SLR Sling

The sling issued for use with the Self Loading Rifle was an update of the design that had been in service with the British Army since before World War One. Although the basic design did not change, instead of pre-shrunken cotton webbing, the new sling used heavy duty woven nylon that was dyed a dark green:imageThis material had a distinctive shine to it, making it easy to distinguish from the earlier patterns which had a Matt finish. The brass fittings at either end of the sling remained unchanged except they were now blackened rather than being left as plain brass, they were however still attached with a pair of brass rivets:imageLike most rifles, the SLR had a pair of sling swivels. One securely attached to the butt which could only move back and forth:imageAnd a second one towards the front of the rifle, just in front of the gas block, which was on a swivel so could rotate around the axis of the barrel:imageIn Northern Ireland it became common to attach the sling to just the rear sling swivel of the SLR, the free end being strapped around the soldier’s wrist to prevent someone from snatching the rifle and trying to run off with it. Alistair Mackenzie was a soldier in Northern Ireland in the mid-1970s with the Parachute Regiment and in his book ‘Pilgrim Days’ he remembers:

The primary weapon was the 7.62 SLR, and one end of the sling was attached to the butt of the rifle, with the other end attached to the holder’s wrist. This was to stop the weapon being snatched away in a melee.


This sling has the faintest indications of a black ink maker’s stamp on it, but it is too faint to read and doesn’t provide enough contrast for the camera to pick up.

One comment

  1. A variation for attaching the sling is to not use the rear swivel, but instead wrap the sling around the narrowest part of butt and then fasten it to itself as you would when using the swivel. The rifle will then lie flat against your back when you shoulder it barrel down, and won’t easily slip off the shoulder. You can also carry the rifle comfortably across your back using this method. Dependent on your height and build you may have to shorten the sling more than you would if using both sling swivels.

    On another note, Major Mackenzie (as he was then) instructed me on how to wake a sleeping soldier who was a martial arts exponent and had a reputation for practicing it on the person waking him. His version didn’t involve the rapid banging together of mess tins and a fast retreat!

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