Slingshots and slingshot shooting is dangerous. About the safest thing you can do with a slingshot is to leave it unbanded, store it in your closet, occasionally take it out to admire it and then put it back up.
However, if you do decide to actually use your slingshot then following these numbered rules will help to keep you safer, although there is nothing specified or implied that will guarantee you will be safe even if you do follow these rules...
Rule number one, make sure you're an adult or you are using the slingshot only under close adult supervision. All the same safety rules that are commonly associated with the use of a firearm are applicable.
Rule number two, ALWAYS check your band set, pouch and connections to make sure they are all in perfect working order. If there is even the smallest imperfection change out your band set to one that has no cuts, tears, holes or other problems. Then stress check your attachments to make sure there is no slippage or other undesired movement.
Rule number three, ALWAYS wear safety glasses. Slingshots use rubber and or natural latex compounds... Due to naturally occurring variances, there are NO guarantees either specified or implied about how long a band set will last before failure... no one can tell you how long a band set will last before it breaks... and they ALL fail at some point. SO always be safe, if you're going to shoot with a slingshot, wear safety glasses and always check your band sets and attachments before EVERY shot. If it is not perfect, put a new one on.
Rule number four, NEVER aim your slingshot at someone or something that you do not want killed or destroyed. Slingshots are capable of inflicting serious injury or even death with even the "lightest" of band and ammo setups.
Treat slingshots the same way you would treat a loaded gun.
Rule number five, before EVERY shot make sure there is no damage to your slingshot itself. If there is any damage including but not limited to: cracks, dents, scrapes, breaks, or any other signs of damage, DO NOT use the slingshot without thorough testing being done by a competent professional first... and even after testing always use the slingshot in a cautious manner.
Rule number six, you are shooting at your own risk. We already recommended the safest course of action is to keep the slingshot on a shelf in your closet and to never use it... if you do decide to shoot even after we recommend differently... then refer to rules number 1 - 5 as reference for a possible safer way to accomplish that.
Everything you need to know to get you up and running with your new Pocket Predator! If you can't find your answer on the video, then hopefully the answer is below:
Frequently Asked Questions, Answered
On this page we will attempt to answer some of the most common and frequently asked questions that we receive.
Question: I see some tiny lines on my slingshot, are they cracks, scratches, or something else?
Answer: The material the slingshot is made from (solid polycarbonate) is literally used in
ballistic applications such as bullet "proofing" and in
static barrier protection (shielding) against shrapnel in industrial environments.
In civil application it's most commonly seen in use as safety glasses (made very thin, 1/8" or less, then machine polished after demolding).
But there is a problem though, Polycarbonate has to be heated higher than other polymers, and it shrinks about 1/2% as it cools down after being injected
into the molds.
What you see as the little lines on the surface are what we refer to as "shrinkles".... because the piece is so thick, the outside will be almost cooled off while the inside can still be very hot
(due to the insulative qualities of the material)... so what ends up happening are tiny shrink lines form on the surface because of the differing cooling rates between the outside of the slingshot and the interior...
The outside is more rapidly
cooled than the inside due to cooling tubes built into the molds so the piece can be ejected from the mold in a timely manner.. otherwise it would take well over an hour per slingshot to make them, instead of the 5 to 7 minute molding time it takes
Of course, you would see less "shrinkles" if the slingshot were to be thinner (0.5" or so) because there wouldn't be enough difference in the temperature between the outside and the inside when cooling.... But, because we opted for a
thicker, stronger, heavier, more substantial slingshot... solid, no hollow core, no inletting.... wanting something as close to the actual original design as possible, and therefore as close to an actual custom as possible as well...
there are a few quirky little compromises that have to be made, and those tiny "shrinkles" are one of them.
Question:What is G10.. micarta etc..?
Answer: G10 is extremely strong, many times stronger than the strongest wood or plywood.
Thin layers of G10, usually 1/8" - 1/4" thick are sometimes used on custom tactical knife handles to provide an almost indestructible yet attractive grip.
With a slingshot you're looking at 3/4 - over an inch thick of G10... very expensive but worth it for the final product.
Think of G10 and how plywood is structurally stronger than regular wood and then how it's made... a thin layer of wood, glue, wood turned 90 degrees,
glue, wood, glue, wood and so on used to form a laminate....
G10 is sort of like that, instead of wood and glue though, sheets of high tensile strength fiberglass and epoxy are layered up to form a laminate
then it's subjected to tremendous pressure and
heated to form a board that is so strong that it can only be worked with by using special diamond and tungsten carbide tools.
Ballistic G10 has the addition of carbon and carbon fiber in the laminates, which makes it a little lighter in weight but increases impact resistance
by about an additional 30%. Ballistic G10 is also harder
to work and costs more.
Canvas Micarta is created the same as standard G10 but uses cotton canvas in place of fiberglass sheets. Layered effects can be created in
Micarta and or G10 by using alternating colors for each layer.
There really is no better material for making a slingshot out of. The only problem is, G10 is quite expensive so many people settle for
a less expensive alternative..
therefore we offer other slingshots in HDPE, Polycarbonate and aircraft aluminum for a lot less cost.
BUT if you truly want the best of the best, then it's G10 all the way!
Question:Common terms used? Jargon? Elevation, windage, poi, poa...?
Answer: Jargon basically means "any commonly used specialty words used in any field or endeavor".
Some examples used in shooting and marksmanship would be "windage" and "elevation"... Windage basically means what effect or how far left or right the wind
pushes a projectile... but it can also refer to how far left or right a projectile hits in relation to it's intended impact point (Point Of Impact, "POI").
Elevation refers to exactly what it sounds like it would... how high or low the projectile hits in relation to it's intended POI.
POA, or Point Of Aim, refers to where you intend to send the projectile... it's where you are aiming... elevation and windage are what you correct for when
aiming to gain a more accurate shot.
