle was not setup with an ASAP plate or appropriate loop, I couldn’t make use of it. The idea was sound. The single point sling was a necessity I loathed. It made switching to support side simple when flowing through a building. However when the entry was done and it was time to escort prisoners out or assist in a search I found my rifle constantly banging about. So much so that I was grateful for the groin protection on my vest.
A sling that allows for single point configuration for CQB and two point configuration for patrol or admin carry is a great concept. This feature has been available on all the Magpul slings, so you may be wondering what makes the MS4 so special.
Until this point the Magpul slings all seem to have been designed with light AR15 rifles in mind. They used a variety of snap-hook type attachments. These hooks worked well on the front or rear sling loops on the M16/M4 family of weapons, but not much else. The MS4 does away with the snap-hook design and incorporates heavy duty push button QD sling swivels at both ends. These push button sling swivels will attach to most Magpul stocks, but also a host of other weapon systems.
As the precision rifle has evolved, so have the methods to mount a sling. A quick overview of the chassis systems and rifles we have on hand show that the majority of them are equipped with or can be converted to push button QD slings. Your initial investment in the Magpul MS4 can easily be spread out over a number of rifle systems. The speed at which the sling can be adjusted allows for it to be almost instantly switched from one rifle to another. If an officer carried a shotgun, carbine and precision rifle, it is quite possible for him to purchase one Magpul MS4 and configure all of his long guns to accept a single sling. This saves money but also increases familiarity since the officer only has one sling to contend with.
When the MS4 was announced I knew immediately what rifle I wanted to use it on. We had just completed our Mega Arms MATEN build. Although it is an AR based .308 platform, it has a bit of a split personality. The build was intended to be a compact LE Sniper/DMR type system that an officer could actually gunfight with if necessary. Sometimes targets don’t do what we expect them to do. I wanted to build a rifle that would allow an officer to address the threat if he made a chance contact while en-route to his position.
A sling on a working precision rifle has a number of functions. First is to simply hold the rifle on the shooter’s back while he negotiates obstacles. The second is to retain the rifle on the body if the shooter needs to transition to a secondary weapon. Finally the sling needs to be able to be used as a shooting aid if an un-supported firing position is required. The MS4 fills all these requirements.
The MS4 can be used as a single point sling by snapping the Push Button QD swivel into the receiver plate sewn into the sling. The MS4 can also be used as a traditional two point sling by attaching its ends to a forward and rearward point on the rifle. While in a two point mode, the sling can quickly be snugged down and used as a “hasty” rifle sling to support the firing task. The number of configurations you can come up with are only limited to the locations of sling mounting points on your rifle.
The length of the sling is adjusted by means of a polymer tri-glide buckle. The sling webbing has been looped back through and sewn down to provide for an easy point to grab with gloved hands. The adjustment slides quickly with no load, but holds fast when the sling is weighted.
All of the components of the Magpul MS4 have a quality feel to them. The buckles are a heavy duty polymer. The QD Sling Swivels and Receiver Plate are steel with a black oxide type coating. The webbing is 1 1/4″ thick nylon and fairly substantial. The one cut end that is apparent on the sling has been melted appropriately and shows no sign of fraying.
In the current market, it really takes a lot to get me excited about a sling. The Magpul MS4 got me excited and after a month of use I continue to enjoy using it.