Slingshots are a wonderful weapon, harnessing the tendency of rubber to store energy and allowing you to release it with ease. Unfortunately, if you didn’t grow up with one in your hands, they can be kind of a pain to aim as well, and many of us picked them up as adults which makes the whole process feel a bit unnatural. If you want to know how to aim a slingshot, you’re in the right place, by following our steps you’ll soon be shooting it with pinpoint accuracy.
1.) Establish Proper Technique
Your technique is vital to shooting with a slingshot.
The biggest thing to make sure of is that you’re able to exactly repeat the movement pattern.
Stand however you think is comfortable, and grip your projectile in the pouch then raise the slingshot and pull the band back. Ideally, the arm gripping the slingshot’s frame will be straight out in front of you, making “point”shooting much easier later on .
With your off hand you want to pull the bands straight back and the pouch to your cheek. It’s quit similar to a bow, and you’ll definitely feel the comparison if you’re using heavy bands.
Pulling straight back is absolutely essential, since it will allow you to “sight” between the forks of the frame without having to compensate. If you’re high or low, then your shooting is going to be much more erratic. Most people will find their natural “anchor point” quite quickly.
Align with the forks, a projectile hitting your forks can damage your slingshot quite a bit, and a snapped band can do some serious damage to your face or eyes if it happens on the fork side. Most people use tapered bands or tubes in order to prevent this from happening, but there’s always a chance.
The “cant” of the slingshot, or the angle at which it is held is actually less important than one would think. You can lean it to the inside or outside or hold it straight up, the really important thing here is actually to make sure that you are consistent with the level of tilt.
The release, just like with archery, is a huge factor as well. You’ll want to release without moving your front hand. There’s a big temptation to “push” with the lead hand, but doing this will completely throw your aim off. Angling the slingshot forward is a valid technique, but don’t do so after you’ve released the shot.
Eventually, you’ll want to get into intuitive aiming, where you can snap the slingshot from a lowered position to firing without having to think about it, but unless you’re a complete natural it’ll take some time to get there.
A slingshot will nearly always fire in an arc, which can confuse some shooters. There will be a point in its ballistic trajectory where you’ll have to aim high, then low, then high again.
The only way to know for sure where this is with your slingshot is to keep practicing until you know the distance where this will happen.
The important parts need to be perfect in order to have a great chance of success in the field. You’ll be doing the following:
- Pull the slingshot back, with the ammunition centered in the pouch and the cant that feels natural.
- Sight through the forks, keep in mind that the arc is going to be in an up/down direction no matter what your cant is.
- Release the pouch without moving the gripping arm in the slightest.
Keep firing away, probably at a can, tree, or something else which won’t break easily until you’ve got the motion down. Don’t worry about accuracy just yet, you need to get used to the trajectory and make sure your aim is spot on before you move on to more practical exercises.
2.) Know Your Trajectory
When you’re first learning to aim, it’s vital that you make sure you use the same kind of ammunition repeatedly rather than just grabbing rocks from the nearest stream bed. Spherical is better, and you want something with a bit of weight to it.
Most people will start with marbles or ball bearings of their preferred size. Don’t worry about hitting anything just yet, although you may want to set out a few cans while you’re getting started just to see.
Mark the distances you’ll be shooting from in increments of ten feet. If you’re planning on hunting game, keep in mind that you’re mostly going to be shooting from fifty feet or under in order to make sure that there’s enough power to make the kill.
Lob a few shots from each distance, you need to get a feel for how much drop your slingshot I going to produce. This is highly dependent on the slingshot and bands, so be sure to repeat the process if you change things up later.
Once you know the flight pattern of your projectiles, it’s time to move on to the next step.
3.) Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
The old saying is that practice makes perfect. That’s not strictly true, if your form isn’t spot on then you’re just going to build bad habits that are hard to break, instead you should be thinking perfect practice makes perfect.
With that in mind, don’t move on to practical applications until your form is dead on and repeatable without much thought.
At this point, you’ll want to set up a small range wherever you might be shooting. Aluminum or tin cans make great targets, but they fall over easily and will puncture quickly if you’re using any ammunition worth hunting with. Backstops are essential if you don’t have a wide and open area, as well as being easy to construct.
Fill them with gravel or dirt and they’ll last a lot longer, as well as not need to be set back up after even a glancing shot. This should prevent the can from falling apart too quickly, and you can twist the can when you’ve Swiss-cheesed one side of it.
Set them at varying heights and distances, if you have a place where you can set up a semi-permanent range you may want to consider making platforms and placing a dowel or spike through the cans to hold them in place.
You want enough space that you can shoot from a wide variety of angles in order to simulate real hunting as well, at least a 90° “pie slice” but ideally you can shoot from all around.
Now, you’ll want to practice shooting from different distances and targets in order to really get a feel for the slingshot. If you’re planning on hunting with one, you never know what kind of angle you might need and the distances usually won’t be exact. Simulate this as much as possible.
When you’re practicing, use the same bands or tubes as you will be using while hunting. The temptation exists to get something a bit cheaper for practice since they have a limited lifespan, but don’t give in to it. You want to have the exact same setup you’ll be using while you’re hunting.
4.) Practical Hunting Tips
By this point, you should be getting fairly accurate with your slingshot. A soda can or old soup can is about the size of a “kill zone” on a medium-sized rabbit and a bit larger than what you’d be aiming for on a squirrel or other smaller animal.
You need to know what range you’re effective at, don’t let overconfidence get to you. By practicing from different angles and distances on a regular basis you should develop a feel for both your accuracy and the amount of force delivered by your slingshot at different distances.
Don’t shoot at prey outside of this zone, no matter how tempting the target. Responsible hunting means going for a clean kill.
Most hunting bands will give you an effective range of about thirty yards, as far as force goes, and with a bit of practice most people should be remarkably accurate at about twenty yards or so.
This means that hunting with a slingshot is a matter of patience and stealth, you need to be extremely close to your prey compared to what you would be when using a rifle, or even a bow. Developing these skills is essential for any hunter, but especially for someone who has to get up close and personal as when you’re using a slingshot.
Keep all of that in mind, and you’re set for a fantastic adventure however, and it all begins with learning how to aim a slingshot.
We hope that we’ve shown you exactly how to aim with a slingshot. It takes time and effort to become truly good with one of these fun little weapons, but it’s worth it in the end and it’s quite unlike any other type of hunting you might engage in.
Have any tips and tricks on how to shoot straight? Leave us a comment below!