Question:Which is faster (more powerful) tubes or flat bands?
Answer: Generally speaking flat bands are capable of more speed and therefore more power than tubes. Of course there are trade offs
though... the faster the elastic travels the greater the impact against the forks and the quicker it begins to wear... because of that, for the most part, flats are faster and easier pulling (more efficient)
but tubes usually last longer before breaking down. Of course if you shoot the flats less than what they're capable of, not maxing them out every shot, they will generally last the same amount of shots
as tubes before breaking down.
Question: What is the most powerful slingshot you sell?
Answer: Power really depends on the bands or tubes that are attached to the slingshot... All the slingshots we sell are
capable of handling the heaviest weight bands that are commonly available. Of our most commonly produced slingshots, the Polycarbonate and the Ballistic grade G10 slingshots are the strongest...
able to take many times what the strongest man could ever pull on a slingshot.
How do I cut bands to compensate for my particular preferred ammo size
This is both an easy and a difficult question to answer, because glass, steel and lead all have different specific masses (weigh different per same size).
But, I'm going to try and make it as easy as possible for you to understand, regardless.
So what I'm going to do is give you the formula for steel ball ammo, and since lead is about 50% heavier and glass is about
50% lighter than steel it's going to be fairly easy to compensate from there.
For 0.03 thickness latex you simply cut the small end so that it's 1 1/2 times the size of the ammo and the large end is
twice as wide as the ammo.... So 1/4" steel ball ammo needs tapers of 3/8" X 1/2"... and 1/2" steel ball ammo needs tapers
3/4" X 1".
For glass ammo, the small end of the taper needs to be the same size as the ammo with the wider end being 1 1/2 times the
of the ammo.... a 1/2" marble uses tapers of 1/2" X 3/4" and a 3/4" marble uses 3/4" X 1" tapers.
For lead ammo, your cuts can either be 50% wider than steel's....
or simply use two bands per side instead of one, and utilise the formula for glass marbles.
(1/2" lead ball, TWO 1/2" X 3/4" tapered bands per side of the pouch.)
For straight cut bands, make them about 1 3/4 wider than the ammo (steel).
For Theraband Gold, it's a tiny bit thinner than 0.03, so to compensate cut about 5% wider.
Question: POA, POI? what is it and how does it work?
Answer: I think a simple illustration might be the best way to explain:
Question: Why wrap the bands to the outside of the for TTF instead of the inside?
Answer: Just a few of the many reasons: "One line aiming" to the target...
the bands are wider to prevent bunching up... by having the bands on the outside, when the bands pass through they hit the fork on the edges of the pouch
and make sure that it opens for a safer shot (almost zero chance of a return to sender "rts" shot)....
Many designs (HTS for example) can be banded on the outside or the inside just depends on your preference, but for the most part the outside is our preference!
Question: Which is better a wrist brace slingshot or a nonbraced slingshot?
Answer: A properly designed wrist braced slingshot is very difficult to beat because of the added stability potential. Yet, if
you use a well designed nonbraced slingshot with lower forks there isn't much difference and if you use a proper sized and fitting lanyard, so that it binds the bottom of the slingshot to your hand, a non-wrist
braced design can actually be superior... plus since the non wrist braced slingshots are FAR more pocketable... most people would consider them better overall.
Question: Are slingshots good for survival, and how?
Answer: When we were first approached by SERE school instructors to suggest a good survival slingshot for use by downed pilots and
others in need of a real and useful tool... At first we were not on board with the whole concept. Our first response was, "We don't know that slingshots would be that good in a situation like that"...
"They're not really capable of bringing down big game with depends on
your life consistency and it takes a while to learn how to shoot one well enough so that you can harvest small game in enough quantity to make a substantial difference over trapping and fishing"...
It was the survival instructors themselves that insisted slingshots probably would be a good addition to the pilot's "ditch bag" as most survival actually depends on taking advantage of situations when they present
themselves... for example, if there's water you might be able to fish... if there's clear and well used game trails you might be able to trap something... and if there's a rabbit that you suddenly come upon
30 feet in front of you, a slingshot is the correct tool for the job.... In other words they came back saying slingshots could have a place so long as they are small enough to be in the ditch bag in the first place,
if the slingshot is intuitively accurate enough so that the user can learn to shoot it effectively enough without years of practice to take small game from relatively short distances.
So yes, under those circumstances, a slingshot can and IS a good survival tool... of course it should not be your sole means of procurring food, but used in conjunction with other tools and strategies it does
have it's place.
Now you may ask, which is the best slingshot for survival?... and of course the answer is, the one you have with you at the time it's needed! For example, due to size requirements the SERE slingshots are small enough
to fit in a small "go" bag, and of course they are very strong and very versatile.... BUT, there's many others that can work just as well... so long as you have it with you when it's needed...
Question: My bands are slipping after I tie them on, how to fix?
Answer: Tie tighter!... Or just follow what I show to do in the video below:
Question: How do you light matches with your slingshot?
Answer: Very carefully!
But seriously though: First you need to use strike anywhere matches... not strike on box matches. If you can strike the match on a rough surface, like rusty metal
for example, then you're good to go.
Next, understand that the match will light only if you can barely skim it on the very tip, OR if you can hit it where the lighter colored tip and darker
colored part of the tip touch... You have to kind of crush the lighter color into the darker color.... to do this you will want the match head to be aiming in
your direction, but off by about 45 degrees up or down, so that you can see where the lighter colored tip and darker color come together.
Hanging the match with a bit of tubing on wire is a good way to get the right angle of attack, but a lot of other ways work too.
Your ammo, it doesn't matter if it's perfectly smooth or rough... at the speed and the amount of area the match tip is hit, there's not a real scraping action
going on, more of a crush.
I've found that if you can shoot at around 190 - 210 fps, with 200 fps being the absolute sweet spot.... you will be a lot more successful than if you're
slower or faster.
