Anthropologists have found several phenomena almost entirely ubiquitous across human cultures–dumplings, pancakes, bonding with pack predators. Perhaps even slingshots. While the actual technology of a slingshot is shockingly modern–dependent on Charles Goodyear’s invention of vulcanized rubber in 1839–the motion of pulling back to catapult ammo outward spans eons and eons of human history. Never too late to hop on the bandwagon, though.
Gear is gear. No matter what purposes you intend to use your slingshots for–and we do recommend amassing a multipurpose collection
Slingshots reign popular probably due to their many-faceted uses. They can be used as a survival tool for hunting and self-defense. They can be used as a household tool for critter control or knocking stuck balls and boomerangs free from trees. Slingshots also make for unbeatable fun, whiling away the hours shooting targets from your porch or striking cans in the air as a party trick to impress your friends.
Gear is gear. No matter what purposes you intend to use your slingshots for–and we do recommend amassing a multipurpose collection once you get handy with them–investing in the perfect piece for your purposes will make a world of difference, especially if you’re just starting out. Check out our extensive list for some great slingshot ideas, and get started using the simple laws of physics to make your life easier and more fun, just like humans have been practicing for all of history.
How to Spot the Best Slingshots
Over-the-top vs. Through-the-fork
One of the most important characteristics of your new slingshot will stem from its launching style. The two most prolific launch styles you’ll find on slingshots typically include over-the-top, and through-the-fork. The former has a lot of power, but the latter provides the benefits of additional aim. If you’re just starting out, opt for through-the-fork and make sure to choose a model with enough width that it gives literal room for beginner’s error.
Make sure to seriously consider the place where your hand meets these prospective slingshots. Grip is both a matter of shape and material. Some slingshots have a sturdy hammer grip, while others actually attach to your wrist. It’s all a matter of preference, and where your strengths lie. Think about the material too, and whether you’re more comfortable holding something made from stainless steel, nylon, wood, or more.
Buying slingshots isn’t a one-and-done endeavor. More than likely, you’ll have to replace your slingshot’s band and pouch regularly as normal wear and tear causes them to snap. That means there’s flexibility and customization built into your slingshot, but also opportunity to reconsider your ideal band type time and again. Flat bands are traditional, durable, and powerful, but tubular bands have lightning reload speed to help perform slingshot tricks.
To that end, consider what it is you’d like to shoot with your slingshot, working backwards from appropriate ammo to band and pouch parameters. Most slingshot ammo is spherical, including balls of different weights and materials. Think airsoft rifle or BB gun. However, slingshots can also project organic rocks and manufactured arrows with just a little more planning ahead.
Most slingshots are fixed, but higher-end models offer all kinds of adjustability, from shifting your slingshot’s yoke in order to alter its line of fire all the way to auxiliary features like sights and lasers that can be added to tailor your slingshot experience. If you want to build out your gear’s capabilities, then look for adjustability while choosing your best slingshots.
One of the greatest benefits of slingshots comes from their compactness–built of a simple, small construction that keeps it safe from most municipal regulations, slingshots are easy and helpful tools to keep stashed in your back pocket. Make sure your slingshot’s dimensions suit your lifestyle before hitting ‘buy,’ then get down to it. Happy shooting!
Slingshots for Every Type of Survival
Best All Around Slingshot: Axiom Ocularis by SimpleShot
Shortly after diving into the deep world of slingshots, you’ll find this subculture has its own expansive community. There are councils and competitions, and of course, conversations about fan-favorite gear. SimpleShot is one of the most buzzworthy slingshot brands out there today. Manufactured in the USA, the Axiom Ocularis is the company’s most popular offering. This is the official slingshot of SimpleShot company founder Nathan Masters, and its product description declares “The Axiom Ocularis Slingshot has won more slingshot tournaments in the USA to date!” Weighing in at 2.2 ounces and crafted from impenetrable polycarbonate, this all-around winner makes a reliable, compact tool for hunting and target practice alike.
