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.
Related: 7 Homemade Weapons That A Prepper Should Have
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.
Related: The Best Natural Weapons That You Can Find In The Wild
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.
Related: How to Practice Good Marksmanship Without Wasting Ammo
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.
Related: 10+ Shooting Skills You Need To Practice
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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Well you now spent a entire day making a toy
There was a guy in CM (prison) who fashioned a legit weapon using a slingshot constructed out of tightie wightie elastics, molded/compacted newspaper and a #2 pencil. He then fashioned the “arrowhead” out of melted Newport filters that he then sharpened on the cell floor. When they opened the slot to feed him, he shot the trustee who was serving him his tray of food. By the way, he dipped the arrowhead in old feces.
Lightweight rubber band slingshots are very effective on small birds, which make a pretty good stew. They are also good for shooting a monofilament line over a tree limb to serve as the leader to a rope to pull yourself into a tree or to bring down a branch or something edible, like a honeycomb or a bird’s nest. Make one from a piece of welding rod or a thinner Y-stick and some notebook rubber bands, 3/16″ x 6″. Steel 1/4″ nuts make good ammo.
Well, I’d rather buy a “wrist rocket” like my dad got when I was a kid.
Daisy now makes them, selling on Amazon right now for $7.92:
They also sell stainless steel, clay, or “glass” ball (marbles) ammo of varing diameters to shoot with the wrist rocket sling shot. Way better than home-made gadget.
At this price, get 2 or 3!!
Best post of the day
To hell w/amozon child trafficking bastards! I would not go to amozon if their shhhhstuff was free!!!
Ok, well, I hardly ever order from Amazon, either. So go to Ebay or somewhere else. But those wrist rockets are far better than a homemade one.
terminology needs some work >>> “pouch” isn’t used for the “pocket” – has several other names from “pinch” to “that leather thing” – but pouch is always the ammo carrier especially a flexible bag on the belt ….
Help, help, somebody call the GRAMER POLICE. Bad terminology, or bad spelling, or bad sentence structure. Ohh the shame of it all.
here’s another one for the POS drop out – “Gramer” should come up on the library computer your contaminating >>> when the time limit hits and they can toss your smelly azz out – your shopping cart is calling and there’s trash to pick thru …..
Slingshots are a quiet way to harvest small game without attracting attention (calls to police). A good choice for rabbits and squirrels, which make excellent stews. Unfortunately, I had an older stepson that like to use one to hit barking dogs and injured one. So, it isn’t just a toy, and should NOT be aimed at anything living you don’t intend to seriously disable or kill. A slingshot is a compact, legal survival tool. Remember David and Goliath.
David used a Shepard’s sling on Goliath! Not a slingshot.
Same idea tho
Modern slings may take advantage of stretchy modern materials to make a sling that is easier to use, but a sling is a sling. A traditional sling such as the example used actually hurls a stone with greater velocity and deadliness than the modern one outlined in the article, due to the REAL slinging action used, but requires many more hours of practice to achieve any kind of accuracy. Since a sling and a staff were the go to weapons of any shepherd of the time, they generally spent hours every day practicing. As you would, should your life and your livelihood depend upon your ability to drive predators away. In the example given, the 3 stones hurled by David would have a velocity and impact similar to a bullet at close enough range, so his deadly accuracy with a headshot makes such a scenario completely plausible. Goliath being a big, strong guy with armor and a sword would avail him naught. In essence, he took a knife to a gun fight. Lol
No its not lol
60 years ago my grandfather showed me a very archaic looking slingshot he had made years before. I wasn’t too impressed by the looks, but when he shot it, with what I thought at the time as impossible accuracy, I was one little kid that was in awe….
Where did you see that Littel David hurled 3 stones? My bible said he had picked 5 smooth stones and only used one, He pick up 5 stones because Mr G. had 4 brothers and David was prepared to do battle!!!
I see a FLIP not a sling shot.
