When most people think of slingshots, their heads are probably filled with images of cartoon trouble-makers ala Bart Simpson and Dennis the Menace. And while slingshots can certainly be used for the purposes of making mischief, they were not originally intended for that purpose. Rather, they’re a relatively modern reinterpretation of a much older tool: the sling (like the one used by David against Goliath in the biblical story). And that device, like its modern counterpart, was actually widely utilized for the purposes of hunting and survival.
You might think that, in this day and age, slingshots are all but obsolete — what with guns, bows and arrows, crossbows, etc. But we’d suggest looking at it a different way: using a slingshot is a way of developing better hand-eye coordination, they’re less intrusive and dangerous than firearms, they’re a good deal more approachable from a budgetary standpoint than any of the aforementioned alternatives, and more. If that sounds like something you might be interested in, you’ll definitely want to check out the following guide covering the best slingshots for survival.
Why Carry A Slingshot?
Old-School Survival Tool
Slingshots as we know them are a relatively modern invention, dating back to just the mid-1800s — a result of the fact that Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber in 1839 and patented the technology in 1844, which slingshots depend upon for their elastic, springy bands. And while they’re typically portrayed in media as the tools of troublemakers, they actually offer quite a lot of genuine value in the hands of a skilled user. We’ve mentioned a few benefits already, but we’d like to take a moment to outline them more in-depth and touch on a few others to better help you understand why you might want a slingshot for survival usage. The following are just some of the reasons you should pick up a slingshot:
Budget-Friendliness: Especially when compared to lethal firearms, slingshots are extremely budget-friendly — both in regards to the initial investment but also in regards to replenishing ammunition (rounds are much more pricey than BBs). In earnest, even the most high-end of slingshots can be purchased for a relatively reasonable price, especially when compared to the alternatives.
Hand-Eye Coordination Development: Target shooting of any kind requires a measure of hand-eye coordination to be done right, but utilizing a slingshot can take even more skill and can help you better develop said skill. Not only does a user need to be able to properly aim to send their ammunition in the right direction, but they’ll also need to properly judge distance, wind resistance, and numerous other factors — much like firing a bow and arrow, but with far less of a monetary investment.
Packability & Portability: The only other projectile weapon that even comes close to the packability and portability of a slingshot is probably a handgun. And, even then, handguns tend to be far heavier, as is their accompanying ammunition. By contrast, there are slingshots (worthy ones) that are small and slender enough to stash in the pocket of your jeans. When it comes to packability and portability, slingshots are tough to beat.
Unobtrusiveness: This ties in closely to the above metric, but we’re including it because it isn’t exactly the same thing. You see, thanks to the fact that slingshots are so compact, they’re also relatively lightweight and easy to use for people of all ages and skill levels. Yes, a professional with years of experience is going to be able to do things a beginner couldn’t fathom, but the learning curve for proficiency is shortened thanks to the manageability of the hardware. Put simply: firing a slingshot is easy to learn but difficult to master.
Hella Folding Slingshot
Proof positive that you can get your hands on a solid slingshot with a very small investment, Hella actually offers a folding slingshot that will set you back about the same as a restaurant hamburger. Built from a combination of steel and plastic, this slingshot includes a stabilization arm that can fold down for easier transport and comes with a powerful, stretchy band and a faux-leather pouch. As a starter slingshot, this one is an extremely solid buy.
Marksman Laserhawk III Slingshot
For just a few dollars more than the above option, the Marksman Laserhawk III has some significant upgrades (and one downgrade). These include (but are not limited to) a fully adjustable yoke, a band that’s good for shooting distances of up to 250 yards, and an extremely low weight. As mentioned, there is one downside: this one does not collapse for easier pocketing. Still, if you’re serious about taking your slingshot skills to the next level, this is a superb place to start.
Barnett 16043 Cobra Slingshot
There is no shame in utilizing training aids, especially when it comes to developing skills that might come in handy in a survival situation. For that reason, we’re fond of the Barnett 16043 Cobra Slingshot. With its metal frame, extended wrist brace, contoured Soft Touch grip, and powerful band, this is an excellent budget-friendly slingshot. But its biggest benefit comes from the included front-end sight, which makes aiming this slingshot even easier and will help you develop your hand-eye coordination faster, especially for beginners.
SimpleShot Axiom Ocularis Slingshot
As mentioned, there are slingshots on the market that are both high-end and highly compact/portable. The SimpleShot Axiom Ocularis is one such slingshot, measuring up at just 6″ in total height and 2.2oz in total weight. This also happens to be a recreation of SimpleShot founder Nathan Masters’ personal Axiom Ocularis model — which should lend credence to its overall value. Furthermore, it’s built from an injection-molded proprietary thermoplastic material offering “unmatched strength and reliability.” And it can be customized to accept flat bands, tubes, and looped tubes — letting you customize it to your shooting style.
SimpleShot Scout LT Slingshot
SimpleShot’s Scout XT was one of the brand’s most popular and successful models. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t room for improvement. Enter the SimpleShot Scout LT you see here, the result of years of work and listening to customer input. This sling is just as capable as its larger counterpart, but measures up at just 5″ in height — making it one of the smallest, best slingshot options available. And since it comes offered with 16 color combinations (four different frames and four different scales), it’s also exceedingly customizable.
Pocket Shot Survival Kit
By a wide margin, the Pocket Shot is the most unique and compact slingshot on our list — utilizing a circular frame with a pocket-style pouch that, together, can offer better consistency regarding speed, accuracy, and a shorter learning curve than any other slingshot on our list. But this particular kit is even better, as it actually includes a number of other survival tools, including fishing line, a saw, a compass, and even a storage tin in which you can store it all. Of course, if you want your pocket shot with a more traditional-style handle, the brand actually offers those, too.
Marksman Pocket Hunter Slingshot
You can try to fire an arrow with any of the slingshots on this list, but you’ll probably not be very successful. By contrast, however, the Marksman Pocket Hunter Slingshot was actually made specifically with this purpose in mind, marked by a pocket with a paracord pull tab, making it a far superior alternative. In fact, the sale actually includes a 31″ carbon arrow. Whether you’re a seasoned archer seeking out hardware that’s a bit more compact or you’re looking to make the transition into learning how to fire a bow and arrow, this is the slingshot for you.
TOPS Knives Sling
Though the investment comes with a significant jump in price, the overall quality and craftsmanship of the TOPS Sling is more than worth the extra scratch for those serious about their slingshots. After all, it was crafted here in the USA using rugged 1095 carbon steel, which is paired with black canvas Micarta for the handle scales, a top-grain leather pouch, and a powerful band. If you’re the type that had wooden slingshots as a child and you’re looking to recapture those glory days with something a bit more rugged and refined, you definitely can’t go wrong here.
The 8 Basic Survival Skills Every Man Should Know
For those who are, in fact, interested in slingshots for actual fieldcraft usage, there are a few other things you’ll probably also want to take into consideration regarding outdoor preparedness. For instance, we’ve put together this guide outlining the basic survival skills everyone should know, which could potentially save your life in a pinch.
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