We used to offer the proper matches on our website... but postal regulations and some people with less than common sense made it impossible to continue.
Brands of matches to use.... make sure they are labeled "strike anywhere" matches... eBay is your friend here
Penley, the best.
UCO, almost as good as Penley, more available, but kind of stink when lit
Diamond, the old red and whites are good, but more than likely you can only find the green tips, which work okay sometimes.
Red Bird. Canadian strike anywhere's... work okay
Making your own strike anywhere matches from strike on box matches.... easy to do, and not really that much of a hassle. The only draw back is you'll only get
a limited number from a large box.
First, soak the striker strip on the side of the box with Acetone or nail polish remover...
Second, scrape off the slurry created with a razor blade or knife, and put it in a moisture proof container.
Third, thin the slurry with more Acetone and paint it lightly on the match tips.
Four, dry the matches completely
Five, hang and use!
Water can be used instead of acetone, but it takes a lot longer to dry and results are not as consistent because acetone melts the glue in the striker strip better.
Question: My slingshot is shooting low/high how do I fix it?
Answer: There's several ways to compensate for point of aim (POA) vs. point of impact (POI)... Like if you're shooting low, then
lowering your anchor point will fix it... but also increasing your speed or shooting with a slingshot with a little less width on the outside will do it as well... If you're shooting high, then you simply do the
With the original Hathcock target sniper frame, I generally need to shoot at about 220 fps to have the POA and POI intersect at 10 meters.... the way I get to 220 fps is by using a longer draw...
but you may prefer either using maxxed out single bands or going to doubles.
Of course there is that third option... using a slingshot with a little less outside fork width... if you're shooting in the 200 fps range, a 4 inch wide fork will get you pretty close to dead on target at 10 meters, and with the band setup you're using... I'm going to guess you're at about 195-200 fps... with is fine for hunting and stuff but for that match lighting precision, you're probably going to need to go faster or more narrow.
In our range of slingshots there are many that are 4 inches at the outside of the forks. In fact the Polymer Hathcock and the BoyScout both fit that criteria!
Question: How do I compensate for shooting up or down... like on a hill?
Answer: Generally speaking... and I do mean generally... when you shoot down at something, most people tend to shoot under the target...
and when shooting at an upward angle most people tend to shoot over the target.
To compensate you must do something that may seem a little counter-intuitive... and that is aim exactly the same as you do when shooting into your catchbox... Generally speaking, the rise and or fall of the ammo will not be enough to shoot any
different than you already do at other elevations.
Question: No matter how much I try, I can't hold a steady aim point, help?
Answer: Strength definitely helps when shooting a slingshot accurately.... For example, now that I've been spending so much time making slingshots and a lot less time working out... my belly's bigger, my arms are weaker and my "natural" accuracy has suffered.
BUT there is a way around it... Lanyards used as an armbrace, using lighter bands and pulling further, even changing up your pouch hold and release can help....
yet the single most effective way is timing.
If you find it extremely difficult to hold on your target... then instead of trying to control the inevitable movement (usually up and down) by muscling it...
take control of it by intentionally adding a little movement yourself... Exagerate the up and down just a little...
time it and control it just enough so that the up stroke touches the target exactly like you want and release your shot at the apex.
With this technique even people with palsy can hit their mark with just a little practice.
Question: How do I optimize my bands for more speed/power?
Answer: Make sure you're using an optimized draw ratio... A Four to one draw ratio is the approximate average most people seem to like to
shoot with. BUT, speaking in a general sense, a 5 to 1 ratio is much closer to optimal for most setups...
measuring the band from the fork tip to where it's attached at the pouch, gives you the inactive length... if the inactive or slack length is 10 inches then a 50 inch draw length is close to optimal. If you have a
30" draw then 6" of slack length brings you to the 5:1 ratio, and your band's speed that's tranferred to the ammo will be vastly improved.
The only thing to remember is, you will gain a lot more speed, but your band's useful life will be less... nothing goes without a cost.
Question: Which bands are the best?
Answer:ON AVERAGE, the absolute best flatbands you can use are as close to pure latex as possible at a thickness of 0.030"...
However, these bands
are very susceptable to UV damage and although they do shoot faster and easier than anything else over a greater variety of ammo weights and sizes, they also abrade and wear out faster as well.
So compromises have to be made...
Price, availability, toughness and contraction speed have to be factored to try and come up with best OVERALL band... and after a lot of consideration and testing, Theraband Gold made by Hygenic
(averaging about 0.027" thick), seems to
offer more advantages and less disadvantages over pretty much every other flat band. Yes there are faster shooting bands, yes there are more wear resistant bands and yes there are less expensive bands as well...
but, OVERALL on AVERAGE, Theraband Gold (TBG) performs the best. Thinner latex formulations can be somewhat faster, but they're also far less durable.
Slower elastics like gum rubber are far more common and somewhat more durable
than TBG, but are not near as fast. Medical grade latex is about 5% faster and is close to as durable as TBG but costs more and is not nearly as UV resistant... so when looking at the big picture,
Theraband Gold is
"Good Enough" to win out over pretty much everything else. Of course if you have specific purposes in mind, like fastest speed possible, or longest lasting, or most weather resistant or something else... then there
are specific latex formulations and configurations that will work better... for example, rubberbands are a lot slower but are far less costly and a lot more available, theraband black is faster but is more expensive
and doesn't last as long, linatex is more durable and weather resistant but it's more expensive and not as fast... and it goes on and on.
Question: Which tubes are the best for hunting?
Answer: This is a very debated issue... many different people have many different takes on it...
and here's ours... The object of hunting is to kill the game you're after, and to do it in a responsible, efficient manner... it's not about who can pull the heaviest bands, shoot the biggest ball or even shoot the
fastest... it's about putting lead on target and ending the life of the game you're after as quickly and painlessly as possible. That takes speed, accuracy and power.
