Not many people think to use a slingshot for survival. Unfortunately, it seems as though this handmade weapon and its legacy has faded out over the years. Today, it’s commonly reserved for use by children as toys, rather than as a serious weapon.
However, the fact that this weapon is forgotten about may be its biggest asset in a survival situation. Not many people will think to use this survival tool when SHTF, leaving you to catch them by surprise.
The slingshot is an excellent weapon when you’re shooting at a distance. Unlike firearms, which make an explosive BANG when shot, these weapons are basically silent when shooting. This makes them a no-brainer when you don’t want to be seen or heard by those around you.
Not to mention it has amazing power. When aimed correctly, it can easily kill an enemy or prey in a second. And, when shot from a distance, this “silent bullet” will make it so that your prey doesn’t know what hit them (until it’s too late).
The Native Americans used something very similar when hunting and in battle. And I figure, if it was good enough for them to get the job done, it’s good enough for me. (Want to see even more time-tested Native American weapons? Read our blog about them here).
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about even more reasons why you’ll love using a slingshot for survival!
Using A Slingshot For Survival
1 – Where It’s Legal
Currently, 32 U.S states allow the use of a slingshot for survival, hunting, etc. (at least in some capacity). They are shaded in green in the map below.
Keep in mind that each state has different laws around the use of slingshots for hunting. Even those highlighted in green may not allow this practice completely. Be sure to check with your state’s Natural Resources and Game Warden for details about its legality in your state.
2 – How To Become An Extreme Marksman
Some people believe that a slingshot is simply a children’s toy. However, it’s anything but. This is a surprisingly powerful weapon that will become deadly if you train to use it effectively.
Surprisingly, it only takes a few days to train with a slingshot. Better yet, if you know how to aim and shoot with a rifle, you’re halfway there. Take a look at the video below. It shows a slingshot marksman that can cut a card with just one shot.
When hunting for small game, make sure to only aim for the head of your prey. This is because blows to the body will often result in internal bleeding and ruined meat.
However, keep in mind you can hunt larger game, too. By attaching a shaft cradle to line up arrows, you can kill yourself a much heartier meal.
Take a look at the video below to see how one slingshot marksman accomplishes this:
3 – A Virtually Unlimited Supply Of Ammo
Luckily for the slingshot, almost any kind of rock, pebble, stone, or small, hard object can be used as ammunition. Because of this, you’ll likely never be out of ammo no matter where you end up.
Although pebbles and rocks are plentiful, they’re also not the most accurate forms of ammo. Lead and steel shots are much more precise, if you can get your hands on them.
Even small objects like nails and darts can be used as ammo for this handy tool. This is why using a slingshot for survival is so important – the ammo options are virtually limitless!
4 – How To Make One For Yourself
Slingshots are surprisingly easy to make. And, since the main material literally grows on trees, you can make one almost anywhere!
Here’s a great DIY method from Skilled Survival for making your own slingshot for survival:
- “Y” shaped branch w/ a minimum 30-degree fork.
- ¼” latex surgical tubing.
- Leather strips.
- Dental floss or similarly fine string
- 4 small pieces of plywood (optional)
- 2, 40-watt light bulbs (optional)
- Awl (optional)
Finding a Fork
Dogwood, Hickory, and Oak are the best types of wood for the job. Buckhorn also makes some nice “Y” shapes and has the required flexibility/rigidness.
Do not bother looking for a perfectly shaped “Y” frame. First of all, you will rarely find any in nature. And second, you want the main branch to be ~30-degrees bent and the protruding branch to be ~45-degrees bent.
Once you have found a fork similar to this, go ahead and cut it out. Then, let it dry for three weeks to one year.
Depending on how you intend to dry the frame, will affect how long you dry it for. You can elect to build a drying box using the 4 pieces of plywood creating a box and one 40 watt bulb on each end to act as a heat source for drying. Or you can leave it on a shelf for a year. Another method for drying is to set the “Y” frame next to a campfire for a day or two – once the wood stops hissing, the frame is dry.
Another method for drying is to set the “Y” frame next to a campfire for a day or two – once the wood stops hissing, the frame is dry.
But, if you do not want to wait (even a couple of days) use the more modern method and dry your frame in the microwave. Wrap it up in a towel to prevent burning and pop it in the hot box for about six 30-second bursts (or until wood stops hissing). Do not just throw it in there on high for 20 minutes though – that thing will definitely combust.
Notch the Fork
This step is pretty straightforward: use your knife to create a notch on each prong of your slingshot fork, these notches will hold the bands in place and prevent slippage.
There is a fine balance throughout this step because too-shallow of notches will not hold the bands in place. And too-deep of notches and the bands will shear off your “Y” prongs when you add intense torque.
So be careful. It’s like haircuts – it’s better to shave away less initially than more. Test and then take a bit more as necessary until you get the perfect notch depth.
Selecting and Attaching the Forks
Here is the rub: rubber only lasts a few months before it needs replacing. So, every so often you are going to have to do some modest slingshot maintenance. That’s all right. Replacing the bands is easy, but we will get to that in a second.
Because slingshot hunting is not that popular of a hobby, if you go into a store and grab a bag full of replacement slingshot bands, chances are those have been sitting on the shelf in that very bag for several months at the very least.
So in almost every case, it is better to just go and make your own.
Nearly every hardware store in America will sell rubber tubing. Theraband gold is the slingshot industry standard. Make sure to replace your band when you start to see signs of rubber decay (cracking, splitting, or drying out).
To attach the bands, simply wrap one end of each precut section of rubber around each fork of the “Y” frame. Fold the extra bit of length back over itself, and tie it off with a bit of wire or zip ties.
Creating A Slingshot Pouch
Cut a rectangle out of a leather strip, approximately 2-inches wide and 4-inches long. Then, cut the corners off and create an octagonal shape for the pouch. Poke a hole in either end of the pouch and run the loose ends of your attached rubber strips through both holes. Wrap the excess bits of rubber around themselves and tie off with dental floss or other string.
Fair warning: you may need to readjust the lengths of the rubber bands. Shorter bands give you more power but are more inclined to snap. Find the middle ground that is perfect for you and stick with it.
When it comes to using a slingshot for survival, keep in mind that practice makes perfect. Get in some target practice every day and soon you’ll be prepared to use this weapon with the best of them. Prepare Now, Survive Later!