You are correct, in that the modern item know as a slingshot actually is not much like a traditional sling. In fact it more closely resembles the mechanics used in a catapult than a sling. Maybe they should call them “hand catapults”.
But, since all such assisted throws could be said to “sling” their ammunition, I guess we have to live with the term used. Accuracy is achievable with ballistic methods far more easily than with language, it seems. Lol
I knew where thisnl was going. David was a professional slinger. At the time he lived. Slinger where the most advanced deadly unit on the battlefield.
The Sunday school bullshit needs to end
Yes. Also there was a whole industry in making the clay projectiles (ammo) for slings. Slingers had as much skill with their weapon as archers did.
David was a slinger……..used a slinger as a Shepherd. They typically didn’t have standing army’s like today. So farmers and Shepherds….would have a skill useful in battle.
They it’s literally written word for word in the Bible
Actually he was a SHEPHERD, as clearly stated in the original story. However, it IS true that shepherds generally used a sling and a staff as their main weapons to drive predators away from their flocks. Combine that with the many hours per day they had to practice their skills, and you can bet that many shepherds were of a professional level of skill. So, although neither the Hebrews nor the Philistines of the time used slingers in their armies, a smaller, weaker opponent could, indeed, defeat a larger, armored opponent at range, with great enough skill and accuracy to find a vulnerable spot. In this case, a headshot.
As for your disdain for “Sunday “School” I have no comment. But the David and Goliath story is the most prominent reference to slings in any Western literature I’ve ever seen, and likely the ONLY reference many modern Americans know about, outside of possibly some gamers who play ancient battle-oriented games such as Age of Empires, et al. So, yes, it was completely inevitable that the story was brought up. But your resulting contempt is unwarranted, as one does not have to espouse any religious opinion whatsoever to be familiar with the details of one of the most prominent and well-known stories in history.
Well i guess the boss/chief has spoken! Is this where free speech ends!???
If the SHTF, a good source of catapult elastic is a bicycle inner tube.
I bought some surgical rubber from our local pharmacy…works very well!
Saunders Archery made the original wrist rocket and has evolved the original catapult.
They only sell through their website.
Would a medical tourniquet work? The kind they use when they draw blood? (Not the kind used to stop a limb from bleeding)
It would but the elastic tends to wear out quicker since the rubber is thinner. I would also like to suggest checking out thrift stores. I have found several wrist rocket/pocket rocket frames over the years.
Yes, any strongly elastic strip like that would. The differences in examples given are going to effect the durability, range, accuracy, and achievable velocity of your ammo. The professionally produced slingshots on the market will prioritize durability and ease of use, as they are not really meant to replace more heavy duty ranged weapons. A truly traditional sling wouldn’t even use the “stick and stretchy strips” model of the modern slingshot type shown in the article, as these modern versions substitute the kinetic energy inherit in the rubbery materials, instead of the kinetic energy of the true “slinging” motion. This trade off results in a sacrifice of overall potential velocity, but a far easier to use item with a much shorter learning curve. So, you may only be able to take down birds and small game, but it will only take you a few hours of practice to achieve enough accuracy to do so.
Why not just spend the 15 bucks and buy one. Nobody here is going to practice enough to be proficient with it to score a kill shot on small game.
Sling shots/ wrist rockets are also great for causing a distraction and taking attention away from you in certain situations where being absolutely quiet could mean the difference between life or death. You can launch small rocks several hundreds of feet away at metal or glass objects creating noise that could take the focus away from you or loved ones. Many years ago, I used to launch home made firecrackers with a wrist rocket a couple hundred feet away from where I was standing. I would cut 1-1/2″ long pieces of 1/2″ diameter PVC pipe, glue on an end cap and fill it with gun powder, drill a small hole through another cap and fish a piece of cannon fuse in it and glue it to the other end of the pipe. I would light the fuse and launch those things a few hundred feet away. Could come in handy for certain survival situations. I actually have a tennis ball wrist rocket for dogs to fetch tennis balls with that I removed the ball holder from and put a regular pouch on it and slightly shortened the bands. Works like a charm for me. I have more control over it than a regular wrist rocket with the support going over my upper forearm rather than my wrist.
