Hunting Slingshots – The History Behind them

Since they require no real mechanism or technology to use, there is often debate as to the history of slings and slingshots so when were they actually introduced? In truth, many historians have seen evidence of slings throughout history as weapons when early man would need to hunt in order to survive. Over time, different variations of sling were used until the mid-1800s when we saw the first slingshot.

In 1839, Charles Goodyear invested vulcanized rubber and this is thought to be the starting point for the modern day slingshot. As we reached the 1860s, the weapon had gained a reputation for being a tool used for vandalism and juvenile activities. With a ‘Y’ shaped body and simple rubber strips, the weapon became a ‘do-it-yourself’ tool.

In terms of slingshots that were made commercial and available to buy, this is thought to date back to around 1918. However, they weren’t really a popular option until ‘Zip-Zip’, the cast iron model, was introduced to the market after World War II. Later in the 1940s, the National Slingshot Association was formed and newer models were coming to market including the ‘Wham-O’ slingshot.

After the formation of the association, new clubs and competitions started to take place across the United States. Suddenly, the reputation of being a weapon for juvenile delinquents was changing as four from every five sales came from men aged over 30 years.

In the fifties, the slingshots improved once again with various additions and changes including bent aluminum alloy rods that formed a brace over the wrist to give support. Furthermore, surgical rubber tubing was used in the ‘Wrist Rocket’ rather than the flat bands that had been used to that point. Since the fifties, the materials used have got stronger and there have been many features that can be added such as sights and different tools.

Due to the simple resources required to build a slingshot, they have also been used as military weapons throughout the decades. As recent as 2002, a propaganda video was released by Saddam Hussein who discussed using the weapon against invading forces. Additionally, slingshots are still used today when it comes to launching unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the sky. With two crew members as the fork, a big elastic cord will stretch between to launch the aircraft.

Of course, there are many dangers of the weapon if not used correctly and there has been much discussion over the years about their legality. In some jurisdictions, including New York, arm braced slingshots are prohibited and have been made a Class-4 misdemeanor.

As you can see, there has been many developments of the slingshot throughout time to finally reach where we are today with various different materials, sights, and additions to each model!

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