There are several primitive weapons that can be handy in a survival situation. One such weapon is the trusty slingshot.
Many of us have fond childhood memories of flinging pebbles at anything that moved during those endless summer days. As a young boy, I would spend hours at the end of my street launching thousands of rocks at a worn-out ‘No Dumping’ sign.
Slingshots are not a childhood plaything; they are an effective and deadly hunting weapon that you can use to secure small game. Slingshots and wrist rockets are inexpensive and widely available, but you may be forced to build one in an SHTF situation.
The good news is that the materials for an effective slingshot can be scavenged in a post-SHTF world without too much difficulty.
What You Are Going To Need
A slingshot consists of two primary components, the frame and the elastic. An arm support can also be fashioned to turn a homebrew slingshot into a wrist rocket.
The effectiveness and power of the slingshot will be determined by the type and quality of the materials you can scrounge.
We all know the classic Y-shaped frame that most slingshots use. One of the easiest and free ways to make a slingshot frame is to find a Y stick around an inch in diameter. Use either green wood or dried wood that is in good condition.
Another option is to use metal. The advantage of using metal is that you can bend and form the metal into whichever shape you wish. The disadvantage is that you will need tools and metalworking knowledge.
Plastic, fiberglass, or other materials are all options but is more challenging to construct an effective frame.
The Elastic Band
The band is the powerplant of the slingshot. Therefore, selecting an elastic material that is sturdy enough to withstand frequent use without deteriorating or breaking is essential.
Some good options are surgical tubing, heavy-duty resistance bands, or thick rubber bands. You may have to experiment with several materials to find one that delivers the power that you are looking for.
The elastic is not the only part of the band. You will need to cut a pouch from leather to hold the ammunition. These pouches are rectangular strips of leather with holes on either side to tie the elastic.
This pouch needs to be large enough to hold your chosen ammunition and allow you to pinch it closed around it.
For the pouch, you can use any thick leather; I decided to use a piece cut from an old welding glove for my slingshot build.
Building the Slingshot
Crafting this slingshot was not difficult and took me less than half an hour to complete. All the materials I used are readily available and often found lying around the house.
***I used large rubber tubing to make the photos more clear. It is better to use thinner elastic that stretches more and will give you more power. The tubing I used was effective at shooting but not powerful enough for hunting.***
Step One – Find a Y-shaped stick.
Step Two – Clean the bark off the stick.
Step Three – Carve grooves into the arms of the stick to accommodate the elastic.
Step Four – Cut two lengths of elastic about 12″ long. I used thick tubing to make the photos look better. I would again suggest using thinner tubing or elastic.
Step Five – Tie one end of each elastic to an arm of the slingshot frame. Since the elastic tubing that I used was so thick, I sliced the end of the tube to allow me to tie a better knot.
Step Six – Cut a rectangle of leather large enough to pinch your ammo comfortably.
Step Seven – Cut a hole into the leather rectangle’s ends and tie the elastic’s free ends through the holes.
Step Eight – Pull back on the elastic to ensure everything is secure and comfortable.
Ammunition For Your Slingshot
Back when I was a kid, I would grab a pocket full of rocks and fire away. I learned quickly that rocks would fly in all sorts of weird directions.
So these days, my ammunition of choice is dollar store marbles. Ball bearings also make great slingshot ammo, but cheap marbles are by far the most cost-effective.
Targets And Backstops
My favorite target to use for slingshot practice is a soda can. These are great targets because they are about the size of many small game animals that you would be using your slingshot to hunt. Like I tell my kids, if you can hit a can, you can hit a grouse.
Regardless of what target you decide to use, you must ensure that you can account for where every shot ends up. In addition, make sure that you have an adequate backstop to keep anyone in the area safe from being struck by ricochets.
Shooting The Slingshot
Before shooting any slingshot, you must wear appropriate eye protection. Whatever you shoot from your slingshot will certainly ricochet, and I have had my fair share of marbles flying back toward me.
Eye protection is also essential because there is a possibility that the band will break and could snap back into your eyes.
There are several methods to aim and shoot a slingshot; personally, I like to hold it canted to the side, and I shoot instinctively rather than aiming.
Slingshot Shooting Tips
Consistent practice is the only way to become proficient at shooting a slingshot, but I can offer a few tips regarding using a slingshot.
Repeatability is key. Hold the frame at the same angle and distance each time. Then, when drawing the band, find a spot on your face where you can anchor your hand. Doing this will improve accuracy because each time you shoot, all the variables you can control will be identical.
Always place the ammo into the pouch in the same position. The ammo should be in the center of the pouch; if the ball is to either side, your accuracy will suffer.
Pinch the pouch, in the same way each time. Find the most comfortable way to pinch the pouch, and always use that grip when shooting.
Practice shooting at random distances. I like to set up various cans at various distances and practice shooting them from a static spot or while walking toward them.
Crafting a deadly slingshot is a straightforward process and one that can be easily accomplished not only today but in a post-SHTF situation as well.
Slingshots are simple but very effective tools for hunting small game without using valuable ammunition for firearms or arrows for a bow or crossbow.
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