Guide to Slingshots

Slingshots have been used as a weapon since the early moments of history. These devices come in various different styles. You can find basic slingshots made using twigs and rubber bands and more sophisticated ones made using high-quality wood and elastic rubber bands. Slingshots go by different names in different countries, but they are a fairly versatile weapon used worldwide.

Invented in Russia, slingshots are a handheld projectile weapon that has been used as a toy and a weapon for hunting. They are highly versatile weapons as you can use them to practice your aim, hunt down small weapons, and defend yourself. Although they are simple to use, it takes quite some practice to shoot accurately. 

What Are Slingshots?

Slingshot on a white background.

A slingshot is a catapult device that is small and hand-powered. This handheld projectile weapon comes in various forms. The classical shape includes a y-shaped frame with two natural rubber strips or tubes. These strips are attached to the upper two ends of the y-shaped frame. The other sides of the straps lead back to a pocket, where the projectile is held. 

When shooting a slingshot, one hand will hold the frame while the other will grasp the pocket and drawback. By pulling back the slingshot, you will provide power for the projectile. It is recommended to pull back the band as much as you can. When you are using it for hunting, the farther you pull the band, the more deadly the shot will be. 

Types of Slingshots

Let’s first learn about the different slingshot types available today. Remember that countless small factors can influence how a slingshot is used and how it performs; hence I’m going to stick to the three instrumental types of slingshots (from which everything else is derived). 

1. Conventional Y-Shape

This is the design that comes to mind when you hear the word “slingshot.” It’s the most traditional type of slingshot that distinctly resembles the English alphabet Y. A rubber tube or band is attached to either side of the forks; there is a pocket in between said fork that holds the projectile or ammo. 

Back in the day, wood was primarily utilized to make slingshots. Wood was strong and easily accessible, so it provided the right balance between quality and cost. There were two further distinctions: handmade and machine-milled. 

The Zip-Zip slingshot is the oldest commercial slingshot ever; it was made in 1918 and is also credited as one of the first slingshots developed using modern techniques, milled from cast iron boasting a solid frame; more durable than wood. Before this, all slingshots were handmade from scratch.

Fast forward to today, contemporary slingshots are designed using plastic, wood, and metal. Metal is a sturdy material, and it lasts the longest in all conditions, which makes it ideal for long hunting sessions. It’s also lighter than both plastic and wood. Metal slingshots’ reliability makes them more expensive than other slingshots, but if you want to use a metal slingshot, you can buy a hybrid that combines plastic or foam grips with an aluminum or steel frame.

Plastic slingshots don’t hold up as well, but slingshot manufacturers offer them in diverse qualities that accommodate their price. Hence plastic slingshots are the most affordable option and often recommended for beginners. If you’re looking for a tactical slingshot, then you should avoid plastic and stick to metal. 

Lastly, the classic wooden frame is a good middle ground between metal and plastic. Still, it’s not recommended for outdoor activities or longer hunting sessions as wood does not endure well against severe climate such as rain. Laminated wood is an option for those who must go for wooden slingshots for hunting as it persists better against water or snow.

2. Wrist Rocket 

Also known as wrist support slingshots, this was the next step in the innovation of slingshots. The drive to achieve more power and precision with these tools led to creating a slingshot that boasted a harness that would sit atop your wrist. 

Surgical tubing is used in wrist support slingshots, and that’s why the invention of this slingshot came at about the same time as the invention of surgical tubing. This type of tubing was much more powerful than standard rubber or flat bands, so manufacturers saw an opportunity to implement this in newer slingshots.

The only problem was that because of that extra power, drawback was greater as well. You needed to pull back forcefully on the tubing to get a good shot, so it wasn’t comfortable and proved to be very fatiguing. 

Therefore, wrist support was made and connected to the bottom of the slingshot to provide stability and confidence when pulling back the pocket. This helped fight against wrist fatigue and made taking shots with surgical tubing a lot easier. 

Because of the nature of this type of slingshot, it’s not as portable as an orthodox slingshot. A wrist support slingshot is bulkier, heavier, and packs in a whole lot more resistance but at the same time power, which makes it very suitable for hunting down animals or competing in professional tournaments. 

Even if they’re not as compact, they still provide an edge over other hunting equipment like guns and fully-fledged bows because a slingshot is smaller and more pocketable than both of those options. Plus, the wrist support can fold inwards, making the slingshot easier to carry around. 

3. Slingbows

Coming to our final inclusion, this type of slingshot is explicitly meant for the hunters. It was made keeping shikaris in mind as it offers the most amount of power and performance out of any slingshot possible. 

A slingshot bow is just a regular slingshot that has been modified to support arrows in straightforward terms. It includes an arrow rest between the two forks and a different type of tubing that works with certain arrow nocks. 