That being said, looped Chinese 1745 size tubes propelling 10mm - 12.4mm (.395-.50 caliber) lead ball ammo, seems to be the absolute most versatile, efficient, easy to shoot and available...
plus you can effectively use it
on a large variety of game ranging in size from Dove to Jackrabbit.
True you can find or make tube setups that can launch virtual cannonballs that will last a very good amount of time, but most of these setups are not able to be used effectively by very many shooters,
the draw weight to
elongation ratios make it difficult to be very accurate at normal hunting distances (to much fork shake)... and yes, you can find
and or make tube setups that will launch a ball much faster than a regular 1745 looped tube set, but they will not last near as long, are more expensive, less available and they don't
kill the animal any deader than the 1745 setups either.
Now, if you were asking about the best Target setup using tubes, that would be a whole different ballgame.... in that case a psuedo tapered or even a looped 2040 set shooting 3/8"-7/16" steel balls would
be hard if not impossible to beat when comparing tubes to tubes.
Question: Explain Tube sizes?
Answer: Generally American tube sizes are done in fractions of an inch and European/Chinese tubing is measured in metric milimeters.
First is the internal diameter (ID), then the wall thickness (W), and then the outside diameter (OD)... When dealing with American tubing all three measurements are usually used, but when dealing with Chinese or European
usually just the ID and OD are used.
A Chinese tubing sized 1745 is broken down into the first part meaning 1.7 milimeters for the ID and the 45 means 4.5 milimeters OD.... 2040 means 2.0 milimeters ID and 4.0 milimeters OD. Because the wall thickness is
usually not a specified number, Chinese tubing generally varies more than American surgical tubing.
American tubing is usually more consistent from batch to batch... but it also usually more expensive and stretches/contracts just the same as the Chinese equivalents.
Question: When I use my looped tube shooter the shots seem to go left, even though I am certain I'm aligned properly"
Answer: What you're describing is what happens when you simply pull the tubes back without
relieving the force on the tips first...
Okay, now you're confused... "Huh, what the world is he talking about!"
On loop tube shooters, when you pull them back in the normal way... that is the forks back towards you a little or a lot, before drawing out...
the tubes kind of stick in place at the point where the tubes are in contact with the fork tip they are connected to....
then as the draw continues the slingshot's tips move forward towards the target, but the connection point in still stuck in the same place.
So what this means is, you will have a natural leftward bias in your shot upon release if you hold the slingshot in your left hand,
and a right bias if you hold it in your right hand.
To eliminate the bias simply let slack the tubes, even them out and make sure they don't stick to the fork tip causing uneven tension on the drawn tubes...
There have also been numerous examples of loop tube slingshots designed to help eliminate this problem... some have had little bearings at the tips,
some are just real smooth so there's less friction to hold the tube ends in place... and some have even recommended the use of some sort of lubricant
so the tubes will simply slide to center the force.... But what I'm telling you is, all you really have to do is just pay attention to the effect and
draw more evenly without the tube sticking and causing leftward bias on the shot.
*NOTE* the Taurus looped tube shooter was designed so that you can shoot looped tubes over the top OR through the forks (TTF) by simply moving your looped tube
connection point to the outside edges of the slingshot... By shooting looped tubes TTF, that also helps to eliminate the left or right bias, as the forces even out
in alignment, even if one side stick more while drawing.
Question: Explain flat band sizes?
Answer: American thickness are usually expressed in hundredths of inches and everywhere else in metric milimeters.
First off, the most commonly used latex we use is Theraband Gold from Hygenic and it is just under three hundredths of an inch thick (0.03), the most commonly used medical grade latex is right at 0.03 with some preferring
0.04 (25% thicker). One milimeter is approximately 0.04 of an inch.
Thinner latex generally contracts faster than thicker latex... and the purer the latex the faster it retracts as well... BUT pure (amber colored) latex is far more susceptable to the elements than the colored variants
such as Theraband Gold and Black, so it doesn't last quite as long when used in the outdoors... Therefore the blended and more stable theraband products are more often used.
Question: What's the deal with the ammo sizes?
Answer: Generally American ammunition sizes are expressed in calibers or fractions of an inch... Everywhere else in milimeters.
Caliber is nothing more than hundredths of an inch... so when someone is shooting .44 caliber lead ball... it means the ball is forty four one hundredths of an inch in diameter... an interesting sidenote here is,
most of the time it's not really the size though because of the need to use a patch in a musket to form a seal... so sometimes a person will say they're shooting .50 caliber (for example) and it's really .490 caliber.
It's important to know the actual diameter if you want the best consistency from shot to shot and batch to batch... so be careful when buying so you get the right size.
When refering to ammo in milimeters and comparing to caliber sizing... it's best to know that 1 milimeter equals about 0.04, therefore .40 caliber = 10 milimeters.
Question: Does OTT or TTF bandtying make a difference?
Answer: When benchtested, both styles of tying to the pouch
shoot to the same point of aim... No difference what-so-ever.
Although it seems logical that OTT bandsets would shoot more true on an OTT frame.. benchtest results show zero difference in point of aim
vs. point of impact.
Question: How do I avoid handslap?
Answer: Shooting through the forks (TTF) is the fastest way to eliminate most of it in most cases... but if you prefer over the top
shooting (OTT) then you can soften the sting by using heavier ammo, so that more of the band's extra energy is used up... and/or you can use a forced flip techinique to move the hand out of the way before the bands
return to the fork and contact the hand after release.
Question: How do I avoid return to sender shots (RTS)?
Answer: Again, shooting through the forks (TTF) is the fastest way to eliminate most of it in most cases... The very nature of a TTF
shooting set up directs the pouch and bands through the forks and ensures a complete pouch opening before it can flip over at the end of the recoil of the elastic. That means the ammo will be released before it is
trapped and returned to the shooter..
