The Sling

sling    The sling is a very formidable weapon in the hands of a practiced user and also one of my favorite weapons. Not to be confused with the slingshot, the sling is two lengths of cord, leather or woven fibers, tied on opposite ends of a pouch large enough to accommodate the projectile being thrown. david-n-goliathThe most well known example of the sling being used is when David killed Goliath in the Bible (1 Samuel 17). Judges 20:16 speaks of seven hundred left-handed slingers who were accurate with the sling up to a hair’s breadth! The sling was used, however, in many cultures for thousands of years including the Native American.

Robert ‘Hawkeye’ Likas, a friend of mine, who taught me to use the sling, came up with a good way to measure the length of the sling that fits you. Measure from the heart to the end of the thrower’s arm extended out to the side. This is the length that each cord should be after they have been tied to the pouch. When using the sling one cord is anchored at one end with a finger loop or, as I prefer, an object pierced through the middle and knotted on the opposite side to keep the cord from slipping through the closed fist wrapped tightly around it. The release string should be slightly shorter. To determine the length of the release string, place a rock flat in the pouch and allow the sling to hang down, gripping the release string with the other string secured in the manner you have chosen. Adjust the release string until the rock is level with the ground. Cut off any unneeded length.

sling1   Projectiles can be any object that will fit in the pouch and is of a manageable weight. Rocks chosen should be fairly round, smooth and with a slightly flattened side. If they are too flat they may take an unpredicted sharp turn in any direction other than your target when thrown. If they are too round they are more difficult to keep from rolling out of the pouch. Solid projectiles are best, however, Robert, has successfully experimented with fragmentation-type projectiles made of clay mixed with gravel and dried in the sun. Upon throwing, the impact of release alone is enough to shatter the projectile causing it to scatter in all directions, much like a shotgun blast. To give you an idea of the power that can be achieved from the use of a sling,’ lest you doubt’ its ability to bring down big game, this same friend once threw a spark plug from a sling at a pine tree 50 yards or more away and embedded it up to the glass insulator into the tree on impact!

To use the sling, secure the anchor string and grip the release string between forefinger and thumb. Place the projectile flat in the pouch, not on its side as it would seem more natural to do. Level it up with the ground by adjusting your grip on the release string. Maintaining this finger grip, the sling is then swung in a circle above the head, aiming and then releasing in an overhand throw.

Different grips used
Different grips used

Aiming is achieved by watching the sling as it passes in front of your eyes, already aligned on the target, and aligning its circular path with the line of vision you have focused on your target. Centrifugal force holds your projectile in place until you are ready for release. When your target is properly sighted and aligned, turn the circular motion into an overhand throw and simultaneously let go of the release string. This will launch your projectile with unbelievable force. Converting to an overhand throw from a circular pattern may feel difficult at first but is well worth mastering for it is much more accurate and controlled than just releasing it at some point in the circumference of the circle. This is my favorite way to use a sling some people do have success though just throwing in one motion from their side to an overhand throw. There are other methods for slinging but this one is my favorite.

It will take much practice to become accurate with this weapon. Just to get an idea of the power behind this weapon try seeing how far you can throw an object. I have even used a bandanna for a sling before; not much power but it works. After some practice with a sling I am sure you will be impressed!



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