Adding some archery skills to your survival repertoire is always a good idea. However, the expense of a traditional or compound bow can make them prohibitive as a contingency prep and their length and shape does not lend them towards compact, easy storage.
But there is one option that can mitigate these shortcomings while providing much of the capability in the form of a sling bow. What exactly is a sling bow?
A sling bow is a modified slingshot, relying upon a grip and sometimes a wrist brace mated to elastic bands to propel an arrow. It typically has an arrow rest fitted between the fork to stabilize the arrow prior to release and assist in aiming.
Swing bows are compact, fairly intuitive to use, affordable and all-around a great option for inclusion into a survival kit or as a replacement for a more traditional bow.
Keep reading and we will tell you everything you need to know about sling bows, along with their advantages and disadvantages.
How are Sling Bows similar to Slingshots?
At first glance, sling bows may not seem all that similar to slingshots. After all, sling bows shoot arrows while slingshots fire a variety of small, spherical projectiles.
However, both devices share a number of key similarities, enough that some users categorize the sling bow as a specific type of slingshot.
For one, they both rely on elastic energy to propel their projectiles. This energy is provided by the band or a pair of bands that are strung between the fork of the sling bow or slingshot as appropriate.
Also, sling bows and slingshots are held in the same way with generally the same type of grip and may benefit from other ergonomic or stability enhancements in the form of forearm braces, extended forks, and so forth.
Generally, the principal difference between a sling bow and a slingshot is the ammunition it fires but there are other considerations.
How do Sling Bows differ from Slingshots?
Sling bows and slingshots certainly have much in common, but there are nonetheless some significant differences.
Owing to the aforementioned differences in ammunition, sling bows typically have a longer effective range than slingshots.
In addition, purpose-designed sling bows often have a more powerful drawstring than slingshots, which may provide them with more power and precision.
The nature of the sling bow’s projectile (arrows) means that the pouch of a typical slingshot is usually replaced by a specialized string to fit the nock of the arrow.
Finally, sling bows are invariably equipped with arrow rests for balancing the arrow between the forks prior to release.
Slingshots do not need and so do not have this feature. These differences may seem small, but they are integral to the function of these weapons.
What are the Best Uses for a Sling Bow?
Sling bows are best used in the same way that a traditional bow or compound bow would be used. Any situation that calls for an arrow can be handled, broadly speaking, by a sling bow.
That means that the hunting of small, medium, and potentially large game, target shooting, line casting, and so forth are all well within the capabilities of a good sling bow in the hands of a skilled archer.
What you have to keep in mind is that a sling bow, as good as it can be, will rarely match the full capabilities of a traditional bow, and will generally fall far short of the capabilities of a compound bow or crossbow.
The energy provided by elastic bands alone simply does not measure up to that provided by my actual, full-size bows of any kind assuming you are comparing apples to apples in terms of quality.
This means that you likely will not have the same accuracy and range with a given arrow that you could expect from the sling bows’ larger cousins, and you definitely won’t have the velocity.
This can make a big difference in performance as you would expect, and particularly when hunting larger game where a botched shot or inadequate penetration might mean a wounded but running animal, you must account for this.
Nonetheless, sling bows can prove more than adequate for all sorts of jobs, and their compact, portable nature makes them far easier to transport compared to traditional bows, especially as a just-in-case item.
How Much Do Sling Bows Cost?
Sling bows vary greatly in cost, like many things, but generally are far less expensive than full-size bows of any kind.
A cheap sling bow may only run you between $30 and $50, while top-of-the-line models can run a few hundred dollars. As with all such devices, options, enhancements, and manufacturer prestige do impact the final figure.
Even so, for someone who wants a low-cost and simple way to start getting arrows down range, or who just wants an arrow firing supplement or contingency weapon to a larger bow, sling bows can prove to be just the ticket.
Particularly if they are not going to see full-time use and will instead live in a bug-out bag or other survival kits.
Sling Bows are a Great DIY Project
However, you need not purchase a sling bow if you want to try one. Like the classic slingshot, the simplicity of the sling bow lends the design to DIY fabrication or modification.
It is entirely possible to modify an existing slingshot to serve as a highly effective sling bow, and you can even build one from scratch using little more than surgical tubing and a good, sturdy forked branch.
Some folks take to the challenge of designing and crafting a sling bow from a variety of materials, including PVC pipe, as part of the appeal.
Considering that the basic design is so simple and elastic materials comparatively common, cobbling together a crude but effective sling bow might prove to be a good survival skill unto itself.
If you prefer a more refined product but one that is customized, you’ll be happy to know that sling bow components and accessories are widely available and can allow someone to assemble their own from parts to their exact tastes or requirements.
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.