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What About A Slingshot?

slingshotThe last time most of us picked up a slingshot was when we were kids. Before we were entrusted with firearms, we roamed the world with our slingshots, ready to take on any challenge. Some of us even learned to hunt small game such as rabbits, squirrels and birds, but quickly set the slingshot aside after gaining access to guns. Perhaps in our maturity we have become too quick to dismiss the slingshot as merely a kid’s toy. It’s time to take another look at this classic tool.

There are three basic versions of the slingshot in existence. The first is the ancient sling used by David in the biblical story. It consists of a leather pouch and a bit of rope or leather. A stone is placed in the pouch and the sling is spun over one’s head to build momentum. When one end of the cord is released, the stone is sent on its way at a high velocity. Slingshots of this type are the most powerful, easiest to construct and also the most difficult to use.

The next modern evolution used a piece of rubber suspended between a Y shaped support. This is the slingshot most associated with children’s toys and is simple to build. Unfortunately, slingshots of this type do not generate much force and are not terribly useful in a survival situation.


Modern technology has given us the final version of the slingshot. This type is an improvement on the Y design, adding a wrist support to allow you to generate more power. Stronger bands also aid in the generation of velocity. These types can be found in folding models and can even include front stabilizers to make aiming easier. Though not quite as powerful as the traditional sling, these “wrist rocket” slingshots produce sufficient velocity to easily kill or incapacitate small game and cause serious injury to humans. You can buy a slingshot like this in most sports supply stores for around $20.

As kids, the perfect slingshot projectile was a rounded stone. As an adult you have several better options. Ball bearings are the best ammo. These small steel balls fly straight and true and can be launched at an extremely high velocity. As a substitute, lead fishing weights can be used. It’s also easy to form lead projectiles from any piece of salvaged lead by melting it down over a campfire and pouring into an improvised mold. Any other hard object, such as marbles, can be used in a pinch, though their flight might not be as true. The good, old fashioned stone can also be used if necessary, with an unlimited supply.

Slingshots require a little practice to use effectively. A few hours spent in the backyard shooting at a cardboard target should provide you with the skill you need. Please avoid the temptation to take a quick practice shot at the neighbor’s cat!

Firearms are the first choice for hunting, but they are not always available or practical. Often noise is a concern and the slingshot will allow you to secure food without announcing your location. If ammunition is in limited supply, you won’t want to waste it on small game when you can use another method.

Additionally, for many of us, there will likely be children or others present who may not be prepared to use a firearm effectively. A slingshot gives them a great, non-lethal weapon. If you have a few kids or other people who are not comfortable with firearms, but they have a slingshot in hand and a handful of ball bearings, you’ve assembled a formidable self-defense force. Imagine some thug with a knife or a pistol facing down a family where every member has a slingshot and can encircle him, if necessary?

The danger may not even come from a street thug; it could be a pack of ravenous dogs. A young person otherwise undefended would be a easy target for a formerly domesticated animal that hasn’t eaten in weeks, but a kid with a pocketful of ball bearings can ward off a number of animals and give them reason to move on.

Don’t dismiss out of hand the slingshot as a little boys’ toy. It is an inexpensive and versatile addition to your survival stockpile. After all, if the slingshot was good enough for David, who are we to dismiss it?

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  1. A slingshot and a magnifying glass are a mst have for any survival package….!!

  2. Funny, just read this article, but I was looking at sling shots last week. Not really thinking about using for food, just one more self defense option. I was also looking at a crossbow at the same time. I don’t know what is to come, but if I needed to act, I would like to go for some silent options prior to breaking out the firearms.

  3. Just like to add something to using a slingshot as a hunting tool. I saw this first from a video by Dave Canterbury for a modification to allow accurate use of arrows from a common “wrist rocket.” Pretty easy to do and not all that expensive while still allowing a small, compact, and silent hunting/self defense tool. Commonly referred to as a sling bow the link below describes how to build one and how it works fairly well.

  4. Tactically, it is not a good idea to encircle your enemy. One- you could end up shooting towards your friends and family members. Two- It’s always a good idea to leave your enemy an avenue of escape unless it becomes clearly necessary to kill him.
    Just form a little less than a semi-circle and you can solve both problems while maintaining the advantage of rapid fire from multiple directions.
    BTW, I really like your slingshot idea and will obtain one pronto along with the ball bearings. Target practice to follow with squirrels for supper soon.

  5. Used a sling alot as a kid. You can whip a walnut sized rock at incredible velocity and distance. They can be made easily with a small piece of leather and some small diameter nylon rope. Be aware that you should get yourself to a place where you are completely alone and have several hundred feet of distance to buildings, windows, etc. If you have a bad overhead release, you can have a rock go 90 degrees away from the direction you meant it to go. They really can go an astonishing distancewith killing force.

  6. Walmart has them for sale under $10.00 & you don’t need to buy ammo because rocks or marbles work really well!!

  7. I’d recommend including a couple of replacement bands (surgical tubing) as well. They will break eventually and usually at the most inopportune time. As far as ball bearings go, more is better, its cheap ammo and doesn’t have a shelf life.

