Camping & Survival

Slingshots for Survival

Man oneone knees shooting an arrow from a Survival Slingshot

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 Man oneone knees shooting an arrow from a Survival Slingshot 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.

Comparisons

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.

Verdict: Tie

Carryability

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.

Verdict: Marksman

Versatility

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

Arrow Accuracy

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

Final Thoughts

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.

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Comments (19)

  1. when i went to airforce survival shool I was not convinced that a slingshot would be of any use for survival, another member of our group had used one as a young boy and brought one along. i was glad he did, when some of our snares were empty, he was able to suppliment with a few bird. yes they can help keep you fed in a survival situation! you need to use all your resources, not limit yourself.

  2. I remember some years ago an outfit sold a sling shot…company was called “GAMEO” or something of that nature. I saw one in use, but never had one or used one. I suppose a person could take down rabbits or squirrels. Probably a few birds. And, it it’s survival by using a slingshot, or starving…why would anyone have a problem?

  3. You tube video. “4 Best Survival slingshot Revealed”. 5 part comparison of 4 different slingshots. The Survival slingshot did not win.

  4. The original Wrist Rocket has always been my favorite (especially with the yoke shaped like a “Y” rather than a “U”. The best ammo are 36-50 caliber lead balls, though you best get proficient with rocks before the SHTF.

  5. From my youth many decades ago I remember that we used to make slingshots out of the forked wood of a tree and rubber from old inner tubes with a leather pouch — you will never run out of trees/inner tubes/of leather for the pouches. Besides the blow-gun I seem to recall that David killed a large fellow using a slingshot.

    1. Well… Kind of.
      David used a SLING, which still uses a pouch and stone, but is swung around in the air to impart velocity to it.

  6. If Hillary gets elected….we may all be carrying slingshots instead of guns.
    Truthfully, a slingshot is a good unit to use on small game…but in order to be effective, such game will need to be fairly close. Round BBs with no spin will tend to slice off in one direction or another. But…you will be limited to rabbits, squirrels and such..which is better I suppose, than eating insects and leaves.

  7. I am also 58, and I have not shot my slingshot for many years, but I found out MARBLES make excellent ammo and are (used to be,anyway) cheaper than steel and are larger than 3/8″, maybe 1/2″ or 5/8″. They also have a pretty good range to them.

  8. Rather than carrying a slingshot for survival how about carrying a NAA 5 shot revolver. It is tiny, weights little, and 22LR probably weigh less than ball bearings.

    1. Love the NAA revolvers. But, if you don’t have any .22 lr you might as well load it in a slingshot and shoot it that way. Also, sometimes you don’t want to make that much noise.

  9. Yep, I have a slingshot in my go bag.
    It is a folding marksman, with a 35# band and pocket of my own making.
    I use a cable tie rig to set up a shelf for arrows between the bands, and hold the slingshot sideways at 45 degrees.
    It shoots light carbon arrows at 130 feet per second.
    I can group around 3 inches at 10 yards, 10 inches at 20 yards.
    Not exactly minute of bunny, but better than nothing.
    The bolt I like best is a lightweight aluminum blunt and floo floo fetching to be used on birds. They tend to sit still at closer ranges.
    Given a choice, I would prefer a .22 revolver, or a recurve bow… but what the heck… a 12 oz package that sits in my trunk at all times.

  10. I have an old modified slingshot that over the years find that its best with the 1/4″ ball bears.
    The bands I have been able to get are just not strong enough for my taste with anything larger or more heavy.

    There is quite a bit more to this all than most might think if you really get into it for very long.
    My biggest issue is the closing speed of your projectile. Which will also drag in the trajectory.

    As with any projectile the larger you get the more wind resistance, ie slower.

    Yet another is the weight, which is not always the larger projectile, but it can be; just don’t over look the fact that a lead solid round is more heavy than the same size of steel ball bearing.

    Then there is yet other options of tungsten, all sorts of different alloys like aluminum, even wood and some plastics.

    I must say I just recently saw this survival sling shot in a magazine while waiting my turn at the doctors office and I was interested, now after reading this its something I want to try out.

    I have even shot the one I modified across my chrony with different ammo. Its very useful with pellet rifles that I buildup and/or repair and 22 rimfire as well to chrony these as I have a target speed to get to or work one up for the different items in each barrel or in this case the bands and your cup size.

    Now the cup size or pouch on the bands, this is something else I would like to share on here if the size of this page will allow me 🙂

    Now me being 58 years old and much life behind me, the ammo for this slingshot in the traditional sense (ball bears) I like to refer to as pellet.

    So now we or hopefully on the same wave length, I like to have a set of bands with different size cup or pouch. One for shooting the ball ammo of choice, and another for a shotgun style ammo, ie flying birds. Yes I have found when very young that the shotgun style shooting was just as much fun. My grandfather turned me on this and where to get the ammo and how to fit a good cup in the pouch; more on that later.

    You need a little larger pouch. On all my pouches for single ball ammo or for the multiple ball I form a pressed in pocket in the center of the pouch by wetting the entire pouch by soaking in mild soapy water, then place the ammo which ever style, in the center from where it would be to launch the shot from. Now I press and stretch the leather of both sides equally around the shot.

    Then allow the cup to dry around the shot to form a perfect fit. Much like you do with a new baseball glove. This makes the placement of each ball in the same place each time, which helps the POI and with the shotgun load, it helps keep them all in the same place as well, but will allow you more shot count for better results. You just can’t have all the small pellets falling out as you aim and shoot.

    Sure this day and time we can get the ball shot of different material and size. Now as noted in this wonderful article about the survival slingshot and more importantly survival mode in the rough, having the shotgun cupped pouch its really easy to also find nice sized gravel for ammo.

    One of the all time best places for this even sized and small enough to be effective is a big red ant bed… yeap, find an ant bed and you can get the small rock those little six legged warriors will break loose and tote out of the bed. Its perfect for this when in a pinch. Many a bird has fell victum to those little ant rocks 🙂

    Now, that gives everyone some stuff to gather up for a survival weapon, I know I’m going to order me one of these survival slingshots and just see what its all about. Thanks for the heads up on what seems like a got to have weapon…

    1. Jeb,
      There is a flaw in your thinking. Any shotgunner can tell you that the larger the pellet the longer it keeps its velocity. I also shoot slingshots and found BPI’s nickle plated shot to work the best. First of all it is lead. Secondly it is very round and lastly the hard nickle plating makes it penetrate better. If a 3/8 steel ball works well, weigh it and buy lead shot of the same weight.

    2. Jeb, that is an AWESOME bit of advice that I can’t wait to try.

      Due to space, I didn’t go into other ammunition, but have used marbles and, yes, #2 lead pellets three at a time. They work rather well.

      Thanks for taking the time to reply.

  11. Not a bad items to have in a shtf scenario. They are fun to play with also. Another survival “tool” that is fun is a blowgun.

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