The primitive sling was one of mankind’s earliest projectile weapons. It was invented during the stone age and widely used by primitive cultures around the world. The sling was the standard projectile weapon of the roman infanty. The Spanish Conquistadors, in their invasion of the Aztecs and Incas, reported the primitive sling as having greater range, power, and accuracy over the primitive bow. According to British Colonial accounts in Africa, within 50 yards, a sling in skilled native hands was as dangerous as a firearm.
Yet it is a widely reported on the internet that the sling has poor accuracy. With many people saying that it is difficult to learn and master. Some say that sling is a worthless weapon. Today I am going to find out.
Constructing the sling is straightforward. I first obtained a piece of cordage the length of my arm span, which is about 6 feet. I then halved the cordage using my hands. Then with my palm and fingers, I created a fold in the cordage that resembled the letter S. Then, the cordage is wraped around and through the S once. The same technique is applied to the other side, thus creating a 3 strand pouch. Then a bowline knot is made on one end of the cordage, creating a loop. Finally an overhand knot is made, completing the sling. Ammunition was found in great quantities in a local creek bed. This primitive ammunition consisted of smooth, football shaped river pebbles, approximately the size of a small egg. The sling along with 50 river pebbles, took just 5 minutes to construct and collect.
Now after several test throws, I learned that the most precise way to release the sling was to put the loop onto my index finger and the knot between the index finger and the thumb. The sling is indeed a powerful and long range weapon. With just 10 minutes of practice, I was casting egg sized stones out to 100 yards. But the central question is whether the sling can be accurate.
So as a test, I setup a 10 inch wide bucket at a distance of 30 feet, my effective stalking range for small game. As a complete bigginer, I wanted to see how many stones it would take to hit the target. At first stones were flying everywhere. Slinging felt instinctive, like throwing a baseball or rabbit stick. Gradually I was able to get the pebbles to land within a 3 feet diameter of the target. Yet this seems to take immense concentration and muscle memory, the slightest hesitation or muscle twitch, or wandering of the mind made the pebble fly far away from the target. After an hour, 50 stones, and zero hits, I started wondering if I was having an off day. So grabbing a throwing stick, another primitive weapon that I had little experience with, I tried to hit the target. The first attempted resulted in an indirect hit. The 2nd throw was a direct hit. There was nothing wrong with me. So I kept trying. There were moments when I felt like this time it’s going to happen, this time I’ll get a hit. Only to fail, and fail again, and again, and again. 🙁 After 100 stones, my arm was beginning to hurt. Some Pebbles were landing just inches from the target but still not hitting it. After more than 3 hours, and 200 stones casted, I did not succeed in hitting the target even once. It was an exceedingly frustrating experience.
So is the primitive sling a worthless weapon? Well, as an improvised survival hunting weapon for modern hikers and outdoorsman, I believe it is worthless. It would take years of regular practice to become accurate with the sling. And in an emergency, one would not have the time to master such a skill. However, there are other uses for the sling beyond hunting small game. With minimal practice, this weapon can be used to affect the movements of animals, corralling herds of ruminants and scaring off predators. I can see the sling as an economical and effective tool for pastoralist peoples. Furthermore, I can see the sling’s simplicity, range, power, and cheap ammunition as being advantageous over the primitive bow when used in warfare. Individual Accuracy may simply not be that important when the sling is used in mass. Anyway, thanks so much for watching. for more videos like this, please consider liking and subscribing to my channel. Bye.