If you prefer over the top
shooting (OTT) then there is no sure way to prevent it, BUT you can stop most of it by not twisting or turning your pouch and by also holding the pouch in such a way that you are holding onto the ammo through the pouch
and not holding in front of the ammo. Remember, RTS shots are a result of the ammo becoming trapped in the pouch, not being released at the end of the power stroke... pouch flips over and sends the ammo straight back to the shooter...
So basically any action you do that can cause the ammo to not be released as cleanly as possible can eventually cause an RTS shot. As an aside point; For example, Bill Hays has shot somewhere near one million shots
with a TTF set up, and has never had one RTS... but shooting only a fraction of that number with OTT and narrow forks, using a variety of pouch grips, has produced at least 6 RTS shots at the time of writing this.
This slow motion video makes it easier to visualize how bands act when shot TTF, OTT and others.
Question: How does hold time (while aiming) affect speed?
Answer: Think of it this way, latex + heat = more energetic contraction potential. When you draw your bands they can
heat up to 15 degrees more than
the ambient (starting temperature of the rubber)... the longer you hold the bands the more of that heat escapes into the environment... on colder days the beginning temperature of the rubber is lower
and the heat escapes to the environment faster as well... so depending on the surrounding temperature, ie. on a cold day hold time can be a huge factor, or on a warm/hot day it hardly matters at all.
This video shows the heating of the bands and how fast heat dissipates.
This video shows how draw time affects speed on a warm day. Difference is minimal.
This video shows how draw time affects speed on a hot day. Speed may actually increase with hold time.
Question: Why do my bands sometimes feel gummy and a little sticky?
Answer: Condensation. Generally speaking you will see the effect more commonly on humid days. When the bands are stretched out
they heat up... upon release/contraction they cool down below ambient temperature. So the same way moisture accumulates on the outside of a cool water glass... moisture is condensed from the air and gets on your bands.
Possible remedies include talcum powder, or simply wiping the bands off periodically.
Question: What pouch fouling is and why/how it happens?
Answer:Pouch and or band fouling occurs when the ball is not released cleanly and is thrown off course a little because of that.
It can occur when the forks are too narrow and the pouch simply doesn't open up enough (the most common cause). It can happen when the bands aren't matched in pull force.
It can happen because of using to much "twist and tweek".
Basically, many if not most of the "fliers" people get are due to mild to severe fouling.
Question: How do I make a good/effective ammo catch box for my slingshot?
Answer: Old tee shirts are your friend here! Take a rod of some sort and thread the shirts on through the arm holes... Hang
several side by side so that it all looks like drapes, and that will absorb pretty much anything a slingshot can deliver. Put it all in a box with a sloped floor and you have a convenient ammo return system as well!
Question: Instinct shooting versus aiming, which is better?
Answer: Think of it this way.... you can shoot a pistol "from the hip" pointing at and hitting
a torso sized target from 10 feet away fairly easily and
if you practice a whole lot you'll get good enough to hit the heart (center mass) most of the time.... or you can take a second longer, raise the pistol to eye level and look along the barrel line up
it's sights and hit a heart sized target from 10 feet
away the first time you use a gun, and with practice you can hit a silver dollar sized target from 30 feet away most of the time... You can shoot from the hip very quickly, but you can hit a target better if you
take your time and aim..... THAT is the difference in "instinctive" shooting versus "Aiming" in slingshots as well. Instinctive is fast, aiming is precise.
What most people think of "instinctual shooting" is actually just hurried imprecise aiming... as raising the slingshot to eye level and sighting along the bands
or using a reference point is aiming.
The word "instinct" or "Instinctive" pertains to abilities that a person or animal is born with... No one (that I know of) has ever been born with the innate
ability to shoot a slingshot accurately.
BUT, through practice.... shooting various frames at various distances, with differing draw weights and differing ammo sizes and weights.... your brain will develop,
over time, the ability to govern your muscle memory....
Muscle memory is the key to what most perceive as "instinctive" shooting... Most will start with and aiming style and technique and then over time
"remember" where to hold, the correct "feel" and the best angle... It can get to a point where conscious aiming isn't even necessary anymore, yet a person
can still hit the target.
Then there's others... who start with kind of throwing or projecting the ammo and not using a formal aiming style... In my opinion it takes longer to
develop the muscle memory necessary to pull off the same quality of shots as someone who started as as "aimer"....
If you define instinct shooting as not using references points but instead just pointing at your target and releasing when it all seems to line up, as compared to
using a set of marks or reference
points to aid in more precise shooting...
then the answer would have to be, "instinct" shooting is a little faster and works just fine on close up or large targets that aren't to far away, but formal
reference point "aiming" is better if you have to
shoot with any kind of
repeatable precision a distance of 30 feet or further and at targets that are smaller than, maybe a coffee can.
Regardless, if you learn how to aim properly first, it's not that difficult to pick up "instinctive" shooting technique and do well with it...
whereas it seems to be more difficult for an instinctive shooter to learn how to become a competent
precision shooter. So learn to aim and shoot well consistently first, and then if you want to, play with instinctive technique. That's our opinion
and we're sticking to it!
Question: What should I use for hunting?
Answer: When you hunt you should use a setup that will end the life of whatever you are shooting as quickly and painlessly
"Overkill" is far better than "under powered". You can kill a rabbit (cottontail) with less than 4.5 foot pounds of energy/force (4.5 fpe).. but to be a responsible hunter you will want to at least
double the minimum
required force to kill that rabbit, so 9+ fpe is what you're after. Smaller diameter yet denser ammo, like lead, will penetrate easier than bigger less dense ammo like marbles. For the most part, the important thing
to remember is to get over the minimum force... you can kill with either penetration or blunt trauma so long as the force necessary to do so is used. So generally speaking you will want to use (for example)
a 100 grain (1/4 ounce) projectile shot at 200 feet per second if you want to hunt rabbit or squirrel... again it is more than possible to hunt with less speed and higher weight ammo, or more speed and lighter ammo,
so long as you keep the fpe high enough you'll be okay. One other thing you'll want to be sure of before hunting is that you are accurate enough to place your shots so that the kill happens as humanely as possible.
