Is a slingshot right for your preps? Learn why and see how to use a slingshot for survival, hunting (small and large game!), fishing, and as a weapon.
When you think of survival weapons you probably don’t immediately think of slingshots.
In fact, when you think of slingshots, you probably imagine Bart Simpson causing havoc in his neighborhood. The story of David and Goliath also probably comes to mind.
However, a slingshot could be a great survival weapon for hunting game and for a little self defense.
When we say slingshot, we mean the rubber band type. Various types of slingshots can be bought or even bushscrafted out of vines, but for the purpose of this article we mean the classic “Y” shaped or over-arm type of slingshot that uses a rubber band.
In a survival scenario, you never know what you’ll face or how long it’ll be before you get home. In this situation, it is essential that you have an easy to carry weapon on your person at all times.
If you need some convincing, we have great reasons you should add a slingshot to your bug out bag.
Ammo Is Everywhere
Unlike pretty much every other weapon, you don’t need to bring any ammo when you plan to use your slingshot. Slingshot ammo is literally everywhere, every little rock you see can be ammo.
In comparison, if you bring a gun, you’ll eventually run out of bullets and you’ll have to scavenge for more. With a slingshot, all you have to do is find a pile of rocks and you’ve got a hundred pieces of ammo that will work.
While nearly any rock will work as slingshot ammo, ball bearing slingshot ammo works much better. They are smooth and aerodynamic, making them much more predictable to aim with. And boy do they penetrate!
If you want smooth rocks that are guaranteed to fly well, you should look near riverbeds.
They Are Lightweight And Small
Slingshots don’t take up much room in your bug out bag and they’re easy to use, even for a beginner, and they are also lightweight.
You can always fit a slingshot and a few extra rubber bands into any bag.
Slingshots are Self-Defense Weapons
While everyone thinks of slingshots as a kids toy, a shot to the head can crack a skull or knock someone out quite easily.
Slingshots can also be used as self-defense weapons. David, Goliath, and Bart Simpson all showed us how powerful a slingshot can be during a conflict. So can the many youtube videos of backyard slingshot shenanigans on watermelons and cinder blocks.
In fact, slingshots are a great way to defend yourself against aggressive humans and animals alike, if you can trust your aim.
Other Advantages To Using A Slingshot
Slingshots are easy to conceal because of their small size. You don’t have to worry about it getting wet, it will work just as well. And for the most part they are completely silent when fired, making stealth hunting easier.
How to Use a Slingshot in Real Life Survival Scenarios
In a real life survival scenario, you can use a slingshot for self-defense and hunting. A slingshot may not seem like the perfect hunting weapon, but they work well.
It gives you an active, stalking approach to hunting small game. With the right pellets, you can kill small game like a bird, rabbit, or squirrel at distances as far as 30 feet away.
Obviously you won’t have your scope with you, so you’ll have to aim the slingshot based on your best guess from experience. This is why practice is so important.
You could use other weapons you may have brought with you, but every weapon has its own issues. For instance, you could set a snare, but not use the right bait or just be unlucky (you’ll need a dozen of them and a lot of luck actually).
Can You Take Down Larger Game?
You can feed a couple of mouths hunting small game with a slingshot, but if you have a large group, you’re going to have to knock down a bunch of squirrels to feed them.
So what about larger game?
If you can snag a buck or a wild hog, you’ll be able to feed more people and fill up their bellies better. But will a slingshot take out larger game?
Yes, you can. It’s a bit harder, obviously, and requires good aim, but a slingshot can take down large animals (and people). You can do it with ball bearings or rocks, but it’s a lot easier with arrows.
With some simple modifications your slingshot can also fire arrows, typically called a slingbow mod. You can also buy pre-made slingbows, but the DIY mods are easy and it is significantly cheaper.
All in all it’s a whole lot easier to stick with small game and craft a bow or bring something like a crossbow if you really expect to hunt large game on a regular basis, but if the opportunity presents itself and all you have is a slingshot you should know that it can be done.
It just takes a bit of patience, practice, and the right opportunity. You’ll have to get closer than a bow, but that’s a small (but dangerous) sacrifice for a slingshots portability.
Usually you will stun the animal if you’re only firing rocks, so aim for the head and be ready to finish it off with a spear or knife while it’s down.
You can also take your slingshot fishing in shallow water. Remember that, just like bow fishing, the water will refract the light and the fish will actually be in a slightly different position than it looks.
Since the water will slow down the velocity of your ammo, the fish will likely only be stunned. After you stun the fish, you can grab it with your hands.
You can adapt your slingshot to shoot arrows as discussed above, and adding a fishing reel to make hauling in the fish easier is just as easy.
Build Your Own Slingshot
If you don’t have a slingshot in your arsenal when the manure hits the fan, you can always make one.
Here’s a great DIY video that shows you how to build a slingshot from scratch.
All you need to create a slingshot is a Y shaped base, small forked hardwood saplings are great for this, so are split and melted PVC pipes. You’ll also need some sort of rubber or latex band (rubber first air tourniquets are perfect), and some rocks.
if you don’t have the luxury of going to a store for these supplies, most of these items can be found in abandoned buildings, lying on the ground, or put together from other items in your bug out bag.
Disadvantages of Using a Slingshot
To be fair, there are disadvantages to using a slingshot as a survival weapon and tool.
A slingshot is not very predictable, especially if you’re using rocks of various weights and aerodynamics instead of ball bearing slingshot ammo. With practice and repetition you can guesstimate where to aim with excellent accuracy, but it’s always a little bit of a guess.
Another disadvantage revolves around the band used in most slingshots, usually made of latex. Over time, latex will harden and wear out all by itself. The more you pull and shoot the slingshot, the faster the band will wear out. It will also wear out quickly if left in the sun all the time.
However, if you’re lost in the woods for a few days/weeks this obviously isn’t a concern, but the band could break. Similarly, if the SHTF, looking for alternatives while you scavenge for other items won’t take much effort. Having a few backup bands stored up will allow you to be proactive in case your band snaps unexpectedly.
The other disadvantage to using a slingshot as a survival tool is eye, teeth, and facial injuries. They do happen, hundreds every year actually. As the band is pulled back, it is very near the shooter’s face. If you’re unlucky enough to have one break it’s going to come back at your face and hands.
Slingshots can be used by anyone – male, female, young, and old preppers. The weapon is a formidable weapon after you’ve trained with it and can hit a target reliably.
Slingshots are not a kids toy, a shot to the head can crack a skull or knock an animal or someone out, and they can easily kill small game. They are an extremely good choice for anyone that isn’t comfortable using firearms.
However, using a slingshot isn’t easy, you will have to practice…. a lot!
Practice makes perfect after all.