From the time I was 6 or 7 years old, I’ve carried a slingshot. Very quickly, I became not only proficient, but the bane of much of the small game available in and around my rural subdivision. With 3/8-inch ball bearing ammo, I could regularly bring home a rabbit or squirrel to be cleaned and eaten. What many folks don’t know is that when I venture into the backcountry, I almost always carry a folded slingshot. I do this for several reasons. First, it is a source of entertainment around an evening campfire or after game has been harvested (in the summertime or non-hunting situations, perhaps just for fun.) I also carry it because it does not weigh much, and I now realize it gives me a more effective tool for use in a survival situation then simply throwing rocks. Recently, I was approached to evaluate a new outdoor tool—the survival slingshot.
By Ace Luciano I have to admit that my first thought was, “How much can you do to a slingshot?” I wound up being impressed with the tool. Removing the survival slingshot from its box and packaging, the thing I immediately noticed was its manufacture and construction. This is certainly not a poorly thought out gadget. Construction of the handle is machined aluminum, including the accessory plates with a steel yoke and arm brace. It appears well made and heavily constructed for long-term durability.
Immediately, I noticed that the handle is bigger, and longer than any other slingshot I have used. This is caused by the special plate that accepts multiple yokes with differing weight bands. My slingshot came with two different bands—a 25- and 45-pound band, both with standard slingshot pouches at my request. My logic in this was that for all times except when bowhunting, you won’t have a release mechanism handy, and I wanted to see what I could get out of the standard pouch.
Ball Bearing and Round Stone Accuracy
For those not in the know regarding slingshot and slingshot accuracy, the gold standard of accuracy is the round steel ball bearing. It has significant weight, and, due to its uniform shape, offers dependable accuracy. In a survival situation, you will most likely have only a few and either quickly run out of ball bearings, or, have none at all and be searching for rocks. Choosing stone ammunition can be rather difficult depending on where you are, but I find the best places to look for slingshot stones are in and around rivers and runoffs where they will be smooth and rounded by water. The more round, the better the accuracy. I found both the marksman foldable slingshot and the survival slingshot to have equal accuracy with both ball bearing and Round stone ammunition.
After all, what good is a tool if you leave it behind due to its bulkiness and weight? This is one of the few areas where the survival slingshot deferred to the marksman folding. Due to the survival slingshot’s heavy-duty construction and its accessories, it is significantly more bulky than a standard folding slingshot. If I was concerned about weight or space, I may not have it as my first choice.
This is a little bit of a different category because most slingshots are what they are. That is not the case with the survival slingshot. After all, their motto is “carry a tool, not a toy.” The survival slingshot easily walked away with this category. If it only had the 2 different yolks available with a heavy- and lightweight band, it would still win but there was much, much more. The survival slingshot has a hollow handle where you can store ammunition and even a small survival kit. It comes with the Picatinny-type rail system that can easily bolt on several accessories. A laser sighting device is an option, but I did not feel that would not be practical or realistic in a survival situation.
The accessory that made a significant difference with this device was the ability to attach a whisker biscuit-type arrow rest. This allows the Survival Slingshot to be used as a bow rather than a slingshot. After a few practice (and errant) shots with the whisker biscuit mounted on the slingshot, I have to say that I was impressed with its accuracy out to approximately 20 yards.
I found my accuracy was better with the 25-pound band than the 45-pound band, but that was almost entirely due to my inability to hold the 45-pound band more than a few seconds. With practice and training, I am confident that this weapon will make a very effective killing tool, and I plan to test it on some of the small game (Big game isn’t exactly “illegal,” with the heavy band here, but tags are hard to draw…) and as a bow fishing tool on rough fish in my new home state of Arizona.
Verdict: Survival Slingshot
Again, this category was not even close. Every child that had access to both a slingshot and arrows growing up has tried to put one on the other. The problem is that due to the gross lack of consistency, it is very difficult to accurately shoot an arrow from a slingshot.
The survival slingshot addresses this beautifully by allowing for the mounting of a whisker biscuit- style arrow rest directly to the slingshot. Even at 10 yards, my groups were reduced by an average of almost 8 inches. Initially, I was worried about the rest being too bulky for carry, but by removing the bolt and wing nut that held the rest to the plate, you can easily fold the slingshot and carry it together.
Verdict: Survival Slingshot
My overall judgment of the survival slingshot survival tool is one of two thumbs up. What it does, it does exceptionally well. One of the advantages to the Survival Slingshot is its versatility. It is very well constructed, almost indestructible, and I anticipate only needing to replace bands once worn out and possibly the arrow rest should I shoot that many arrows through it. Being that it is billed as a survival tool, I feel it legitimate to add the arrow rest as a survival option because you can find straight sticks, etc. just about anywhere, and they are a much more effective tool for taking down larger game than a ball bearing or smooth, round stone even without fletching. I did not get a chance to test an unfletched shaft, but plan to do so in the future. This tool will be an excellent addition to any hunter’s kit.
Have you ever considered having or adding a slingshot as part of your survival kit? Share your thoughts about slingshots in the comment section.