  8. I’m interested/open to suggestions on how to preserve the surgical rubber tubing from getting brittle or cracking over long periods of storage. I know direct sunlight and heat are quick to deteriorate the rubber. Glycerin may work? I haven’t tested it yet.

    • To “preserve” your extra tubes, coat them generously with silicon lube. The type sold in diving shops is sure not to damage rubber. Then roll them loosely so there are no sharp bends and store inside of a plastic or glass container out of the sunlight. I usually spray a little silicon lube in the jar before I seal it up. I have stored dive gear straps and surgical tubing like this for years and never pulled out a rotted replacement.

  9. knowbodiezphool

    Believe it or not, in ancient armies there were “companies of slingers”. The Bible even mentions that a
    specific peoples (I forget which in particular) were “excellent hurlers”. Imagine facing a foe with divisions,
    hurling projectiles enmass with greater range than archers. I also understand that in some instances a
    bit of psychological warfare would be “employed” by etching or inscribing small messages to be read by
    enemy forces such as maybe, “Greetings from Yerusalem!”. Awfully nice of them don’t you think?

    • You’d be surprised, this is not the case in Asia iteslf. Some Japanese models themselves are fuel consuming, such as Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Korean Cars, such as Hyundai Accent never hit the top notch before. Malaysian Cars, such as Proton Gen-2 Persona is very fuel consuming and is not problem free (we were scratching our heads trying to get certain things fixed). China products look at the star ratings.Here in Asia, people would rather spend on reliable cars. Toyota, Honda and Daihatsu makes the best cheap cars here in Asia. KeiCars are the most famous here, since it saves fuel and also on parking, with the CC below 1000 and the size of a small city car, and currently leading by Daihatsu.

  10. My son, then age 9 or so, made a David style sling after church one Sunday. Cute, I though, as I saw the old boot string, and torn sock fragment held together with duct tape. About 15 minutes later, I heard a terrible crash as a rock bombarded the side of a shed. I then realized how easy a stone must have sunk into Goliath’s head. That thing WAS a deadly weapon. Good to have around in a pinch.

  11. I read this piece and decided to start practicing with my slingshot that I have had for years. I’m getting better. But I would like to know about making a traditional sling and getting good at that. Anyone have any suggestions?

  12. To make a traditional sling you’ll need 2 pieces of chord, leather boot string, or something similar, cut to equal lengths (about 24 to 36 inches, you don’t want them to touch the ground when held in your hand at waist level), and something for a pocket to hold your projectile ( an old boot or shoe tongue works well for this). Tie the strings to opposite sides of your pocket so that when held hanging down, the projectile will rest securely in the pocket. You then impart velocity to your projectile by holding the other ends of BOTH strings, swinging the pocket around your head or at your side. When you’re ready to hurl the projectile, release ONE of the strings, while keeping a firm hold on the other (some folks tie a loop in the string they’re going to hold to make it easier to hold). After some practice, you can get quite accurate with it, but do not expect to be accurate without practice. At ranges of 25 to 30 yards they can be deadly.

  13. Ball bearings don’t have to be purchased. Go by any auto or truck garage and you’ll find that wheel bearings are usually thrown away. They come apart easily and the price is right. Save the races and sell them to the scrapper. They started life as good cold rolled steel and bring a pretty good price.

  14. silent options are great. However, for anything other than squirrels and rabbits which you need about two to three rabbits at least for you family of three, a sling shot is ineffective. yeah that little rock may hurt butthat guy you may have to kill is a 300 pound, martial artist and power lifter, that is well armed with a suit of armor. do yourself a favor, get a compound bow and use it. by the way arrows can be made from steel dowel rods.

  15. There are hundreds of non lethal products that are inexpensive and available. I carry a pepper spray gun with a stun gun as back up. Odds are that you will put out a window with your slingshot and hit the attorney sitting in the living room

  16. I would go with a bow and arrow first. Check youtube for some easy methods…

  17. Well i hate to rain on everyones parade but the sling shot has been our family weapon for over 100 years and the ones i make will send a 1/2″ steel ball through a 1/2″ sheet of ply wood at 50′ . It takes a lot of practice to use them however when you use it for all your small game and protection needs you will become a master at it. I have friends that will not come agents me with there guns because i’m faster, quieter and more mobile.

  18. Check out

    Search: Slingshot Man, See whar you can do with these things!

  19. Two websites I’d recomend Slinging.Org &,I’ve been shooting slingshots for along time & I once nailed a guy in the adoms apple for trying to come threw my front door to hurt my little brother. So with a marksman slingshot I nailed him in the adoms apple,winding him & knocking him down insteantly but not killing him just slapping a big fat bruise on his throat & the ammo I used was a marble.

  20. I too had slingshot before I had a bb/pellet gun, got in a lot of trouble too! I am passing this nugget O’ saftey …..One day after falling to the temptation of the street light in front of my house, I began to try to shoot it out, no reason for it ,just to do it. While aiming the rubber broke and popped me in the eye, leaving me to stagger around in the street blinded as cars ( I had been running out and shooting when there was a brake in traffic) went around me! Do not learn to shoot by squinting down the stretched rubbers !

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