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For Sport and Survival
by Cliff Savage
Review by Thomas J. Elpel
The sling may be the ultimate lightweight survival weapon. It is easy to make, super compact and essentially weightless to carry. The ammunition is free, and you can carry one on you to practice anywhere and anytime that you are a safe distance from buildings, cars, or other people. That is a big advantage compared to the bow and arrow or atlatl, which involves manufacturing and maintaining a lot of gear, and limits your practice sessions to those times when you can go get your equipment and set up a hay bale. But with a sling, you could even carry one in your luggage and practice slinging rocks at fence posts while walking down a country road.
The sling is not a mere toy. You can sling a fair sized rock farther than you can shoot a bow and arrow, and it packs enough of a wallop to potentially kill a horse. The greatest danger with the sling is the potential to misfire and hit someone else nearby with catastropic results. We advise that you spread out while using the sling, and through overhand or underhand, not around in a circle.
Achieving accuracy with the sling may take some practice, but for small game, such as rabbits, squirrels, or pigeons, you might achieve greater success by filling the slinging pouch with gravel to serve as primitive buckshot. That will increase the likelyhood of hitting your target. Although I am new to slinging myself, I can see so many potential benefits to this ancient weapon, that I am completely surprised I've never tried it before.
Cliff Savage's book is the most complete manual on slings and slinging techniques available. In addition to making and using slings, Savage covers the history of slinging, and different types of ammunition, in case you want to manufacture balls of equal size and weight for greater accuracy.
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