Head shots are generally what you're after... specifically you will want to either penetrate or crush the brain cavity. Secondarily a heart shot will work as well, but head shots are preferred.
Here's a few things that should help you out in determining if your setup is up to par, using a fairly standard hunting setup:
On a 70 degree day, using a 1" straight cut (untapered) bandset, drawn to 30" utilizing a 5:1 elongation ratio, shooting .44 caliber lead (128 grains).. you will shoot at about 200 FPS and achieve 11 FPE.
Every 5 degrees warmer will increase your fps by about 2-3 fps up to a max of about 15 on a very hot day... and of course colder will take away power as well. Longer draw lengths will give more power as you increase
the acceleration cycle, if you use the same elongation ratio and draw weights, then for every inch you add in draw length you will increase speed by as much as 1 - 2 fps with .44 cal. lead. Also, if you max out your
bands by going beyond the 5:1 ratio, then speed can increase at a rate better than 2 fps for each inch of added elongation.
When hunting you will want to use faster ammo speeds if possible because most small animals have very good reflexes and will move out of the way. If shooting at distances of 10 meters, 200 fps is the minimum
recommended speed to beat the animal's reaction speed... and of course if you're shooting from further away, you should increase your speed as well... just be careful to keep your power at an acceptable amount to
terminate your quarry as quickly as possible.
Question: When shooting at a distance, how much does my ammo slow down?
Answer: We've actually done quite a few tests on this very subject.
When comparing ammo of the same diameter, the denser it is the less it slows down due to air resistance... Which means,
i.e. that if you're standing next to a chrony and shoot a .44 lead ball (123 grains) at 220 fps.... then step back to 10 meters and shoot again, the ball will register about 218 fps...
whereas a 7/16" steel ball (84 grains, .437 diameter) of about the same diameter as the .44, will start at about 240 fps and at 10 meters will register at about 230 fps.
So in 10 meters of travel a .44 lead ball drops in velocity about
2 fps, a steel ball of the same diameter drops about 9-12 fps (depending on air density, ie. elevation)... and a 7/16" marble (35 grains) drops about 20-30 fps (air density) per 10 meters.
At 20 meters the dropped fps values are almost exactly doubled.
What this tells us is that so long as you have a good "fps/power cushion" built into your setup.... like for example, it takes 200 fps to make sure of a clean kill on a rabbit using .44 lead...
then if your starting fps is 220, you will still have enough "left in the tank" to be deadly out to 100 meters, so long as you can shoot accurately enough at that distance.
If you wanted to match the power output of the .44 lead with the 7/16" steel balls, your maximum range is about 20 meters.
The 7/16" marbles never would match even the steel balls and would have to start at close to 300 fps to even be minimally deadly at 10 meters.
And at 20 meters it would be a fluke shot if they did any real damage on a rabbit or squirrel sized animal.
Question: Which is more accurate, tubes or flatbands?
Answer: Neither tubes or flat bands are inherently more accurate than the other. There are positives and negatives with either one.
Good flat bands are easier to pull and shoot faster than tubes when using the same weight of elastic and using the same
elongation ratios... this is usually attributed to the air inside the tubes, and because bands are easier to taper making them a lot more customizable as well.... it's generally easier to hold an equally
powered flat band shooting slingshot steadily (less shake, more accuracy) versus a tube shooting slingshot. BUT the tube setups can be easier to aim for some because the
line formed to the target (because tubes are narrower than flats) is more precise looking
to the eye when shot in a sideways TTF fashion.
Question: Which is more accurate, over the top (OTT) or through the forks (TTF) band setups?
Answer: OTT and TTF setups can both be made to be equally accurate if proper consideration is taken in the attachments and there is
enough fork or fork gap clearance so that the bands do not on occassion bunch up, fouling the shot before it is fully released from the pouch after release. Generally speaking you can get away with slightly
narrower forks on an OTT slingshot vs. a TTF one... but the narrower the forks the more the need to kind of flip the slingshot on release to prevent fork hits, band fouling and hand slap. TTF shooting has
inherently less that can go wrong, including not getting hand slap... but the frame needs to be a little wider to make sure you don't get the occasional band fouling.
Question: Which slingshot is best for a beginner?
Answer: This is a very difficult question to answer... different people like different things, they like different ways to hold,
their hands are different sizes so forth and so on. BUT if we simply had to answer, the Hathcock Target Sniper in either the large regular size, or the smaller polymer or G10 versions are very difficult to beat.
This model makes learning how to shoot well much easier than pretty much any other... because it's shape keeps the hand in the correct position very well and there is plenty of clearance for either TTF or OTT
shooting styles... it's just pretty easy to master. In fact we've had, to many to mention here, cases where a person takes it out of the box and begins to hit a small target immediately from the first shot.
As a matter fact the HTS is still a favorite for some of the best shots on the planet, even though they are certainly more experienced shooters now.
The second choice, and the one that is second in popularity amongst our customer base is the Ranger in polymer or G10... A close third is the SEAL Sniper medium in polymer.
The most popular, and the most lauded slingshot in the G10 range is the SEAL Sniper in black ballistic grade G10. We've had more compliments and requests to make another for them on this particular model than any
other G10, with the jade G10 HTS in second. It just seems most beginners prefer the HTS and once they master it move on to the higher end slingshots... but not all do though.
Question: Which slingshot is best for a child?
Answer: Another difficult question. The "BoyScout" in polymer was specifically made to fit the needs of the younger shooter. But it
seems many prefer a Ranger... and then some prefer a hammergrip only slingshot... it all depends on the child. Pretty much any of the smaller models will work out fine, but we still feel that the BoyScout is the
best all around model for a beginner child. The grip indexes automatically for a repeatable, consistent hold... Flat bands are easily modified to fit the strength level of the child... and the concepts of shooting
a BoyScout slingshot well carry over extremely well to other shooting sports.