The powerband used in sling bows is much stronger and robust than even surgical tubing and provides great drawback resistance, so you need a lot of force to pull it back. That’s what makes sling bows so potent and powerful. 

Like wrist rockets, these slingshots can also come with wrist support to provide better stability and align the shot perfectly. The grips on sling bows are made to be very ergonomic, so you not only feel comfortable while holding them but also so you can have a firm grip of the slingshot itself. 

The size advantage of sling bows allows them to be almost as effective as standard bows yet still being much more manageable. If your goal is to hunt down larger animals, then slingshot bows are perfect for you as they’re very much capable and still significantly more portable than any larger hunting tool, such as firearms. 

Why Carry a Slingshot?

A person using a slingshot in a forest.

Although slingshots are portrayed as a toy in the media, they can be deadly when made with high-quality material and proper ammunition. A slingshot offers a lot of value to the user and can be used for survival and hunting purposes. There are various reasons why a slingshot is a valuable weapon to carry with you. 

1. It is Budget-Friendly

Slingshots are budget-friendly compared to other kinds of lethal firearms that hunters are fond of. If you do not want to purchase one, you can make one yourself. Additionally, you can use anything as ammunition. Small rocks and other larger debris make for excellent ammunition. Ensure that whatever you choose is dense so that your shot can make an impact. 

One of the best ammunition you can use is steel balls, as they are reusable. They can be a bit pricey, but you can reuse them, which makes them a good value for money. Since they are dense objects, they make their mark and help you shoot down your target.

2. It Improves Hand-Eye Coordination

Target shooting of any kind requires hand-eye coordination. Using a slingshot, you can significantly improve your hand-eye coordination. Since using slingshots needs a bit of practice, you will most likely sharpen up your skills, and this will help you aim better with other weapons as well. One of the biggest reasons people pick up slingshots as a hobby is to improve their hand-eye coordination and aiming skills. 

3. Portable

Slingshots are small devices, meaning you can easily pack them and take them with you. They are rarely larger than a handgun, meaning you can store them with your hunting gear without them taking up a lot of space. Since they are slender, you can also stash them in your pockets. They are perhaps the most portable and packable hunting devices available. 

4. Unobtrusive

Slingshots are lightweight and easy to use, making them accessible to a large variety of people. No matter your age and gender, you can practice and master using a slingshot. Although becoming a professional takes time and practice, you can learn the basics and how to aim pretty easily. Additionally, using a slingshot is simple, which reduces the learning curve significantly. 

Band Type


Close up of a man ready to shoot a slingshot


There are two dominant band types that are present in the market today. Choosing the correct band type is extremely important because it determines how the slingshot will respond to you. The two main types available on the market include the flat rubber type and the rubber tubing type. 

Choosing the correct type of band depends on what you will use the slingshot for. Tubing bands are known for being more durable, while flat bands help you get better aim and are perfect in self-defense scenarios. 

1. Flat Bands

Slingshots that use a flat band help you get a much quicker and more accurate shot. This is thanks to the rapid snapback speed feature within the band. A snapback speed feature determines the rate at which your projectile will move faster. If you need to make a shot quickly, a flatbed is the best choice. 

Due to their snapback feature, you can use them for hunting and fighting against potential attackers. They also produce a quicker projectile speed and are extremely easy to draw, making them an ideal weapon for many. Therefore, flat bands are the best if you are firing for accuracy.

2. Rubber Tubing

Rubber tubes are designed to last for far longer than flat bands. If you are looking for a durable slingshot, you should choose one with rubber tubes. There are a variety of slingshot tubes that you can purchase. These different kinds are designed to cater to specific draw weights, meaning you can choose one to customize your slingshot to make it perfect for you. 

Slingshot Ammo

A slingshot and stones on the ground.

For slingshots, you can use any available ammo that can fit in the pouch. You can use stones, nuts, or anything that is dense and has sufficient weight. Although a slingshot can be effective with virtually any small object, the best ammo you can use is steel, glass, and lead balls.

As these are smooth and spherical, they provide less drag and have more predictable aerodynamics. One of the advantages of using steel balls is that they can be retrieved and reused. This makes them environmentally friendly and much more pocket-friendly. 

Lead balls are also preferred in the slingshot community because they are denser than other kinds. They pack a lot into a small package and can slightly flatten on impact. This can cause more tissue damage, making them much more effective. They are somewhat expensive but are incredibly efficient at their job.

How To Select The Best Hunting Slingshot?

Slingshot with various ammunition options

When starting out with a slingshot, you may think that you can use any basic slingshots to practice. While that is true, having a good slingshot can help you learn more quickly. Well-made slingshots are also easier to use and have various advantages. 

Since they are often used in dangerous situations as a self-defense weapon, having a good slingshot is essential. Here are some features you should look out for to choose the right slingshot for your needs. 

