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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Slingshot for TEOTWAWKI Survival

Slingshot, made (a little too fast) by spanish...Image via Wikipedia
The slingshot is a pretty common weapon the world over. Many variations exist, but you've usually got some kind of elastic material, a pouch for holding your stone, and most of the time some kind of y-shaped stick or support. Many cultures use them for hunting small game--squirrels, lizards, birds, rabbits and so on.

I was one of those unfortunate boys who never had his own slingshot (or BB gun for that matter), so I have little practice with the weapon. Dave Canterbury had a great series of videos on his slingbow concept, and those got me interested in the potential of this weapon for survival use.

I picked up an inexpensive Crossman slingshot similar to this one., but didn't get much of a chance to test it out. It sat in my pack.

Recently, we've been having some pest problems in the form of rabbits eating our struggling patch of backyard grass. I've been trying to get the little guys with the slingshot, and have found it difficult to get any hits on the little guys. I can creep up to within about 5 yards of them while they're munching away at the yard. But no hits.

Aiming the slingshot is a little difficult, and takes practice and some gut instinct. I've got so that I can hit the inside of an overturned 5 gallon bucket fairly reliably, but a rabbit-sized target has so far eluded me. I've been trying to get one 'em every evening for the past 5 or so nights, and nadda. I have gotten up to 3 shots off on 'em before they're out of the yard, but nothing.

If this were a survival situation, and I was counting on those rabbits for food, I'd be starving. They would be an easy shot with a rifle or handgun at those ranges. Heck, I'd probably have better luck throwing a brick at 'em!

My point--beyond telling you how I'm a lousy slingshooter--is that for a slingshot to be a useful survival tool, you've got to be pretty skilled with one. Aiming is difficult, range is limited, power is limited--you've got to put in a quite a bit of practice. Don't get one and expect to be taking out birds from 50 paces out of the box.

Of course, that's like most tools--you need practice, and lots of it, to be competent with it. And if your life may depend on that tool, you'd damn well better be more than just competent with it--you'd better be a pro. You can't just throw something into a survival pack and expect it to save your butt if things go bad. As it's said, skills trump gear--and without skills, any gear that you have will be of little use.

Given the choice, I'd pick many a survival weapon over the humble slingshot. But, the slingshot does have some merit. It's quiet and easy to use in an urban or otherwise non-permissive environment. You can easily stow the multi-use bands in a survival kit and improvise the rest of the weapon if need be. You have essentially unlimited ammo--stones or whatever. The slingshot can fire a variety of projectiles--including arrows, as demonstrated by Dave Canterbury--making it potentially useful for hunting large game. I also imagine the arrows would be easier to aim than a stone or ball bearing. And they can be useful in launching line or wires over tall or distant objects.

Damn bunnies are back...let's see if I can get 'em this time...