A quick look at some of the latest survival and preparedness gear.
Remember the story of David and Goliath? Even if you didn't learn it in Sunday school as a kid, you've likely heard it referenced many times as the ultimate underdog tale. Using nothing more than a leather sling and a few stones, the story tells how the ordinary shepherd boy David toppled the terrifying giant Goliath. A sling uses rotational inertia to launch a projectile, instead of a slingshot‘s elastic bands, but the point of the story remains relevant: even a stone-throwing “primitive” weapon has the potential to topple fearsome foes.
When we first heard about the Survival Slingshot, it immediately caught our attention. It's a tool that takes the simple concept of a slingshot, and brings it into the 21st century with modern materials and technology. This fusion of old and new yields what the manufacturer claims to be “a key part of any survival kit or bug out bag”. We wanted to test this claim, so we decided to get our hands on one for a Survival Slingshot review.
The Survival Slingshot is available in several models, ranging from the affordable Standard slingshot for a mere $49.95, all the way to the top-of-the-line Ultimate with Laser Sight for $199.95. The idea of a laser sight on a slingshot sounded interesting, so we opted for the Ultimate edition, which also includes a “whisker biscuit” and special band for shooting arrows (more on that later).
Upon unboxing the Survival Slingshot Ultimate, we were surprised by the sheer quantity of accessories it comes with. Rather than list them all out, we'll explore them one at a time, just like we did when we opened the packaging.
The basic Survival Slingshot consists of a matte black, hollow aircraft aluminum handle with an attached folding wrist support. The spring steel wrist support snaps in place on the handle, and includes a padded section that rests on top of your forearm. The removable yoke slides upwards to secure itself on the handle via friction, and comes with 25lb-draw elastic bands and a leather shot pouch.
Also included are two clear plastic ammo tubes, approximately 24 1/4-inch steel shots, two heavy-duty black rubber bands, three pages of full-color instructions, and a key ring (we're not sure what that's for, to be honest).
Did you notice that we mentioned that the aluminum handle is hollow? Unscrewing the base reveals a wealth of survival gear. Every Survival Slingshot model includes the following items:
The 6″ x 0.875″ handle cavity can also store 2 of the clear plastic ammo containers (48 steel shots total) or other essential items such as matches, a mini Bic lighter, or a small pen or pocket knife. It's even water-tight thanks to a rubber O-ring in the cap.
Also included in the Ultimate model are 4 other items which we'll discuss as we install them: the Trophy Ridge archery “whisker biscuit”, the 45lb-draw quick-change archery yoke, the tactical LED light, and the laser sight.
The archery whisker biscuit bracket attaches to the front of the handle with four small screws, and can be adjusted for elevation and windage, or simply pivoted out of the way when you're not firing arrows. Two wing nuts and a small hex bolt on the bracket permit the user to make these adjustments quickly. The large hole at the base of the bracket serves as a reel mounting point for bow fishing—yes, you can even bow fish with this slingshot.
There's also the quick-change archery yoke, which has a stronger 45lb draw and nylon bow string section instead of the leather pouch. It's held in place by friction, and can be swapped with the regular yoke in seconds without tools.
Next, we tried mounting the laser in both possible configurations: “center line” style attached to the archery bracket (pictured above), and side-mount style attached to the slingshot handle itself (pictured below). The laser has two small hex screws for precise sight adjustment.
We weren't impressed with the <1MW red laser pointer's daytime visibility, but it can be swapped easily for a more powerful weaver-rail-mounted unit (such as a green laser). Just be sure it's low-profile enough that it won't get hit by projectiles in the center line position (side-mounting avoids this caveat).
Finally, there's the LED flashlight attachment. We found the 3x AAA-powered Harbor Freight brand flashlight to be similar in quality to the laser—far from impressive. Fortunately, like the laser, the light can easily be swapped for any model of your choosing, as long as it's approximately 1 inch in diameter. We'll probably end up using a more powerful AA-powered flashlight.
So, the Survival Slingshot Ultimate has a lot of features, but how does it perform in the real world? We tested it out to find the answer.
With the provided 1/4″ steel shot and standard 25lb yoke, the slingshot is easy to draw and fire. Unlike some bows and other projectile weapons, it doesn't require much physical strength to fire shot after shot consistently. Survival Slingshot also sells stronger 45-55lb draw bands, which are standard for archery kits and optional for pellets/shot. As you'd expect, these provide much more power, but are also more difficult to fire repeatedly without muscle fatigue.
As far as accuracy, we're far from experienced with slingshot marksmanship. However, we had no trouble hitting 8- to 10-inch targets from 10 yards every time, especially with the aid of the laser sight. When using the recommended technique of drawing to your cheekbone, it's fairly intuitive to aim.
Pebbles were a little less accurate than the perfectly round steel shots, but we could still put them where we wanted them with ease at this range. The manufacturer claims “250+ yard range” in the safety warnings, but we imagine you'd be lobbing shots to reach that kind of distance. Always wear eye protection when using a slingshot, since the steel shots can ricochet easily off hard surfaces. Remember: it's not a toy.
It's safe to say this is a very approachable weapon for novices, given the use of the standard 25lb yoke. If you're using the 45-55lb yoke, you'll have a lot more power, but dialing in the accuracy will require more patience and stamina. With practice, we'd consider this a very effective weapon for hunting small game.
We'll close with a few overall pros and cons for the Survival Slingshot:
The standard Survival Slingshot is an excellent tool for any survivalist, and at the entry-level price of under $50, it's hard to find fault with the basic design. The other models' accessories increase the price substantially, and we felt bang-for-the-buck wasn't quite as high at the Ultimate's $200 MSRP. However, if you're looking for a compact, silent, and reliable small game hunting weapon that virtually never runs out of ammo, the Survival Slingshot is a great choice.
To learn more or purchase a Survival Slingshot, visit SurvivalSlingshot.com.