Question: Exactly how much does draw length affect speed?
Answer: Generally speaking, and we say "generally" because there is a great variety of elastics... the longer the draw, the greater
the speed, due to a longer acceleration cycle. GENERALLY, a 5:1 draw ratio is going to be pretty close to optimal... of course some elastics will max out earlier and some will stretch further, but 5 to 1, i.e. 6" slack
length of bands for a 30" draw is what you're looking for in an optimized for speed setup.
An interesting fact is that speed increases at an increasing rate per inch of draw until the elastic is maxxed out... in other words, one extra inch of draw may increase your speed 4 FPS...
two additional inches 9 FPS, three inches 14 FPS, and four inches 20 FPS... the closer you get to the max pull length, each additional inch adds more FPS than each previous inch.
Question: Are extremely narrow forks much faster than standard or even wide forks?
Answer: At first glance one would say yes... because the draw weight feels heavier on the narrow fork as the bands pull in more of a
direct linear fashion... BUT that's not how it is in practice. Wider forks are slightly faster than narrow forks because the wider the fork is, the less slack length the bands have in them, which creates a longer
acceleration cycle. In other words a zero fork gap with 10" active length bands when drawn to 30" will give you a 20" acceleration cycle because the slack does not contribute to acceleration....
Whereas a 5" fork gapped slingshot using the same bands drawn to 30" will have an acceleration cycle of about 21.5" because there's less slack... that about 7% more acceleration distance more than makes up for the
slight vectoring of the pull forces.
Below is an actual test that was performed showing the differences in speed wider vs. narrow forks make.
Tests done on 1" straight cut, 10" active length, 0.03 medical latex, 35.4 grain avg. marbles, 5 shots minimum per group
Beginning temperature was 62 degrees fahrenheit and at end it was 60 degrees
Draw length, Fork Gap, Acceleration length, Draw Wt. lbs., FPS (rounded to nearest whole number)
34.5, 3", 24", 10.14, 169
34.5, 5", 24.5", 10.34, 175
34.5, 7", 25", 10.38, 176
34.5, 9", 25.5", 10.42, 179
36", 5", 27", 10.74, 183
36", 7", 27.5", 10.84, 186
36", 9", 28", 10.90, 189
36", 13", 28.5", 11.20, 191
39", 5", 30", 11.56, 198
39", 9", 31", 11.58, 202
39", 13", 32", 11.60, 205
41.5, 5", 32", 11.88, 209
41.5, 9", 33", 11.95, 213
41.5, 13", 34", 12.02, 215
48, 5", 39.5", 11.60, 219
48, 9", 40.5", 11.65, 223
48, 13", 41.5", 11.70, 226
At the end of the test heavier ammo with the same bandset was used
116 grain, 1/2" steel balls, 5 shots per group averaged
48, 5", 39.5", 11.60, 159
48, 9", 40.5", 11.65, 166
48, 13", 41.5", 11.70, 173
This video shows when drawn to the same anchor, wider is faster.
This video shows that with the same elongation ratio wider is faster.
This video shows that with the same elongation ratio wider is faster even though the elongation is not optimal.
Question: What is your strongest slingshot, so I can pull VERY heavy draw weight bands?
Answer: Any of the polycarbonate slingshots will allow you pull the heaviest draw humanly possible, over 100 lbs. per fork... and if that's not enough, the G10 and
the metal cored slingshots are also
more than strong enough to accomodate the heaviest elastics any human can draw.
Question: What is the heaviest draw weight bands I can get, so I can shoot the most powerfully?
Answer: You can specialty order as many layers of theraband on a bandset as you desire... However most strong men can't pull back
more than 3 layers per side. So the easiest way to gain more speed (power) is to utilize a longer draw length.
Draw weight and draw length are very close to linear proportional... basically If you're forced to shoot with a short heavy draw... then you must compensate in at least a linear fashion to compensate.
ie... a 30" draw must pull double the weight of a 60" draw to shoot about the same speed.
Question: Which hand should I hold my slingshot in?
Answer: The short answer is, most people will be most successful if they hold the pouch in the same hand they throw a ball with.
Question: Are band grooves necessary?
Answer: They are not necessary, but they can and do add frictional support so it's harder for the bands to slip when tied on.
Question: Are naturals (from a tree branch) as accurate as a highly profiled ergonomic model like a Pocket Predator slingshot?
Answer: There are many people who think that accuracy is all about the shooter and not the slingshot. The thing is, a trained sniper shoots
better with a better rifle... but the sniper usually also shoots cheap rifles much better than the average Joe as well... So what happens is we may see an exceptional shooter using a tree branch slingshot to very
good effect and then conclude he
shoots better with that... when in fact he would shoot even better with a better designed slingshot. The Pocket Predator slingshots are like that, beyond next level ergonomics that can make good shooters
into great shooters and great shooters can shoot even better.
Question: Which is better a slingshot made from metal rod or boardcut type of slingshot?
Answer: Depending on design they both have advantages and disadvantages. Rod slingshots are cheap and easy to make with good strength
whereas boardcuts may be able to be more ergonomically designed to accentuate shooting comfort and consistency.
Question: On some of your universal forks there's a hole for a single big tube, how do you attach it?
Answer: The most common way is to insert the tube through the hole and then push a 3/8" steel ball about 1/2" into the tube...
But a better way to do it is to carve a small piece of conical shaped wood or plastic and push that in as a stop instead... an easy way to make a cone shape is to use a pencil sharpener and then dull off the tip when
done and before inserting.
Question: Which is better a hammergrip hold, a finger thumb brace hold or a pinch grip hold?
Answer: Different strokes for different folks... each can hold heavy bands or tubes just fine and the differences in overall
stability are negligible.
