Today we will take a look at how to make the sling, an ancient and deadly weapon.
What is a rock sling?
The rock sling or just “sling” is one of the easiest ranged weapons you can make. Because of that, it is popular with survivalists and anyone who likes to improvise. It is a weapon made out of a piece of string or cord. It has been used since ancient times for hunting and more prominently, in warfare. The sling was popularized as a cheap, easy to make weapon with range greater than that of a bow. Due to its low cost it was considered a weapon of the poor.
In any case, the sling has been used in warfare in ancient times, but also for delivering grenades in some later eras. Balearic islands were especially known for their expert slingers.
There are a few variants of the sling, the other well known one is a staff sling. The sling should not be confused with a slingshot, which is a Y-shaped weapon with an elastic material used for creating force.
The record shot for a rock sling comes to about 480 meters. Not too shabby huh?
What are the benefits of the sling?
There are numerous benefits and reasons for making a sling and learning how to use it:
- it can be improvised when needed, easy to make
- cheap to make
- very light
- can be used for hunting or self defense
- ammunition can be found everywhere (unlike for example arrows, which you have to make yourself)
Sling uses round or oval shaped objects, which it delivers with the help of rotational force. The most common ammunition for a sling is an oval rock. Ammunition for the sling was usually gathered on site or made specifically for a purpose. The most well known and feared type of ammunition is a lead “acorn”. Because of the weight, the object can be smaller.
Making your own ammunition (for example out of clay), like the ancient peoples did, will help you achieve consistent results. An equally sized and shaped projectile will have a greater chance of hitting the same spot than a random one found on the floor.
You will want to decide on the stone size you will be using for your sling and stick with it, so you can practice with consistent results.
Is the sling deadly?
The sling is very deadly. It has been used for thousands of years due to its range, ease of creation and the force it produces. Because of the way it is used, it is described as a weapon of skill, much like the bow. An interesting and well known story from the Bible is that of David and Goliath and how a little shepherd defeated a mighty giant using a sling.
WARNING: The sling is indeed a weapon and a quite lethal one. Do not use it in presence of other people, animals or valuables.
How to make a paracord sling?
The paracord sling has the advantage of it being quite easy to make. You probably have some paracord on you when going into the wild anyways, so you can make it on the spot.
The basic parts of the sling are the cradle, which is basically a pouch where you place the stone. Besides the pouch/cradle, you have two strings which you hold to rotate the sling. One of the strings usually has a loop on it that you attach to a finger so when you release the sling, it does not fall from your hand. This loop is sometimes called a finger loop. Quite imaginative huh!?
The basic slings are woven or made out of leather. The braided sling will be the technique I will be showing you in this tutorial.
For this project the only thing you will need is paracord 550. The length of the cord I suggest is at least 8 feet. You can work with 8 feet and get a decent sling. The cord used is usually longer for slings that are expected to shoot farther or produce more force. I usually try to have the length of the sling from my extended arm to my knees.
So, let’s make a paracord rock sling!
Take your cord and make an S shape.
Take your bottom cord and weave it through the three cords on the left.
Weave the cord back down.
Weave up again.
Repeat until you have made your pouch.
Shape your pouch into a cup.
Make a stopper knot on one end. A simple overhand will do.
The other end is made into a bowline knot. Firstly make a loop.
Feed the end through the bottom of the loop.
Behind the cord at the top.
Back through the top of the loop.
Tighten to get the loop.
With the cup/cradle and the release mechanism made, you have completed your rock sling. Use it with caution and practice regularly. In emergency situations you have little time to learn skills.