Most Durable: Huntingdoor Hunting Slingshot
Looking for slingshots with a little more weight to them? Look no further than this stainless steel hunting slingshot by Huntingdoor, consistently rated by customer reviews amongst the most heavy duty slingshots on the market. Crafted entirely from rugged steel, this sturdy gear requires a slightly more trained eye and hand to manuever. However, those suited to its style will appreciate this slingshot’s bulk. “I just started shooting slingshots not too long ago,” writes one review. “Up to date I’ve had a few and can say I hate how light they make slingshots. But this one is different–I assume it’s full metal and has more weight than what I expected which is fantastic.”
Wrist Rocket: The Wing by Saunders Archery
At slightly higher price points, slingshot offerings expand into ever-more sophisticated territory. Saunders, one of the most respected names in archery, has crafted this wrist rocket for just over $60–an asking price that tops most standard slingshots but proves quite affordable after understanding how much this gear can accomplish. “The Wing™ slingshot floats on your fingers not gripped by your hand,” explains the product description. “This new shooting style means less torsion and greater accuracy resulting in an unmatched shooting experience… comfortable, relaxed and focused on the target not the discomfort of struggling with a conventional slingshot.” Make sure to check the details for your hometown’s local ordinances–wrist rockets are so powerful that some places ban their sale! Would you skip town for a slingshot?
Beginners’ Slingshot: Daisy Model F16 Slingshot
Don’t let the name on this one fool you–the Daisy Model F16 Slingshot is anything but flower soft, even if it is a great fit for beginners! We love this slingshot for anyone starting off thanks to its durable, ergonomic grip, sturdy steel frame, and extra-wide fork for those first timers learning how to handle and aim ammo through a slingshot. “Surgical-grade tubing and durable release pouch provides all the power you need,” the product description adds. Best of all, this slingshot marks one of the most affordable offerings on our list, which means you can try your hand at the sport without a huge financial commitment.
Adjustable: Marksman Laserhawk Adjustable Slingshot with Ammo
This fully adjustable, wrist-mounted slingshot by Marksman lives up to its name–the Laserhawk just might be the most powerful piece of gear included here in our guide. That’s because you can adjust the yoke or angle that you’re aiming at to reach distances up to 250 yards at super high velocity with the ammo of your choosing. This one’s most certainly not a toy–it even mounts to the wrist for supplemental shooting support. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.
For Tricks: (GZK)Top Bead-Stuck Slingshot Catapult for Rapid Shooting
This recommendation comes courtesy of Zachary Fowler, an outdoorsman turned YouTube sensation who came to fame when he won Season 3 of Discover Channel’s show Alone by surviving in the Patagonia wilds for 87 long, uninterrupted days. Fowler commands an impressive, full collection of slingshots for every purpose, and even sells some of his favorites on his own website. There, you’ll find this colorful and mighty invention by GZK, which Fowler cites as his favorite for performing slingshot tricks with his friends. That’s because this over-the-top slingshot’s bands are built for the fast reload required to shoot airborne targets. We’d say it passes consumer tests with flying colors!
For Arrows: Marksman Pocket Hunter Arrow-Propelling Slingshot 3075
Anybody interested in employing their slingshot specifically for hunting will want to select a device specially designed to shoot arrows. Once again, Marksman hits the mark with the utmost precision. The product description for this wrist-mounted slingshot explains that it “features a pocket and paracord setup that allows you to easily nock an arrow or cradle a shot,” along with “an adapter that allows accurate launching of an arrow.” For good measure, they’ve even included one feather-tipped arrow for ammo with purchase. Weighing in at a full one pound, this piece is a little heavier–with the price tag to match. But for its purposes, a practitioner can’t choose better.
Back to Basics: Best Slingshot No. 4 by Hella Slingshots
There’s a lot of great tech collected across this list, but true folks from the woods know this old maxim rings true–simplicity is king. While you can easily fashion a minimalist slingshot of your own design from a forked branch in your backyard and some sturdy rubber bands, Hella Slingshots has saved buyers a bit of effort by building this classic ready for consumption. Available through online outdoorsman aggregator Huckberry, this slingshot comes equipped with an official stamp of approval, but only hands-on experience illustrates its extensive benefits. Savor the wood’s sturdy walnut finish, with a comfortable hemp twine handle for easy gripping that still feels natural. No batteries, no blinking lights–just gravity and other forces of nature, like tradition dictates.