Mounting a modern 2 point or single point sling to an AK pattern rifle can be a bit of a pain. This is especially true for the rear sling attachment point if you don’t want to settle for the one that is located on the rear of the buttstock. Thankfully, there are innovative companies out there like Echo93 who offer solutions like their Sling Plates. The Echo93 Sling Plates take the pain out of mounting a sling to your AK.
I recently received the Echo93 V1, V2, and V3 Sling Plates for testing. I used each of the three in a mix of multiple range trips and dry fire practice. In that time, I learned a lot about each individual version. In this review, I will talk generally about all of the Echo93 Sling Plates and then focus down onto the 3 specific plates that I had to try.
The Echo93 Sling Plates are extremely simple and I mean that as high praise. They are simply powder coated steel plates that mount under your pistol grip and provide a loop to which you can attach a sling. The steel that Echo93 uses is nearly 1/8″ thick. There are no moving parts – just a single piece of steel. You aren’t going to be able to break or wear out these sling mounts.
Installation is extremely easy. You simply remove your grip. Then you place the Echo93 Sling Plate on your receiver so that the grip screw can pass through the square hole in the sling plate and so that the sling loop is on the desired side of the AK (all 3 of the tested Sling Plates are ambidextrous). Then reinstall the grip. The sling plate has two tabs that slip onto either side of the trigger guard to prevent it from spinning. If you know how to use a screwdriver, you can install an Echo93 Sling Plate.
Observations from Use
The Echo93 Sling Plates are sold as a single point sling mount but they work extremely well as the rear attachment point for 2 point slings as well. I like to mount the rear sling point of my 2 point slings as close to the rear of the receiver as possible. This gives a greater range of motion than is possible when mounting the sling near the rear of the buttstock. This is especially important if you, like me, drop the butt of the gun under your arm and bring the magazine well into your “work space” on reloads. Mounting the sling in this position also allows your to transition from shoulder to shoulder without dropping an arm out of the sling when quick adjust slings like the Blue Force Gear VCAS or VTAC.
You will definitely want to give careful thought to your AK variant, your grip type, your stock configuration, and your hand shape when choosing which sling plate to order. Obviously, if your AK precludes the use of a certain version of the Echo93 Sling Plate, you will want to avoid that particular version. Grips that drive the hand very high and into the receiver will effect the feel of some of the plates (more on that later). Some of the Echo93 Sling Plates will not work with folding stocks so pay attention if you own a folding stocked AK. Users with thick hands will want to pay careful attention as your hand may come into contact with the sling plate and this may or may not be an issue for you (more on this later).
The powder coating holds up fairly well but the inside corners of the sling loops will loose their coating quickly from wear. This is a purely cosmetic issue and it does not alter the function of the sling plate in any way. It is simply unavoidable when you have metal hardware rubbing on the loop.
I tested these sling plates with HK style snap hooks and ITW Mash Hooks. Both worked very well. Any type of metal hook type hardware should work well with Echo93 Sling Plates.
The Echo93 Sling Plates are very, very thick (nearly 1/8″ thick). This makes them very rugged but I can’t help but wonder if they couldn’t be made thinner. I suspect they could be quite a bit thinner and still be more rugged than they need to be while saving some weight and cost. As they are now, you will never be able to break or bend one in the normal course of use.
In all my testing, I was unable to get any of the plates to spin. The simple tabs that are cut into the plate to lock it on the trigger guard work perfectly. There is also enough wiggle room to allow for quite a bit of variation between AKs.
It seems like there is some effort to break the corners a bit so that they aren’t very sharp. This is a nice thing considering that the top of your hand may be contacting this sling plate frequently while firing.
The V1 is one of my favorites but there are going to be some people who just don’t care for it. The V1 allows the sling to slip from one side to the other as you transition from shoulder to shoulder with your AK. It accomplishes this by placing the loop on the center line of the AK, just above your hand.
If you are using a standard AK grip, your hand might not contact the V1 but if you are using a grip that forces your hand high like the US PALM AKBG then you will definitely contact the sling plate and sling hook. It isn’t really the sling plate that you will notice, it is the sling hook that is attaching your sling to the plate that will rub your hand. This has been a non-issue for me through 2 live fire sessions and several dry fire sessions but if you have meaty hands, you will want to take note.
The V2 was my least favorite. It lacks the side to side versatility of the V1 though it still allows easy transitions and it was the most noticeable during live fire. It can also preclude the use of side folding stocks (and all under-folding stocks) depending on which side the stock folds to and whether the shooter is left or right handed.
The sling loop on the V2 is pushed out to the side of the receiver, directly over your thumb knuckle (right handed shooter). This can cause the sling hook to rub and bump your thumb during manipulations. This effect is magnified by using a grip that drives your hand higher than the standard AK grip. I don’t have huge hands but I do have thick thumbs.
The V3 is a sort of variation on the V2. It also pushes the loop out onto the side of the receiver but it also turns it up away from your hand which made it great for me. It also allows quick transitions in spite of the higher sling positioning. However, it also precludes the use of some side folding stocks (and all under-folding stocks) depending on which side the stock folds to and whether the shooter is left or right handed.
This is easily the least noticeable and therefore the most comfortable of the 3 sling plates that I tried. If you have thick hands and a fixed stock AK (or side folder that folds to the opposite side as the sling loop) you will love this sling mount.
I love these mounts. They place my sling exactly where I need it for how I work with an AK. There are really no other mounts out there that do this (except for the knock-offs, so buyer beware). Some of the variants are not going to work for some people or some rifles, but there are now 7 different version of the Echo93 Sling Plates so every shooter should be able to find something that works for them.
Disclosure: These Sling Plates were provided to me free of charge by Echo93.