1. Frame Material

A slingshot’s frame is the most crucial part as it is what provides structural integrity to this handheld catapult weapon. Various materials are used to make a slingshot frame; each has advantages and disadvantages. The three most common materials include plastic, wood, and metal.

Plastic slingshots are the most common and economical of the three. You can easily find slingshots made using different plastic subtypes, each with advantages and disadvantages. Glass-filled nylon is perhaps the best frame material if you are looking for a plastic slingshot. The material is not only lightweight but also highly durable. 

Wood slingshots are some of the oldest kinds out there, and they make sturdy slingshots. Metal slingshots are light but highly durable. They are the most expensive of the three types, but they will last you the longest. If you purchase a steel slingshot, ensure it comes with an ergonomic foam handle. 

2. Grip

When using a weapon of any kind, it is essential that you are comfortable and confident in yielding it. You can easily mess up your shot if you are unsure or have the wrong stance. Additionally, suppose you are uncomfortable with your device. In that case, it can take much longer to get the hang of it and learn how to use it properly. 

A comfortable slingshot also helps you produce fewer blisters and shoot more accurately. It can also help reduce wrist and hand fatigue which is common with slingshots. When purchasing a slingshot, ensure that you purchase one with ergonomic or contoured handles, as they are the easiest and most comfortable to grip. 

3. Hollow Handle

A hollow handle is an excellent feature to have in a slingshot. It allows you to store additional ammunition and spare bands. Hollow handles can be a lifesaver if you are in a dangerous situation and run out of ammo or if your band breaks. 

In such a situation, having extras can mean the difference between life and death. If you plan to take your hollow hand 

4. Cuff

The cuff is also called the keep of the slingshot and is attached to the band. It is one of the most essential parts of a slingshot since it directly comes in contact with the ammo. When purchasing a slingshot, ensure that the cuff is made of an ideal material, such as leather, because it holds the ammo a lot better and is long-lasting. 

Professionals prefer the cliffs of their slingshots to have magnets. This feature allows you to keep your ammo in place and prevent it from repeatedly falling when you set your aim and direction. You must use magnetic balls with such slingshots because the magnet will not work on ammunition made of any other material. 

It is also essential that the magnet is not too strong. Otherwise, it won’t let go of the ball when you let go of the band. 

5. Durability

When purchasing a slingshot, you must consider how durable it is. A slingshot’s body is made using various materials, such as metal, wood, and plastic. Among these materials, metal slingshots are the most durable. There are various other bands, of which the two most popular rubber tubes are the most durable and can withstand wear and tear the best.

The durability of your slingshot is essential because it determines how long you will be able to use it. Suppose you are a beginner and learning your way around a slingshot. In that case, you must purchase a durable one because the wrong stance and improper usage can cause the prongs or band to snap.

6. Size and Weight

The size of the slingshot you purchase is another important consideration. It is extremely important that you are comfortable when you are using your slingshot. If you use a slingshot that is too big or too small for your hands, you will feel uncomfortable, and it will be much harder for you to aim accurately and with power. 

To avoid any such discomfort, hold the slingshot in your hand and turn it around once or twice to ensure it is not too heavy. Of all the common materials that slingshot bodies are made of, plastic is most preferred due to its lightweight nature. 

Pros and Cons of Slingshots

Before you embark on the journey of learning to use slingshots, there are a few pros and cons that you should be aware of. 

Pros Cons
They have a simple mechanism and you can make them yourself. They are not an effective hunting tool and can only kill if you make a headshot.
They are versatile and you can use them for hunting, self-defense and even target practice. They require a lot of practice. 
You can use anything as ammunition.


  • Is a slingshot easy to learn?

Yes, a slingshot is an easy-to-learn tool because of its simple mechanisms. You must learn the fundamentals early on so that you do not make mistakes when you learn more technical maneuvers and how to aim and shoot. 

  • How do you hold a slingshot properly?

To hold a slingshot properly, it is essential that you are in a comfortable position. The first thing you need to do is use your principal hand to hold the slingshot. This is because it is much more stable and helps produce an accurate shot. Then use your secondary hand to pull back the ammo. In this stance, you are the most stable, which allows you to aim correctly and accurately.

  • Can you hunt with a slingshot?

Yes. You can hunt with a slingshot because it causes blunt-force tissue damage. When you hunt using a slingshot, it is vital that you only make headshots; otherwise, the animal may get injured and run away. If you make a headshot, the animals will most likely die, which is much more humane than hitting them on the head.


Slingshots are an excellent tool for both hunting and just enjoying yourself on a lovely weekend. You don’t need to stalk big game to get the joy out of playing with slingshots. 

You may not feel confident with your slingshot right off the bat as it takes some getting used to. Playing around with different bands, figuring out your preferred resistance, along with some practice, is all you need. But once you’re more comfortable, it won’t take long before you turn into a full-on hobbyist.