Since you brought up tennis balls, it reminded me that you can find “tennis ball hurlers” in many pet stores. These work more on the mechanics of an atlatl than a sling. But that, also, would be a useful technique in the situation you describe when hurling things farther than you could accurately throw.
In any case, it seems as if those that are survival- minded could well benefit from practicing ALL of these techniques, occasionally. Just as you practice with your guns to prepare, it would be a good idea, methinks, to practice things such as slinging and throwing rocks and spears. Who knows when you might find yourself in a situation where a rock or a stick may be the only thing you can quickly grab to defend yourself? Plus, practicing such things could help develop hand-eye coordination overall, as well as provide diverting and fun exercise.
Sticks and stones were the first assault weapons !
The ideas are put out there as food for thought, you may need one someday. I am putting a copy of this away with my army FM 21-76 SURVIVAL.
I’ll stick with my bow and arrows thank you. A much more effective “slingshot”. However, I do like this guy on YouTube, Wooden DIY.
I like guns better
Ammo runs out. Arrows can be reused. And they’re far more stealthy. That’s something I always find stupid in a lot of post-apocalyptic movies and shows. People use guns when they don’t know where they’ll get more bullets and when they need to keep a low profile. A gun screams, “HERE I AM!”
If ammo runs out…. well thats a bad day
The sling shot talked about in this article is pretty crude and you wouldn’t be able to accomplish much with it. I’ve shot a sling shot all my 70 years and still use one a lot. They are great for herding cows, taking out the pigeons and rats in the barn, killing the squirrels off the bird feeder but for self defense, I don’t know about that. If any one is really interested in them then go to The Slingshot Forum and learn every thing you need to know about them.
Very helpful tutorial, thank you for taking the time to share.
WOW this place took a shit, I remember when there were cool people here that didn’t mess with anyone, If SHTF y’all would come unglued and kill each other over stupid shit….I could’ve sworn we all had the same interests, one of them being a dislike like for how our government is running a shit show and everything into the ground while busy arguing in this forum over the stupidest shit when we should be sharing ideas about survival against our government, You know who you are I been watchin y’all for the past 8 months and came to a conclusion, those who argue about stupid shit will be the first to be taken out when SHTF because your priority’s are in the wrong place as well as being on the wrong side of God, You’re adults here, so act like adults who want to survive, Anyone thats smart and been down the rabbit hole knows this is the shit they want to see, Nothing but noise, Good luck Y’all & see ya on the battlefield if y’all don’t kill each other off first.
I won’t get into all the background but when I was in the Navy I had a wrist rocket and we would take a piece of screen and go to the pistol range and sift the sand and get a bucket full of 45 slugs to use for ammo.Not much accuracy with then though, We were shooting at coots in an area that was also open for duck hunting. One day I found a 12ga shot gun shell that hadn’t been fired and the light came on. Opened the shell and used a dozen or so pellets vs. the 45 slug. Increased the kill rate tremendously.
Wrist rocket now that’s something I haven’t heard in a minute, I never thought about that when I was in the Navy, unlimited supply of wrist rocket ammo at the range, genius and it’s free ammo to practice with at least.
I like my wrist rocket, but enter SHTF, and where do we get rubber? Give it a fe years and even rubber in bike tires will rot. Mot dys I can still handle an old-time leather sling. All those golf balls some neighbor drops around my house make good ammo to nail his house, LOL. Meanwhile, is anyone getting replies to posts? niio
Respect! The skill for using a true, old fashioned sling is super rare these days. Even wrist rocket skill is rare, actually, but I’ve only ever met two people my whole life that could hit the broad side of a barn with any kind of force behind it at all using a true sling. I was ALMOST inspired to go and make a sling for practicing- until my shoulder reminded me I don’t have that range of motion anymore. Lol Ah the age creeps in the edges sometimes…