Question: What is tapering and why are some bands tapered and others not?
Answer: When you have a band that is wider at the fork than it is at the pouch tie... it is tapered. Tapering allows for a lighter
draw weight and usually a slightly longer elongation. Tapering by itself does not make a bandset faster. If you take a 1" straight cut band and then cut it so that it tapers 1" to 3/4", it will not shoot faster
than the original 1" band... it will shoot slower if drawn to the same length, but it can be drawn further a little easier which can help to make up for the less power.
However, if you make a 1.25" band that is tapered to 3/4", so that it has the same amount of material as the 1" straight cut... it will shoot a little faster and it will be much easier to draw further for even more
speed.... but the reason we go with the straight untapered bands on our regular bandsets is that added speed comes at a cost... the 1.25" tapered to 0.75" bandset will only last about 70% the amount of shots that the
straight untapered bands will last. So you gain up to 10% more speed, but lose 30% of the band's work life.
Question: How long can I expect my bands to last?
Answer: Theraband Gold is a latex based product and is very biodegradable, it will breakdown very quickly in a landfill. So there's
absolutely no worries about adding to the global overabundance of garbage....
Oh wait! You're wanting to know about how long and how many shots you can take before your bands begin to give out... Well that is a much harder question to answer! We wish it were as simple as just saying, "Your
bands will last 700 shots or 6 months, whichever comes first"... but it's not as simple as that. Generally speaking, on a nice smooth frame, so not much impact abrasion occurs, shooting at an elongation ratio of
the average 4:1 that most people seem to prefer, and at 190-200 fps (average)... then you can expect to get around 700-1000
shots before the bands start to get to a point where you will want to retie or replace them.
Also, if you store your slingshot bands in a temperature controlled environment and out of the light, like in a closet for example, then it's not unreasonable to
expect the latex to retain good function for a year or more without
taking any undue measures to try and preserve it.
Of course common sense comes into play here as well... if you pull to longer elongation ratios, shoot substantially faster than 200 fps and or aren't careful with having a smooth slingshot or storing
it all out of the
elements... then you can expect the latex (a natural protein) to break down much faster than the 700 shots or 6 months jokingly referred to earlier.
Question: Which is better a single large tube or a bunch of small tubes?
Answer: So long as they are the same type of latex formulation and are the same weight, they will shoot similarly... but there will
be a slight advantage to the smaller tubes... but only slight.
Question: Can you use rubberbands, like from an office to shoot with?
Answer: Certainly. There are many ways to use them with great success. However, latex tubing and of course flatbands are far superior
Unless you consider the availability aspect and then rubberbands are better.
Question: How can I shoot with more speed?
Answer: The easiest method to gain more speed is to use a longer draw length. If you can't or don't want to use a longer draw then
you must increase draw weight.
How about a self defense/home protection slingshot, what do you recommend?
Here is my completely honest opinion:
Slingshots and self defense… that subject has been much discussed by many people and generally speaking those that have an
agenda to promote sales have a positive outlook on the subject, whereas those with backgrounds such as mine (trained in and
instruct martial arts for about 35 years and worked in law enforcement having to deal with some extreme people and
circumstances) have a less than positive idea about using a slingshot as a self defense weapon.
Yes, we do sell slingshots… and yes, they can be very effective hunting weapons when used on smaller animals… but if
used on larger animals they tend to cause pain and injury… and if shot in a particularly vulnerable area may even cause
incapacitation… but if I had to depend on a slingshot as a self defense device, I’d be very hesitant… and to be honest
I am one of the best shots in the world and very well could hit a person in a vulnerable spot more often than not.
Here’s what I mean… Some time ago, I did accidently shoot myself in the hand… the ball did penetrate completely to the
other side… but because it’s a lower speed projectile it did not cause cavitation like a gunshot does, and therefore there
was very little trauma and except for a small scar there was no permanent damage either.
All that being said if I were to design a slingshot that could be used as a self defense weapon of last resort… it would
be the TAC Hammer with a drilled out cavity as a magazine and access to the ammo on top, between the forks so reloading
could be done faster and more efficiently.
I have made a few like this in the past and it really does make a nice speed shooting rig… like if you’re thinking about
shooting the maximum amount of ammo in a minute at targets like soda cans.
The way I made them in the past, I used a smaller drill bit and set up the slingshot to shoot small ammo rapidly… but
for self defense, I’d go with something larger like ½” or larger steel or lead balls and I’d also use heavier bands setup
OTT with a more specialized pouch that allows you to grab the ball on both sides in the pouch instead of holding the pouch
with the ball inside.
That would allow decent reload speed with maximum foot pounds of energy on the receiving end….
Below are a few videos that demonstrate some decent techniques to utilize a slingshot in some "emergency" situations.
This video is the first of 10 in a series
This video is the fifth of 10 in a series
This video is the tenth of 10 in a series
Question: Do I need to use a band protectant of some sort, like for UV rays?
Answer: AeroSpace 303 protectant can be used as well as talcum powder... but really so long as you don't abuse your bands and
leave them out the elements to long most people will get by just fine without having to worry with all that.
Again, there's positives and negatives to everything... more mess with possibly a little longer wear time is not a trade off everybody is willing to make.
Question: Which is faster 1" straight cut or four 1/4" strips of the same material?
Answer: They are exactly the same speed. Believe it or not this was a topic of conversation and some thought that since you're creating
more surface area by cutting the bands up, you will gain more speed.... We had a short conversation on it and then a simple experiment was conducted. A 1" straight cut bandset was made up with easy to remove pouch
ties... a series of shots were chronographed and an average was derived... then the bandset was taken off and cut into four strips on a guillotine cutter, then retied at exactly the same point and another series of
shots were taken with the same ammo.... the chronograph readings were almost identical and the average was exactly the same. HOWEVER, the strips were MUCH quieter than the full uncut band... other than that,
there was absolutely no difference in performance.