I used to play with slingshots as a kid. In those days, we made our own out of Y-shaped branches we picked up among the trees on Table Mountain, and used strips of old bicycle inner tube (or, on one memorable occasion, my mother’s entire stock of elastic for clothing – she was not amused!) to make the sling. They could launch acorns, or small pebbles, or nuts from my father’s old-nuts-and-bolts jar, out to 20 or 30 yards. I never hunted with them, but plenty of other youngsters did (including a younger Lawdog, with hilarious results).
I hadn’t realized that slingshots have come a long way from those primitive beginnings. While looking online for a Christmas gift for a friend, I came across a whole range of hi-tech wood, steel and polymer creations, strung with surgical tubing and sundry other quasi-lethal launching devices. The Pocket Shot range, in particular, caught my eye. That thing looks deadly!
It looks even more deadly when launching arrows.
I must admit, I’d never thought of a slingshot as a bow replacement!
I wondered just how powerful a slingshot could get. I was answered by this video from the Slingshot Channel on YouTube. The narrator cast a huge block of ballistic gelatin (normally used to test bullet penetration), and tested ball-bearings fired from various slingshots. To my astonishment, using larger balls fired from more powerful slingshots, the depth of penetration rivals that of some handgun bullets!
You could quite easily kill someone with some of those combinations. You might not get the same penetration into the body that a bullet would, particularly through clothing, but one of those ball-bearings hitting the skull could very easily fracture it, and cause brain damage. I have no doubt some of them could penetrate an eye or an ear to reach the brain, too.
I’m going to have to re-evaluate slingshots. I’ve always thought of them as a child’s toy, but some of them are clearly much more capable than that, and much more dangerous, as their use in modern riots demonstrates – even as anti-aircraft weapons!
Of course, that shouldn’t surprise us, given the use of shepherd-style slings in ancient and not-so-ancient warfare (the story of David and Goliath comes to mind). If slingers can hit a bird on the wing, they should certainly be able to hit a low-flying drone. You can buy modern paracord slings, too. I might invest in one, to learn how to use it, just out of curiosity.