The slingshot is an iconic ranged weapon and an ancient one. Although most common folks know the slingshot as a toy enjoyed by young, good boys and troublemakers alike, like many such contrivances the slingshot did not begin life as a mere toy.
A modern slingshot, even a simple one, is a formidable weapon, one more than capable of bringing down small and medium-sized game from a respectable distance, and even serving as a redoubtable self-defense tool in a pinch.
With accuracy, range, and versatility to spare, a compact slingshot is worthy of inclusion in any survival kit.
Probably the best attribute of the slingshot is its simplicity, and its most basic being nothing more than a sturdy frame that holds a piece of elastic material and a small pouch to contain the ammunition.
This means that almost anyone with a little DIY talent can produce a frighteningly effective slingshot from common materials, and this by itself is a valuable survival skill.
In this article we are bringing you seven DIY slingshot plans that anybody can handle.
A Proper Slingshot is no Kid’s Toy!
The slingshot gets kind of a bad rap today, and not just because it has been eclipsed by ranged weapons like bows, crossbows, and firearms.
Despite all of its great attributes, people in and adjacent to the prepping community just seemed kind of apathetic about slingshots.
They are a novelty at best, or an example of a weapon system whose time has passed. I’m here to tell you that both of these statements are categorically incorrect!
Yes, a slingshot can provide hours of entertainment plinking cans or paper targets on a backyard range.
But a slingshot, especially one made with a high-quality band, produces a frightening amount of power using a variety of projectiles.
Steel shot, marbles, ceramic beads, pebbles, coins, and even arrows or bolts can all be fired from a slingshot with excellent accuracy all the way out to 25 yards.
Against small game like birds, rodents, and potentially even larger game like deer with careful targeting a slingshot is more than capable of delivering lethal wounds, or debilitating an animal badly enough that you can close with it and give it the coup de grace.
The right ammunition can even be viciously effective against humans if used in a desperate instance of self-defense.
The range, power, and accuracy of a slingshot means it must be respected as a weapon and its supreme adaptability and compact size means it is one tool that you can always have with you no matter the circumstances.
An Excellent, Improvised Ranged Weapon
For survival purposes, the best thing that slingshots have going for them is the fact that they can be easily crafted from common natural and man-made materials and a variety of styles, and then any slingshot, properly constructed, can launch a multitude of projectiles with good effect.
you’d be wise to keep a slingshot tucked away in your bug-out bag or any other survival kit considering it can make for an excellent game-getting tool to put a little wild meat in your stew pot but assuming you don’t do that or you lose your supplies you can easily craft one with little more than some raw materials and a pocket knife.
The functional part of the slingshot that lends projectiles their power is the elastic band, and though this seems like a specialized, modern component, and it is, you can find many suitable replacements in a jam.
Bungee cords, surgical tubing, rubber inner tube and more can all produce considerable power through their elasticity, and all can be adapted for use in a handcrafted slingshot.
A slingshot only weighs a few ounces, but knowledge doesn’t weigh anything and you’ll always have that with you!
7 DIY Slingshot Plans that are Easy to Make
1. The Classic Slingshot
First up on our list is this informative, entertaining, and useful guide to constructing a DIY slingshot from a forked branch and some elastic tubing.
This in-depth guide provides all of the information you need, and also has many helpful tips regarding proper branch selection, anchoring the tubing, and creating the shot pouch.
As with most things, the devil is in the details, and mailing these details ensures that your slingshot will be not only effective, but durable, allowing it to serve as a long-lasting and useful tool.
Especially helpful is the advice for quickly drying out your chosen branch.
Done cautiously and with constant supervision, you can rapidly dry out your wood and your microwave using nothing else but a rag to wrap the branch in.
Compared to slowly air drying or oven drying your branch this is a snap and ensures you can get to work immediately on your slingshot assuming you aren’t constructing it in field conditions.
Though this is an iconic and meme-worthy image of the typical slingshot we all imagine when picturing such a device, make no mistake that this is one capable of formidable power and accuracy. It is no toy!
This makes a great starter project for a novice slingshot crafter whether you are working in the field or in your workshop.
2. Field-expedient Slingshot
This article details the creation of a classic y-shaped slingshot during an outdoor expedition, all while staying at a campsite.
This serves as a great demo showing you just what’s possible when starting from absolutely zero in the wild.
Using nothing more than a commonly carried knife and multi-tool. No cheating either, as the writer actually scavenges his elastic band by walking along the roadside until he found a piece of inner tube to use.
I want to point out here how the principles at play are exactly the same even when you are operating under less-than-ideal conditions with less-than-ideal tools and materials.
The better you can make your slingshot the better off you will be, certainly, but even a primitive slingshot half-made from literal trash can prove to be a frighteningly capable weapon, especially when you don’t have any other!
One thing the writer might do as a follow-up is show himself looking for ideal ammunition in the form of small river pebbles, decorative glass garden beads, marbles, ball bearings, and the like.
