Getting Slung Up

Getting Slung Up

Posted by Kyle Mazurkiewicz on 9th Feb 2024

Scenario: you just bought your first AK and you're trying to mount a sling, but years of keymod this, M-lok that, pic rail those, and QD sockets have left you confused and scared because none of that stuff is on this soviet rifle.

We've got a short-ish video covering everything in this article but if you prefer reading just scroll past it.

The two easy answers are 1. Buy a surplus sling or 2. Buy a railed/modular handgaurd and or gas tube. Surplus slings work but the condition and material can vary and the adjustment methods aren't the greatest; some are just straight up belts with a buckle. Getting a railed/modular furniture set is by far the best option but some people prefer the timeless aesthetic of a palm swell grip and fixed stock.

Alright, so where do I even attach the sling?

The AKM and subsequent models (with some exceptions) were designed with a forward sling loop integrated into the handguard retainer. It's that weird bit of metal that sticks out and burns your hands after 15 rounds. On the buttstock, you'll have a non-rotating swing swivel, the location varies slightly but you'll typically find it on the bottom, back left side, or for side folders like the 100 series, the front right side.

If the bottom & left hand side swivels don't quite work for you, most open ended slings can be wrapped around the narrow front section of the stock. I don't personally like this setup however as it often ends up impeeding my cheekweld.

The rear swivel is pretty straight forward, but how do I get the sling on the handguard retainer loop?

Meet your new best friends from Blue Force Gear: the UWL (Universal Wire Loop) mounts. While there are a few different models & sizes, I'm partial to the Molded UWL and the ULoop. While material composition varies slightly, both have a nylon coated stainless steel cable that will thread through the eyelet and just about anything with a wide enough opening like MLOK slots & vent holes on other handguards.

The ULoop is straight forward to attach, just push the ball end out of the channel and through the top, loop the wire through the retainer and push the ball back through the body and into its original position.

The Molded UWL is a little more involved but still easy. Squeeze the middle section of the wire together and pass it through the handguard retainer eyelet. From here, you'll pass the body of the UWL through the wire loop and pull back to tighten.

The ULoop is a fantastic quick disconnect option right out of the box that can be undone and reattached in seconds. The molded UWL is also QD capable as the eyelet in the center is a mounting point for QD swivels but it does require you to pick up an extra swivel for it.

What if I'm a lefty?

Stop it, get some help. The molded UWL can be run on the right hand side of the rifle but it's a more involved setup. What you'll do is field strip the AK and remove the gas tube, once done, attach the UWL with a forward bias and push it over the barrel to the right hand side. Once done, just reassemble the gun and add your sling. Despite sitting around some of the hottest areas of the AK, the wireloop's nylon coating is extremely heat resistant. When the guys at Blue Force Gear told me about this, they had just come off running all the stages at our Red Oktober Kalashnikov Championship with a rifle set up exactly like this with zero melting.

What specific slings should I look at?

This is 100% user preference, there's so many good slings on the market that I'll end up missing most of them but I like to recommend Blue Force Gear's Vickers slings and Ferro Concepts' Slingster from personal experience. The Blue Force Gear Vickers AK sling comes with a molded UWL in the bag so you can attach it right away to any classic style AK. I've also heard very high praise on Flat Line Fiber Co. and Lunar Concepts slings from those I trust.