Review - Stag Arms Side Sling Swivel
History of Stag Arms
Stag Arms was founded in 2003 and has followed the path of researching and designing parts for AR rifles as well as AR rifles in their entirety. Developing the first left handed sporting rifle, the company manufactures rifles that are 100% all American from the tip of the barrel, through the receiver to the stock. Supporting a multitude of customers ranging from Law Enforcement Officers to competitive shooters and civilians they are a recognised name on the market.
For more info - visit Stag Arms website.
Why Stag Arms?
Attaching a sling to a rifle enables the operator to be able to safely stow their rifle when using their secondary weapon, using their hands to open doors etc. Mounting options for a sling swivel number in their hundreds from a wide range of manufacturers and various designs some near identical, some of new and old designs, ultimately their role is to do one thing, allow a sling to be connected to the rifle. The Stag Arms Side Sling Swivel was one item that was used on the traditional M4A1 to enable a sling to be mounted towards the front of the rifle, without taking up real estate on the handguard. Manufacturers range from; Colt, Stag Arms, Magpul, Viking Tactics etc... and designs vary as shown in the images below.
Both Stag Arms and Colt manufactured a near identical sling mount. Colt was the original design and manufacturer with Stag Arms using a near similar design years later. The main difference between the two is price, with the Colt variant costing nearly double that of the Stag Arms version. The image below highlights the main 2 differences. The left image is of the Stag Arms version, and the right image is the Colt version. Highlighted in red is the difference in the 'wings' used to secure the sling swivel in place and prevent rotation. The Stag Arms version are larger in width, length and height. Highlighted in green are the trademarkings which the Colt features a number of, whilst the Stag Arms version is fairly void of any markings.
Wanting to further produce a build aimed at replicating the M4A1 SOPMOD platforms used by ODA 595 as featured in the movie '12 Strong', when deployed to Afghanistan in 2001 and beyond, the Stag Arms Side Sling Swivel was another perfect choice of small detail that could tell a story and yet remain a functional piece of equipment.
Herein lies the product description from the website;
This left-handed side sling swivel attaches to the barrel and provides a tactical attachment for a sling.
The Stag Arms Side Sling Swivel (SA SSS) arrived in a small clear plastic bag. On the exterior of the bag was a small sticker detailing;
Product Name and Product Code
Full product name
SA SSS in detail
The SA SSS is manufactured using standard steel and comprises of 6 individual parts;
Sling Swivel (rubber coated)
2x locking pins
The Sling Swivel and Swivel pin already came pre-installed.
SA SSS Measurements
Width 1 3cm
Width 2 4.3cm
The SA SSS weighs a total of 61g.
The SA SSS is in essence, simple and functional.
The Sling Swivel is able to accommodate a 1.4" width sling at a maximum of 0.8 depth. Being rubber coated provides a) grip for a sling on the swivel, b) adds a layer of protection to it and c) ultimately ensures that is reduces noise i.e. rubber swivel hitting metal makes less noise than metal hitting metal.
The Swivel pin came already installed. It could be removed using a punch and a hammer if required which would then allow full removal of the Sling Swivel.
The Main body comprises of a single cast and machined steel frame stamped with a production number on the left hand side (when viewed from the top). In detail, the body has 4 noticeable areas worth mentioning;
Highlighted green and on both sides are cut-outs into which the bar is inserted.
Highlighted blue and on both sides of the main body are slightly curved ends of the metal that in essence are 'feet'. When the bar is installed and pins inserted, the feet prevent the bar from slipping out as the pins hold it in place.
Highlighted orange and on both sides of the main body are the 'wings'. These prevent the SA SSS from rotating once installed onto the barrel.
Highlighted red is an unknown area, other than it is an angled piece of metal presumably to be used as additional grip / purchase.
The bar is another single cast and machined steel item with 2x pin holes drilled through and a curve which fits against the barrel.
Fitting the Main body and Bar
To fit the bar in place, simply insert the bar into the main body cut out and push until firmly in place. Once correctly seated, the pins can then be inserted also. With the pins in place, advice is to use a small nail hammer and a small piece of wood to hammer the pins into place. Initially it is difficult to do so as the pins are as wide as the holes and so will compress to fit into the holes when forced via the hammer. If the bar is not seated correctly, the feet will partially block the holes in the bar and the pins are unable to be fitted (as shown in the third image).
Fitting the SA Swivel to a rifle
The SA SSS is simple to install on the rifle and can be fitted onto any 0.75" barrel. In the images below I have affixed the SA SSS onto the barrel under the front sight. To install, you want to have already fitted the main body and bar together using the pins separately as shown in the above section and in the first image below. Having removed the front sight you can see how if fits underneath the sight in the second image. The third image shows the SSS having been placed onto the barrel directly as a test to ensure that it fits tightly onto the barrel. Take the sling swivel and front post and hold together as seen in the second image and slide both onto the barrel. At this point you want to ensure that the wings are over the top of the horizontal bar of the front sight as shown in the fourth and fifth images. These wings prevent the sling swivel from rotating. Once seated correctly the front post can be reattached securely using the two knock through pins. The sixth image and following three images show the sling swivel fitted from the left, right, top and bottom angles.
Maintenance of the SA SSS is recommended. Manufactured using steel, exposure to; water, humidity, sand or salt will likely cause damage if not cleaned as soon as possible. Where the sling swivel attaches in the main body, there is also a gap which will require cleaning either using compressed air, a cotton bud or other tool. Recommendation is to if heavily dirty, wash with water and a stiff brush, remove excess water droplets and allow to dry naturally.
Thoughts and opinion
A sling swivel is not the most important tactical piece of equipment ever invented nor the most critical weapon ancillary that a war fighter will think of. Its' uses are obviously limited, however, in a time when other manufacturers were dabbling in the military market and R&D was slow burning, the events of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan certainly sped up R&D, budgeting, test phases etc for equipment soon to be issued to those serving on the frontline.
Going for an ODA 595 loadout, with a nod to authenticity and wanting to get as close to the real thing as possible, the Stag Arms Side Sling Swivel is a unique touch to a rifle that is slowly being built from the ground up. In a modern market flooded with sling attachments / options, sometimes simplicity and uniqueness shines through.
Would I recommend the Stag Arms Side Sling Swivel? Yes for a number of reasons. 1) if you're building a replica of an early 'war on terror' platform the Stag Arms SSS is a good step forward, 2) it's cheaper than the Colt version yet from a distance or close up there is very little to tell the difference between the two and 3) it's unique and stands out from the generic sling mounts out there.
Going forwards, this is one piece of the puzzle that will remain in situ and be heavily used over the next few months...
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I am not paid for my blogs by the manufacturers or companies that I purchase my items from. I am not offered freebies to promote a product. These blogs are purely written from my own experience in truth to help advise and inform others who may wish to purchase the items or understand more about them. If I am sent a freebie to review this will be stated at the beginning to make you aware.