All can be easily scavenged depending on where you are so long as you know where to look, and all of them can make for deadly projectiles!
3. Classic Slingshot with Mods and Improvements
This page gives you instructions on how to make yet another dead simple, classic slingshot, but more importantly, and also tells you how to upgrade that slingshot further and further based on how much time, what kind of tools, and what sort of materials you are able to gather.
Improvements to the frame, bands, pouch, and even improved construction techniques will all yield a slingshot that is more durable, more accurate, and more powerful, producing a significant value improvement over going with the basic model and basic components.
This is an excellent example of making the best out of what you have and further proves just how adaptable and potent a slingshot can be with even basic technology.
In particular, a lightweight but strong metal frame and a finely fitted, lightweight pouch with holes drilled in it to reduce both weight and drag will dramatically increase velocity and accordingly range and lethality.
Easy enough to make the frame with a metal bending rig and any pouch can be upgraded through the use of a drill or a sharp awl.
4. Compact Slingshot
Even working with a minimum of supplies can produce a functional slingshot, and this example shows you just how small a slingshot can be made while still being useful. Once again, the classic Y-fork shows itself but this is with good reason, as it is almost infinitely scalable and adaptable.
Note that just because the frame of the slingshot is compact does not mean that power must be sacrificed.
That is mostly a function of the bands, and making the frame any larger than it needs to be only increases weight and bulk.
To be fair, you’ll need a large enough gap between the arms of the frame to ensure a proper release and good accuracy, but your forks need neither be too tall nor the handle too long to have a trustworthy, effective slingshot.
5. Kitchen Tool Slingshot
Crafting a slingshot isn’t just for woods-dwelling mountain men. Starting with nothing but the things you can find in your kitchen and around your home you can also craft a powerful pocket rocket that can fend off attackers or bag dinner.
This innovative design relies on the sturdy steel wire frame of a manual potato masher to serve as the base and adds only a few modifications to hook up the bands and attach the pouch to those.
The ergonomic handle and inherent strength of the frame make for the excellent beginnings of a slingshot.
Note that you don’t have to use a potato masher necessarily, as any tool that has that rough sort of y shape with enough space between the arms of the fork will do nicely.
As always, you want a frame that is as strong and rigid as possible. A frame that is flexible will rob you of both power and accuracy.
6. Plywood Slingshot
This is another improved traditionalist design, one with better ergonomics and likely better performance than the classic branch slingshots found throughout this list.
This one is made using plywood, a great option for crafting a slingshot because it is dimensionally stable, tough and widely available.
Compared to the other options on this list this is one that requires more involved steps and is best executed with access to power tools meaning that this isn’t necessarily one you can whip together in a couple of hours post-SHTF.
However, it makes an excellent project that can still serve as a valuable addition to your bug-out bag or survival stash.
A slingshot with a frame made of plywood will prove to be quite tough if constructed and finished correctly and this could make it a great option for a traditionalist look that proves to be capable of hardcore, repeated use.
7. “MacGyver” Slingshot
Sometimes, you won’t have access to any materials it could be even considered within the realm of feasibility for constructing a classic slingshot.
I guess you are just SOL then, right? Not so fast!
Where there is a will, there is a way, and as this walkthrough shows you can actually craft your own basic components for building your slingshot.
Tightly rolled paper reinforced with tape and other materials could form your frame.
Elastic from an inner tube, even from the elastic waistband of stretchy yoga pants, could be wound and braided to form a workable band.
Remember, a slingshot is all about the basic principles. So long as your material components can deliver on those principles, you are good to go.
The author of the walkthrough linked above came up with his own method, and I challenge you to come up with yours.
If you couldn’t utilize a branch, a metal framed kitchen tool, or any other component we have discussed, how might you fashion a sturdy, fort frame?
What elastic material could you harvest for the band? What might make good if unusual ammunition? Start working out your brain and you’ll increase your prepping muscle!
The Best Slingshot Resource on the Net
There is far, far more to learn about slingshots than what we have discussed in this comparatively short article, and many more DIY plans besides.
If you have been bitten by the slingshot bug, or just want to take your slingshot-building and shooting game to the next level, you need to check out Slingshots of the World, linked above.
This is a really phenomenal resource that has been around for a while, and though it has had to jump ship from old URLs a couple of times it was then and remains now a treasure trove of information.
Slingshot history, DIY plans, technique, forums, and intricate discussions of every facet of slingshot use and construction are covered here, and aside from being extraordinarily entertaining, it can definitely power-level your user experience.
I’d recommend you get started and craft your own slingshot, and then to get down to practicing with it.
The slingshot is an undervalued but highly effective projectile weapon that can serve you well in a variety of survival situations.
Capable of surprising power and accuracy at range, you don’t even have to shell out a lot of money to get a high-quality slingshot, and a little bit of time on the workbench or at the campsite with the right materials can easily produce one that can rival most commercially produced models.
Look through the list of DIY plans provided above and make your own!
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.